🌹🌹The Swedish Prince 🌹🌹
🌸🌸(ROYAL ROMANCE) 🌸🌸
I pick up my phone and check the time. It’s past midnight here so it’s morning in Europe. Though I haven’t talked to him other than a few texts here and there since I left on this trip I’ll call Magnus.
Magnus is the Crown Prince of Norway. Heir to the throne, oldest brother of four wild sisters. Doesn’t help that he’s quite wild himself, showing up in the club practically every day. No wonder everyone in that royal family drinks too much.
It takes a few rings before he answers.
“Hello?” he mumbles, sounding half asleep.
“Magnus. Did I wake you up?”
He groans, switching to Swedish. “No. I mean yes. But I suppose I should get up.”
“Are you alone?”
I can practically hear him grin over the phone. “I am now. She left in the night.”
“Doesn’t that get a bit awkward?” Magnus is a bit of a playboy, to put it mildly.
“They understand,” he says through a yawn. “Less paparazzi waiting outside when it’s the night. My driver takes them right home. No harm, no foul.” He clears his throat. “How is your trip? When will you come home?”
“My flight out of Los Angeles is in a week.”
“And your trip is going…?”
“Honestly, it’s been life-changing. The best experience I’ve ever had. I never
“Uh oh. What happened? Wait, don’t tell me. It’s about a woman.”
I hesitate. I hate that he’s right. “It could be.”
“Viktor,” he says, sounding delighted. “The fucking moose comes out to play.”
Moose. I haven’t heard that nickname in a while.
“It’s not what you think. At all.”
“Okay then tell me Moose. What did this woman do that made you want to come home? Suck you off the wrong way?”
“I think you’re mistaking me for you.”
He laughs. “Okay, then what?”
I explain the situation as best I can, starting with me getting stuck in this town, then going to the bar, all the way to me sitting here in this hotel room, the very hotel she works at, on a long-distance call.
When I’m done, he lets out a long, low whistle. “That’s complicated,” he says. “Far too complicated for a vacation.”
“Right, well it’s what happened.”
“So now you’re going to what, just get your car fixed and go to LA and forget all of this ever happened?”
“That’s the plan.”
“That’s the plan?”He asked
“You guess.” He yelled
“Stop that.”I yelled back
“You’re just going to leave this girl and not talk to her again.”
I really don’t like the sound of that but…“Yes.”
“How am I lying?”
“I know you. You may pretend to not give a fuck, but you always give a fuck. You’re noble, you big moose, far more noble than I will ever be. This girl sounds like she’s been handed the shittiest hand in life and you’re just going
“That she didn’t know who you were before that evening.”
“How would I be able to tell if she’s telling the truth or not? I don’t even know her. That much was made apparent.”
“Hey, I know you don’t always think with your dick the way that I do, but if you’re hung up on her because you just wanted a quick fuck, then obviously you should just give up on that and head to LA where I’m sure plenty of women will be willing to suck you off, just like they are clamoring to do back in Sweden.” He pauses. “Which, by the way, I don’t understand how your name isn’t always in the papers like mine is.”
“Because I’m discreet about who I fuck. A little discretion can go a long way, Magnus.”
“Yeah, yeah. You sound like…well, everyone. But okay, so this girl, if you want something more than just a fuck, if you feel something else toward her like you seem to do, well then I don’t think you should give up and leave.”
“I barely know her,” I remind him. “What can I feel toward someone I’ve known for twenty-four hours?”
“I wouldn’t know,” he says. “But I imagine it’s possible. And I’ve never had you actually pick up your phone and call me over a woman before.”
He’s right about that. But it does nothing to extinguish the flames in my chest.
“Look,” he says. “I think you’ll know whether she’s telling the truth or not.”
“Then what if she is? She still recorded me, without my knowledge, for an article or a gossip magazine or whatever. She still did that.”
“But she told you she wasn’t going to use it in the end and you have to decide whether you believe that or not. The girl sounds like she was desperate and desperate people do things they normally wouldn’t do. Shit, if I had a kroner for every time a girl I slept with sold me out for the tabloids, well, I’d have a lot more money than I have now.”
“I think you have enough money, Magnus,” I say dryly.
