Reluctantly Royal(7)

By: Nichole Chase

“He’s losing!” Marty fell over on his bed with his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he furiously worked his controller.

“I’m losing?” I used my character to shoot a gust of frozen wind in his avatar’s direction. “Is that what you call losing?”

Marty groaned loudly. “Quit doing that!”

I laughed, but let him get the upper hand. No reason to beat him into the ground the day he lost his great-grandfather. Marty had needed a little distraction, and surprisingly, I had enjoyed providing it. Children weren’t really my forte, but Marty made it simple. He wasn’t needy or hard to understand. He also spoke a language I understood—that of the gamer.

“Well, we’re about to have dinner if you’d like to stay.”

I looked away from the game and heard the explosion as my car ran off the road. Her eyes were cautious, but not warning me to say no. For a moment I considered it, considered spending a little more time with Meredith and Marty, and I was man enough to admit it made me nervous.

“No, thank you. I have some things I have to finish tonight.” I reached over and ruffled Marty’s hair when he groaned. I was itching to get back to a drawing I had started on the plane ride.

“C’mon. They won’t fight if you stay.”

“Marty!” Red colored Meredith’s cheeks.

“What’s a family dinner without some bickering?” I stood up and set the controller down. “I really do need to leave though.” I glanced at my watch and winced. I’d missed an important phone call that I’d have to make up.

“Maybe another time.” Meredith walked over and hugged Marty’s head to her stomach. He put his little arms around her waist and smiled at me.

“Sure.” The word popped out of my mouth before I could think twice. Dinner with them was not on the agenda. Not unless it was a formal occasion with a hundred other people. I wouldn’t have hesitated to take Meredith on a candlelight dinner where I could devour her instead of our food, but not when she had a little boy to think about. Not when she was a mother and brought all of the baggage a mother would bring. Nope. Not going there.

“That would be awesome!” Marty held his hand out to high-five me and you didn’t leave a little boy hanging, so I returned the gesture.

“I’ll see you out.” She gently pushed Marty back toward his bathroom. “Wash up and meet me downstairs.”

“Ugh.” Rolling his eyes, he turned and walked like a zombie.

“Roll your eyes at me again and you’ll get no dinner,” Meredith snapped.

“Sorry, Mum.” Marty picked up his pace and disappeared.

I followed her out of the room and tried to keep my attention away from the way her perfect ass swayed as she descended the stairs.

“Making sure I actually leave this time?” I forced my eyes to the back of her head and watched as her red hair bounced with each step.

“Well, it seems like you might need a little supervision.” She smiled at me over her shoulder and my groin twitched. Down, boy.

“I need a lot of supervision.” There was no mistaking my innuendo.

“I can imagine.” Even her chuckle was sexy. She turned at the door and her eyes ran over me in appreciation. “I bet you keep the girls on their toes.”

“Sometimes.” Sometimes on their backs, or their bellies. Even better when they were bent over and holding on to my headboard. Shit, I needed to leave. The thought of Meredith in my bed was making me hard.

“Hm.” She raised an eyebrow, and if I didn’t know better I would swear she was reading my thoughts.

“Well, thank you for letting me hang out with your son.”

“Thank you for distracting him while I dealt with my father.” She held her hand out to shake. Her face turned serious and I could see the tiredness behind her eyes. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

“Don’t think about it again. Trust me when I say I’ve had my fair share of family drama.” I took her hand and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. It was an archaic gesture, but I couldn’t resist touching my lips to her in some way. “Please let me know if you need anything.”

“Anything?” Her eyes sparkled, but I could see the sadness shining through.

“Anything at all.” I squeezed her fingers gently before letting go. “I’m at your service.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” A genuine smile lit her face. “Good night, Your Highness.”

“Good night, my lady.” I bowed my head before leaving.

My car was waiting outside and as I climbed into the back, I berated myself. A little flirting was one thing, but this felt dangerous. Good thing I wouldn’t see them again until the funeral.

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