TWISTED GAMES by ANA HUANG, Book 2, Chapter No:33,RHYS

OUR TRYST IN THE THRONE ROOM WAS THE LAST BIT OF ALONE time Bridget and I had before her brother and future sister-inlaw arrived, and she got swept up in a flurry of pre-wedding obligations. I thought normal weddings were tedious, but royal weddings were off the charts. On the bright side, it meant Bridget didn’t have time to see Steffan, either. The fucker was back in town, and the thought of seeing them on another date made my blood burn. I’ve gone off the rails. Hell, I’d gone off the entire fucking track. I’d never so much as gone on a third date with a woman in the past. None had interested me enough. And now I was thinking of killing over one. Bridget had my head well and truly fucked. “Get it together,” I muttered, slamming a jar of tomato sauce on the counter. “It’s one day.” Except it wasn’t only one day because eventually, she would have to marry someone noble. Someone blue-blooded. Someone not me. Fury and pain rippled through me, and I forced myself to focus on the task at hand before I spiraled too far down that path. It wouldn’t end well for me or anything in the kitchen. I’d just turned on the stove when someone knocked on the door. Bridget was at some pre-wedding night thing with the rest of the bridesmaids, so it couldn’t be her. Who else would visit at this time of night?
I turned the stove off again and checked the security camera. You gotta be shitting me. I exited the kitchen, crossed the living room, and opened the front door. “What the hell are you doing here?” Andreas raised his eyebrows. “I’m getting offended by the rude greetings you and Bridget insist on giving me. Perhaps she can get away with it, but I am a prince, and you are not.” There was an odd note in his voice when he said that, but it disappeared so quickly I wondered if I’d imagined it. “You show up at my door unannounced, you get whatever greeting I want to give.” My smile contained more threat than humor. “Be glad you’re not staring down the barrel of my gun.” Andreas clucked in disappointment. “And to think, I came here to help.” “I doubt that.” “Contrary to what Bridget may have told you, I’m not a bad guy. I want what’s best for my family and country.” He straightened the cuffs of his shirt. “For example, I find it quite admirable, how Nikolai abdicated for true love. At the end of the day, he’s the one who has to live his life, and he chose happiness. Good for him.” Impatience spiraled through me. “Do you have a point, or do you just like hearing yourself talk?” “I do enjoy hearing myself talk,” Andreas said. “Usually because I speak the truth. But Nikolai’s wedding made me wonder…which would Bridget choose if she had the choice? Her heart or her country?” My hand closed around the doorknob. I was this close to slamming the door in his face, prince or not. “She’s not abdicating. Whatever scheme you have in mind, it’s not gonna work.” “You might be right, in which case I feel sorry for my cousin. Stuck in a marriage of political convenience for the
rest of her life.” Sympathy crossed Andreas’s face, but it didn’t fool me. “She’s a romantic, even if she tries to hide it. Grand love and all that. Sadly, that’s not always in the cards for the heir to the throne.” He paused. “Then again, Steffan Holstein could very well be an exception. They make a goodlooking couple, don’t you think?” A muscle pulsed in my jaw. “Like I said, I look out for my family and country.” Andreas’s eyes flickered. “I want everyone to be happy, and while Steffan seems like perfectly adequate consort material, Bridget would be far happier if she abdicated.” “So you can be king,” I said flatly. He shrugged. “She never wanted to be queen, anyway. Why not pass the throne to me?” “You know, this all sounds like a personal problem. For you,” I said coldly. “Don’t understand why you’re telling me all this.” Andreas’s smile made my guard shoot straight up. “An American contractor who moved to another country so he can be the princess’s permanent bodyguard? I think you do.” He turned, but before he left, he added, “Thank you for indulging me, Mr. Larsen. It’s been quite an enlightening conversation.” Bridget was right. He was a satanic little turd, not to mention a dangerous one. If he didn’t know about Bridget and me, he at least suspected I had feelings for her. I shut the door with a slam. Was Andreas the one who’d snooped through the guesthouse? I couldn’t think of a good reason why he’d do that unless he’d hoped to find something incriminating about Bridget, in which case he was shit out of luck. What was the penalty for punching a prince in the face? Whatever it was, it might be worth it. My phone rang, and I answered it without glancing at the caller ID. “What?” I barked. It was probably Christian again, calling to throw me deeper into a shitty mood.
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Bridget’s amused voice flowed over the line. My muscles relaxed, and I blew out a breath. “Thought you were someone else, princess.” I leaned against the wall. “Aren’t you supposed to be at the bridesmaid thing?” “Yes. I snuck into the bathroom. I can’t talk for long, but the wedding’s tomorrow and…” Bridget’s voice lowered. “I miss you.” We saw each other every day, but I knew what she meant. I missed the moments that belonged only to us. “I miss you too, princess.” I smiled a real smile this time. “Any chance I can convince you to sneak out the bathroom window so we can end the night with a bang? So to speak.” She snorted out a laugh, which she cut off halfway with a gasp. I broke into a laugh of my own. “Did you just snort?” “No.” “Not very princess-like of you.” “I did not snort.” I could practically see her face glowing red on the other end of the line. She was so fucking adorable. “Anyway, I can’t sneak out the window. We’re on the third floor.” “Third floor’s not that high.” Bridget huffed. “Easy for you to say. You’re not the one at risk of dying.” “Trust me, princess. I would rather end my own life than ask you to do anything that might hurt you.” I hadn’t meant to say those words. They just fell out, like they’d been there all along and were waiting for the right moment to make themselves known. Funny thing was, I wasn’t upset or embarrassed, even though they came too close to a confession for comfort. They just felt right.
Everything with Bridget felt right. “I know,” she said, so soft and warm she might as well be right there next to me, caressing me. “I trust you.” A charged silence stretched over the line, filled with other, unspoken words waiting for their moment, and my heart thudded like it was warning me not to screw up. “We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” I drawled, finally breaking the tension before I did—or said—something I would regret. Something neither of us was ready to acknowledge. “From fighting like cats and dogs to fucking like—” “Rhys.” “What? You let me eat you out on the throne but I can’t say the word fucking?” “You’re impossible.” Amusement softened her admonishing tone. “I—” I heard a knock in the background, followed by muffled voices. Bridget must’ve covered the phone with her hand. “Sorry, that was Sabrina,” she said, her voice clearer. “I have to go, but I’ll see you tomorrow.” Her voice softened further. “Good night, Mr. Larsen.” “Good night, princess.” I waited until she hung up before I ended the call. I stood there for a long while, my mind filled with images of a certain blonde as I stared around my royal guesthouse in Eldorra and wondered how the hell I got where I was.

Leave a Reply