Emily Fielding was shaking as she stepped off the elevator into the foyer of Rafael Montoro IV’s penthouse in South Beach. The Montoros had settled in Miami, Florida, decades ago, when as the royal family of Alma, they had to flee their European island homeland because of a coup. Now the dictator who’d replaced them was dead and the parliament of Alma wanted the Montoros back.
With Rafe as king.
Great. Happy ending for everyone. Well, everyone except for Emily, the bartender who was pregnant with the soon-to-be-king’s baby. Or at least that was what her gut told her. Her gut and three home pregnancy tests. She wasn’t easy to convince.
She had debated not telling Rafe about the baby, but having grown up without knowing who her father was, she just couldn’t do that to her own child. Sure, she’d had to lie to get up here to his very posh penthouse apartment, and she knew her timing sucked because Rafe had a lot of royal duties to attend to before his coronation, but she was still here.
Getting past security hadn’t been that easy, but she’d made a few calls to friends and found that one of them had a connection to Rafe via a maid service. So she’d used Maria’s pass to get into the gated community and her key to get into his building.
Sneaking around wasn’t her style. Normally. But nothing about this situation was normal.
She was shaking as she stood on the Italian marble floor and let the air-conditioning dry the sweat at the small of her back. Luxurious and well appointed, the apartment was exactly the sort of place where she expected to find Rafe. His family might have fled Alma in the middle of the night, but they’d brought their dignity and their determination with them to the United States and this generation of Montoros had truly flourished.
Rafe was the CEO of Montoro Enterprises. He had been featured in Forbes long before the recent developments in Alma. He’d earned the wealth she saw around him, and the fact that he played as hard as he worked was something she could respect. She played hard, too.
She forced herself not to touch her stomach. Not to draw attention to the one thing that changed everything. Since she’d looked at that stick in the bathroom and realized she was going to have a baby, everything had changed.
Pretending that there was more to her visit than ensuring that her child would know who its father was would be stupid. A wealthy businessman she could have had a shot with, she thought. But not a king.
She’d seen photos of Alma. With its white sand beaches and castle that looked like something out of a dream, it was a beautiful place. The kind of place that she might have dreamed about as a little girl. A fairy-tale kingdom with a returning prince. Sounded perfect, right?
Except that Rafael Montoro IV was a playboy and they’d had a fling. She wrinkled her nose as she tried to come up with something else to call it, but a two-night stand didn’t cover it, either. One weekend spent in each other’s arms. She could lose herself in the memories if she wasn’t careful.
Hell, she hadn’t been careful. Which was precisely why she was here. Pregnant and determined. She walked down the hallway toward the sounds of Jay-Z playing in the distance. She paused in the doorway of his bedroom.
She’d had to charm her way upstairs, but no way could this wait another moment. Rafe needed to know before he left. She needed to tell him.
She felt queasy and swallowed hard.
There were right and wrong ways to deliver this news, and as appealing to her sense of outrage as it would be to throw up on his carpet, she was hoping for a little sophistication. Just a tiny bit.
After all, she’d seen pictures of his sister and jet-setting mother, though his mother wasn’t really in the picture since her divorce from Rafe III. Still she was an elegant woman.
She cleared her throat.
She listened to Jay-Z and Kanye West singing about how there’s no church in the wild. She almost laughed out loud as she watched Rafe stop packing his suitcase and start to rap along. She leaned against the doorjamb and admitted her anger was really fear. She wasn’t mad at him. She just wanted him to be a different kind of guy so that she could have the fairy tale she wanted.
Not a castle and a title, but a man who loved her. A man who wanted to share his life with her and raise children by her side.
And no matter how fun Rafe was, his path lay somewhere else. He was duty-bound to become the constitutional monarch of Alma. She was determined to return to Key West and live out her life. She wasn’t interested in being involved with a royal; besides, she’d read in the papers that the heirs would have to marry people with spotless reputations.
He was really getting into dancing around the room and rapping.
She applauded when he finished and he turned to look at her.