Home > Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(6)

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(6)
Author: Emma Chase


The Horny Goat is the oldest wooden structure in the city. It’s located in what used to be the palace proper—the village surrounding the palace where the servants and soldiers made their homes. In those days The Horny Goat was a whorehouse; today it’s a pub. The walls are crooked and the roof leaks, but it’s the best damn pub in the country as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know how Macalister—he’s the owner—does it, background checks or bribery, but not a single story has ever shown up in the press about me or my brother after a night at The Goat.

And there’ve been some wild ones.

Simon and I are already piss-drunk when the car pulls up to the door. Logan St. James, the head of my personal security team, opens the car door for Simon and me, his eyes scanning up and down the sidewalk for signs of a threat or a camera.

Inside, the pub air smells of stale beer and cigarettes, but it’s as comforting as fresh biscuits baking in the oven. The ceilings are low and the floor is sticky—there’s a karaoke box and stage in the back corner—with a light-haired girl swaying on it, belting out the newest Adele song. Simon and I sit at the bar, and Meg—she’s Macalister’s daughter—wipes it down with a rag and a sexy smile.

“Evening, Your Highness.” Simon gets a nod but a less sexy smile. “Lord Ellington.”

Then her light brown eyes are back to me. “Saw you on the television this afternoon. You looked well.”

“Thank you.”

She shakes her head just a bit. “I never knew you were a reader. Funny, in all the times I’ve been to your rooms, I haven’t seen a single book.”

Meg’s voice has echoed off my walls and her moans have hummed around my cock—more than once. Her NDA is in my wall safe at home. I’m almost sure I’ll never need it, but the first “talk” my father gave me wasn’t about the birds and bees—it was about how it’s always better to have a nondisclosure agreement that you don’t need than to need one that you don’t have.

I smirk. “You must’ve missed them. You weren’t interested in looking at books when you were there, pet.”

Women who live paycheck to paycheck can handle a one—or three—night stand better than those in my class. Noble ladies are spoiled, demanding—they’re used to getting everything they want—and turn vindictive when they’re denied. But girls like my pretty barmaid are accustomed to knowing there are some things in life they’ll never be able to lock down.

Meg smiles—warm and knowingly. “What would you like to drink tonight? The usual?”

I don’t know if it’s the day full of interviews or the pints of scotch I’ve ingested, but suddenly adrenaline rushes through me, my heartbeat quickens—and the answer is so clear.

The Queen has me by the balls—and I’m going to have to bleach my brain for even completing that thought—but besides that, I still have time.

“No, Meg. I want something different—something I haven’t had before. Surprise me.”

If you were told that the world as you knew it—life as you knew it—would end in five months, what would you do?

You’d make the most of the time you had left, of course. Do everything you wanted to do—everyone you wanted to do—for as long as you could. Until time was up.

Well…looks like I’ve got a plan, after all.

 

 

DAYS THAT CHANGE YOUR LIFE almost never happen to normal people. I mean really, do you know anyone who’s hit the lottery, been discovered by a Hollywood agent at the mall, inherited a tax-free, move-in-ready mansion from a long-lost, dead great-aunt?

Me neither.

But—here’s the thing—when those days do come along for the rare fortunate few, we don’t even recognize them. We don’t know that what’s happening is epic, monumental. Life-changing.

It’s only later—after everything is perfect or it’s all fallen apart—that we look back, retrace our steps and realize the exact moment that split our histories and our hearts into two—the before and the after.

In the after, it’s not just our lives that are changed. We’re changed. Forever.

I should know. The day that changed my life was one of those days. The crappy kind.

Normal people have a whole lot of them.

It starts when I open my eyes—forty minutes later than I’m supposed to. Stupid alarm clock. It should know I mean a.m. Who the hell needs to wake up at four p.m.? No one, that’s who. Forget about self-driving cars; Google needs to move their asses on self-aware alarm clocks.

My day continues its downward spiral as I throw on the only clothes I wear these days, my work clothes—white blouse, faded black skirt, slightly ripped tights—then wrangle my mass of unruly black curls into a bun and trip my way into our mini-sized kitchen, eyes still partially closed. I pour myself a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch—the best cereal ever—but when I turn around to grab the milk, my cereal is devoured by our devil-dog Bosco in three seconds flat.

“Bastard!” I whisper-yell, because my sister and father don’t have to be up for a few more hours.

Bosco was a stray, a mutt, and he looks the part. The body of a Chihuahua, the wide-set eyes of a pug and the brown, stringy hair of a balding shih tzu. He’s one of those dogs that are so ugly, they’re actually cute. Sometimes I wonder if he’s the odds-defying result of a kinky canine three-way. My mom found him in the alley behind our coffee shop when he was still a pup. He was a ravenous little thing back then and eight years later, he’d still eat himself to death if we let him.

I pick up the cereal box to refill my bowl—the empty cereal box.

“Nice,” I tell the stealing stealer who steals.

He gives me the sad eyes as he jumps down from the counter he’s not supposed to be on. Then he drops to his side, exposing his belly in contrition.

But I’m not buying it. “Oh, get up. Have some dignity.”

After an alternate breakfast of an apple and toast, I grab Bosco’s pink glitter leash that my sister bought—as if the poor thing didn’t have enough reasons for a complex—and latch it to his collar.

Our building was built in the 1920s—it used to be a multifamily before the first floor was renovated into a restaurant around the time JFK was elected. There’s a second set of steps that leads to the coffee shop’s kitchen, but Bosco’s not allowed in there, so I walk him out the front door and down the narrow, green-painted steps that lead out to the sidewalk next to the coffee shop entrance.

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