Home > oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(15)

oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(15)
Author: Emma Chase

“You must think I’m so stupid,” she whispers, making my chest squeeze painfully.

“I don’t think that. I never would.”

She blinks, and a tear slides over the mark on her face. “I make bad choices. I need to grow up. Because this is what happens . . .”

I’m already shaking my head again. “Listen to me, Ellie. Bastards like the one who hurt you tonight—they’re like poisonous snakes that hide behind the colors of harmless ones. That’s how they survive. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have known.”

“You would’ve known.”

I tilt my chin. “I generally make it a rule to dislike everyone, so you can’t go by me.”

She laughs even while she’s sniffling. And it tears at my fucking heart.

Because she’s not just the kind of girl who’ll leap off a cliff without bothering to look—she’ll take a running start and launch herself off it. Arms spread, head back. Free and alive.

No one is going to take that away from her—I won’t let them.

“You see the good in people, Ellie. You trust. That’s a good way to be, a brave way. I’ll watch more closely from now on; I’ll make sure this never happens again. You just be who you are. Leave the rest to me.”

She wipes her eyes dry. “So it’s like a . . . you jump, I jump, Jack and Rose kind of thing?”

“No.” I take her hand in mine, brushing my thumb against her knuckles. “You jump . . . and I’ll be there to catch you.”

Slowly, I lean forward and press a gentle kiss to her forehead, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. My lips linger on her petal-soft skin, inhaling the scent of orange blossom and a touch of jasmine.

Then I turn around, and walk back down the hall.

The next security shift arrives at eleven p.m., like always, to relieve Tommy and me. We take the lift down, but rather than head out as usual, we circle around and wait in the alley by the back exit of the building. Tommy lights a cigarette and leans against the wall.

I check my watch and count, four, three, two . . .

The door opens—and Nicholas Pembrook appears. I cross my arms disapprovingly while Tommy plucks the smoke from his lips.

“No.”

“Not happening, Your Highness.”

His features go smooth and still. “I don’t know what you two are talking about. I was just going for a walk.”

“Yeah.” Tommy laughs. “A walk all over the cunt’s face who put his hands on Ellie.”

The Prince clenches his jaw and I gesture between Tommy and me. “That’s why you keep us around.”

“To keep you out of trouble,” Tommy adds. “No one’s gonna sue us—we don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.”

I shrug. “We all look the same in these clothes anyway—no one can tell us apart.”

Nicholas tries to argue, but I go on, “And besides, you’ve got bigger tasks to handle.”

“What sort of tasks?”

The door opens at the top of the steps and a few seconds later, Lady Olivia steps outside.

And she’s carrying her bat.

“Like making sure your Duchess stays put.”

The Prince gives his wife an exasperated look. But she’s unrepentant.

“Like you weren’t thinking the exact same thing.”

“Apparently, you’re all thinking the same thing.”

A voice drifts from the landing above. Ellie’s voice. She comes marching down, arms crossed. She reaches towards her sister with a scowl.

“Let’s go, Negan—hand Lucille over.”

Olivia rolls her eyes and gives up the murder weapon.

“I told you I wanted to let it go. Now I want your promise, right now, that you’ll leave it alone.” She looks at her sister first. “Liv?”

She’s unhappy, but she gives in. “Fine. I promise I’ll leave it alone.”

Then Ellie lays eyes on her brother-in-law. A man knows when he can’t win. “You have my word, Ellie.”

And she doesn’t leave me or Tommy out.

“I promise, lass,” Tommy says, making the sign of the cross and kissing his knuckle up to God.

I look Ellie straight in the face. “I’ll let it go.”

“Say you promise,” Ellie pushes.

“I promise.”

Sometimes, I lie.

Once we’re sure Prince Nicholas, Lady Olivia and Ellie are safely under lock and key, Tommy falls in step beside me as we walk down the street. Both of us know exactly where we’re going.

I knock on the door, then lean back against the wall so he can’t see us through the peephole. And because Tommy’s watched Tommy Boy one too many times, he says in a high-pitched, squeaky voice, “Housekeeping.”

And the dumb wanker opens the door, just a crack, but it’s enough. As soon as he spots me, his eyes go wide and he tries to slam it in my face. But I shove my way in and push him up against the wall by his neck. His pulse judders against my palm like the heart of a jackrabbit about to be torn apart by a wolf.

“You picked the wrong girl to put your hands on.”

He sputters. “Wait! I didn’t mean . . . You can’t do this. I’ll report you. They’ll fire you—take your job.”

I laugh, sounding maniacal even to my own ears. “You’ll . . . you’ll take my job?”

Then I stop laughing. “I’ll take your cock off and shove it down your throat. Then I’ll feed you, bit by bit, to the hogs, till all that’s left of you is a steaming pile of pig shit in the morning.”

He almost starts to cry.

Tommy locks the door and turns the television on, upping the volume. Not loud enough to draw complaints, but enough to muffle the groans this cunt’s about to emit.

Holding him by the throat, I toss him over to Tommy, who shoves him back to me, both of us circling, closing in. The fucker’s head turns, eyes darting back and forth between us. “Come on, guys, it was a mistake. This isn’t fair—it’s two against one. I don’t even have a chance.”

“‘This isn’t fair,’” Tommy whines. “You know why they picked us to guard the royal family? Two nobodies from nowhere?”

“Why?”

Tommy shakes his head, almost pitying. “’Cause we’re not nearly as civilized as we look.”

And he might actually piss himself.

Which would be messy, so I give him a small slice of hope. “I’ll let you have the first shot.”

His pupils are huge, prey’s eyes. He doesn’t lift his hands, doesn’t take a swing.

And patience is not my strong suit. “The offer has an expiration point—about three seconds from now. Three . . . two . . .”

Panicked, he throws out his fist, hitting me in the chin, barely moving my head.

I chuckle. “Bloody hell, no wonder you like to smack little girls. You hit like a pussy.” I look to Tommy. “Your sister punches harder.”

Tommy scoffs. “Yeah, but Janey is especially badass.”

I turn back to the sack of shit.

“You’re doing it all wrong. You want to turn your hips and your shoulders into the punch. Use the force of your whole body. Don’t push with your knuckles.”

I demonstrate on his face. Quick. Hard. Pitiless.

And a tooth goes bouncing across the floor.

“Like that. See what I did there?”

He folds over, holding his mouth with both hands, blood seeping through his fingers. But all I see in my mind is Ellie’s pretty face, marred with a nasty bruise from this bastard’s hand.

“I don’t think he gets it, Lo,” Tommy says. “You better show him again.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Fifteen minutes later, he’s nothing but a groaning pile of bloody clothes, bruises and splintered bones.

“Fucking hell,” Tommy curses, fingering a spot of blood on the front of his light gray shirt. “You got club soda?” he asks the heap.

When there’s no response, Tommy nudges him with his foot. “Hey! You got any club soda?”

The heap moans in the negative and Tommy shakes his head, disgusted.

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