“And too honest.”
“Exactly.” She sighs. “But, when they approached me, I just felt like it was time, you know. To try to move forward. Maybe have some fun. It’s a strange thing to do, but I decided to give it a try.”
I put my hand over hers. “I’m glad you did.”
She squeezes back. “So am I, now.”
Laura’s a yes.
Lady Cordelia Ominsmitch. She’s the daughter of an earl, and while she’s known in my circles as a serious partier, she maintains a stellar reputation to the outside world. And she’s drop-dead gorgeous. Big blue eyes, bouncy hair, and even bouncier tits. My type of girl.
As soon as the curtain lifts, she gets right to it.
“We’ve never met, Your Highness, but we could be good together. Hot together. I’m everything you need in a wife and a queen. I have the looks, the education, the pedigree, and the temperament. I’m also a virgin.” She winks. “Tight as a drum. Until I marry, I’ve promised myself and the Lord to only do anal.”
I choke on my drink.
Definitely a yes.
Jane Plutorch. Cousin to a duke and heiress to a fortune built on wart cream—Wart Away is the official name, I think. She’s also seriously Goth. Black lipstick, black hair, ivory skin, piercings, and ink up and down her arms.
“I hate my family,” she says without any inflection at all. “And they hate me. They made me come here, mostly because they didn’t want to look at me. I only agreed because I thought it’d be fab to live in a castle. Like a vampire.”
“I can respect that,” I say. “And you have great taste in tattoos.”
She glances at her arms, and it’s as if it takes all her energy just to keep breathing.
She’s a yes.
Lady Elizabeth Figgles. Her father’s a viscount and a member of Parliament, and she’s also Sam Berkinshire’s—an old schoolmate and one of my dearest friends—girlfriend.
“Elizabeth? What the hell are you doing here? Where’s Sam?”
“Sam can go fucking die.” She looks right at the camera. “Are you getting this? You can go fucking die, Sam! I hope your prick gets caught in a wood chipper, you cheating bastard!”
“He cheated on you? Sam?”
Sam’s a great guy. The kind of guy even really good guys want to be more like. He makes Abraham Lincoln look like a lying shit.
“Your face right now, that’s exactly how I looked when I found out—but a hell of a lot angrier. I found receipts, knickers that weren’t mine, rubbers. Faithless, worthless son of a bitch.”
She bangs the table and her nails are long enough to double as claws.
“Now I want Sam to see what it feels like. So I’m going to fuck you. On television. A lot. Hopefully live. You’d better rest up, Henry. I brought lube—a whole bucket of it.”
Penelope Von Titebottum. Her mother’s a reclusive countess, but Penny is pleasant, fun, attractive. And her sister is . . . interesting.
“Hello, Henry, how’ve you been?”
“I’m good, Penelope. You look well.”
She bounces in her seat and smooths her hair. “Thank you! I’m just so excited to be here. We’re going to have so much fun.”
“That’s the plan.”
“And I can’t believe we’re going to be on television! All over the world. It’s amazing.”
“I saw Sarah earlier. We said hello.”
“Oh good. She didn’t want to come at first, but I’m glad she did. We have to get her out of her shell. Not too much, just enough to show her a good time, right?”
I nod. “Count me in.”
And that means Sarah does too.
Princess Alpacca, pronounced like the animal, first in line to the throne of Alieya Island, a small nation below the south of France. The Queen invited her to Wessco after an attempted coup forced her family into exile last year. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t know a word of Aliesh. This is going to be a challenge.
Guermo, her translator, glares at me like I’m the bubonic plague in human form—with a mixture of hatred, disgust, and just a touch of fear.
She speaks in Aliesh, looking at me.
And Guermo translates. “She says she thinks you are very ugly.”
Princess Alpacca nods vigorously.
She’s pretty in a cute kind of way. Wild curly hair, round hazel eyes, a tiny bulbous nose, and full cheeks.
“She says she doesn’t like you or your stupid country,” Guermo informs me.
Another nod and a blank but eager smile.
“She says she would rather throw herself off the rocks to her death in the waves and be devoured by the fish than be your queen.”
I look him in the face. “She barely said anything.”
He shrugs. “She says it with her eyes. I know these things. If you weren’t so stupid you would know too.”
She says something to Guermo in Aliesh, then he says something back—harshly and disapproving. And now, they’re arguing.
But they can stay.
Guermo is obviously in love with Alpacca and she clearly has no idea. My presence will force him to admit his feelings . . . but does she return his infatuation? It’ll be like living in a Latin soap opera—dramatic, passionate, and over the top. I have to see how it ends.