Her Royal Bodyguard(8)

By: Natasha Moore

“Easy,” he said. He was always so calm, so steady. The type of man she’d want for a bodyguard. Yet, her heart raced and she found herself irritated that he wasn’t as shaken as she was by their first touch. She snatched her hand away and straightened in the passenger seat. Their shoulders were almost touching in the small space.

She tugged on the seat belt but it didn’t give. “I think this seat belt is stuck.”

Rico immediately pulled the car over to the side of the road. He leaned close, then reached across her body and suddenly she was surrounded by his heat, his scent. His face was so close to hers she could feel the warmth of his breath along her cheek. It was still too dark to see his expression in the faint glow of the dashboard. His hand brushed against her hip as he groped for the seat belt.

Her heart raced in her chest. This was so different from when Phillip had leaned over her. Before he’d even touched her, she’d panicked as a slimy distaste slid over her skin. But when Rico pressed his body into her, a rich delightful heat burst through her body.

Rico tugged, all businesslike, ignoring the fact that he was brushing over her breasts and heating the air around her with his body. He grumbled under his breath before the belt finally gave way and he pulled it free.

He was off of her in a flash, yanking the belt across her body and quickly clicking it into place. “There,” he said. His voice seemed more breathless than it should have for the amount of effort he expended, but Angelina knew it was more wishful thinking on her part. She was just a job to him.

Still, she was looking at Rico differently than she had before tonight. A crush was childish. She felt nothing like a child tonight. What did she feel for him now?

Desire? Lust? Arousal?

All those words that sent shivers through her body. Good shivers. Exciting shivers. Unexpected, unfamiliar shivers.

“We will be a newlywed couple,” he said as he put the car into gear. He still sounded so calm, as if this whole thing was no big deal. “We are renting a small apartment in a villa my uncle and aunt own. Even they don’t know who you are. I told them we needed a place for a quiet honeymoon.”

“You mean they think you actually got married? To me?”

“Yes. But they don’t know you’re their princess. They will think you are a beautiful, charming young woman I fell in love with.”

He made it sound so plausible. Made it sound as if he actually thought she was beautiful. Charming. “Won’t they be angry they weren’t invited to the wedding?” She couldn’t imagine any of her extended family being happy if they discovered she’d gotten married without them being invited to the wedding.

“They will understand. They are busy with their villa and not able to travel often. My parents are the same with their work at the palace. Holidays and family visits…and weddings…don’t take priority.”

She couldn’t imagine family not being a priority. She’d been surrounded by family, close and extended, for as long as she could remember. Family was important. That had been drummed into her head from an early age. As she was imagining not seeing her aunts and uncles and cousins for years, the rest of Rico’s comments penetrated her tired brain.

“Wait. We will be sharing an apartment?”

“Of course. A married couple would obviously share an apartment. Besides, I am not letting you out of my sight.”

The straightforward tone of his voice, as if nothing else would have ever crossed his mind, made her feel safer than anything else had tonight. Still, the reminder that he needed to keep an eye on her at all, sent a different kind of shiver over her skin.

“Do you really think all of this is necessary?” she asked. “Tell me the truth. I think my father is being over-protective.” As always. Especially since her mother died.

“Better to be safe, Your Highness.”

“He over-reacted.”

“Do you remember Enzo and Donato?” Rico asked softly.

Tears prickled her eyes. “Yes, of course.” She didn’t regret leaning out of the car to pull Enzo inside, but it hit her hard that one of those bullets could have slammed into her. She shuddered.

“Your father did not over-react. His Majesty wants you safe. He knows how close he came to losing you tonight.”

Rico stared out the windshield at the dark road before them, illuminated only as far as the headlights reached. His hands rested loosely on the steering wheel. Looking at him, one would think he didn’t have a care in the world, but the tightness in his voice revealed more than she expected.

“It seems unreal,” she added.