“Let them think what they want,” he says, his grasp tightening around me. “You can’t control that anyway.”

He’s got a point.

So I keep smiling as we glide and twirl around the ballroom, the world disappearing around us. Fragments of Clara’s song twinkle inside my head like stardust.

I know you, I danced with you once upon a night. There we were, wishing this dance would last forever all time.

And I know I’ll love him, forever all time.

All time.

But when the dance ends, the dream ends.

Aksel walks me back over to Maja and the girls, and I guess to make up for the attention I got, he takes Maja by the hand and proceeds to lead her over to the dance floor. She protests, bashfully at first, and then somewhat violently trying to get out of his grasp, but Aksel is persistent and wins his aunt over, spinning her carefully around the dance floor as he did with me, until she’s laughing loudly, clearly enjoying the attention from her nephew.

I’m happy.

There have been so many moments these days where I’m struck, almost blinded, by all this happiness and this is just another one.

Happy, happy, happy.

If I’ve been asleep all my life, it’s now, because of him, that I’m finally waking up.

“I want to dance, too,” Freja says in her small voice.

I glance at her. “Okay, but you both have to do it. I’m an expert at dancing with two princesses at a time.”

Both girls give me their hands and while Aksel dances with Maja, I twirl Clara and Freja around, their giggles as bright and bubbly as the overflowing champagne.

This continues for quite some time until my feet start getting tired and the drinks have made me a little loopy.

I tell Maja I’m going to the bathroom and I’ll be right back and before I’ve left the ballroom, Aksel is by my side, hand at my elbow and escorting me down the hall.

“You’re driving me crazy,” he whispers harshly in my ear.

“What are you talking about?” I ask.

What did I do?

He doesn’t answer, he just looks around him and when he sees that there’s no one around, he opens the bathroom door and pushes me in there with him.

He quickly shuts the door and locks us in, and before I can say another word, he’s grabbing my face, lips devouring mine, tongue pushing into my mouth, stroking every pent-up desire.

Oh, Your Majesty.

I grab him in kind, my hands in his hair, at the back of his neck while his hands grab my waist, then my ass, trying to pinch and grope me through the layers of tulle. We grapple together in a frenzy of heat and lust and something unbelievably real. Something very us.

I’m pushed back against the tile wall, pinned there, and I’m his, completely his. My body operates on pure instinct, throwing myself into him with no inhibitions, no caution. It craves him as much as my mind and soul do. As he presses against me, breathing hard and kissing me, messy and wet, I put my hands around his shoulders and relish the lean, taut muscles of his back as I pull him in.

One of his hands is lost in my hair, tugging on it the way I like, and I let out a breathless gasp from the sweet pain.

“I’ve never seen such a gorgeous creature in all my life until I saw you tonight,” he says, voice rough with lust. “Once upon a dream, indeed.”

His other hand goes to lift the poufy hem of my dress, shrugging it up and up and up around my waist until it nearly takes over the whole counter. He slides the satin of my underwear aside and lets out a deep moan that I feel vibrate through me as he explores me with his fingers.

“So wet,” he murmurs. “You get so fucking wet for me.” He sticks three of his large, long fingers inside me and I clench around them, begging for more. “You know I want it. I have to have it.”

“Hurry up and fuck me,” I tell him. “Sir.”

But really. This is a dangerous place to get off and someone’s going to knock on the door at any minute.

He laughs, low and rich, reaching down to lift me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist. I reach down between us and frantically try to undo his belt. He stares at my frenzied hand for a moment, clearly enjoying just how much I want him.

“Hold on,” he says, pulling down his tuxedo pants and boxer briefs until his cock bobs freely, so dark and rigid. I love him like this, so raw, thick, and all for me.

He holds himself at my opening and waits for a few beats. I can feel the heat coming between us, the way his eyes burn into me, until his gaze drops to his cock as he’s about to push its stiff length inside me. Before I can urge him in, my fingers tighten their hold on his back, he pushes with one large, powerful thrust.

I can’t help the cry that escapes from my lips, and then the soft, “Oh,” as he slowly, agonizingly, pulls himself out, his cock absolutely drenched.

He eases himself back in, a few inches at a time, his lips brushing over mine.

“You’re really something, you know that?” he whispers against my mouth, his words breaking off into a groan. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“I think the whole palace would collapse,” I manage to say.