“Not the point, Moose. Besides, you never told her who you were. She had to find out for herself. So she put up with you and your fake name and your fake background, spewing your lies. What if she hadn’t found out you were Viktor? What if she never knew and you ended up sleeping with her and ended up falling for her? Then what? She’d have to then eventually find out the truth about you, find out she fell in love with a lie, and then your relationship would crash and burn. Jeez, come to think of it, I think what happened to you now was the better option.”
Fuck. I hadn’t thought about it that way. The fact that if anything had grown between us, it would have been based on the lies I was telling. That one day I would have had to tell her I wasn’t who she thought I was.
“Well this is just all shit then, isn’t it?” I sigh.
“Sounds like it. Well, if you don’t mind, I have to get up and start my day.”
“Do you have an important engagement or are you base-jumping off a cliff or something?” Magnus is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, much to the worry of his parents, and, well, the country.
“Car racing,” he says, and I know he’s smiling. “Going down to Monaco tomorrow for a race, then maybe some gambling.”
“Pretending to be James Bond?”
“Something like that. Hey, good luck, Viktor.”
He hangs up and just like that I fell into the silence and loneliness that comes with the middle of the night.
I stare at the phone in my hands, wishing that I had gotten Maggie’s number at some point. I honestly have no contact information for her, I just know her address.
I could write her a letter.
But what would I say?
I’m sorry that you lied to me.
I’m sorry I lied to you.
Your lies don’t matter, you never owed me the truth.
I just want you to know I don’t harbor any bad feelings, just a simmering sadness that I missed a different path to what could have been.
But that path would have been based on lies anyway.
I’m sorry that it had to be this way.
Good luck with everything.
Good luck. I hate that term. I know that Magnus just said it to me but what it really implies is that you will need luck. And you only need it if you can’t make it on your own.
I can make it on my own.
I don’t have to tell Maggie, good luck, and then be done with her. I have control here, over my future and hers.
I step out of my pajama pants and into a pair of jeans, throwing on a sweater, then grab my wallet and phone and head downstairs to the lobby.
The night clerk has that glazed zombie look that most shift workers have.
“Is it too late to get a cab?” I ask.
The clerk shrugs. “We’ll see,” he says, monotone, as he picks up his phone and dials.
Turns out it’s not and ten minutes later a cab pulls up outside the hotel.
It’s that damn Earl White guy from earlier, the one who knew Maggie.
“You again,” the guy says as I get in. “How was your dinner?”
“It was fine. I, uh, forgot something at her house. Do you mind taking me there?”
“It’s pretty late, pal.”
“Yes, well, you know jet lag.”
He frowns at me and shrugs, starts driving. “Sure. Just tell me that you’re looking out for that girl.”
“Yeah, Maggie. I can tell you’re not from around here so I’m not sure you know the details but what happened to her parents is the worst thing this town has ever seen. Now you’d think that being a prison town we’d be used to it, but frankly, that was above and beyond what’s normal.”
“And what happened, exactly?”
“She hasn’t told you?” he eyes me in the mirror.
“No,” I tell him. “I don’t blame her.”
“I guess that’s not exactly conversation for a date, is it?”
I just give him a tight smile, hoping he’ll continue.
He does. “Well, shit, it was about a year ago. You know, I knew her father because he’d often go to the bar after his shift, he was a prison guard and they’re heavy drinkers. Can’t blame them, handling all the shit that they do,” he says, wiping his nose with one fat, hairy hand. “So I used to drive him home a lot. He was a good guy though, didn’t drink and drive as you can see, worked hard to put food on the table. Wasn’t the smartest with his money, had a bit of a gambling problem but we all have our vices. I mean, I’m no angel.”
“No one is,” I offer politely.
“Anyhow, I guess there was this punk at the prison, a real troublemaker, violent, messed up, and he had it out for her father or maybe her father had it out for him. Either way, they were always at odds. Then one day this guy gets out on parole. Comes over to their house. Shoots both her father and mother in the head while they were watching TV. Shot the dog too. Thank god that she wasn’t home, that none of the kids were. They would have been killed too, I know it.”
