Not every Prince is charming…
How long did it take you to fall in love?
For my best friend Finn her fairytale took a little time: Now she lives out her HEA as wife to her 4 ‘husbands’ on the ranch where all the magic happened.
For me, it’s more complicated:
When it comes to romance, Hope has a fixed and final to-don’t list.
Don’t do fairy tales
Don’t do love
Don’t do happily ever after’s
I’m a party girl.
Having fun is my favourite pastime, work is my passion
And finalising this deal with Jorgen is my mission.
Jorgen Jensen is Danish royalty.
Rude, rich and secretive.
He’s also too hot for my own good and has planned a mission all of his own.
One month with him in his paradise.
One month to play.
One month to change my mind.
When I find myself on Finn’s doorstep I’m a little dazed and confused and desperate to forget.
I need my friend, I need a distraction
And I need to keep my mouth shut about my mistake.
That shouldn’t be too hard – should it?
“I need this money.” My leg bounces, and Morris presses his hand flat on my knee, stopping the tick and squeezing some comfort into me.
“It’s why we’re here.” He pats my thigh, and the heat from his meaty hand infuses comfort through the thin woollen fabric of my dress.
“Actually, I have no idea why we’re here.”
“Come on, Hope, no time for second thoughts, this is a great investment opportunity.” His pale grey eyes look directly into mine, both kindly and wise, and go some way towards reassur- ing me.
“Oh, I know it is, that’s not what I meant. I have no idea why a company like BlueSky wants to invest. They only invest in medical research. I didn’t even bother to send them the ini- tial expression of interest form because of their strict criteria.” I contacted a hundred different banks, investment institutions, and venture capital firms. However, I only sought out those where I thought we, as a company, ‘fit’ or stood a hope in hell’s chance of securing the necessary backing.
“I told you, they contacted me.”
“You said that, I know, but how did they even know about us? It’s possible they might’ve been at that that Dragon’s Den fi- asco the other day, I suppose. Your name is one of the contacts on the proposals I left there that evening.” I ponder the tenuous links. At the time, I was so excited to get the call from Morris telling me we had a meeting, that after so many rejections, I for- got to ask the niggling questions.
“It’s probably not some huge conspiracy, Hope, but you can grill them on it if you wish, or you can thank your lucky stars that someone wants to invest and go in there and secure your dream.”
“Right, yes, sorry. I guess it doesn’t matter.” Morris nods, and we both fall silent. The nerves won’t allow me any quiet time, and barely a second passes before I’m rambling my thoughts out loud. “I wonder what it’s like to be born into royalty? It must be nice to have centuries of wealth and privilege to cushion the sharp edges of everyday life.”
“He lost his wife to cancer after only one year of marriage, Hope. I hardly think that’s conducive to a soft landing, and BlueSky isn’t family money; it’s his. He’s an inventor.” Morris’s clipped tone is more like a reprimand, and I smart from the sting.
“I did read that. I didn’t mean anything by it, Morris. I’m sorry.”
“Judgment doesn’t suit you, Hope.”
“Really? Because you know we are cut from the same cloth when it comes to that particular talent.” The irony is as thick and flat as my tone.
He smirks. “True. Still, in this case, I think this book is more than his cover or his provenance.” The elevator pings, and we both look down the corridor to the opening door. Holy crap in a crap-bucket!
“Please tell me that’s not him?” My mouth is instantly dry. I think it’s the only part of my body that is. I can feel the sheen of perspiration lick my skin, and if two piercing eyes weren’t fixed on me the instant the door revealed this godlike apparition, I would cross my legs. It has to be him and—fuuuck—I really hope it isn’t.
Why is there something strangely familiar about this man?
His long strides eat up the corridor, so much so his companion is having to jog to keep up. He has a seriously sexy scowl darkening his features. His strong jawline is currently sporting the ghost of a five o’clock shadow, and a mess of dirty blonde hair moves to hide his eyes with every step he takes. Even so, he’s still looking in our direction, and I find I can’t look any- where else. I’m staring, and I would probably be drooling, too, if any and all moisture in my body hadn’t headed south the instant I clocked this month’s cover of GQ. No, not GQ. He’s not a pretty boy; he’s a man, sexy, stubbly and smoldering, a threat of roughness clad in a perfectly tailored three-piece navy suit, a smoking hot sex-on-legs Adonis.
I blink slowly, severing the eye contact, which gives me the precious second I need to remind myself why I’m here. I’m here for money, not a man. Even if the sight of this man is wreaking a little havoc on my senses, or that he is, in fact, a member of the Danish Royal Family, in line for the throne, or that I don’t much care which throne, as it turns out. Or that his company saves lives with its innovations in medical research and that he’s interested in investing in my company.
He’s just a man.
So why have my ovaries just sent out a ‘save the date’ card to my brain?
I haven’t ever reacted to any man the way I can feel myself reacting to him. Get a fucking grip, Hope!
The two men stop before they reach the main reception area, so I don’t get a closer look. Not that his effect could be any more of a sucker punch, but I would like to see the colour of his eyes. He hesitates and glances my way, his gaze meeting mine. I suck in a shocked breath at the intensity of the connection and the horror that he might’ve heard my last thought. I didn’t say that out loud did I? He disappears through the boardroom door, and only then does Morris answer the question I’ve already answered.
“Shh, and you know it’s him; you read the file, remember?” “It didn’t have pictures. This is bad.” Pulling at the modest scoop neck of my dress, residual heat quickly escapes, and I try and generate some moisture in my mouth, which is bone-dry, and I feel ridiculous. I remember him now.
“Why is this bad?”
“You’ve got eyes right? You did just see the godlike man in the corridor?” My hand waves erratically in the direction of the boardroom, failing to hide the rising hysteria in my hushed mutterings.
“He does have a Thor: Ragnarok thing going on,” Morris muses with a wistful sigh.
“I’ve met him before.” A slew of tingles ignite at the memory, tearing through my body like a wildfire.
“Really? When?” Morris smoothly glides around in his seat to fully face me, his expression one of amused interest.
“Well, not met met, but I’ve seen him before. We had a moment.”
“Yes, a moment. You know when you catch someone’s glance, and it’s so on?”
“So you’ve glanced at him. Stop the press, I hear wedding bells.” His dramatic gasp and fluttering hand to his chest are savage.
“You’re funny, Morris. I’m just saying…” You weren’t there. “What are you saying?”
“Nothing.” My tone is a little harsh, and I hate that the mem-
ory suddenly has me all riled up. I never let any man effect me like this, no matter how smoking hot they are.
“So what happened?”
“That might be a first.” He hums low after speaking, and a sly,
knowing expression makes him look extremely smug. “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t fuck everyone I have a ‘moment’ with, Morris.”
“I’m sure you don’t. I was, in this instance, however, refer-
ring to the look of regret on your face.”
“Pff! That’s not…oh, shut up.” He falls into a deep chuckle,
happy that his irritatingly astute teasing pushed the right ‘piss Hope off ’ button.
“Hope, I think even you can keep it in your pants for a forty minute presentation.” Morris mocks, keeping his tone deadpan. “Again with the funny. You’re on fire this morning, Mr.
Fisher,” I bite out with a tight smile, tension still gripping my guts and messing with my mind. I have a lot going on in there.