Dating the Prince(84)

By: Addison Quinn

Alex’s eyes twinkled—that special look she knew meant he was dying to kiss her. But Nicolette had made it very clear that it was highly improper to kiss within the church. They were to wait for the traditional balcony shot after their parade through the city.

Alex squeezed her hand, letting Libby know he wanted that kiss as badly as she did. But instead they turned and faced the crowd of people. It would be her first official sacrifice as future queen of Durham.

Libby’s heart thudded in her chest as she took in the crowd. From here she could see into the outer room, and the numbers were overwhelming. But she took a deep breath, just like Alex had taught her, and let him lead her back down the aisle as the choir sang.

They burst out of the church doors and the crowd roared in approval. Libby grinned at Alex as the thunderous applause surrounded her. He helped her down the steps and into the horse-drawn carriage, ever the prince. What Libby wouldn’t give to make all these people disappear so she could be alone with her new husband. As Alex sat down beside her, the heat in his gaze seemed to say he wanted the same thing. But first they must take the traditional one-mile parade and greet the people of Durham for the first time as husband and wife. After working so hard to build trust with the country, Libby wasn’t about to let her hormones mess this up.

The carriage lurched forward and Alex pressed his lips close to her ear, making her shiver. Libby fought the urge to lean into him and instead kept her smile and wave in place for the cameras. She knew this would happen a lot in their lives—holding back her true emotions when she wanted to shout them to the world. But that was okay. She would live for the moments that belonged just to them.

“How does it feel to be the newest princess of Durham?” Alex murmured.

“Not nearly as good as it feels to be Mrs. Alexander Somerset.”

Alex laughed, the rich sound filling her with anticipation for what the night would bring. “I don’t think you’re supposed to call the future queen of Durham something as mundane as missus.”

“You’re making it very hard not to kiss you yet, my husband,” Libby teased.

Alex let out a low growl and clutched her hand in his. “And you’re making it very hard not to ignore all the receptions we must attend in favor of a day spent alone, my wife.”

Libby grinned. “Good. I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t.”

The mile-long ride seemed to last an eternity, but the happy, excited faces of Durhams made Libby’s heart swell with pride. She knew there was still a long road ahead of them, but she was confident that in the end they’d win back Durhams’ affections completely.

The carriage rounded the final corner to the palace and pulled to a stop in front of a red velvet carpet. Alex hopped down while the horses snorted and pranced. The driver clicked his tongue and the horses settled down.

“Ready?” Alex asked, extending his hand.

Libby nodded and carefully stepped from the carriage. Electricity sparked every nerve ending in her body and she stared up at Alex, unable to look away.

“I love you so much, Liberty Claybourne,” Alex said, his head lowering toward hers.

“It’s Liberty Somerset now,” she reminded him.

A warm chuckle had her stomach swarming with anticipation. Alex’s eyes locked on her lips and his head lowered even further.

Libby put a finger to his lips, halting his progress. “What about the traditional balcony kiss? Your mother will be so upset.”

“I don’t care one wit for tradition today. I can’t go another moment without kissing my wife.”

His lips bridged the last few centimeters between them. Libby rested her hand on his beard, loving the feel of his rough whiskers on her sensitive skin. She longed for a deep, intimate kiss, but knew now wasn’t the time. Alex kept things chaste, with a kiss that barely qualified as more than a peck. But his eyes held a heat she’d never experienced before—a promise of things to come.

Dimly, Libby became aware of the hooting and hollering of the crowd.

“I think they approve,” she whispered against his lips.

Alex smiled, then ducked his head and brushed another brief peck across her mouth. “I don’t really care one way or the other. The only opinion that matters to me is yours.”

“Still, we should try to stay on their good side. It tends to make things easier.”

Alex threw back his head and laughed. “I suppose you’re right. Now come on, my princess. It’s time to start living the rest of our lives.”