Prince albert, p.5
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       Prince Albert, p.5

         Part #4 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige
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  Her words send a pang of anxiety rushing through me. “Did you just come here to make me feel worse?”

  Shame flickers in her eyes, and she glances down at the ground. “I didn’t,” she says. “Shit. I mean, sorry. Sometimes I – I’m too blunt.”

  Her phone buzzes, and she slides her thumb across the screen, a look of relief crossing her face. “I have to go,” she says, not looking at me as she walks away.

  I watch the door close behind her, filled with a sense of dread.

  Your whole life is going to be torn apart.

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  Albie

  “It’s not a formal event. It’s only dinner with the family. I can dress myself, Ben, thank you,” I say, not bothering to even try to hide the edge in my voice. A flicker of embarrassment crosses the valet’s face, and I feel badly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t sleep well last night.”

  He nods. “I can have Doctor Evanston called, if you like, Your Highness,” he says.

  “No,” I say, quickly. Too quickly. “It’s nothing. It’s fine, I mean.” It’s not nothing. I haven’t slept well all week, not since I got back from the States.

  “As you wish, Your Highness,” he says, retreating toward the door.

  “Ben?” I ask. “Were you able to find Miss Kensington’s misplaced passport?”

  “Not yet, Your Highness,” he says. “But, rest assured, I will find it.”

  The idea of having Belle Kensington around the palace all summer might be entertaining, but if she really wants to go back to the States, she should.

  I wonder if she’ll even be at dinner. It’s casual tonight, according to the agenda – which really means that it’s black tie and not full dinner dress. For me, dinner dress would mean military dress with full regalia. This is the dinner engagement announcement to my cousins and aunts and uncles, a small family gathering before the more public events get underway.

  I walk down the hallway in the direction of one of the dining rooms, an informal one, not the formal ones used for the larger dinners.

  “Alb, wait,” Alex calls, and before I can react, she’s slamming into me, swinging her arm around my shoulder.

  “God, you’re a pain in the ass,” I joke, as she leans into me. “What are you doing? Are you coming to dinner?”

  “Yah,” she says, snapping her gum loudly in my ear. “Why are you dressing up for this bullshit, anyway?”

  “Because I’m a responsible member of society,” I say, grinning. “And a respectable member of the royal family.”

  Alex wrinkles her nose at me. “You’ve never been responsible, you lying liar,” she says. “Don’t even try to scam me – I know the Army didn’t change you that much. And seriously, what is with the tux? You can’t make me the only rebel. Who are you trying to impress? Ohhh.”

  I shake my head as her eyes go wide. “I’m impressing no one,” I say.

  “The girl,” she says, her voice a sing-song. “Yeah, you are. You’re trying to impress her cause she’s totally hot.”

  I shrug. “I hadn’t noticed.”

  “Yeah, right,” she says, laughing. “You noticed. She’s your new stepsister, in case you haven’t figured that out. That means you need to keep your dick in your pants.”

  “That’s a phrase I could do without ever hearing come out of your mouth again,” I say. “You might want to go put on something that isn’t jeans. Maybe consider buttering our father up a little bit by actually playing by the rules, for once. Aren’t you planning on going to Monaco?”

  “So?” she asks. “Finn’s father has a plane.”

  “Yes, but aren’t you using our house in Monaco?”

  Alex exhales heavily. “Fine. You have a point.”

  “What’s that?” I ask, cupping my ear. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you. Could you say that louder, please? Did you say I was right?”

  “I liked you a lot better before you did the whole military thing, you know,” she says. “Before, you would have shown up to dinner stoned or with a stripper on your arm. Now you’re all about working for the man.”

  “It’s called picking your battles, Alex,” I call to her back as she stomps off in the opposite direction. “And I never brought any strippers to the palace.”

  Well, I never brought any strippers to dinner at the palace.

  I'm about to turn in the direction of the dining room, but I don't. Instead, I head in the opposite direction.

  Toward her room.

  "Yes?" Belle asks, her voice muffled. When I open the door, she's turned with her back toward me, her arms contorted as she tries to zip the back of her dress. "I guess I do need help with the zipper, after all."

  "I'm better at unzipping dresses than I am at zipping them up, but I'll give it a try," I say.

  Belle whirls around at the sound of my voice, one of the straps of her dress sliding over the edge of her shoulder. Shit, her and the damn straps of dresses. It's enough to make me want to rip the fabric off her entirely.

