Dating the Prince(7)

By: Addison Quinn

Alex stuck his hands in his pockets and chuckled. “He is rather dry, isn’t he?”

She laughed, making Kenzie let out a little whine. “That’s the understatement of the century.”

“So your thirty euros has been doubly wasted then.” He motioned to the hallway. “Please let me show you around. I promise not to bore you to death or try to arrest you.”

She should definitely say no. This guy’s hundred watt smile was dangerous, and she was still vulnerable after Cedric.

“I’ll show you parts of the palace no other tourist gets to view,” he enticed. “We might even find somewhere to leave your lucky penny that’s not dangerous.”

She took a step closer, almost against her will. “And you won’t get fired or anything?”

He chuckled. “No. My job’s safe, I assure you.”

She eyed his suit, her mind going all cloudy again at his accent. “So you’re, what, a manager or something?”

“Or something,” he agreed. “What do you say?”

The offer was too good to turn down. “Okay then. I accept.”


What was he thinking? Something that felt a lot like panic raced through Alex as he led Libby out of the throne room and quickly through a door leading to the private areas of the palace. Finn must be having a conniption right about now. Alex had invited a stranger—one who’d tripped an alarm—into the secure parts of the palace, where tourists were never allowed to venture. Not even private guests were allowed in without a lot of screening and security checks.

But watching Libby argue with Colin had been beyond adorable. She couldn’t be much taller than five feet and the top of her head barely reached Alex’s chest. But the fire in her eyes could rival that of a man twice her size, and Alex had found himself inexplicably drawn to her.

She’d seemed so real. Her attitude and spunk were a breath of fresh air after Isla’s chameleon personality. When they were dating, she’d been so eager to please. Since the breakup, she’d been so determined to destroy. Libby was just … Libby.

He was pretty sure she didn’t know he was the crown prince, even before asking if he was some kind of manager. No spark of recognition had lit her eyes at any point during their conversation. She certainly hadn’t treated him like royalty. There’d been no careful language, no downcast eyes or flirtatious smiles. Now he was in the awkward position of casually mentioning he was royalty like some pretentious snob, or keeping his true identity a secret.

They wandered down the silent hallway filled with portraits of ancestors and battles. A guard caught Alex’s eye, then quickly looked away in apparent embarrassment.

“This is beautiful,” Libby said. Her voice held a reverent quality that Alex couldn’t help but admire.

“I’ve always thought so.” As a child he’d loved running up and down this hallway with his sister, brothers, and two cousins racing behind him. “How do you like Durham so far?”

“It’s beautiful. Warmer than I expected.” Kenzie gave a little grunt, and Libby looked down at her tiny charge with a soft smile, patting her gently on the back. Alex noticed she did that a lot. It seemed that Libby was a natural nurturer. Caramel-colored curls fell over one shoulder and she brushed it back with slender fingers. Her hair looked so soft—totally free of the crunchy products that Isla used to achieve a similar look.

His fingers curled reflexively into his palms and Alex shook his head, trying to focus. “Give it another month or so and it’ll start to cool down.”

“Are winters here really as awful as everyone claims?”

He thought of Durham covered in snow. The Christmas trees that bedecked the palace. The shop windows trimmed with tinsel and filled with holiday displayed. “Not awful at all. It does get cold, but the snow is beautiful. No one celebrates Christmas like Durham.”

“I have that to look forward to, then.” Libby smiled, one hand still placed gently on the back of the baby, and for a second Alex’s breath caught.

He cleared his throat and looked away. “It’ll be a Christmas to remember. I’m positive.”

“We always kept Christmas really simple when I was growing up. Not a lot of decorations or presents.” She lifted a shoulder in a shrug. “I know it’s silly, but I always wanted an over-the-top Christmas like in the movies. A horse-drawn sleigh, intricately decorated sugar cookies, elaborate gingerbread houses. The whole shebang.”

“Your parents weren’t fans of the holiday?”

“No, it wasn’t that.” Her cheeks pinked, and it was like a punch to his heart. She brushed her hair behind one ear, looking away. “So where are you taking me?”