Home > Royal Line (Tattered Royals #1)

Royal Line (Tattered Royals #1)
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan

 

ROYAL LINE

 

 

A princess on the run finds her version of a prince in this epic beginning to the Tattered Royals stand-alone series.

I never asked for my tiara.

My dreams were always bigger than a palace. They’re as big as the world.

Being fourth in line for the throne should have guaranteed me freedom.

I thought I was one step from walking away forever, but a long-forgotten rule forces me to run instead.

I refuse to marry a Duke and bear an heir to save our titles.

I trust my brothers to find a way to save my future, but first I need to save myself.

Only I never expected to meet danger…and Kannon Adams along the way.

I never asked for her.

My security business has secured all the clueless princess types I can handle.

Princess London Waterford of Alden is a whole other level of trouble.

Not to mention gorgeous and tempting as royal sin. Too bad she’s also in danger.

When the bullets fly, I trust no one else to protect her, even if she pushes me away.

Together, we must find who’s behind the threat to her life and try not to get caught in the crossfire.

One night together might never be enough, but if those who want her dead have a say, it’ll be our last.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

London

 

 

Heavy is the head that wears the tiara.

 

 

In the dark, with only the moonlight to guide me, my shoes made barely a sound on the cobblestones. The slight chill in the spring air sent a cascade of goosebumps over my skin even as I hustled out of the palace.

My heart rate increased as I forced my breath to even out. If I got caught, it would be bad. Very bad. As in, find out if Alden had dungeons bad.

It’s not a mistake. You know what you’re doing. You know why you’re doing it. You just need to make it to the car.

Behind me there is the echo of footsteps, the clip-clop sound echoing against the walls of the palace and the exterior buildings. With each staccato step, they drew nearer, and my heart threatened to race right out of my chest.

I whirled on the shadow chasing me. “I swear to God, Kate, you have to be quieter.”

My childhood friend blinked dark eyes at me. “You can’t be serious. When you said you had something important to do and you needed my help, I didn’t think you meant tonight.”

I’d needed help since I knew there was no way I’d be able to get all my equipment out of my room, down the passageways and tunnels, and all the way to the parking lot by myself…unseen. And now it seemed like I might not have asked the right person.

I sighed and took my rolling suitcase from her. “Look, I get it. This makes you really uncomfortable. Have I mentioned what a great friend you are? You’re a star. And if you start having second thoughts, just remember, this job is important. There are people counting on me to get to Brazil. It’s an amazing opportunity. And on top of that, I actually get to do some good.”

I hitched a thumb back toward the palace ballroom. “In there, yes, there’s duty and tradition, but I’m not doing any good. Not any real good anyway. I’m bound by my place in the hierarchy. In Brazil it’s hands-on. And it’s important. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. So please try and understand.”

She sighed. Her thick auburn hair was coiled into a smooth chignon, and her dark eyes softened as she spoke. “I understand. You’ve been obsessed with being a photographer since you were little and your mom would take you out on photo excursions. I get that since she died, you’ve been obsessed with picking up her mantle. Taking on the dream that she had to give up by marrying a prince. But honestly, London. Your brother forbade this.”

“And,” I whispered as I lugged my bag past the stables, down toward the north parking lot right by the visitor’s gates, “when he forbade it, he didn’t give me a good reason. It’s not like I’m needed here. Between Roman, Breck, and Wilder, they have duty and honor handled. My only role here is to sit around and look pretty if Aunt Rebecca is to be believed. And I can do so much more than that. Have so much more impact than that.”

Kate’s dark eyes met mine. They were filled with worry and exasperation. We’d grown up together. Our mothers had been close. We’d gone to all the same boarding schools. Had all the same friends.

I’d leaned on her a lot after Mom died. And in turn had held her hand when her father passed away two years ago. I’d also threatened to maim and dismember Jamison Croft, the financier who had broken her heart. Or rather their engagement. But I knew her heart had always belonged to my brother, Wilder.

It didn’t matter how much Wilder doted on her like a little sister. Rubbed her head like she was one of the lads. She still looked at him like the sun shined out of his rear end.

I knew she couldn’t understand what I was doing or why I was doing it. Kate loved the pomp and circumstance of the court. And for the most part, I loved the tradition too. But some of the rules just didn’t make sense.

For so long, I’d wanted to please my brothers. I wanted to do all the right things. But there were moments when I felt like I was choking on all the right things. There were moments when I knew doing the right thing would require breaking a rule or two.

And tonight was one of those moments. I’d been given a photography assignment as a junior stringer for the BBC’s environmental division. I’d applied under one of my aliases. To them, I was London Smith. Plain Jane photographer from Sydney. For the most part we corresponded online, and nobody was the wiser. And I loved it.

By and large, if I was traveling out of Alden, I’d notify the team, tell them where I was going, and I would be given small assignments. It was always a bit tricky trying to do those assignments with constant bodyguards in tow. But I’d managed it pretty well for the last nine months.

But this was my first major assignment. I was being sent to Brazil to photograph Immanuel Sosa, the newest mayor of Sao Paolo, about his Green Earth initiatives. It was my chance to really prove myself. But somehow, Roman had gotten wind of it before I’d even been able to present my case.

I still didn’t know how he’d managed that.

A week ago, he’d come to me and told me not to even think about it. We had words, and then, like some kind of authoritarian dictator, he’d told me to know my place. My place. My brother, who I loved with all my heart, had looked me in the eye and told me it was for my own good to stay put. For my own good to do as I was told. For my own good to give up this dream. And I knew that I couldn’t.

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