Her bodyguard, p.52
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       Her Bodyguard, p.52

           Sabrina Paige

  I smile politely, the moment interrupted when King Leopold takes my hand. “Isabella,” he says, his voice warm. “Have I told you how delighted I am that you’ve decided to stay for the summer?”

  “I’m honored to be a guest in your home," I say.

  Leopold laughs, a deep sound that comes from his belly. “My dear, you’re family,” he says. “Please don’t ever call yourself a guest again.”

  “I’ll try to remember that, Your Royal Highness,” I say, bowing my head.

  “Albie tells me he showed you around Senijk,” Leopold says, referencing the town where their summer estate is. My mind immediately flashes to exactly what Albie showed me in the village that day – his skill with his fingers.

  “I showed her the most important parts of Senijk,” Albie says, beside me, and I avoid looking at him as the vibrator flicks on inside me, low and slow, but the movement surprises me and I yelp.

  “Are you okay?” Leopold asks, and I just know my face must be bright red.

  “Uh…yes,” I say, coughing to hide my embarrassment. “I just turned my ankle in these heels. I’m afraid I haven’t gotten used to wearing high heels again.”

  “I imagine this entire thing is a bit of a shock for you,” Leopold says, as Albie increases the intensity on the vibrator. I look over at him and shoot him the most murderous glare I can muster under the circumstances.

  The vibrator is one thing, but turning it on when I’m trying to carry on a conversation with his father is another thing entirely.

  A very bad, very warped thing.

  “It’s…yes…a shock, I would say.”

  “It’s probably difficult to leave someplace that intense,” Albie says, his voice the epitome of professional and measured. Except for the fact that he looks me right in the eye, his expression filled with mischief, and lingers just a little too long on the word intense, turning up the intensity of the vibrator as he speaks.

  “Uh-hum,” I say. What the hell were we talking about again? I can’t think clearly when all I can focus on is what’s happening between my legs.

  It’s a good thing that there is a ballroom of people waiting for an audience with my mother and the king, because I there’s no way I can muster a coherent sentence. My entire body feels warm, heated to the point of discomfort by the arousal surging through my veins.

  Albie leans close to me as we walk away. “Do I hear a faint buzzing sound?” he asks.

  “Shut up,” I reply, through gritted teeth. Oh God, if he keeps this going, I’m going to have to walk out of here right now.

  “I’m kidding,” he says. “Totally silent. Although, judging from the expression on your face, it’s obviously working.”

  “I don’t know why I let you put it in me,” I hiss, barely able to choke out the words. Another surge of the vibrator, and I stumble, putting my hand on Albie’s arm for support.

  “Oh, trust me, luv,” he whispers, smiling politely at someone from across the room, someone important who’s undoubtedly walking toward us to say hello. I can’t tell who it is because I’m practically seeing double already. “I’m going to be putting more than that in you.”

  “Miss Kensington,” a voice says, and the vibration stops abruptly. Thank God, because I was about to cause a scene. I look up to see an older gentleman, and Albie introduces us – he's a politician of some kind. Or was it an earl? I've already forgotten.

  Then Albie and I are split up. For the next half hour, one of the royal family's handlers, a public relations expert named Christine who dictates my every move, escorting me from guest to guest. There is a whole team of public relations handlers on staff, all dressed in identical black suits on non-event days and gowns and tuxedos on nights like tonight.

  Christine is stiff and rigid, all business and no pleasure, her jet-black hair pulled up in a high ponytail that only serves to make her face look even thinner than it is. She introduces me to guests in a clipped tone, with just a hint of a smile, an expression that must serve her well in this capacity. Everything about her screams ‘don’t fuck with me.’

  She's positively terrifying.

  And the entire time, the vibrator flicks on and off inside me, at random intervals that Albie determines from wherever he is in the ballroom.

  I smile and nod and exchange pleasantries with people until I’m dizzy, unable to think of anything except the throbbing between my legs. All-business-Christine introduces me to important people, reminding me between introductions of the importance of learning royal customs and maintaining royal bearing. And the whole time, Albie is sending random pulses of vibration through me that nearly leave me breathless.

  I’ve been reduced to a weak-kneed, quivering bundle of desire, controlled by my pussy – and by my stepbrother.

  Thirty minutes into this fiasco, and I’m worthless. All of my brain cells are now devoted to maintaining my composure while Albie turns on the vibrator again.

  I will not have an orgasm here in the middle of this, I tell myself. It would be deeply humiliating.

  Nevertheless, I can feel it building in my core.

  “Are you okay?” Christine asks. “You look flushed. Should I send for a doctor?”

  “No!” I snap, then quickly lower my voice, clearing my throat as I look over her shoulder. I'm desperately trying to find Albie in the sea of people, to telegraph the message that he has to stop what he's doing. “Um. I need…some water. Or some air, maybe. Champagne.” I’m babbling, making no sense. She must think I’m on drugs or something.

  “Ten minutes,” she says, curtly, whirling around and walking briskly in the other direction, her hand on her earpiece.

