Dirty Crown: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Royal Romance (with BONUS book - Rebel Rockstar!) (2 page)

BOOK: Dirty Crown: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Royal Romance (with BONUS book - Rebel Rockstar!)
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2
Edward

M
y heart pounds
as I pick up the phone to dial Marcus, the head of my security.

Making this phone call is essential for us to get out of here, but I don’t know how I’m going to get away with it without revealing my identity.

I thought that Faith was going to recognize me from my name, but luckily, because she’s American, she didn’t seem to spot it right away.

I’m a prince – the prince of England in fact – which means that I can’t normally go anywhere without people screaming out my name.

The royal family might not be the dynasty that it once was, but we are very popular which means I’m normally very involved with royal engagements. I was lucky to get this time off – and the next few weeks too – and I intend to spend them wisely.

I chose Cornwall as my first destination, because there are so many private spots that I can normally escape to, pretty much selfie free, and it’s where the family normally holidays, and now I’m extremely glad that I did.

I never expected to stumble across the most beautiful girl that I’ve ever seen in my life, and I never thought that she would end up wanting to spend so much time with me.

As the phone rings, I glance at her out of the corner of my eye, drinking in that long mane of bright blonde hair, those blue eyes and that smile.

She has a gorgeous, slim body too, but I don’t care too much about that.

It’s her personality that draws me in – her adorable shyness, her sweet nature, her intense interest in the world around her.

I’m more used to being surrounded by airheads, so I find her something of a revelation. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone quite like Faith Harper, and I’m not sure that I ever will again.

It really does feel like she’s been brought into my life for a reason.

“Edward?” Marcus’s stern sounding voice draws me back into the phone call.

“Are you okay?”

“Err, yes.” I turn my face away from Faith’s, focusing on what I need to say.

Marcus isn’t going to like this, not one bit, and I feel bad about that.

“I’m sorry to do this to you, I know that I just told you to have the rest of the day off, but I’ve got myself into a bit of a situation,” I sigh deeply, knowing this is going to cause far more trouble than it’s worth.

“I’m stuck inside the King Arthur museum. I got locked in by mistake.”

“What?” He gasps, clearly stunned by my admission.

“How the hell did that happen? Are you alone?”

Sure, he might speak to me in a way that’s considered a bit out of place for a royal, but I don’t mind. To be honest, he’s the closest thing to a real friend I have – the only one who’s always truly honest with me – so I’m grateful that he feels so comfortable around me.

“I’m not alone, I’m with a girl.”

“A girl?” His voice turns even sharper, and I can tell that he’s mad.

I’ve been known as a bit of a player in my time, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Just because I’ve hooked up with the odd girl in my time, it doesn’t really make me a bad boy – I’m only doing anything that any guy my age wouldn’t, it’s only because of my position that it’s frowned upon.

But this time, it’s different.

Nothing has even happened between Faith and me, but I already know that I feel differently about this one.

She’s absolutely wonderful, and there’s no way that I would want to screw that up. There’s something there, something real, and I’m sure that she can feel it too. That electrical fission cannot just be one sided, there’s no way. It’s too intense.

“It’s not like that,” I insist.

“She’s just a friend. We were only talking, and we just got so involved in our conversation that we didn’t realize the place was being locked up.”

“Hmmm…” he replies disbelievingly.

“I’m sure. Right, I’ll get on it now, see what I can do and I will be there shortly. And… please behave yourself.”

“Don’t worry,” I jump in, wanting to dispel his worries.

“I won’t tell anyone that this happened.”

I know that he’s worried about being found out for leaving me alone, which he’s been instructed by my mother – the queen – never to do, but I wouldn’t do that to him.

It’s my fault after all, I was the one who wanted to be by myself. I’m not the sort of person to blame others for my faults.

“Okay, I’ll be back in touch as I’ve found out what’s happening.”

He’s serious now, which means that he’ll have it solved soon enough. Marcus is pretty much a miracle worker, which is why I would never do anything to risk having him around.

Relieved that things are going to happen now, I spin back around to look at Faith, and I can instantly see a curious look on her face.

I try to smile while I rack my brain to think of something to say to change the subject, but nothing comes to mind. It doesn’t matter anyway, she’s on it like a hawk.

She knows that there’s something about me now, and she won’t rest until she finds out what.

I just hope that it doesn’t change everything. I’d hate to see that look in her eye – the one that means I’m no longer ‘Edward’ to her.

I’ve spent so much of my life witnessing that look, and it damn near kills me every single time.