  "Oh my God, what are you doing here?" she squeals, pressing her hands to the top of her dress, and clutching the garment against her breasts. "I thought you were the woman who was supposed to help me dress. She just left."

  "Turn around," I say, crossing the room toward her. I know full and well that this is a bad idea. I shouldn't be in here with her, not when the sight of her shoulder has me hard as a rock. I swear to all that is holy, my dick is acting like I've never seen a woman’s shoulder before.

  “I will not,” she says. “You need to leave. I’m sure you’re not supposed to be in here. Isn’t there some kind of palace rule against this kind of th–”

  She stops talking when I reach her, and I hear her inhale deeply, the sound sharp in the stillness of the room. Her breasts rise underneath her palms, and I think about covering my hands with hers and simply moving them, causing her dress to fall to the ground in a pool at her feet.

  I could do it. It would be so easy.

  And the way she’s looking at me right now, her eyes big and her pupils dilated, makes me think she would let me do exactly that.

  “Some kind of what?” I ask, my voice soft. She looks up at me with her lips slightly parted, and a sheen of gloss on them. Even though it’s simple, the effect is somehow the most seductive thing I’ve ever seen. “A rule against a prince welcoming his new st—”

  “Do not say it,” she whispers. “I’ll slap you.”

  I look down at her hands. “Please do,” I say. “But use both hands. I’d like to see that dress on the floor.”

  Belle blushes. “You have to leave.”

  “Or what, luv?” I ask. “Are you that afraid of being in the same room alone with me? Relax. I’m harmless.”

  She laughs. “Said the lion to the mouse.”

  “Isn’t there a story about a lion and a mouse? One where they’re friends?”

  She narrows her eyes at me. “It’s probably more like the fox in the henhouse,” she says. “I did some reading about you.”

  “Mmm,” I murmur, not sure whether to be irritated or flattered that she’s reading about my exploits – tabloid sensationalism, no doubt. Quickly, before she can protest, I reach around her waist and spin her so that her back is to me. Her dress falls open, revealing an expanse of bare creamy skin.

  Shit, she’s not even wearing a bra. I wonder what else she’s not wearing under that little black dress of hers. The thought sends a rush of blood to my cock, which tents the fabric of my pants.

  Fuck. This girl is going to unravel me.

  “And?” I ask, clearing my throat to cover the arousal I think must be evident in my tone. I reach for the zipper at the base of her dress, my hand resting lightly on the small of her back, the apex of the curve of her ass. She doesn’t move. She doesn’t step forward or protest the way I linger there.

  Maybe she’s not aware that I’m contemplating flattening my palm, running it over the curve of her ass and down her thighs, yanking up that skirt of hers.

  “
What did you learn about me from all your research?” I ask.

  “You’re a playboy,” she says.

  “Boring,” I whisper, pulling on her zipper, my other hand on the top of the fabric, guiding the zipper up, up, up her back. “You already knew that.”

  My fingertips graze her back on the way, and she shivers visibly at my touch, her head lolling to the side. I pull the zipper farther, my lips close to her ear.

  I blow lightly on her neck, scattering a few errant hairs that have come astray from her updo. She squirms at the sensation. “What sordid secrets of mine did you learn from your research?”

  “Do you have sordid secrets?” she says softly.

  “You tell me, luv.” I trace my finger lightly across the back of her neck. “I could. I have one with you, in fact. That one’s not as sordid as I’d like it to be, unfortunately.”

  “You should stop…doing…that,” she says, when I trace my finger up to the baseline of her hair. I’m two seconds away from taking the decorative pin out of her hair, this silver piece with antiqued edges that must be some relic from the palace she was told to wear, and letting the whole thing tumble down in waves. I’m this close to unraveling her completely.

  “What should I stop doing, luv?” I whisper, watching the way she moves when my breath wafts along her skin. “Should I stop making you wet?”

  “You’re not making me w—” Her voice drifts off. She doesn’t say the word.

  “I know you can’t stop thinking about me,” I say. “Did you think about me last night?”

  “God, no,” she says, her voice catching. Then, more firmly. “No. No. Absolutely not.”

  She’s lying and we both know it.

  The knock on the door startles us both, and she jumps away, looking at me in horror. “Shit,” she whispers. Then, louder: “I’m just…getting dressed. Who is it?”

  But secret passageways are made for times like this, aren’t they? I press on the electronic panel on the wall beside the fireplace, and wink at her before I leave.

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  Belle

  I am so wet.