  I breathe a sigh of relief when the vibrating ceases, even though it does little to stop the pulsing between my legs. I mentally calculate how far it is to the ladies room and whether I can get through the crowd without being seen by anyone.

  “Oh my God.” Alexandra takes my arm. “You got stuck with Christine. She’s the worst of the PR robots. Do you want to make an escape?”

  I giggle, the absurdity of all of this suddenly hitting me. “She’s awful,” I whisper.

  “You have to medicate to get through it,” Alex says, leaning her head on my shoulder. “I totally like you, Belle. Have I told you that? You’re not terrible. I expected you to be terrible, like one of those really smug bitches, the kind who think they’re God’s gift to the earth just because they go around saving people and stuff.”

  “You’re obviously well-medicated,” I say, laughing.

  “I took some X,” she says. “Wow. Has anyone ever told you that your hair is really brown? Like, not poop brown, either. It’s pretty brown. Do you want some X? I have some, right in my clutch.”

  “I’ll pass,” I say. As if I need to take anything that would increase the sensitivity of my body in any way, shape, or form.

  “Quick,” she says. “Two o’clock. Sir Richard Benton. He’s hot, right? We should talk to him.”

  "What? Who?" I ask absently. I catch a glimpse of Albie across the room as the crowd parts. He's standing next to a blonde – tall, long-legged, thin, and gorgeous. She puts her hand on his forearm, the gesture at once possessive and familiar.

  "Richard Benton," Alex says. "Come on. Please tell me you've heard of him, at least. He's been in movies in the States. He was knighted in England. I can't remember why. Probably for being hot as hell."

  I can't think of Richard whoever-the-hell-he-is, not when I'm looking at Albie on the other side of the room, with some girl hanging all over him.

  Alexandra follows my gaze. "Ugh," she says. "That bitch."

  "What bitch?" I ask. I find it unreasonably difficult to pry my gaze away from the two of them. The girl laughs – I can't hear it, but I just know she has one of those perfect little musical laughs, a tinkling sound – and touches his forearm again.

  "Erika. She's the worst," Alex whispers, though not quietly enough. It's more like a stage whisper, which is wholly inappropriate for this setting. If it
weren't for the fact that I'm completely distracted by Albie on the other side of the room, the entire thing would be laughable. I have a princess hanging on my arm, high as a kite and airing her opinions too loudly, and a vibrator inside me, my royal stepbrother at the controls.

  And all of it, at my mother's engagement party, surrounded by the crème de la crème of Protrovian society.

  "Why is she the worst?" I ask absently. Albie pats the bitch on the arm, then looks up. I avert my eyes, but not quickly enough. He makes eye contact with me from across the room.

  "She's terrible," Alex says. "Manipulative and shallow. They were together years ago. I don’t know what he ever saw in her. She cheated on him a lot. Albie won't ever say it, but I think he was in love with her. And she broke his heart."

  I swallow hard the lump that's beginning to form in my throat. What if he still has feelings for his ex? I definitely don’t want to do to someone what Derek did to me. Suddenly, everything about what I'm doing with Albie feels even more wrong. "Excuse me," I say to Alex. "I need to run to the restroom."

  But before I can make my stealthy exit, Christine catches my arm. "I'll need you to take your seat, Miss Kensington and Princess Alexandra," she says. Then, looking up, "Ah, Prince Albert, you as well. You'll join the King and Queen at the head table."

  "Wait, I –" I begin to protest, but I'm ushered along. Behind me, Albie steps too close for a split second, his breath warm on my neck. I tell myself to focus on something else, anything else, because walking this way through the ballroom, with my nipples erect underneath my dress, is the worst possible thing that could happen.

  "You weren't about to sneak out of here, were you?" Albie whispers, and I feel the vibrator start up again, the rumble low and steady. But instead of being turned on, the way I was before, I just find myself irritated. I'd tell him to turn it off, but I know he'll just turn it up a million times more. So I just grit my teeth and promise myself there's no way he's making me come. I won't let it happen.

  Willpower, I tell myself. Think of something else. Something un-sexy.

  Like the image of Albie with that blonde's hand on his arm, giggling like an idiot because he said something that was most likely inappropriate.

  "No," I say curtly. "I'm headed to the table to sit with my new siblings."

  He turns up the vibration higher and I involuntarily yelp, a sound I quickly cover with a cough. “Behave,” he whispers.

  “Apparently that’s something you need to learn,” I say, my words coming out breathier than I intended.

  “Oh, you’re jealous,” he whispers. Then he shuts off the vibrator, leaving my muscles pulsing around it.

  Of course he’s seated next to me at dinner. I’m seated between Alex on my right, and Albie on my left, probably a strategic move by the public relations team to make sure everyone is reminded how integral a part of the family I am. Mercifully, Albie leaves me alone during most of dinner.

  My legs crossed, sitting in a chair, I almost manage to forget the vibrator is inside me. And, deliberately ignoring Albie, I’m almost able to forget about him and the ex-girlfriend.



