Font Size:  

“T.” It was Ray’s voice. “Hurry.”

“I’m almost there.” He dropped his phone back in his pocket and pounded down the stairs, his Ferragamo dress shoes making the noise even louder.

Bursting out onto the courtyard, he pulled in a quick breath to calm his racing heart and pasted his crown prince smile on. He waved to Derek and Ellery, who were indeed waiting on him to cut the cake. Derek gave him a questioning look but focused back on his bride, and the festivities continued with the cutting of the cake.

The group of beautiful Americans edged toward him again. His and Jensen’s flimsy excuse of ‘crown prince business’ probably wouldn’t work again, and he did not want to risk Jennifer seeing him with them a second time. He beelined for Ray and Macey.

“What does she know?” Ray muttered when he got close.

“Both her parents are in danger,” he said quietly, then cheered with the rest of the crowd when Ellery smashed cake in Derek’s face and Derek kissed her with his cake-covered lips before flipping her over and dipping her long hair and veil in the nearby water fountain. Those two and water fountains.

“As soon as the send-off is done, get Jensen and meet in my suite,” he instructed his twin.

“What about Dad, Chad, and Phillipe?”

Tristan shrugged. “Maybe just Dad. I don’t want to overwhelm her, and she’s terrified of what William might do if it somehow gets out that she talked. He’s threatening to send her parents to her in pieces.”

“I hate that guy,” Ray muttered.

The newlyweds made their way to the temporary monkey bar obstacle where they would swing across to the honeymoon getaway car, the king’s brand-new silver Lamborghini Veneno Roadster. Derek claimed he was going to let Ellery drive. She’d completed numerous driving lessons in the ugly Kia Soul she’d asked Derek to buy for her. It had been comical to see that car amidst the beautiful vehicles in their well-stocked garage and to see Derek squished into the tiny vehicle as he instructed Ellery. Tristan wasn’t certain how wise the ecstatic new bride driving the luxury supercar was, but he bit his tongue. Ellery knowing they trusted and loved her was more important than an eight-million-dollar car. That was what his dad kept saying.

Tristan cheered and shot confetti along with everyone else as the talented couple completed the obstacle. Ellery swung around onto Derek’s chest, clinging to him like a monkey as he completed a dozen pull-ups to show off, then kissed her while they were suspended in the air. They were crazily talented, and the crowd and media representatives obviously loved the display.

Derek finally dropped to the ground, still holding his bride in his arms. He carried Ellery to the car, loaded her into the driver’s seat, carefully arranging her beautiful dress and stealing one more kiss. He jogged around to the passenger side, waving jauntily to the crowd. They drove very, very slowly out of the castle gates and started down the narrow road.

“If she drives that slow, maybe the Veneno will survive,” Ray murmured.

Macey slugged him. “She’ll do fine. She’s nervous and doesn’t need your bad vibes.”

“Forgive me, love.” Ray took her hand and kissed it.

Nobody but Macey would get that kind of response after reprimanding Ray. Tristan smiled. Macey was great.

“I’m slipping away. I’ll meet you up in my suite,” he told Ray quietly. “See you, Macey.”

“Watch out for your fan club,” Macey cautioned.

“I will.” He searched around, then carefully eased toward the castle entrance. There were land mines everywhere as the crown prince, and he’d learned one of them was women trying to trap him into a date, a kiss, or a photo op. He didn’t blame the women wanting to become the future queen, but his heart had been Jennifer’s for years.

He pulled the door open just as arms wrapped around him from behind.

“There you are.” The blonde from earlier beamed up at him.

He stepped away and her arms fell to her sides. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Jaylene, wasn’t it?”

She nodded, obviously pleased he’d remembered her name.

“I need to retire for the night. Pardon me.”

“You’re going to bed?” she asked, her nose wrinkled. “It’s so early. Come to the bar with us.” She winked at him. “Unless you want me to ‘retire for the night’ with you.”

Tristan’s stomach churned. What would this woman do if she knew he already had a woman waiting in his suite for him? Thankfully with Jennifer, though they savored each kiss, their relationship had never been about lust. They’d both committed to waiting for marriage to be intimate. No matter how delicious her kisses were and how she consumed him, he stayed in control because of his respect for her and for God.

“No thank you.” His voice was cold, stiff. “Goodnight.” He turned and strode through the door.

“Stuffy royal,” she muttered to his back.

Tristan was sure he’d been called worse when he had to reject a woman. He didn’t care. He rushed to the stairs and pumped up them two at a time. Jennifer was waiting for him. That knowledge made his steps light.

Articles you may like