“Who was that?” She asks innocently enough, but I can tell that she’s intrigued, which leaves me with a choice.

Do I lie, keep up the act that I’m a normal civilian, or do I confess the truth and risk her changing around me? I deliberate for a second, weighing up the pros and cons, before settling on my decision.

“It was my security guard,” I admit, fixing my eyes on the ground.

There’s no point in hiding it, it will only take one online search of my name to reveal the whole truth anyway, and I’d rather she heard it from me.

“Riiight,” she drawls as a reply.

“And why exactly do you need a security guard for?”

As I glance back up at her I can see that she’s worried, she actually fears that it might someone link to her life being in danger. No, this isn’t what I want at all – it’s time to lay my cards out on the table, and to hope for the best.

“I’m the prince,” I say with a hint of self-deprecation in my voice.

I hate this part, it absolutely terrifies me, and now more than ever before. What Faith thinks of me is so much more important than the rest of the world, which is strange because I’ve only just met her.

“Prince Edward Leighton.”

I watch closely as her face goes through a range of emotions, before she finally settles on an odd sense of calm.

“Okay,” she smiles bemusedly.

“You have your own castle then.”

At first I think that she’s mocking me, and that she doesn’t quite believe me, but I quickly realize that she’s just dealing with it in the best way she can.

It’s much better than most anyway, usually girls starting latching onto me as if I’m going to give them their very own crown. It drives me insane. The other reaction I get is one of annoyance – people don’t like the money I have – and that’s hard to deal with too.

“I do,” I nod.

“A big one too. Although I have to say, I like this one better.”

She laughs happily, which completely gets rid of any awkwardness in the room. We’ve quickly gone back to being just Faith and me once more, which is perfect. Just what I need. She’s the first person ever to react so minimally, and that makes me like her even more.

“So are you going to tell me a bit more about you?” I ask, genuinely interested.

I’d much rather find out where Faith came from, than worry about my life.

“Err, well okay, but I don’t know if my life is going to be as interesting as yours!”

“You’d be surprised,” I admit.

“It’s not actually as wonderful as everyone assumes.”

It’s been difficult having a life that is my own, under constant scrutiny, and never being able to do what I want. This day has been the first free one that I’ve ever had in a very long time, and I can’t wait for the few weeks that stretch in front of me. It took me a long time to convince everyone that I would be fine, and I really intend to make the most of it.

But before I can explain anymore, my phone blasts out loudly, shaking me completely from the moment.

“Oh hang on, it’s Marcus calling back with news of our escape.”

I pick up quickly, suddenly wondering what will become of Faith and me when we get out of here. I don’t want to lose her now just as I’m getting to know her. I almost don’t want us to be rescued… not just yet anyway.

“Hello?” I ask anxiously, suddenly feeling weird about the whole thing.

“Edward, I’m really sorry. I cannot do anything to get you out personally. I’m outside the museum, but I have to wait for the head supervisor to drive back down here to release you.”

My heart rate actually slows down. We aren’t getting out just yet after all, which I feel oddly happy about.

“She’ll be here as quick as she can, so can you just sit tight for a little while longer?”

“Of course,” I reassure him.

“Thanks Marcus, I’ll be fine.”

“And… and the girl?” He asks nervously.

Clearly he’s afraid that there’s going to be some crazy PR worries when it comes to me being locked in here with a stranger, but unless the rest of the world finds out, there won’t be any worries.

At least, I’m pretty sure there won’t be. Faith doesn’t seem like the ‘kiss and tell’ type. Not that there’s been any kissing…

“She’s okay too; she’s sitting here with me.” I send Faith a smile, which she reciprocates happily.

“We’ll be fine, thank you.” As I hang up the phone, I can’t help but burst into a big grin as I sit myself back down.

“We’ll be getting out soon enough, they just need to wait for the manager to come and sort out the alarm system.”

“Okay thank you,” she settles back into her seat comfortably.

“So, tell me more about this idyllic… or not so idyllic childhood.”

We chat through the next hour, learning more about each other’s childhoods and lives up until this point, and I find myself falling deeper and deeper with every passing second.

Faith is interesting, exciting, and wonderfully sweet. I’ve never met anyone like her, and I really don’t want to let her go.

I weirdly feel like we’re meant to be here in this moment, and I hope she has the same sensation deep down.

She makes me laugh, and she almost makes me cry as she tells me about the difficulties that she’s always faced with her parents, and the loss of her grandparents, but by the end of it, I feel like we have created an unbreakable bond.