  “I saw you talking with Erika earlier,” Sofia says, sipping from a glass of champagne. “Will she be joining us at the summer house? I’ve heard so many lovely things about her.”

  On the other side of Belle, Alex snorts, her inhibitions lowered by whatever she took to get her through tonight’s events. I glance at my empty scotch glass, downing a glass of champagne as a poor substitute. “Lovely,” Alex scoffs. “I’ve never heard her called that before.”

  “She won’t be joining us at the summer house, Sofia,” I say, my voice firm. At least that shuts her up. I’m not sure whether she’s manipulative or simply unobservant, but it’s obvious to everyone else that Erika and I are nothing.

  “No?” Belle asks, her voice innocent. “You should invite her.”

  I flick on the vibrator in response, and watch as a flush runs up Belle’s neck, then down the front of her chest. She crosses her legs, and re-crosses them as I increase the vibration a little more.

  I was having fun with this whole thing earlier, the thrill of turning the vibrator on and off at inopportune times. But now, I’m not. I’m not going to wait any longer. I want to watch Belle come, sitting right here at this table.

  “Are you okay, Belle?” I ask, cutting a piece of filet and popping it into my mouth. “You look a little feverish.”

  “I’m…fine,” she says, looking straight ahead as she takes a sip of wine from her glass. No one else notices, but I can see her eyes close for just a moment too long.

  The thought of her sitting at this table beside me, her pussy wet because she’s on the verge of coming, makes me hard as a rock, and I have to adjust the napkin that covers my lap.

  When she finally looks over, her gaze falls to my lap, then up to my eyes again. I know she saw how hard I am. She looks away as quickly as she turned. “Prince Albert,” she says. “You should stand and make a toast, don’t you think?”

  I cough to hide my laugh. Clever girl.

  I flick the setting on the vibrator up higher, trying not to think of what that’s doing to her. I run quickly through mental images of anything that might deflate my raging erection.

  “Oh, that would be lovely, Albert,” my grandmother says.

  “Perhaps it would be more appropriate to save a toast for a less public event,” my father says, interrupting and saving me from having to reveal my massive hard-on for Belle.

  “Yes,” I say. “Some things are better left for private, don’t you agree, Belle?”

  She tucks a wayward strand of hair behind her ear, then adjusts a few more strands with trembling hands, before running her hand along her brow. Her chest rises and falls, hardly apparent to anyone else, I’m sure, but I know what that means. “Certain things shouldn’t be done in public,” she says, her voice breathy.

  “Are you all right?” Alex asks. “Seriously, you look like you’re not feeling well.”

  “Isabella, are you having an episode?” Sofia asks. “She gets anxious during public events sometimes – or, she used to, anyway.”

  “I’m…fine,” Belle says. The gravelly tone in her voice makes me even harder, and I turn up the vibrator again. She clutches the sides of her chair, her fingers white at the knuckles where she holds it tightly.

  I wonder how long she can hold out. But mostly, I wonder what she’ll look like when she comes.

  “Isabella,” my father says. “You do look flushed. Alex, why don’t you walk Isabella back to her room. Perhaps you should lie down.”

  I turn the vibrator on the highest setting, determined to make Belle come before she leaves. She closes her eyes lightly, gripping the chair tightly, the wrinkle on her forehead the only other outward sign of anything happening. “Yes, Belle,” I say, “Why don’t you lie down. It looks like you’re tense. Perhaps you need a little relief.”

  “Yes,” she gasps, far too loudly, then inhales immediately. It’s one word, and she says it in a way that’s so unmistakably erotic that it has to be the most inappropriate response ever given at a royal dinner. And I know by the flush that rises to her cheeks that she just came, right here at my father's engagement party.

  This is definitely one for the history books.

  The table is silent, and my grandmother’s eyes go wide as she glances uncomfortably at Belle before gulping her water. “Well,” my grandmother says. “I guess that’s a yes, then.”

  Belle clears her throat. “Yes,” she says, this time more measured, but still breathy, as I turn down the vibration. “Excuse me.”

  She stands to leave, her hand on the back of the chair to steady herself, and she looks down for a moment at me. “I’m fine by myself.”

  “Oh, no, I’ll go with you!” Alex jumps up quickly, obviously eager to get the hell out of here, taking Belle by the elbow before anyone can object.

  I wait a whole five minutes before
I make a bullshit excuse to get up from the table to follow them. On the way out, I see Erika walking toward me, no doubt trying to chase me down and throw herself at me, the way she did earlier tonight. I make a mental note to let security know she’s off my approved list, regardless of whatever idiot sends her an invite to a palace event in the future.

  Outside of the ballroom, Alex is talking to Finn Asher, laughing as she opens her purse to show him something. Several feet away, her bodyguard Max stands in a suit, his arms crossed, glaring at the two of them. He looks like he’s two seconds away from throwing Alex over his shoulder again, the way he did at the summerhouse.

  “Where did Belle go?” I ask, my tone accusatory.

  “She said she wanted some air,” Alex says. “Don’t be a nag.”

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