Her Royal Bodyguard(10)By: Natasha Moore
“Yes,” she agreed. Especially at the palace. There was no privacy there. So Rico felt it too. She wished for the sunrise so she could see his expression. “All right, you took me for a drive and we talked for hours.”
“Talked? For hours?”
“When you find your soul mate, hours fly by as you get to know each other.” So she’d heard. So she’d dreamed.
“Are you going to repeat everything I say like a parrot?”
The sky must have been lightening because she was certain he narrowed his eyes as he looked at her.
“If you want people to believe that we fell in love and married quickly, we have to convince them that we are soul mates.”
“Lucia,” she reminded him. “Are you certain you are the head of our security force? Have you never been undercover before?”
“This is not quite working undercover.”
“That’s right. It is I who am undercover. Still, you need to remember our cover story.”
“I fear you watch too many movies.”
What else did she have to do on lonely evenings? “How did you propose to me?” She glanced down to her hand. “And where is my ring? If we’re married, I must have a ring.”
Rico’s head was pounding from all the princess’s questions, but she was right about this. They had to have a story. She had to have a wedding ring. He looked down at the pinky ring he’d bought for himself when he made his first million. He’d been pleased to discover he had the right instincts for investing the majority of the salary he’d been paid over the past ten years.
He remembered walking into the jeweler’s, looking at the cases of rings and the satisfaction he felt knowing he could afford to pay cash for his purchase. He’d wanted something not too flashy but enough of a statement to make it a personal celebration. Something he remembered many of the important men who came to the palace wore. Something he thought he’d never have.
It was a platinum band with a round two carat diamond set in the center. He hoped it wouldn’t be too big for the princess’s finger, but it was the only option at the moment. The landscape was becoming hillier, a sign they were getting closer to their destination. The sun was beginning to rise. Once they reached the top of the hill, Rico pulled the car over to the side of the narrow road.
“Why are we stopping?” the princess asked him. There was enough light now to see her bright eyes. They scanned his face, so curious, looking for answers. So beautiful he could hardly bear to look at them.
“Let’s get out and stretch our legs for a moment,” he said.
“All right.” She climbed from the car as he rounded the front. She glanced past his shoulder and smiled. “What a beautiful sunrise.”
“Yes. Beautiful.” But Rico didn’t look behind him. The beauty he saw was in front of him. Before he could think too much, he dropped to one knee in front of the princess of Mezzano. Something he certainly never imagined doing.
He cleared his throat as he tugged the ring off his finger. “Lovely Lucia,” he said softly. “You are my soul mate. The love of my life. Will you marry me?” She looked at him with wide eyes, her lower lip caught between her small white teeth. “I hope this will fit you.”
“Oh.” Princess Angelina held out her left hand and Rico was surprised to see it trembling. He slipped his ring on her finger. “It’s beautiful,” she said. But her smile was what he thought was beautiful. “It’s not so very loose. I’ll be careful with it, Rico.”
“I know.” The emotion in her voice was more than he could take. This was only a job. He stood and pointed to a small town in the distance. “There is Tuscora. We don’t have far now. Let’s get going.” He started for the car.
“Rico?” He stopped and took a deep breath before he turned back to look at her. “Why didn’t you just hand me the ring in the car?” she asked him.
He smiled wryly. “Now when my aunt asks you how I proposed, you can tell her I got down on my knee at the first hint of sunrise and called you my soul mate and slipped the ring on your finger.”
She sighed, a wistful sound that he really didn’t need to hear. “I didn’t know you were such a romantic.”
He turned to circle the car. “I’m not.”
Tuscora was a small town with narrow streets winding through tall buildings decorated with window boxes full of colorful flowers. There were only a few people out on the cobblestone walks, but since it was just after sunrise, that was no surprise. Angelina stroked Rico’s ring as the old car bounced over the rough road.