Royal Security is here!
I love this second-chance romance with just a bit of suspense and humor. I hope you love it too! Thanks as always for all the support and being the best fans ever.
Find Royal Security on Amazon.
As if her yearnings for the man created him, Malik stepped around a tall hedge. He saw her and stopped short. Then his lips curved up and his shallow dimples appeared. “Addie,” he murmured.
Addie arched her eyebrows, trying to appear unaffected by him. “Are you heading back to your cattle then?”
He slowly walked up to her. He moved with grace, strength, and power. Stopping directly in front of her, his gaze swept over her. “I have some hired help who will be fine without me. For the moment, I think it’s more important I stay close …” He didn’t finish who or what he was staying close to and she was dying to know.
An odd silence fell between them, broken only by the trickling of a fountain and some footsteps on another path. Was somebody coming? She didn’t want her time with Malik interrupted.
“Would you like to walk together?” she asked far too breathily.
“I thought you’d never ask.” His dark eyes twinkled but something about his response, both the words and that twinkle in his eyes, stung. She had to be the one to ask. She’d been the one with the teenage crush that had been a source of embarrassment for both of them. Now he’d been waiting for her to ask? Why couldn’t he pursue her?
He extended his elbow and she laced her fingers through it. The bulge of his bicep made her stomach do an odd flip and she forgot about any worries from their past.
His crisp, clean scent washed over her. He gazed down at her with those dark eyes that seemed to capture her soul.
They walked slowly along the path. Addie had never seen the garden look or smell more perfect than tonight. The sunset lit it with a soft glow and the manly clean scent of the flowers was so heady and incredible that Addie felt like she was floating. Wait a minute; that wasn’t the flowers. That was Malik’s scent and simply being close to him. Oh, my, she was in trouble.
She glanced up at his strong profile. At that moment, he looked down. Their gazes caught and held. She loved the thick lashes shadowing his expressive eyes.
She waited for him to say something, tell her that he could see she’d matured into an appealing woman. Or maybe that he was finally interested in her as only a man could be interested in a woman.
When he said nothing, she shifted her weight and blurted out, “Did you leave the note under my door?”
Even as she asked, she didn’t think it was him. It didn’t feel like something he would do, especially because his dark eyes showed no recognition.
“A note?” His brow furrowed and his arm muscles got tighter under her touch. “What kind of note?”
She swallowed, looked at the pink rosebushes and admitted, “I guess you’d call it a love note.”
He turned fully to face her and gripped her upper arms with his hands. “Tell me exactly what it said.”
She blinked up at him and snorted. “No. If you didn’t send it, then it’s none of your business.” Of course he hadn’t sent it. Malik wasn’t interested in her like that. He never had been; he was more prone to tease her than ever kiss her or care for her. Why would his feelings change now? Her cheeks burned and embarrassment raced through her. At the moment she didn’t like him very much. She pulled away from his touch.
Footsteps approached from behind and Addie whirled to face the newcomer, half relieved to be done with this conversation and half wishing she had more time and could somehow discover if Malik did, or ever could, have any interest in her. That was pathetic and made her angry at herself.
Stuart approached, a large smile on his face. “Princess Adelaide. Just the beautiful lady I’d hoped to find out here.”
Addie couldn’t resist smiling at this handsome tough guy. She could tell that compliments didn’t come naturally to him and she liked that.
Malik stepped in front of her, blocking her view of Stuart completely. “You are not welcome here,” Malik said sharply.
“Malik!” Adelaide could not believe his nerve. She stepped to the side. Malik put up a protective hand as if she was in danger. “Stuart is our guest,” she said. “You will treat him with respect.”
Stuart grinned and cracked his knuckles. She saw in that moment how dangerous this man could be. It shot an odd thrill through her. “That’s right. I’m your guest. You have to be nice to me.”
A muscle popped in Malik’s jaw. He stepped into Stuart’s space. “If you try to send another love note to Addie or disrespect her in any way, I will kill you. Guest or not.”
Addie’s stomach pitched. Malik was far too serious at the moment but his protectiveness made her feel cherished.
Stuart chuckled easily. His dark eyes glinted with challenge. “I’d love to see you try.”
“Send another note to her room and I’ll more than try.”
“I’d love nothing more than to pummel you, pretty boy,” Stuart said, “but I didn’t send any note to the princess. I haven’t been anywhere near her room.”
“You’d better never go near her room.”
Oh, my, this was escalating to ridiculous. How could she calm them both down? Malik was acting like an overprotective warrior and Stuart was basking in the challenge.
Stuart looked over at Adelaide. His dark eyes twinkled. “I’d happily visit her room, if she issued an invite.”
A strange fire filled her abdomen. She wasn’t sure if it was excitement or fear. What was he implying? She edged closer to Malik, suddenly uncertain if she liked this outsider’s attention.
Malik glanced at her. As if he could sense her discomfort, he squared his shoulders and nodded. “That’s it.”
Then he slammed his fist into Stuart’s gut.
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