As she tells me a funny story that happened to her while she was studying for her degree, I find myself staring at her lips, wondering what it would be like to kiss her.

I’ve never felt this way about anyone before; I’ve always just kissed people because I thought that they were hot, not because I actually like them.

That random thought while I was on the phone has me pondering, and the more that I like this girl, the more I want to act upon it.

“…and that’s what made me decide to travel Europe,” she concludes, making me realize that I’ve missed the end of the story somewhere along the line.

“So you’re going everywhere?” I ask, trying to focus this time.

I cannot keep getting lost like that or she’ll start to think that I’m strange!

“Yes,” my heart flutters as she blushes once more.

She’s so adorable, how am I supposed to resist her?

“I like England, and I can’t wait to see some more wonderful places like this, but there’s a lot of awesome history all over Europe too. I can’t wait to get to places like Belgium to see the Menin Gate…”

“Wow,” I gasp as a reply.

I really want to see that too. I wish for a second that I could go with her, but how can I ask to join her on her travels without sounding too forward? I might have only spent time with people that have similar backgrounds to myself, but even I know that’s a little strange.

“That’s amazing.”

Instead of finding a reply, I find myself leaning in for a kiss, unable to stop myself any longer. I don’t know what comes over me, only that I can’t go for another second without having her in my arms – it’s some sort of carpe diem revelation that I cannot ignore.

As if she can sense where I’m going, Faith leans her body in closer, proving to me that she wants this just as much as I do. Her eyes have taken on a dreamlike quality, which suggests that she’s as consumed by lust as me.

I sneak one arm around her waist and I immediately feel a sense of right coming over me.

It feels like this moment is supposed to happen, and that Faith and I were always destined to meet.

As our lips crash together, and we meld into one another, I start to lose my mind. She feels amazing and I never want this moment to end…

“Do you think that they’re in here?” A familiar voice booms out just at the wrong moment, causing us to jump apart as if we’ve been electrocuted.

“Marcus,” I mouth to her.

“They’re here.”

The way her face falls matches my feelings exactly, which is what gives me the bravery to ask my next question.

“Do you… would you maybe like to go on a date with me sometime?”

My heart pounds as I watch her eyes flick open with surprise.

“I… I mean…”

“I’d love to,” she jumps in before my insecurities can get the better of me.

“Here,” she reaches into her bag and grabs a business card with all of her information on.

“Give me a call and we’ll set something up.”

Just as the men walk into the room, I stuff the card into my pocket wanting to keep this moment to myself. I don’t need a lecture from Marcus about playing around when I don’t feel like I am. This is different, what I feel for Faith is something unique, and I want to keep that just for me.

“Come on,” Marcus booms.

“Let’s get out of here before we can get into any real trouble.”

3
Faith

M
y phone pings
with a message for the first time at midnight, only a few short hours after we left the museum, and almost instantly, my entire body starts to tremble with excitement.

Here I am, lying in a hotel in Cornwall, and the prince of the entire country is texting me.

Am I dreaming? Is this real? Has this
actually
happened on my first day of my travels? It’s unbelievable.

Whatever fantasy I could have concocted in my mind about what my travels were going to be like, I never could have come up with something as amazing as what’s actually happened!

‘Hi Faith, its Edward. Meeting you today was wonderful, and I cannot wait to spend more time with you. Would it be okay to take you out tomorrow afternoon for a while? X’

It’s almost like a normal message from an average person, but it isn’t.

If I think about Edward, it’s easy to see him as someone just like me, but the reality of his situation keeps hitting me in the face and totally shocking me.

“Be cool,” I whisper to myself.

“Don’t come across as too eager.”

My happiness to see more of Edward was much less to do with who he was though – I would have been happy no matter what. It’s him I like, he has this aura that just drags me in.

We have a weird amount in common considering our varied backgrounds, and I can’t wait to explore that further.

Plus, that kiss… wow, that was something else!

It caused a stirring of emotions inside of me like no other. I’d only ever had one semiserious boyfriend before, but I’d never felt that deep passion for him. It was more of a comfort in his presence, and he never once made me nervous.

Being with Edward was completely different, in the best possible way. I wasn’t sure I could ever just be content with anyone ever again, not after experiencing that true passion.

‘Hi Edward, that sounds lovely, thank you. I can’t wait to see you again. Faith’

I hit send before I can re-read it, and when I do, I cringe a little. Did that sound too formal and weird? Ugh, I’m no good at this!

I’ve never ‘dated’ before, and it feels crazy to be starting that now, on the other side of the world.

