(Randy Royals Book 1)
(Randy Royals Book 1)
Tomorrow is a big day. For my family. And for me. It’s big because tomorrow is the day that I’m to meet my intended, Princess Madeline Lottisham of Blundell.
I sit, I stand, I pace, and I sit again. But nothing I do calm’s my restlessness. Am I ready for this? I should be. The King thinks I am. The Queen thinks I am. The entire royal court thinks I am. They’ve primed me for this since the day I came into the world. But that doesn’t stop dread from lining my stomach.
I don’t even know her. Sure, I’ve seen pictures, and from the handful of images I’ve seen she looks ok. She dresses conservatively. She smiles serenely. She fits in. My advisors tell me she’s the perfect match for a prince next in line to the throne. They say she’s polite and proper, that she is trained in the qualities needed to support a king. Apparently she’s humble, forgiving, and doesn’t expect special treatment from others. But is that what I want in a wife? She sounds like a fucking doormat.
I look at the clock. It’s 9pm and I should turn in soon. I look at my bed. The staff have turned down my sheets. They’re crisp and clean. Just like the woman destined for it. I growl and rip at my hair. I’m done with crisp and clean. I don’t want crisp and clean anymore. I want dirty and rough. Shouldn’t a man get to experience at least an element of fire before settling down?
I’ve spent my entire life doing the right thing. I’ve behaved myself. Attended public functions and smiled through the drabness of it all. I’m bored out of my tree. Impulsiveness rushes through me and instantly I know what I need to do. I need to get out of here. Let my hair down. Live like a free man. Just one time. I kick off my shoes, rip off my suit, and search my dressing room for something inconspicuous. I change into a pair of faded old jeans and a tatty old t-shirt. I lace up my ancient trainers and head for the door, picking up the keys for my Ducati on the way.
My heart thunders in my chest as I strut down the palace corridors. Thankfully, there’s not a soul to be seen or heard, and I’m able to slip into the darkness of the royal garages unnoticed. I shrug into my leathers, grab my helmet, and slide it on my head. It’s while I’m buckling the thing on that somebody flicks on the overhead lights. Shit.
‘Where do you think you’re going at this hour?’
My nerves settle. It’s only my younger brother, Prince Magnus, the most rebellious of all four of us princes. ‘None of your business,’ I say, throwing my leg over the bike and type the garage door code into my phone. The door slides open with barely a grumble but Magnus stands between me and freedom with his arms across his chest.
‘Don’t make me tell Mother you’re absconding. Because you know she’ll be very disappointed.’
I lift the visor of my helmet and glare at him. ‘Really? With the dirt I have on you? You wouldn’t dare.’
He laughs. ‘Don’t tell me the good prince has finally gone rogue? I knew you had it in you, old chap. I’m just surprised it’s taken you until the eleventh hour to break the chains.’
His smirk grates on me and, not for the first time, I want to pull him down a peg or two. But can’t because that’s not what good princes do. Yet another thing I can’t do because of my social status. ‘Don’t make me knock you down.’
‘I’ll move when you tell me where you’re going.’ He steps closer, showing off his brass balls.
I sigh. ‘Magnus, just move, I’m not in the mood to play your stupid games.’
He opens his mouth to argue but the sound of my 1198cc V-twin engine firing up drowns out any sounds that pour from his pathetic face. I turn the throttle and race into the night, leaving Magnus to do and tell who he pleases, because right now I don’t give a fuck. I can taste freedom. And it tastes great.
I feel like a fish out of water and suspect I’m not disappearing into the crowd as much as I would like to. What am I even doing here anyway?
The bar is heaving, and if I blow my cover, the media will have a field day. I can see the headlines already, Princess Madeline of Blundell Gets Drunk in Cheap Pick-up Joint. The thing is, I’m not drunk. Nor am I out to pick anybody up. Especially considering tomorrow morning I’m meeting Prince Brice Henley of Marea. The next in line to the throne. The most eligible bachelor in the world. And my husband-to-be. My stomach flips at the thought and I take a massive gulp of my Jack Black to settle it but that only causes me to cough and splutter the concoction all over my chin. Classy. I reach for a serviette, but there are none. There’s not even paper in the loo so why I thought something as grand as a napkin would be at my disposal I have no idea. My naivety obviously knows no bounds.
Two hours ago I’d given my chaperone the slip and, with the bag of supplies my lady-in-waiting handed over that afternoon, disappeared into the night with a belly full of anticipation.
Claudia, my best friend, and faithful companion had handed over the rucksack with eyes full of fear. ‘Madeline, you know I love you and understand why, but are you sure you want to do this?’ she’d said.
Yes. I wanted to do this. I wanted to escape. Just for one evening. I wanted to spend a few hours in her shoes. Enjoying all the things she got to do when she wasn’t at the palace keeping my sorry self company. I wanted to wear clothes that didn’t scream pompous old prude. I wanted to go to bars. Get drunk. Flirt with men. Be normal. Just once. Is that too much for a twenty-year-old to ask?
I’d spent my entire life doing the right thing. Mother and Father had made a deal many years ago that their first-born daughter would marry King and Queen Henley’s first-born son. It was a union designed to fortify both country’s positions in the modern world and had been, by all accounts, foolproof. Mother had dedicated her life to training me. Turning me into the perfect wife. Or rather perfect lap dog. I’d gone to finishing school. I’d learned to play polo. I’d kept my head low and my virginity intact. And I loathed it. All of it. Especially the virginity bit. I only hoped Prince Bloody Henley appreciates the sacrifices I’d made for him even before we met and married. I knock back the Jack Black, managing not to spill it this time, and slump my shoulders over the bar. I’m a fool. A darn fool. I should just leave and present myself to my security team, who are probably turning the city upside down looking for me. With a heavy heart and feeling like a failure, I slip off the barstool and trod on a pair of steel toe capped shoes.
‘What the actual fuck!’ The burly owner of the shoes bellows.
I look up to see that the shoes are owned by a guy twice my size with pitted skin and a belly so big he looks ready to give birth. ‘Oh my goodness, I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t—’
‘Terribly sorry are ya?’ A grin spread across his ruddy face, revealing nicotine-stained teeth. He cocks his head to one side. ‘Exactly how sorry, Missy?’
My eyes dart around the venue looking for my protection team. But of course, they’re not here. ‘So, so incredibly sorry,’ I splutter and rummage around the clutch bag Claudia packed for me. ‘Please, let me buy you a new pair. I have money—’
‘Don’t need no money,’ he says and slides closer, overwhelming me with the stench of body odour mingled with alcohol and cigarettes. ‘I do got other needs though.’
I try to swallow, but my mouth has dried. ‘Please, sir. Let me pay for a new pair, then we can both be on our way. No harm done.’
He reaches up and strokes my hair. I’d deliberately worn it down to avoid recognition tonight, now the urge to declare my status is stronger than ever before. But I can’t. Falling back onto my royal title was not what tonight is all about. I need to suck it up and find another way out of this sticky situation.
‘You’ve got a pretty little mouth haven’t you, Sweets. How about we forget the money? Money don’t talk in my world but I’ll tell ya what does. Cock-sucking.’
Bile rises to the back of my throat. Is this what happens to normal girls? Or just stupid little rich girls who bend the rules? I open my mouth to answer but before I can formulate the words a third man joins us. Great. Gang rape. Obviously a befitting punishment for a wayward princess who should have known better.