One Night With A Prince

By: Sabrina Jeffries

Royal Brotherhood 3- One Night With A Prince

Chapter One London

Autumn 1815

When choosing a lover, I made sure we

both agreed to the terms of the liaison, so

there would be no recriminations later.

—Anonymous,Memoirs of a Mistress

Sometimes having half brothers was a bloody nuisance.

Gavin Byrne scowled at them both. The youngest—Alexander Black, the Earl of Iversley—was the only one of them whose mother had waited until he was full-grown to tell him that his real father was the Prince of Wales. Next came Marcus North, the Viscount Draker, whose massive build and scandalous past still had society calling him the Dragon Viscount. Draker had known their father most of his life and did not consider that agood thing.

It was Draker’s study that they stood in now. And it was Draker who was behind this insanity.

“You want me to dowhat ?” Gavin bit out.

Draker exchanged a glance with Iversley. “Perhaps our older brother is losing his hearing.”

Iversley chuckled. “Perhaps so, now that he’s in his dotage.”

Gavin rolled his eyes. “I could whip you pups with one hand tied behind my back. And if you think wounding my vanity will provoke me into doing this, you’ve obviously forgotten whom you’re dealing with. I was manipulating men before you grew hair on your ballocks.” Though he should have suspected something when Draker asked him to arrive early for dinner. Gavin selected a prime cigar from the oak box on his brother’s desk. “Why in hell would I do a favor for Prinny anyway?”

“For the reward, of course,” Draker said. “Prinny is offering you a barony.”

Ignoring the instant leap in his pulse, Gavin lit his cigar. A title wouldn’t make up for spending the first twenty years of his life being called Byblow Byrne to his face, and the last fifteen being called it behind his back. It couldn’t erase the stigma of being Prinny’s unclaimed bastard. Besides, he already possessed everything he required. His gentlemen’s club had made him wealthy beyond his wildest expectations, he never lacked for a woman in his bed, and his friends were all viscounts, earls, and dukes.

All right, so perhaps those friends weren’t the enduring sort, more interested in his wit than his welfare. And perhaps he was sometimes painfully aware of that invisible line of illegitimacy that separated him from them, despite his royal blood. But that was nothing to him. “Why should I care about a barony?”

“If you don’t care for your own sake,” Iversley said, “consider your future children. Your first legitimate son would inherit the title.”

Gavin snorted. “That’s no incentive. I don’t plan to marry or sire a ‘legitimate son.’ With luck, I won’t sire any children at all.”

“Then consider this.” Draker eyed him closely. “Titles are bestowed in Parliament by the Regent himself. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to having Prinny acknowledge that you’re his son.”

Nowthat gave him pause. The idea of Prinny being forced publicly to give a title to the bastard he’d denied for years was enormously tempting. Even if it was only a fraction of what he wanted from the man. “He agreed to that?”

“He did,” Draker said.

Gavin chomped down on his cigar. “That doesn’t mean he can’t renege.”

“He won’t,” Iversley insisted.

“He has before.” His brothers knew what Prinny had done to Gavin’s mother.

“I’ll make sure he keeps his word,” Draker said.

“Ah, yes,” Gavin said dryly. “Now that you and our sire are such fast friends, you think you have some influence over him.”

Draker snorted. “We’ll never be fast friends, but to his credit, he’s begun to regret his past actions. So yes, I have some influence over him.”