“Oh, Julian…” He felt her cupping his face and then she was kissing him, rubbing her body enticingly against him. His cock rose in prominence, and her thighs parted so he could rub his hardness against her womanhood.

“What I mean is it’s time…look for me now, Julian. Find me. I need you, and you need me.”

JULIAN WOKE WITH A start. For a moment, he was completely disoriented, unable to understand why, rather than the comforting darkness of his bedroom at the palace, with his beautiful princess in his arms, he was instead lying on a lounge chair under a clear blue sky.

Another second passed.

Fuck, Julian thought as he regained his senses.

His princess did not exist.

This was reality, and it was just his first day on the goddamn island of St. Roch.

Sheer frustration had a muscle ticking in his jaw. This part was always the hardest. The faceless girl in his dreams was real. He knew that in his guts. But other than that, Julian had no fucking idea how to find her.

Raking a hand through his hair, Julian tried to think of something else. Having his mind dwell on his dreams was a futile exercise. He had tried everything – to the point of secretly meeting with a hypnotherapist – to come up with a clue, a name, or even a distinct physical feature of the girl…anything that he could use as the basis to search for her.

But nothing had worked, and the only way he had been able to control his growing frustration was to completely switch his emotions off and bury all thoughts of her in the deepest part of his consciousness.

And for a very long time, Julian had succeeded…until now.

Until this fucking island trapped him, and he found himself alone with the painful reality of her absence.

Who the fuck was that girl? Where the hell was she, and how was she able to keep invading his dreams?

It had been years since he had experienced such a helpless state of anger. The media did not refer to him as The Royal Iceberg for no reason. Not counting the small circle of family members he trusted, Julian was not in the habit of displaying any kind of emotion. In order to be the kind of king Ethereal needed, one had to be ruthlessly pragmatic at all times. Emotions only led to irrational and costly decisions, and this morning was proof of it.

He had lashed out at Garth for something the younger man was not at fault of, and the only reason he had done that was due to his own frustrations with his family’s stubborn and irrational attitude.

Ascendance Day was coming up soon, and on that day King Ludwig would be choosing his heir. Julian should be back in Ethereal, campaigning against the other princes and not stuck in this godforsaken island.

Julian checked his phone, hoping against hope he would see even just one bar. One goddamn bar to indicate his phone had come back to life. But there was none, and it made the Prince gnash his teeth. and strive for control.

Anger would not resolve anything. He had to be methodical about this. If there was no “legitimate” way to leave the island, then maybe he could bribe one of the natives to fly or row him out of St. Roch?

The only reason he had allowed himself to be blackmailed into taking a vacation was the belief that he could still do some work even when he was out of the country. But clearly, that was not possible since the island had no goddamn cellphone reception.

Julian clicked on his phone to pull up his most recent text conversations, reading each message broodingly.

Don’t get mad, big bro. I’m just taking a page from your book. If you want me and Mom backing you on A-Day, then do this for us. Take a freaking break!

It would do my heart good to know that you separated yourself temporarily from your obligations. You have done more than enough for the kingdom. Those who think you should have done more do not know what they’re talking about. Please rest, my son – and just once, please put yourself first this time.

His fist clenched involuntarily at his mother’s message. He loved Elvira as much as he was capable of loving anyone, but he was not like her. Filial love did not make him blind to another person’s faults – and certainly not when it came to his own faults.

Elvira was wrong. The girl in his dreams was wrong. The whole world was wrong. There was more he could have done, but he had failed. And now, the guilt of his failure would stay with him forever.

He debated with himself for a moment before forcing himself to click on the Delete button. Keeping Elvira’s message might only end up making him consider giving himself excuses when there were none.

Tags: Marian Tee Romance
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