Dating the Prince(10)

By: Addison Quinn

Kenzie let out another howl in response.

“She’s got a hefty set of lungs,” Alex joked.

Libby laughed, pulling off her backpack and rifling through it. “And she’s only going to get louder. I thought I had one more bottle, but looks like I’m out. I guess that means we’d better go home.”

Was it his imagination, or was that regret he heard in her voice? This was the first conversation he’d had in recent memory that felt comfortable and easy. He didn’t want to let Libby go, but Kenzie’s cries were growing more insistent.

“I’ll walk you out,” he said. “Is Connie’s flat far? I can have a driver take you there so Kenzie isn’t hungry for too long.”

“Thanks for the offer, but it’s only ten minutes away. I think it’d take longer to drive than to walk in this traffic.”

So much for stealing a few more moments with her in the back of a sedan as they drove through the streets of Castlebridge.

“Well then, I’ll let you go.” He led her toward the back of the garden, where a secret gate let out onto an alleyway that led to the main road. She’d have to pass by three guard shacks, but he’d have Finn let them know not to give her any trouble.

“Thanks so much for the tour, Alex. And for saving me.” Libby paused at the gate and shuffled one foot in the gravel. Kenzie sucked in another lungful of air and let out her loudest cry yet.

“The pleasure was all mine.” Alex didn’t glance over his shoulder, but could feel Finn watching him.

“I feel like all we did was talk about me. Maybe…” She cleared her throat. “Maybe we can get together again sometime? I’d love to buy you a coffee as thanks. Or do all Durhams prefer tea?” She ran a hand through her long wavy hair. “I didn’t expect to experience this much culture shock when I moved.”

“A coffee sounds nice.” The words were out of Alex’s mouth before he consciously realized what he was saying. Was he seriously considering going out with this woman again? And in public, no less?

She smiled, her eyes alight with relief. “Okay. Coffee, then.”

“There’s a great little place not far from here. The Queen’s Café.” What was he doing? He should tell her that in Durham, yes actually meant no, and he wouldn’t be seeing her again ever.

“Yeah, I know the place. We passed it on our way here.”

“Is tomorrow at three o’clock okay?” He might not even be available at that time tomorrow—he received his schedule each morning with breakfast—but already knew he’d rearrange his day to make the date.

Libby smiled again as Kenzie’s howls filled the air. “Perfect. Thanks again for everything. Today was perfect.”

“The pleasure was mine,” he said, opening the gate. “See you tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” she agreed.

She gave a little wave, then stepped through the gate. He watched as Libby disappeared down the road, Kenzie’s cries growing fainter with each step. Alex felt more than heard Finn come up behind him.

“I don’t mean to speak out of turn, Your Highness, but are you sure that was wise?” Finn asked.

Alex brought a hand to his eyes and sighed. “I’m not sure of anything anymore. Did you let the guards know she’s leaving? I don’t want her detained again.”

“Yes. They won’t give her any trouble.”

“Thanks, Finn.”

He nodded, his expression still severe. “I’ll have to pull a complete dossier on her before tomorrow.”

“I’m sure that nothing concerning will come up.”

“Of course, Your Highness. I’ll make sure the security detail is ready by two-thirty tomorrow afternoon. Will that give you sufficient time to make the appointment?”

“Yes. Thank you.”

Finn nodded again and Alex headed inside. There were a million ways that meeting Libby again was stupid. The likelihood of walking into the The Queen’s Café without being noticed was beyond minuscule, which meant he’d have to find a way to tell Libby who he really was. She’d probably be furious he hadn’t told her sooner and storm out of the café in a huff, which would just result in more bad publicity. Not that anything could come close to matching the storm Isla had rained down on him.

He should tell Finn to get Libby’s number and break off their date now, before things went any further.

But something about Libby made Alex eager to take the risk.


Libby quickened her pace, practically jogging the last few yards to Connie’s flat. She didn’t wait for the elevator and instead took the stairs to the third floor two at a time as Kenzie’s cries grew more and more insistent. Next time they went on a long outing, Libby would pack more bottles. Of course, she hadn’t planned on a private tour of the off-limits gardens with a way-too-attractive man.