She gives me some mouth, all right.
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
Her hands are on her hips, her cheeks are flushed and she’s livid. Cock-stirringly stunning—but absolutely furious.
“Do you want me to list my titles?”
“That was none of your business! You can’t just walk in here and…take over like that.”
“I was helping you.”
“I didn’t ask for your help!” she rails. “I was handling it!”
“Handling it? Was that before or after he shoved you in the corner and grabbed your arm?”
My eyes are drawn to her forearm—and the angry, scarlet dots that now mar it. Finger marks. They’ll likely bruise.
“Son of a bitch.” Gentle but insistent, I take her wrist and elbow, looking closer. “I should’ve punched the bastard when I had the chance.”
Olivia pulls her arm away.
“If he needed to be punched, I would’ve done it myself. I don’t know what you think this is, but I don’t need you riding in here on your white horse. I take care of my business—I take care of myself—just fine.” She pushes her hair back from her face and puffs out a breath. “Your good deed is done for the day, so why don’t you just go?”
And I choke. “Are you…kicking me out?”
There are women would give an ovary to keep me—half of them have actually tried—and this one’s tossing me to the curb. Over nothing. What in the actual fuck?
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
I hold up my hands. “Fine. I’m gone.”
But I’m not—not just yet.
“You’re crazy.” My finger jams against my skull. “You’ve got a screw loose, love. You might want to have someone take a look at that.”
She flips me off.
“And you’re a royal dick. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”
Bloody fucking hell, talk about schizophrenic—the woman is a complete nutter. She’s gorgeous, sure, but she’s got issues. And I make it a rule not to stick my dick into a girl who might want to chop it off right after.
I sit in the center row of the SUV, fuming on the way back to the hotel.
“Can I offer you a bit of advice, Prince Nicholas?” Tommy asks.
I may have been mumbling out loud.
“Shut up, Tommy,” Logan says from the driver’s seat.
Proximity breeds familiarity, and the lads in my personal security team have been with me for a few years. They’re young, in their twenties, but their youthful looks belie lethal skills. Like a pack of German shepherd pups, their bark may not seem so dangerous, but their bite is vicious.
“It’s all right.” I meet Tommy’s light brown eyes in the rearview mirror, where he sits behind me. “Offer away.”
He scratches his head. “I think the lass was embarrassed.”
“Aye. It’s like my younger sister, Janey. She’s a good-looking girl, but one day she had a zit on her forehead that was so big it made her look like a dickicorn. And she was walking—”
James, in the front passenger seat, reads my mind.
“What the fuck is a dickicorn?”
“It’s an expression,” Tommy explains.
James angles around to look at Tommy, his blue eyes crinkled.
“An expression for what?”
“For…someone with something big coming out o’ their forehead that looks like a cock.”
“Wouldn’t it be a unicock, then?” James wonders.
“For Christ’s sake,” Logan cuts in. “Would you forget about the fuckin’ unicorn or dickicock or whatever the hell it is—”
“It doesn’t make any sense!” James argues.
“—and let Tommy finish his story? We’re never gonna hear the end at this rate.”
James throws up his hands, grumbling. “Fine. But it still doesn’t make any sense.”
For the record, my semantic vote goes to unidick.
Tommy continues. “Right. So, Janey’s walking home from school with Brandon, a lad from up the street, who she’d been crushing on for weeks. And my da’s home early from work, sittin’ out on the stoop. So he says, ‘Hey, Janey, you want me to grab some cream from the pharmacy to kill that monster on your forehead?’ And Janey goes crazy—screechin’ like a banshee at my da, sayin’ she’d never talk to him again, making him feel two cents worth o’ shit. And my poor da—I mean, he was just tryin’ to be helpful. But what I figured was, no girl wants her troubles rubbed in her face—Janey knew she was a dickicorn, she didn’t need it said out loud. But she especially didn’t want it said in front of a lad she likes.”
He meets my eyes in the mirror. “It’s a pride thing, ya know? It wasn’t that Miss Hammond didn’t want your help; maybe she was embarrassed that she needed it.”
I don’t go back to Amelia’s the next morning. Not because I’m not thinking about Olivia, but because I have a prior commitment—a visit to The Boys’ Home in the Bronx, one of many institutions funded by The Prince and Princess of Pembrook Charity. It’s a private facility that takes in children who’ve been orphaned—an alternative to the overrun foster care system.
I meet with the director, an enthusiastic middle-aged man with tired eyes. He gives me a tour of the dorm room, the gymnasium, and the cafeteria. They do their best to cheer the place up with brightly colored paint and artwork on the walls, but it still resembles a prison for kindergarteners. The hollow-faced, curious glances of the children who live here follow my every move.