Dating the Prince(5)

By: Addison Quinn

Libby brought the penny to her lips and kissed it, then reached over the thick rope divider and set the penny between the two throne chairs, careful not to touch anything but the smooth copper of the coin. Maybe leaving the penny behind would give the royal family good luck—and by extension, all of Durham.

Her own life was sadly lacking in luck lately. The least she could do was try and bring it to others.

The last member of the tour group disappeared through the doorway, leaving Libby all alone. She quickened her pace, supporting Kenzie’s back with both hands so she wouldn’t jostle her. Grouchy Stan would never stop glaring if he realized Libby had lagged behind.

She was nearly to the door leading to the crown jewels exhibit when a guard in a ceremonial red suit, with a large white plumed hat, stepped in front of her.

“Excuse me, miss,” he said. “But you need to come with me.”


Libby wrapped her arms around Kenzie while her heart skipped erratically in her chest. The guard towered over her, his severe glare making her uneasy. She was suddenly very aware of her short stature and the baby she was trusted to protect. “Excuse me?”

He grasped her upper arm, his grip tight and almost painful. “This way, miss.”

A wave of panic flowed through Libby. She yanked her arm free and took a step back, tightening her hold on Kenzie. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on.”

The guard clenched his jaw, giving the chin strap enough slack that his plumed white hat dipped backward on his forehead. He was muscled, with a broad chest and wide-set shoulders. The fabric of his uniform strained against his beefy frame. Hopefully all that extra weight would slow him down. Libby was quick on her feet—she could probably outrun him if necessary. Surely he wouldn’t hurt a woman with a baby. Did palace guards carry guns?

Kenzie wiggled in the carrier, letting out another sigh. Crap. Running was definitely out of the question. It might give Kenzie shaken baby syndrome or something.

“This will be more unpleasant if you resist,” the guard said, his words clipped.

Resist. That sounded like she was in major trouble. “Am I under arrest?” Libby demanded. That would be so, so bad. Babies weren’t meant for jail cells.

The guard reached for her arm again. “Miss, I must insist—”

“Don’t touch me!” Libby said, purposefully raising her voice. Maybe someone from the tour would hear her shouts and come to intervene. Right now she’d even be happy to see Stan’s dour face.

A man strode into the throne room, distracting the guard. But he didn’t enter from the crown jewel exhibit. Instead, he walked confidently across the marble floor from the direction of the Hall of Victory. Libby eyed the newcomer, her heart now pounding for a different reason.

Wow. The man walking toward her was attractive enough to almost make her forget about her impending arrest. Durham sure new how to make ‘em. He had to be at least six feet tall. The blue button-up shirt hugged his trim figure in all the right places, hinting at muscles hidden underneath. His physique wasn’t bulky like the guard’s, but she had a feeling he wouldn’t look half bad in a swimsuit. A well-trimmed beard defined his jawline, and his chocolate-brown hair was longer on top. It looked softer than a cloud, and she had the sudden urge to dash across the room and run her fingers through it. As he grew closer, his green eyes pierced her.

“What seems to be the problem?” he asked, looking back and forth between Libby and the guard.

The guard! Right. She was about to be arrested. Libby pointed an accusing finger in the guard’s direction. “He keeps grabbing my arm. I think he’s trying to arrest me.”

“Your Hi—”

The newcomer clapped a strong hand on the guard’s shoulder. “The facts, please, Colin.”

Had the guard—Colin—seriously been about to accuse Libby of being high? Sure, she’d grown up in a commune, but not that kind.

Colin cut a glare in Libby’s direction. “She’s been deemed a security threat.”

“A security threat!” Libby said. Was he insane? Maybe he was the one on drugs.

“On the monitors she was clearly seen leaving something between the thrones,” Colin continued.

“Oh my gosh.” Libby put a hand to her forehead. Connie had always teased that one day the lucky pennies would get Libby in trouble. “It was just a coin. I’ve seen like three dropped on the floor during the tour.” None of them heads up, so she’d left them alone.

“I was just about to call for backup,” Colin continued. All of his attention was focused on the insanely-hot man, completely ignoring Libby.