Home > oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(11)

oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(11)
Author: Emma Chase

Though my eyes are scanning the room, I know where the couple is at all times. So when Nicholas raises his hand and calls me forward with his fingers, I react right away.

“Sir?” I bow.

“We’re going to retire to our rooms shortly, but Olivia is concerned about Ellie.”

I’ve been keeping tabs on her too—all night.

At this moment, she’s at the bar, undeniably delectable in a champagne-colored silk gown that hugs her in all the right places.

Or . . . the bloody wrong ones, as far as I’m concerned.

One eager-eyed, posh lad after another is offering her drinks, asking her to dance or trying to impress her with their lofty pedigrees.

Fucking sods.

And she’s putting the eighteen-year-old legal drinking age in Wessco to good use. Marty’s there, laughing and drinking beside her—and her father too—though he’s not imbibing. Despite my doubts, he hasn’t touched a drop for ten months—not since Ellie’s high school graduation. He’s working his program, going to meetings even here in Wessco, staying sober. Good for him—for all of them.

“Ellie’s been assigned security; they’ll make sure she’s all right.”

I checked on who was covering her for the night, to see for myself that they were top-notch.

Olivia glances at her sister. “But you know her better—she’ll listen to you. If she goes out after my dad goes to bed I’d feel better if you were with her.”

I meet Nicholas’s eyes. “We won’t be leaving our rooms for the evening . . .,” he winks at his bride, “possibly for days. We’ll both have peace of mind if you’re on Ellie detail.”

I hold up a hand. “I’ll take care of it. Don’t give it a second thought.”

“Tell me, Ellie Hammond,” Henry says, “are we legal yet?”

Ellie grins, lifting her martini glass. “Eighteen, officially.”

Prince Henry, Nicholas’s younger brother and now Crown Prince of Wessco, lifts a brow. “Good God, you’re practically a cougar.” Then he sighs, looking at her. “Pity, you’re also practically related to me now. And while many of my ancestors wouldn’t let that slow them down, incest really isn’t my bag.”

Ellie nods once. “Bummer.”

“But,” Henry holds up a finger, “that doesn’t mean we can’t have a fantastic time. I’m going to show you the best bits of Wessco. The good, the raunchy and everything in between. What do you say?”

She’s bubbling with excitement. “I say, count me—”

“Out.” I step up to them. Firm and final.

“Your sister wants you to go straight back to your room,” I tell Ellie.

“She’ll be with me,” Henry says.

As if he doesn’t realize that makes it so much worse.

“Your brother specifically said not to leave Ellie with you.”

Henry looks offended and searches around the room for his royal sibling. “That tosser . . . no trust anymore.” He shakes his head. “Lucky for us, my brother and her sister will be completely preoccupied with their own entertainments. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”

This is a dicey situation. On the one hand, Prince Henry is my boss—he outranks Nicholas now. On the other hand, he’s reckless, self-destructive and irresponsible—and his shiny new title hasn’t diminished those traits. So, there’s no bloody way in hell I’m leaving sweet Ellie in his care.

“I beg to differ, Your Highness.”

And a look comes over his face, a slight bit of shock at being challenged mixed with a shadow of respect. Because while Henry has multiple moral deficiencies, a failure to view himself and his own shortcomings isn’t one of them.

He’s a royal fuck-up, but he owns it.

“I’m taking her to The Horny Goat, Agent St. James, not charging into battle. You and the rest of security are welcome to accompany us. We’ll have a few drinks—or a few dozen—sing some songs and all will be well.”

“Oh, that sounds like so much fun!” Ellie claps her hands. And she turns those heartbreaking eyes on me. “Can we go? Please?”

A simmering amusement rises in Prince Henry’s expression as they wait for my answer. Because he’s also a shit-stirrer. It’s what he does—what he lives for: stirring up all the shit, then sitting back and watching everyone slip in it.

“Come on, Logan,” Ellie whines pleadingly.

Henry loops his arm around her shoulders with a taunting grin. “Yeah, come on, Logan.”


Two hours later, Ellie Hammond, the younger sister of the new Duchess of Fairstone, and the future King of Wessco are on a karaoke stage at The Horny Goat pub. Together. Bouncing around and singing “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones.

There goes the fucking kingdom.

Thank Christ that Evan Macalister, The Goat’s owner, managed to keep the press out. After the song ends, the pair return to the bar, hailed by the shouts of Henry’s lads. A tall, curvy brunette has been attached to the Prince’s hip all night—she latches to his side, whispering in his ear.

I’ve kept a tally of the alcohol Ellie’s consumed—three martinis at the dinner reception and four whiskeys neat at the pub. She downs a fifth one like water.

“You’re a Viking!” Henry encourages her.

“Vikings!!!” Ellie shouts.

When the Prince calls the bartender for another, I push my way through the crowd to Henry.

“She’s had enough,” I tell him quietly.

“She’s fine.” He waves his hand at the air.

“She’s just a girl,” I insist.

Ellie takes exception, poking my arm with her finger and slurring. “Hey! I resent that. I’m a matter adult. Mattur. Ma-ture.” She tilts her head, gasping. “Oh my God, I just realized that except for one letter, mature and manure are the same word! That’s so weird.”

I turn back to Prince Henry. “Like I said . . . more than enough.”

He leans across the bar towards Ellie, holding up two fingers. “Ellie, how many fingers do you see?”

Ellie squints and strains, until finally she grabs Henry’s hand and holds it still.


“Brilliant answer!”

“Was I right?” Ellie asks hopefully.

“No—if you’d gotten it right, I’d be really concerned.” Then he bangs the bar with his palm. “Another round!”

That’s when Ellie slides clear off her stool. I catch her before she hits the floor, but just barely. And then I glare at Henry.

“Mmm . . . perhaps we have reached our quota for the evening.” He puts his hand on Ellie’s arm, lifting his chin a little as he says, “It’s always important to be able to actually walk out of the pub on our own two feet. Dignity and all that.”

Ellie’s head lolls on her neck until she rests it on my shoulder, her puffs of breath brushing my throat. “M’kay.”

The palace is quiet as the threesome—Henry, Ellie and Henry’s female companion—stumble down the halls to Ellie’s suite, giggling and whispering as they go. I get the door for them and they collapse onto the chairs and sofa in the sitting room.

Henry watches Ellie and his eyes seem clearer than when they were in the pub. “Who’s up for cards?” he asks, checking his pockets. “I’ve got a deck around here somewhere.”

His brunette pouts unhappily. “I’m getting tired, Henry.”

And it sounds like his shagging for the night is in jeopardy.

He gestures towards Ellie. “I can’t just leave her. She could Janis Joplin in her sleep—Nicholas would literally kill me, and I’d have no choice but to let him.”

Ellie shakes her head mournfully. “Janis Joplin—what a voice.”

And she starts to cry.

“It’s just so sad.”

She covers her face with her hands, sobbing now. “She loved Bobby McGee so much!”

Fucking hell.

When I’m done with Henry, there won’t be much left for Nicholas to kill.

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