I have no words for that. Alex’s death traumatized me and yet here was Maggie and her brothers and sisters having to lose both parents in such a way. I just can’t fathom it.
Suddenly I’m more confident in what I have to do.
“So are you dating her or what? You her boyfriend?” he asks me.
I shake my head. “No. Just a friend. Just passing through.”
“Ah, that’s too bad,” he says. “She’s such a pretty girl. Funny with a smart mouth on her. I like her. It would be nice to see her get some support. I know her brother helps out from what I hear but even so, you know, how tough that’s gotta be.”
I nod, and we lapse into a silence for the rest of the ride until we’re pulling up the street of her house.
“Hey, do you mind parking here and waiting? I’ll pay for your time.”
“How much time?” he asks, the light from the streetlamp glinting off his balding head.
I hand him fifty bucks. “As much time as this buys me.”
He looks at it, his eyes narrowing. “Ten minutes?”
I glare at him. Give me a break.
My look changes his mind. “Okay, however long you need.”
I get out and walk over to her house. The lights are all out and the way the moonlight is hitting it, accentuating the peeling paint and missing boards, makes it look like a haunted house. In fact, now that I know her parents were actually murdered in the house, it only adds to the feeling.
I shouldn’t knock on the door because I don’t want to wake everyone up, and unfortunately, she has her window closed.
I stoop down and scoop up some pebbles, stand underneath her window, trampling over some weeds, and start tossing them at the glass.
Shit, I hope this is her window. If I get her sister April’s, I’m in for one hell of a tongue-lashing.
I wait and look around, feeling like a stalker. The street is quiet, sleeping, no sign of life except for the cab driver sitting in his car, pretending not to watch me. After a minute, when nothing happens, I throw the pebbles up again.
Finally, I see Maggie’s face in the window, her skin pale, eyes darker than the night, looking ghostly in the faded frame.
I wave for her to come down, hoping that she will.
She disappears from sight and my chest tightens. I wait.
The front door slowly creaks open and she steps out onto the porch. She’s barefoot wearing a white robe that hits her mid-thigh and nothing else. She still has this aura around her, pale, fragile, cautious as she takes me in, her dark hair drifting around her shoulders on a soft breeze. I yearn to reach out and run it through my fingers.
It’s only then that I notice the emblem on her robe is the La Quinta logo.
“Present from work?” I say in a low voice, nodding to it.
She looks down and then wraps her robe around her tighter. “Why are you here?” she whispers, frowning.
“Because I wanted to apologize.”
She looks even more puzzled, her lower lip pouting slightly. The sight of it is forcing my brain to go in a different direction, my skin to feel hot and tight.
“What would you need to apologize for?” she asks, incredulous. “I’m the one who betrayed your trust.”
I nod. “You did. But I betrayed it first, by starting out with a lie. And I could have ended things better instead of being so stubborn and sending you home in the cab like that. I wasn’t raised to act that way.”
She seems to relax at that, eyeing me with sympathy. “You’re only human,” she says softly, sticking out her leg so the robe falls away from her white, creamy thigh, and she points her slender foot at me, tapping me on the side of the knee. “You’re allowed to be human, to be angry, to react.”
I swallow hard, trying not to stare at her thigh as she retracts her leg. I don’t know if it’s the moonlight, the fact that it’s just the two of us talking in whispers, the fact that I don’t know what’s underneath that robe, but I have a sudden urge to reach down and grab her under her thighs. Feel the smoothness of her skin squeezed between my hands then pick her up and press her up against the house, letting that robe fall open, sliding to the ground, leaving her breasts bare. I bet under the moonlight she would glow.
“What?” she asks me in a furtive hush.
I blink up at her, aware that I’ve been staring at her hungrily. My heart beats loudly in my head, sabotaging my ability to think, and I’m forgetting the whole speech I had prepared on the ride up here.
She cocks her head, studying me, still a wary look on her brow but her eyes are curious now, waiting for what I have to say.
“Anyway.” I cough. “I should have handled everything better than I did. And for that I’m sorry. But I have to know, and please be honest with me, did you know from the very start who I was?”