‘I will pick you up at 1 pm xxx’

1 pm. That leaves me with a whole morning to stew and panic, but at least it’s going to end with Edward and me once more. I honestly don’t know how I would feel if we went our separate ways with no promise. It might have tainted my entire trip…

I lay my head down on the cool pillow, just thinking over that kiss once more. There were definitely fireworks inside of me that are still there now, and I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for us…

* * *

M
y second morning
in England passes in a haze.

I do a bit of sightseeing and shopping, but my heart isn’t really in it. My mind is distracted, thinking only of my upcoming date. Sure, the sole purpose of me being in the UK is to learn more about the culture, but right now my brain is filled with one image – that of the most handsome man I’d ever laid my eyes upon.

I just cannot believe that someone so gorgeous and someone with such a title would even look at someone like me, never mind show any kind of interest. It’s incredible.

It doesn’t hit me that I probably should have brought something new to wear until I get back to the hotel to get dressed. I didn’t pack anything too special when I was planning my trip, because to be honest dating was so far at the back of mind that I hadn't even considered it.

Now, I’m about to head out to dinner with the prince and I have one better brand dress to wear. A red skater dress that couldn’t be more inappropriate if it tried.

When I think about the sort of women that Edward must normally date, my heart races with concern. He probably goes out with the richest women on the planet, who have the most amazing clothing. I’m going to look like I’m arriving in a trash bag…

But then I allow myself to forget that he’s a prince, just for a second, and I remember the time we spent together yesterday, locked up in that museum.

He seemed to like me for the person that I am, and if I remember that, everything will be okay. If he wants to be with some rich, well-dressed woman then he will be. It’s me that he kissed, and me that he asked out.

Everything will be fine.

But as I stare at my appearance in the mirror, looking at my naturally wavy blonde hair spilling down my back, and my very minimal makeup, I’m not convinced.

I just cannot be certain that I’ll ever be good enough, and the insecurity isn’t going anywhere.

“Okay,” I try to reassure myself.

“He’s going to pick you up in a minute, and you need to pull yourself together.”

But since it doesn’t help, I decide that the best thing I can do is to go outside to get some fresh air. The Cornish air has been doing me good anyway, so hopefully it’ll fill me with the confidence that I so desperately need.

As I step into the warm, sunny breeze, I immediately start to feel a little calmer. Not looking at my reflection in the mirror has helped a lot, as has the gorgeous scenery. I’ve never been anywhere like this before, and I don’t think it’s a sight that I’ll ever get bored of.

An engine roars out from behind me distracting me from my Cornish fantasies, and I spin around to see a stretch limousine pulling up behind me.

“Oh my God,” I blurt out without even thinking.

“What’s this?”

Edward’s face appears at the window, and his smile melts my heart all over again. All my worries and my insecurities fade away as it’s clear from his expression that he does still like me, and that he appreciates my appearance even if it isn’t what he’s used to.

“Hi Faith,” he grins, flashing those irresistible dimples at me.

“It’s lovely to see you again; do you want to get in?”

I nod, feeling more than a little stunned. This is too much for little old me – I’ve never been treated like this before, and I’ve never craved it. That’s not to say it doesn’t feel nice though, it’s always lovely to be treated like… well, a princess!

As I step inside, my eyes flick everywhere, drinking in the luxurious appearance that’s posher than any home that I’ve ever seen… never mind car! It’s unbelievable.

“Wow,” I gasp in shock.

“Where are we going?”

“I thought that we could go for lunch in the Royal Cornwall Museum,” he announces, sounding pleased with himself, and he absolutely should.

To me that’s the most romantic date I ever could have thought of!

“But won’t that be a bit… public?” I ask, cringing at my words.

I hate to sound like such an idiot, but I assumed we would go somewhere where no one could recognize him. What if we get photographed, or mobbed, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for that. I can already picture the nasty newspaper headlines about me now, and I don’t like the thought of that one bit.

‘Prince with Tramp.’

‘Prince Edward Lowers His Standards.’

‘Prince and the Pauper.’

“I’ve booked it all out,” he shrugs his shoulders as if it’s nothing, but to me it’s huge.

It’s a massive statement that suggests his feelings might run as deeply as mine do. That isn’t the sort of thing you do for just anyone – even if you are a prince!

“And I have a historian expert coming to discuss the exhibits with us. You might have heard of him, David Timlin?”

“What?” I gasp excitedly.

“Are you serious?”

I studied a lot of David’s Timlin’s work when I was at college, so to actually meet him in person would be something else.

