“Oh the horror, because Castlebrook is the hub of the social scene and media elites.”
That was sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure. Sarah is, which is why her eyes rolls behind her glasses. “It only takes one set of loose lips for the Queen to find out you were there when you’re supposed to be here. And the producers don’t want you going anywhere, anyway.”
“I could ditch?”
She blows a puff of breath up at her dark bangs, which have fallen too close to her eyes.
And now I’m thinking about Sarah blowing things.
“And then you’ll have to wear the monkey.”
“I fear no man or monkey. But it is sort of creepy, isn’t it?” I groan. “Fucking James.”
Sarah mocks me. “Right, fucking James is trying to keep you safe and alive and not kidnapped, like it’s his job or something. Bastard.”
Huh, look at that. Sarah can do sarcasm too. That’s sexy. And she said the word fucking—which makes me think about fucking her—on the bed, the sofa . . . Christ, in the nook. She would be absolutely wild in the nook.
Talk about a fantasy—that one’s going straight to the top of the wank bank.
“I’ll be bored here by myself,” I whine, just to see her smile. “I guess I’ll rub one out. Or . . . five. Because that’s how I roll. And how I rub.”
But the thing is, this time . . . Sarah doesn’t blush. She just looks at me, eyes glazing over like she’s seeing an alternate version of me. A me that’s whacking off. And judging from the way she swallows hard and runs her tongue along her bottom lip, she likes what she sees.
Fuck, that is so hot.
She blinks, snapping out of it, adorably flustered. “I . . . ah . . . I have to go.”
Halfway through the door, Sarah stops and turns around. “Henry?”
She points her finger at me. “Stay.”
I smile and salute her.
With narrowed eyes, she backs out of the door, closing it behind her.
And I sit on the uncomfortable sofa for five whole minutes, thinking. And then I get up.
Because I still don’t like doing what I’m told.
Two hours later, the car pulls up to Concordia Library—I’m assuming this is where the holy book club meeting is held. Sarah had a valid point about it not being good if word got around that I was in town, so I gave her a healthy head start and plan to slip in undetected in the back to see her in action.
She also had a point about the sodding monkey.
Which is why James is driving and good ole Mick is riding shotgun.
Out of the tinted SUV window, I glance up at the large ivory building. A library built for a queen. I can see her working here—I can see her loving it here. It suits her, this almost magical house of worship built for books.
The main roadway is nearly deserted and there’s not a single person in front of the dimly lit library. As I follow Mick up the ivory stone steps, for a moment I wonder, is this stalker territory? Does it cross a line? A boundary? But then—fuck it, I’m a prince, we don’t have boundaries—it’s one of the perks. Anyone who says otherwise is doing it wrong.
The door’s unlocked and we go in. I’d never noticed how eerie a library is at night—large and echoed—like a mausoleum. But I notice it now as I glance about the main floor, listening. I head down a set of stairs near the circulation desk, with light coming from small windows in the doors at the bottom of it. I glance through the windows and spot a room at the end of a long hallway. It’s about classroom size, the kind of place where a Bible study or Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting might be held. Or a book club.
The door’s open just enough to hear, but closed enough that I’ll remain undetected if I stand outside of it. I lean back against the wall, listening to the charming lilt and fall of Sarah’s unmistakable voice. And I discover a whole different side of her—another version to add to all the others. I don’t think I’ll ever completely figure her out.
She sounds confident, efficient, and sure, almost businesslike. I wonder if it’s this place, if it’s because this is her domain, and she thrives here. It almost reminds me of my grandmother in her office or while addressing Parliament.
When it seems as if they’re wrapping up, Mick and I duck into a room next door. It’s filled with odd-smelling boxes, a bag of ski masks, cans of red paint, poster boards and signs—one says “Free the Butterwald Ducks.”
What in the bloody hell is a Butterwald Duck?
When the last trickle of bookworms slinks down the hall, and only three distinct voices remain in the room—and I know who those voices belong to—I have Mick wait outside while I pop my head in.
“Don’t tell me I missed it? Over already—damn.”
Sarah’s entire face lights up. It makes me feel a bit drunk.
“Henry! What are you doing here?”
“I couldn’t stay away.”
And I’m only half joking.
A gorgeously round little piece with bright blue eyes and blond hair approaches from across the room and curtsies, sighing, “Wow. Wow, wow, wow.”
This must be Annie—Sarah talks about her and Willard often.
“This is Annie,” Sarah says.
She’s the type I’d usually go for—perky and easily happy with a look of pure hero worship on her face. The funny thing is, she’s Sarah’s friend, and that fact puts up an immediate roadblock in my brain, muting any attraction to her.