“No!” she says emphatically, then glances up at the windows and quickly lowers her voice. “No, I didn’t. I swear. I saw you in the hotel room and I thought you were just an average guest.” I raise my brow. She smiles. “I mean, above average, obviously. We’ve already talked about the size of your, uh…”
“Cock,” I fill in.
“Yeah,” she says, and fuck do I want to hear her say it. But I bite my lip and let her continue. “But still, a guest. Then I saw you at the bar and I don’t know. Maybe I was already drawn to you in ways I couldn’t explain, maybe it was because I’d already seen you naked, but there you were. And it was like fate was bringing us together or something. Okay, not as lame as that sounds, but you know what I mean. And I just knew I had to help you. So I did. I didn’t know who you were until I looked at your wallet.”
She’s talking a mile a minute and waving her hands around but in her eyes I see her truth and in her voice I hear her honesty and I know she had no idea.
She continues, “I can’t say that everything I did for you was because I was selfless. I think in some way, I just wanted to get to know you.”
“Kind of,” she says, scrunching up her face. “Except I only got to know you as Johan. I never got a chance to know Viktor.”
“Would you like a chance?”
Her eyes narrow. “What do you mean?”
“Why don’t we start all over again?”
She stares at me.
I stick out my hand. “Hello, I’m Viktor.”
A shy smile lifts the corner of her mouth and she extends her hand. “Hello, I’m Maggie.”
I grasp it, giving it a firm but warm shake. “And now we start again.”
I know what I want to do, how I want to start. I want to keep holding her hand and then slide my palm up her arm, to her neck, wrap my fingers around the back of it and hold her tight. I want to pull her into me, suck that pouting lower lip of hers into my mouth until she blushes. I want to see if she tastes like vanilla ice cream, the creaminess of her skin makes me believe she does.
It takes a lot of self-control to keep myself in check, to focus on my plan.
I take in a deep breath and hope she doesn’t notice how badly she affects me.
“Maggie, I’ve been thinking that despite the last twenty-four hours, we don’t really know each other. You definitely don’t know me. So I’m offering you a chance to get to know me and to make some money at the same time.”
This whole time I’ve been speaking she’s been nodding attentively but now that I’ve mentioned money, she immediately tenses up.
“What are you talking about?” And the way she says it makes me realize she might think I’m talking about prostitution.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to pay you to have sex with me.”
Her eyes widen. “Uh, I wasn’t thinking that. But now I am.”
“Look, what if you still did the article you were going to do. But this time you have my permission. This time we’re doing it on my terms, all out in the open.”
I look over my shoulder to see if the cab is still there and it is. I look back to her. “Yes. What you were recording. You were going to write that up weren’t you?”
She gnaws on her lip, doesn’t say anything.
“So just do it again. Officially. You can take pictures, whatever. As long as I get to approve what you write before it’s sent wherever you were going to send it. We can even send it to the Swedish tabloids, you know they would pay top kroner for it.”
“How many kroners?” she asks.
I laugh. “Enough. Enough to get all those things you need for your family. More than that. I’d say fifteen or sixteen thousand kroners.”
“Oh my god, that much!” Her eyes nearly bug out of her head.
“It’s about two thousand American dollars,” I explain. “Still good though.”
Her shoulders slump a little as she tries to grapple the idea. “But…why would you do this?”
“Because you helped me. Now I’m helping you. That’s how these things work.”
“You think I’m charity.”
“No Maggie,” I tell her, grabbing hold of both her hands, “I think you’re beautiful.”
Her stare lingers on my mouth for a long, agonizing moment until she blinks up to my eyes. She looks scared, unsure, a tiny line forming between her brows. I can’t tell if it’s because of what I just proposed to her or if it’s because I called her beautiful, but I’m not willing to rock the boat.
“Look,” I say, letting go of her and taking a step backward. “You can call it My One Week with the Prince. Everyone will eat it up.”
“I just…” she looks away, her eyes searching the darkness of her front yard as if she’ll find something lurking there.
“Or call it whatever you want,” I say quickly. “I just want to help, and I think it would be fun. For both of us.”
“I work so much this week. Every week. And you’re leaving.”
“I don’t have to leave. I’ll go to LA and fly out as promised but I can spend the rest of my time here until that happens.”
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