“I can’t believe it.”

“Well I remembered you mentioning his book last night, so I thought it would be a nice treat.”

I have no answer to that, I’m stunned. Who does something like that? I guess that must be one of the advantages of being royalty – you can command such events to happen – but the fact that he was actually listening to me and paying attention. It’s almost too much!

As the car whizzes through Cornwall, we alternate between chatting some more, and drinking in the wonderful views that we pass. Coming from a small American town, I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I wonder to myself if this is the sort of place I could live in forever.

I picture myself living in one of the beautiful Cornish seaside cottages, exploring the beach every single day, working on site of one of the castles, studying medieval history even more, and it’s an image that I will to come true. I couldn’t think of anything better!

That would be the perfect life for me.

“We’re here,” Edward finally announces, dragging my attention back to him.

“Come on, let’s go.”

He holds my hand lightly in his as he leads me down the corridors. My eyes scan over the exhibits that I can see from where we are, and I can’t wait to get to see them, but for now, I’m excited about lunch. Not only am I very hungry, but I cannot wait to spend some more one on one time with Edward.

He walks me into a café, which he’s clearly decorated to look like a fancy restaurant, and my heart beats with anxiety. This is the most romantic thing that I’ve ever had done for me, and it’s very difficult not to let the emotion overcome me.

“Wow,” I gasp, repeating myself all over again.

“This is amazing. I don’t even know what to say.”

I’m finding myself increasingly speechless, and that’s all because of Edward. He really is the perfect man.

He leads me to a seat and offers me a menu that has clearly not come from this place. He even has a special chef come in to cook for me – this is insane.

It can’t be what he does for every girl, can it? I study the words carefully in front of me, trying to keep the happy tears inside. I’ve never felt so amazing in my entire life, and it’s almost overwhelming.

We order what we want to eat quickly, and then get back to the laughing and teasing banter that we’ve always had between us.

Not only does it not really feel like Edward is royalty, it also feels like we’ve known each other for years. He feels like someone who has always been in my life, which strips away any potential awkwardness before it even arises.

Once we’ve eaten, the very famous David Timlin enters the room, and he offers to take us around the museum.

As we walk through the exhibitions, I find myself learning things that I’ve never known before and it’s fascinating.

The fact that Edward has arranged this for me makes me feel like the most special person on the entire planet. It’s a date tailored just to me and what I like, which is made even better by the fact that we even get to view some exhibits that aren’t available to the public yet.

As I get to see things that no one else has, I feel that odd excitement that can only have come from sharing my odd hobby with someone who loves it just as much as I do.

“This is amazing,” I keep whispering to Edward, feeling increasingly grateful with every second that passes.

“Thank you so much. I’m having the best time.”

But the best part about this entire date is the fact that he seems to be enjoying as much as I do. I’ve never found a kindred spirit before and I really feel like I have in Edward. He’s like the male version of me, and that excites and amuses me in equal measures.

It’s just a shame that we come from opposite ends of the world – in terms of location and class. That makes it’s unlikely that anything could ever become of us, which is disappointing because I like him so much.

I can try and see us as a holiday romance of sorts to make it easier, but it’s difficult when my feelings run so strong. Already.

Oh God, am I in too deep?

By the time we have seen everything that the museum has to offer, my heart is racing and my mind is distracted by my feelings.

I already know that I’m going to end up with my heart broken if I keep spending time with Edward, and that is terrifying.

I should put an end to this now, call off this date and return to the hotel. Then tomorrow morning, I should move on to my next location as planned and carry on with my travels. Get out before everything is ruined.

Then Edward asks the question that changes everything.

“Would you like to come with me to see Harrington Hall? It’s one of the royal residences that I’ve been staying in, and I’d love to show you around?”

“Really?” My heart pounds wildly, my intrigue too much to say no.

“Are you sure?”

I’ve never even considered seeing a modern day royal home, and I can’t stop myself from really wanting to.

Stop it,
I tell myself.
Get out before you get hurt.

But I completely ignore myself and I find myself nodding anyway.

“That sounds lovely.”

“I just have to warn you,” he says, his expression has now turned serious.

“That my mum might be there. She did mention some work she had in this area of the world… but I’m sure it’s just to check up on me.”

He smiles weakly at me, but my mind races. His mum… does he mean the queen?

The queen of England? She might be there? I might have to meet her?

Oh my God!

BOOK: Dirty Crown: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Royal Romance (with BONUS book - Rebel Rockstar!)
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