Here’s an excerpt of Royal Mess you won’t find anywhere else! This excerpt is from Prince Leo & Tessa Lulach’s novella, Royal Match.
“Can you show me the hedge maze now?” Tessa asks. “I’m dying to see it.”
The maze is situated toward the back of the formal garden. We make the walk in silence, our hands linked. I can’t remember ever holding hands with a woman, and I realize Tessa represents a lot of firsts for me. She’s definitely the first person to get a piece of my liver.
I draw her to a stop in front of the maze. Two stone statues flank the entrance, modeled after Greek gods.
“King Alfonse commissioned the maze in the late nineteenth century and hired the best maze designer in the world to build it,” I say. “It’s laid out in a series of concentric rectangles with a courtyard in the middle.”
I watch her face as she studies the front wall. The hedges are taller than I am, nearly seven feet high.
She edges closer to the hedge and rubs a glossy green leaf between her thumb and forefinger. “This is a boxwood shrub. It’s a very hardy plant, able to withstand extreme weather, even short droughts.”
“Did you want to go through the maze or just look at?”
Looking over her shoulder, she says, “I don’t know. How long does it take to walk it?”
“Over an hour. There’s a shortcut though … takes about thirty minutes.”
“Do you remember the path?” she asks with a hopeful expression.
I nod. “It’s imprinted on my memory.”
“Are you sure we won’t get lost?”
With the exception of my family, Tessa is the only person who’s ever questioned my competence. Strangely, I’m not bothered by it. In fact, I like that she’s not intimidated by me or my title.
“I’m sure we won’t get lost.” I arch my eyebrows. “Do you want to explore the maze or not?”
A grin lights up her face. “Yes!”
She lets out a little squeal before darting through the gap in the hedge. I can’t help laughing at her excitement.
“Hey, Tessa,” I call out as I walk along the path. “Are you a-mazed? Do you think this is a-mazing?”
Her voice floats from the path on my right. “Yes. I’m full of a-maze-ment.”
I chuckle under my breath before shouting, “You’re going the wrong way, tesoro.”
The endearment slips from my lips without thought. I tell myself it’s only because tesoro and Tessa sound so much alike, but deep inside, I know I’m lying. I want her to be my darling … my treasure.
A couple of minutes later, I hear her voice from somewhere close by. “I think I’m already lost, Leo.”
I peek through the shrubbery on my left and catch a glimpse of her coppery hair. Feeling mischievous, I lean into the hedge and wiggle my hand through the leaves. She’s within touching distance, and I brush my fingers across her nape.
Her scream is loud enough to crack the headstones in the family cemetery. Unable to hold in my mirth, I burst out laughing.
“Oh, my God!” she screeches. “You scared me to death!”
I’m laughing so hard my ribs are aching, and I bend over at my waist with my hands braced on my knees to catch my breath. Twenty seconds later, dainty feet clad in metallic silver flats enter my vision. For a second, I wonder if she’s going to kick me in the shin for scaring her.
As I slowly rise, my gaze skims over Tessa’s toned legs and the full skirt of her dress. A matching fabric belt cinches her waist, and tiny round buttons march up the valley between her round breasts.
By the time my eyes meet hers, I’m breathless again. My ribs aren’t aching any longer, but my cock sure as hell is.
With only a few inches separating us, I wrap my arm around her waist. As I pull her against me, I wonder what the fuck I’m doing.
I promised myself I wasn’t going to touch Tessa Lulach again, and I pride myself on not breaking my promises. But this is one promise I am going to break. I’m going to touch her, and I’m not going to stop until she either tells me no or comes with my name on her lips.
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