Then he pushes himself back in.

Slow fucking agony.

My heart catches high in my throat. I can’t speak, I can only feel, and the intense gaze of his eyes tells me that something is happening, something new.

Tonight was something new.

Tonight I went to a ball and had a dance with a king.

Tonight I think the world had a glimpse of what we try so hard to hide.

His eyes continue to burn as he pushes himself in and out, pumping steadily. He grabs my chin lightly and holds my face, making sure I can’t break eye contact, can’t look away. It’s so intimate, the way his stare feels like he’s stripping me bare. But it’s Aksel. He can peer into my soul at any time. He’ll only see his own soul there.

A home for his heart.

Our moans are hushed, our breath rough and ragged as he moves inside me, his hips circling so he hits each and every tightly wound nerve.

It’s so fucking good.

It’s everything.

We are joined, connected, and the more he thrusts in, deeper, deeper, the warmer he feels, like barely contained fire. A bead of sweat rolls off his nose, and finally his eyes pinch closed as he approaches his climax, his mouth going for the crook of my neck where he bites and sucks and grunts as he pounds me, each thrust getting faster than the last.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he hisses, inhaling sharply. “I’m coming.”

Before I even have a chance to try and catch up, he lets go of my waist and slides a finger over my clit, petting it twice, and that’s all it takes to set me off like dynamite.

I explode outwardly, until I feel like there is nothing left, and he explodes into me. I can feel him inside, hot and potent as I throb mercilessly around him, my nails digging so hard into his shoulders as I ride him out that I know they’re going to leave marks tomorrow, even through his jacket.

My heart is huge, filled with stars and bliss.

This man. This king.

I’ll give it all to be his queen.

“Aksel,” I whisper, trailing off because I can’t catch my breath, because I know what I want to say, but I don’t know how to say it. That I want more and that I’m also afraid of it.

He’s breathing heavily into my shoulder and I run my fingers through his hair, loving the feel of it, loving everything he is.

“I love it when you play with my hair,” he murmurs. He lifts his head and gazes at me with sated eyes. He gently brushes his thumbs over my cheeks. “I love everything about you.”

He’s got that look I love in his eyes, the one only I bring to him. Sleepy, relaxed, happy. Absolutely satisfied. In these moments his mask is gone, and the crown is elsewhere.

In these moments he belongs only to me.

The way it’s supposed to be.

“We should get back,” I tell him. “People will wonder.”

He nods, brows knitting together for a moment. “Of course.” He gently lowers me to the ground and then takes a wad of tissue paper, running it up the inside of my legs before unpoufing my skirt.

We give ourselves the once over in the mirror. He smooths down my acres of dress, I straighten his shirt and bowtie.

“I’ll go first,” he says. “That way if I see anyone, I can stall them.”

I nod, feeling all nervous about this whole thing suddenly. The blood is returning to my brain.

He opens the door and sticks his head out. Seeing the coast is clear, he strides away purposely.

I wait a few moments, so that he’s not associated with this bathroom at all.

Then I step out.

Just as Nicklas is walking in from the ballroom.

He must have just passed Aksel on the way and there’s nothing to suggest that Aksel was with me in there.

But my cheeks do feel like they’re on fire.

And Nicklas is staring at me in an odd way.

He walks toward me, his eyes so cold, and yet there’s a smug, knowing smirk to his face.

“Bathroom occupied?” he asks, gesturing to it.

“Uh, no, it’s all yours.”

“Tak, Miss Aurora,” he says and then steps in.

I know the truth about you, I feel like saying to him.

But I don’t.

I turn around and head back to the ball to find the girls.

Chapter 21


One of the perks of being a royal nanny is that you get to work for someone like Aksel. I know that actually sleeping with the royal you’re serving is not part of the job description, but it’s worked out fairly well for us.

A perk that I just discovered is that when the royals go on vacation, you get to go on vacation too. And I don’t mean a rocky sailing trip down the cold coast of Denmark.

I mean sunshine, white sand beaches and azure waters. Coconuts and music. Parrots and dolphins. Everything wonderful.

We’re currently on the island of Saint Croix in the Caribbean. The island used to belong to Denmark at some point before it became part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, even though that was Denmark’s loss (hey, they still have Greenland), all the towns have kept their Danish names.

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