Royally Matched (Royally Series)(4)

By: Emma Chase



What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas—but what happens at The Goat never sees the light of day.

The man responsible for the hush-hush environment is the owner, Evan Macalister—The Goat’s been in his family for generations. When I slide onto the bar stool, he’s the stout, flannel-shirt-wearing bloke who puts a frothy pint in front of me.

I hold up my palm. “Step aside, Guinness—this is a job for whiskey.”

He grabs a bottle from behind the bar, pouring me a shot. “Rough day at the Palace, Your Highness?”

“They’re all I seem to have lately.” I bring the shot to my lips, tilt my head back, and swallow it down.

Most people drink to dull the senses, to forget. But the burn that singes my throat is a welcome pain. It makes me feel awake. Alive. It gives me focus.

I motion for another.

“Where’s Meg tonight?” I ask.

She’s Macalister’s daughter, and a former late-night rendezvous of my brother’s before he met little Olive. I’m not picky when it comes to women, I don’t mind seconds and there’s nothing sloppy about Meg—but I wouldn’t fuck her even if the world were ending. My one rule when it comes to the opposite sex is to not dip my wick anywhere remotely near where my brother’s has been.

That’s just disgusting.

Still, I’d rather be looking at her pretty face—and arse.

“She’s out with the lad she’s been seeing. Tristan or Preston or some other girl’s blouse name like that.” He pours a shot for himself, muttering, “He’s a useless bastard.”

“Aren’t we all?”

He chuckles. “That’s what the wife likes to remind me of. Accordin’ to her I was hopeless before she got her hands on me.”

I raise my glass. “To good women—may they never stop seeing us as we could be, and not what we are.”

“Amen.” He taps his shot glass to mine and we both drain our glasses.

“I’ll drink to that.”

This quip comes from a petite brunette who slips onto the stool beside me.

I can practically feel James, my light-haired, stalwart security shadow, watching us from his spot near the door. I’m used to security detail, it’s not new, but in the last year it’s gotten heavier, tighter—like a noose.

“What’ll you have, Miss?” Macalister asks.

“Whatever Prince Henry is having,” she replies with a smile, dropping enough bills on the bar to pay for both our drinks.

I like women. No, I love women. The way they move, how they think, the sound of their voices, the scent of their skin—their warmth and softness. But there’s nothing soft about this woman. She’s all angles—prominent cheekbones, taut limbs, a pointy chin and dark hair cut in a severe bob just below her ears. Not unattractive—but slim and sharp like an arrow. She sounds American and looks near my age, but there’s an aggressive air about her that I’ve only encountered in middle-aged women. Cougars. I adore cougars—women who are experienced enough to know exactly what they want and confident enough to say it out loud.

I’m intrigued. And horny. I haven’t had a good, thorough shag since . . . Nicholas’s wedding. Christ—it’s been months. No wonder I’m a basket case.

Macalister fills a mug with Guinness and sets a shot in front of her. Then he refills my shot glass and makes himself busy down at the other end of the bar.

I turn in my seat, lifting my glass. “Cheers.”

Her eyes are ice blue. “Bottoms up.”

I wink. “One of my favorite positions.”

She gives a snort, then downs her shot like a pro. Licking her lips, she eyes my left forearm. “Nice tattoo.”

It’s two tattoos, actually. The Royal Coat of Arms begins below my wrist and under it, the military crest of Wessco. I had the first done when I was sixteen, when I slipped my security detail after curfew at boarding school and went into town with a few friends. I thought I could wear long sleeves and my grandmother would never know. That illusion lasted exactly one day—that’s how long it took for photos of me at the tattoo parlor to be splashed across all the papers. I had the second added a few years ago—just after basic training—with the lads from my unit.

“Thanks.”

She holds out her hand. “I’m Vanessa Steele.”

Definitely American. If she were from Wessco, she would bow. I shake her hand; it’s dry and smooth. “Henry. But you already know that.”

“I do. You’re a difficult man to get in touch with.”

I sip my pint. “Then how about I finish my drink and you can touch me till your heart’s content, love.”

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