Her Royal Bodyguard(3)

By: Natasha Moore

“Mezzano has no enemies.” His gaze followed his sister and his lover as they left the room. “At least that I’m aware of.”

“No, Your Highness.” Rico knew the prince would be awakening his advisors for an early meeting. He almost hoped it would turn out to be a political strike. He tensed at the thought that Angelina had been targeted personally.

“I must awaken the king now and let him know what’s happened,” Vittorio said. “Find out who did this,” he ground out between gritted teeth.

“I will get the entire team on it immediately, of course. And I’ll have a list of recommendations on your desk in the morning.”

Vittorio turned back to him. “Recommendations?”

“For my replacement, Your Highness.”

The prince placed his hand on Rico’s shoulder. “Surely after tonight you will reconsider your decision to leave us.”

Rico thought of the office space he’d set up in the city, the contacts he’d made and the former security team members he’d recruited to join him. The unfurnished apartment above the office waiting for him to make it into his own personal space, his first ever that wasn’t within the palace walls. He thought of Princess Angelina and how with each day it became more difficult to stay away from her.

“I’m sorry, Vittorio.” He trusted the security team he’d trained to keep her safe. He had to. “I haven’t changed my mind.”

After the fear and the blood and the questions, Angelina was glad to finally be alone in her rooms. She stripped out of her ruined clothes and turned the water to hot before stepping under the spray. It took forever to scrub her hands clean.

The night kept playing out in her head. The shouts. The shooting. The terror.

Rico had eased her from the car after Enzo was whisked away. She’d been shivering, but not from the cold. Rico had murmured comforting words and shrugged out of his ever-present suit coat and draped it over her shoulders. He had to have been itching to get back to his team, but he’d ushered her inside the palace and then stayed with her until Vittorio and Mia had come to be with her.

The tears started to fall as she watched the red-tinged water flow down the drain. Enzo had been with her for so long, following her everywhere. The rough-looking bodyguard with the soft heart had suffered through many shopping trips with her girlfriends and stupid parties like the one tonight.

Angelina had been so excited for this party. Since her father had only recently rescinded the royal marriage decree, she no longer had to restrict her search for a husband among royalty. Not that she was looking for marriage at twenty-one, but she’d avoided any serious dating because she’d been terrified she’d fall in love with someone she could never marry.

Any royals she’d met in the past few years had been too old, too young, too whiny, or too mean. She’d been paired up with a number of them at various charity functions or royal celebrations, but she’d never been on a real date. Not like she’d read in books or seen in the movies. Dinner and dancing and soul-searing kisses in the moonlight. She wrapped her arms around herself. Would she ever know such a romantic evening?

Of course, she would. Now was her time to have fun and let love find her. She’d hoped to meet some eligible young men at that stupid party, but the few who showed up were already matched with young women. No single men at all. And now Enzo and Donato had almost been killed simply because she wanted to meet guys.

After drying off, she couldn’t relax. She slipped on silky lounge pants and a matching top, then padded barefoot to the door. She couldn’t sleep without knowing how they were doing. She hoped whoever was standing guard outside would have an update.

Angelina flung open her door and saw Rico stationed there. Tall, broad, perfectly filling out one of those black suits he always wore. He’d replaced the jacket that lay in a heap on her bathroom floor. He used to shave his head, but she’d noticed recently he’d let his dark hair grow in. Not much. Close-cropped. Still bad-ass. Still so sexy.

His dark eyes widened and his gaze slowly ran over her before he pulled his eyes away and glanced up and down the hallway. He’d been talking softly to whoever he was wired into, then broke off abruptly when he saw her.

She had to swallow to moisten her suddenly dry mouth. “Rico? I didn’t expect to see you here.”

He straightened, then glowered at her as if he was angry she’d left the safety of her suite. “I’m only standing guard until your new bodyguard arrives.” He glanced at the gold watch on his wrist. “Tony will be here in a few minutes.”