  He asked me if he was making me wet, and I lied. If he had reached between my legs a moment ago, he would have known I was lying through my teeth. Every part of my body is on edge, like I’m charged with static electricity or something.

  No one has ever made me wet by whispering into my ear. He’s barely touched me, and I’m practically melting.

  I’m going to be late for dinner, something that’s surely frowned upon in a palace. I’m not certain about palace etiquette, but that’s probably right up there with a real offense.

  Like marrying your future stepbrother in Vegas.

  I tell myself I’ll just be a minute. I tell myself that I can’t possibly go to dinner like this. I can’t sit at the same table as Albie in my current state.

  That’s what I tell myself as I lock the door to the bedroom.

  That’s what I tell myself to justify the fact that I’m going to be late for a dinner with the king and soon-to-be-queen of a damn country, for goodness’ sake.

  I’m not the kind of girl who lets her libido get the best of her. My ex-fiancé never left me feeling like this – not once.

  No one has ever left me feeling like this.

  Running my fingers up the sides of my thighs, I pull the fabric of the black dress – the very proper, very appropriate, very subdued black dress chosen by whatever stylist my mother hired to fill this closet in the room – up around my waist.

  I glance at the secret panel on the wall where Albie disappeared. Just for a second, I almost wish he would reappear right now.

  But I push thoughts of him out of my mind. I don’t need to think about Albie, with that smug, self-satisfied grin of his, the one I imagine drives women wild.

  The throbbing between my legs is incessant, demanding, refusing to be ignored, and I tell myself that has nothing to do with thoughts of Albie. And it certainly has nothing to do with what he just did. It has nothing to do with his breath on my neck, his fingertips running softly across my skin.

  My skirt ruched up around my waist, I slip my fingers between my thighs, finding my clit, and press my fingertips against it, sighing louder than I’d like at the relief that immediately floods my body.

  I sink onto the bed, lying here in this room touching myself while, at this very moment, everyone in my brand-spanking-new family is on the other side of the palace in the dining room.

  Including Albie.

  Deliciously sexy Albie.

  Dark-haired, blue-but-more-periwinkle eyed Albie, who has a reputation for bedding every model and actress in the western hemisphere.

  Albie, the epitome of a shallow, arrogant, entitled man.

  He’s everything I should find repulsive.

  Except, right now, as my fingertips slide over and over my clit, moving in circles until arousal courses through my body, he’s the person I picture.

  I imagine him with his lips near my ear, his warm breath against my neck, asking me if I’m wet for him. Goosebumps dot my skin, a chill traveling down my spine as I think of him.

  My eyes closed, my fingers dancing over my clit – over and over until my heart races in my chest, until my breath comes so short that I’m nearly breathless – I think of him. I imagine him with his head buried between my thighs, my dress pulled up around my waist, his tongue tasting me.

  I think of his tongue, hot between my legs, flicking over my clit until I can’t do anything except call his name.

  I imagine my fingers threaded through his hair, my legs wrapped around his shoulders.

  I can almost feel him sliding his fingers inside me, fucking me until I pant his name.

  I’m so far gone, brought so close to the edge by just the thought of his mouth between my legs, that I can barely keep myself from crying out when I crash over.

  And Albie’s name is on my lips.

  ***

  “I’m so pleased that you decided to join us, Isabella.” My mother raises her glass of wine to her lips. Her chilly tune conveys the exact opposite of her words, and the look she gives me is just as frosty as her voice.

  She’s pissed off that I’m late for dinner.

  I’m afraid the reason I’m late is written all over my face, that my guilt is immediately evident. Even as I slide into my seat at the table, I can’t get the thought of Albie as I imagined him – naked, throbbing, irresistible – out of my head.

  That fact sends heat to my face, and I know I’m blushing.

  I glance at Albie, and immediately regret it. Evidently, he finds my current state amusing.

  “Yes,” Albie says, “I was afraid you’d gotten lost, that we’d have to send a search and rescue party after you.”

  “I had to finish up something,” I say, trying to keep my voice composed, settled. Nonchalant.

  I might be failing terribly at the nonchalant part of things.

  “Well, I hope you know that I’m always willing to help with whatever needs attending to,” Albie says, looking at me meaningfully. Arousal washes over me like a wave, and I shift uncomfortably in my seat, crossing one leg over the other.

  “I’m sure,” Alexandra snorts, rolling her eyes. She flicks a strand of hair over her shoulder and looks at me across the table. And winks.

  I might actually die of embarrassment right now, if my mother
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