Home > Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(9)

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)(9)
Author: Emma Chase


He’s wearing a tuxedo, the black tie hanging haphazardly around his neck, and the top two buttons of his pristine white shirt are open, teasing a glimpse of bronze chest. The tux hugs him in a way that says there are hard, rippling muscles and taut, heated skin beneath it. His jaw is chiseled—fucking chiseled—like it’s made of warm marble. His chin is strong, beneath the planes of prominent cheekbones that a GQ cover model would kill for. His nose is straight, his mouth full and perfectly made to whisper dark, dirty things. Masculine eyebrows sit above gray-green eyes—the color of sea glass in the sun—framed by sooty, long lashes. His hair is dark and thick—a few strands fall over his forehead, giving him an effortless, edgy, I-don’t-give-a-fuck kind of look.

“Hi.”

“Well…hello.” The corner of his mouth inches up. And it feels…naughty.

The man next to him—redheaded, kind of pudgy, with light sparkling blue eyes—says, “Tell me you have hot tea and my fortune is yours.”

“Yes, we have tea—and it’ll only cost you $2.25.”

“You are officially my favorite person.”

They pick a table along the wall and the dark-haired one moves with confidence—like he owns the place, like he owns the whole world. He sits in the chair, leaning back, knees spread, his eyes dragging over me the way a guy with X-ray vision would.

“Are you going to sit down too?” I ask the two men in dark suits who stand on either side of the door. And I’d bet my tip jar they’re bodyguards—I’ve seen enough rich, famous people around the city to spot them—though these two are on the young side.

“No, it’ll just be us,” the dark-haired one tells me.

I wonder who he is. The son of some rich overseas investor, maybe? Or an actor—he’s got the body and the face for it. And…the presence. That nameless quality that says, “Pay attention—you’re gonna want to remember me.”

“You guys are pretty brave to be out in this weather.” I put two menus on the table.

“Or stupid,” the redhead grumbles.

“I dragged him out,” the dark-haired one says, his words slurring the tiniest bit. “The streets are empty, so I can walk around.” His voice lowers conspiratorially. “They only let me out of the cage a few times a year.”

I have no clue what that means, but hearing him say it may be the most exciting thing that’s happened to me all day. Fuck, that’s pathetic.

The redhead scans the menu. “What’s the specialty here?”

“Our pies.”

“Pies?”

I tap my pencil against my pad. “I make them myself. Best in the city.”

The dark-haired one hums. “Tell me more about your magnificent pie. Is it delicious?”

“Yes.”

“Juicy?”

I roll my eyes. “Save it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you can save the pie innuendos.” My tone drops, imitating the creepy lines I’ve heard one too many times. “‘Do you serve hair-pie, I’d eat your pie all night, baby’—I get it.”

He chuckles, and his laugh sounds even better than his voice.

“What about your lips?”

My eyes snap to his. “What about them?”

“They’re the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a very long time. Do they taste as good as they look? I bet they do.”

My mouth goes dry—and my witty-comeback reflex flatlines.

“Pay no attention to this sorry mess,” the redhead says. “He’s been smashed for three days straight.”

The “sorry mess” raises a silver flask. “And on my way to four.”

I’ve seen my share of sloppy-drunk frat boys in the thrall of an after-party, late-night food binge. This guy hides it well.

The redhead closes his menu. “I’ll have tea and the cherry pie. And peach. And hell, give me a blueberry à la mode as well.”

His friend snorts, but he’s unapologetic. “I like pie.”

I turn to the other one.

“Apple,” he says softly—managing to make the benign two-syllable word sound totally sexy. My pelvis swoons like a romance novel heroine who just saw her Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall–like hero riding toward her on horseback.

Either he’s got a lust talisman for a voice box or I’m in serious need of a hookup. Oh, who am I kidding—of course I need a hookup. I punched my V-card when I was seventeen, with my high school boyfriend. Since Jack, there’s been no one—it’s distinctly possible my hymen has grown back. I’m not into one-night stands, and who has the time for a relationship? Not this girl.

The redhead’s phone rings and when he answers the call on speaker, the conversation follows me into the kitchen while I get their order.

“Hello, darling! It feels like I’ve been waiting ages and I was frightened I’d be asleep when you finally called, so I called you instead.”

The woman on the phone also has an accent—she speaks very fast and sounds very awake.

“How many energy drinks have you had, Franny?”

“Three, and I feel amazing! I’m going to have a bubble bath soon and I know how you love me in bubbles, so now we can FaceTime while I do!”

“Please don’t,” that sensual voice says sarcastically.

“Is that Nicholas, Simon?”

“Yes, he’s here with me. We’re grabbing a bite.”

“Poo, I thought you were alone. The bubbles will have to wait, then. Oh, and I’ve made you two new shirts—they turned out marvelous. I can’t wait for you to see them!”

There’s a shrug in Simon’s voice when he explains to his friend, “She’s taken up sewing for a hobby. She likes to make me clothes.”

And he replies, “Can she make herself a gag?”

Which Franny, apparently, overhears.

“Piss off, Nicky!”

After Simon gets off the phone, with a promise to bubble-bath together back at the hotel room, the two men continue to talk in a hum of lowered voices. I catch the tail end of the conversation when I back out of the kitchen door, teacup in hand and pie plates on my arms.

“…learned the hard way. Everything is for sale and everyone has a price.”

“My, but you’re a delightful ball of sunshine when you’re pissed—it’s a shame you don’t drink more often.”

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