Home > Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(3)

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(3)
Author: Emma Chase


Then he sobers, adjusting his glasses, signaling that the sad portion of our program will now begin.

“It will be thirteen years this May since the tragic plane crash that took the lives of the Prince and Princess of Pembrook.”

Called it.

I nod silently.

“Do you think of them often?”

The carved teak bracelet weighs heavily on my wrist. “I have many happy memories of my parents. But what’s most important to me is that they live on through the causes they championed, the charities they supported, the endowments that carry their name. That’s their legacy. By building up the foundations they advocated for, I’ll ensure they’ll always be remembered.”

Words, words, words, talk, talk, talk. I’m good at that. Saying a lot without really answering a thing.

I think of them every single day.

It’s not our way to be overly emotional—stiff upper lip, onward and upward, the King is dead—long live the King. But while to the world they were a pair of HRHs, to me and Henry they were just plain old Mum and Dad. They were good and fun and real. They hugged us often, and smacked us about when we deserved it—which was pretty often too. They were wise and kind and loved us fiercely—and that’s a rarity in my social circle.

I wonder what they’d have to say about everything and how different things would be if they’d lived.

Teddy’s talking again. I’m not listening, but I don’t have to—the last few words are all I need to hear. “…Lady Esmerelda last weekend?”

I’ve known Ezzy since our school days at Briar House. She’s a good egg—loud and rowdy. “Lady Esmerelda and I are old friends.”

“Just friends?”

She’s also a committed lesbian. A fact her family wants to keep out of the press. I’m her favorite beard. Our mutually beneficial dates are organized through the Palace secretary.

I smile charmingly. “I make it a rule not to kiss and tell.”

Teddy leans forward, catching a whiff of story. The story.

“So there is the possibility that something deeper could be developing between you? The country took so much joy in watching your parents’ courtship. The people are on tenterhooks waiting for you, ‘His Royal Hotness’ as they call you on social media, to find your own ladylove and settle down.”

I shrug. “Anything’s possible.”

Except for that. I won’t be settling down anytime soon. He can bet his Littlecock on it.

 

 

As soon as the hot beam of front lighting is extinguished and the red recording signal on the camera blips off, I stand up from my chair, removing the microphone clipped to my collar.

Teddy stands as well. “Thank you for your time, Your Grace.”

He bows slightly at the neck—the proper protocol.

I nod. “Always a pleasure, Littlecock.”

That’s not what she said. Ever.

Bridget, my personal secretary—a stout, middle-aged, well-ordered woman, appears at my side with a bottle of water.

“Thank you.” I twist the cap. “Who’s next?”

The Dark Suits thought it was a good time for a PR boost—which means days of interviews, tours, and photo shoots. My own personal fourth, fifth, and sixth circles of hell.

“He’s the last for today.”

“Hallelujah.”

She falls in step beside me as I walk down the long, carpeted hallway that will eventually lead to Guthrie House—my private apartments at the Palace of Wessco.

“Lord Ellington is arriving shortly, and arrangements for dinner at Bon Repas are confirmed.”

Being friends with me is harder than you’d think. I mean, I’m a great friend; my life, on the other hand, is a pain in the arse. I can’t just drop by a pub last minute or hit up a new club on a random Friday night. These things have to preplanned, organized. Spontaneity is the only luxury I don’t get to enjoy.

“Good.”

With that, Bridget heads toward the palace offices and I enter my private quarters. Three floors, a full modernized kitchen, a morning room, a library, two guest rooms, servants’ quarters, two master suites with balconies that open up to the most breathtaking views on the grounds. All fully restored and updated—the colors, tapestries, stonework, and moldings maintaining their historic integrity. Guthrie House is the official residence of the Prince or Princess of Pembrook—the heir apparent—whomever that may be. It was my father’s before it was mine, my grandmother’s before her coronation.

Royals are big on hand-me-downs.

I head up to the master bedroom, unbuttoning my shirt, looking forward to the hot, pounding feel of eight showerheads turned up to full blast. My shower is fucking fantastic.

But I don’t make it that far.

Fergus meets me at the top of the stairs.

“She wants to see you,” he croaks.

And she needs no further introduction.

I rub a hand down my face, scratching the dark five o’clock shadow on my chin. “When?”

“When do you think?” Fergus scoffs. “Yesterday, o’ course.”

Of course.

 

 

Back in the old days, the throne was the symbol of a monarch’s power. In illustrations it was depicted with the rising sun behind it, the clouds and stars beneath it—the seat for a descendent of God himself. If the throne was the emblem of power, the throne room was the place where that sovereignty was wielded. Where decrees were issued, punishments were pronounced, and the command of “bring me his head” echoed off the cold stone walls.

That was then.

Now, the royal office is where the work gets done—the throne room is used for public tours. And yesterday’s throne is today’s executive desk. I’m sitting across from it right now. It’s shining, solid mahogany and ridiculously huge.

If my grandmother were a man, I’d suspect she was compensating for something.

Christopher, the Queen’s personal secretary, offers me tea but I decline with a wave of my hand. He’s young, about twenty-three, as tall as I am, and attractive, I guess—in an action-film star kind of way. He’s not a terrible secretary, but he’s not the sharpest tack in the box, either. I think the Queen keeps him around for kicks—because she likes looking at him, the dirty old girl. In my head, I call him Igor, because if my grandmother told him to eat nothing but flies for the rest of his life, he’d ask, “With the wings on or off?”

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