Prince Albert:A Billionaire Stepbrother Romance(9)

By: Sabrina Paige

I shrug. “I don’t think I feel like it right now,” I say. “Maybe I will later, if you ask politely.”

“I just asked nicely,” she says, through clenched teeth. “You’re really not going to get it annulled?”

“Come on, luv,” I say, not bothering to hide my grin. “Isn’t it more fun this way?”

I don’t wait for her response before I press on the electronic keypad that opens the door to the passageway. I think I hear her protest, but I don’t wait for her response.

I’m whistling as I walk down the hallway, my footsteps on the plush carpeting suddenly light as air. I’d only come back to the palace because my term of service in the Royal Protrovian Army was up, and my father had a heart scare that turned out to be an ulcer, not a heart attack. And because he wanted me to get to know his future wife – Sofia Kensington.

Even in the military, I was treated with kid gloves, as the son of the king. So I’m enjoying the fact that Little Miss Do-Gooder isn’t taking any shit. She gives back as good as I dish out.

Maybe coming back to the palace won’t be as damn boring as I anticipated.



That dickhead.

That stupid, arrogant, childish, irresponsible ass.

I pull open the drawer that holds the clothes I arrived with – one duffel bag, nothing fancy. In fact, it was so un-fancy that the butler who escorted me to my room when I arrived a few hours ago practically sniffed at me, disdain written all over his face. I wonder if my bag has already been burned, so as not to contaminate the palace.

Rummaging through my clothes – perfectly folded and placed in the drawers for me, each item separated by fancy lavender tissue paper embossed with the royal crest in gold filigree -- I yank on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I want out of this stupid dress and these uncomfortable heels.

In fact, I should just get a flight out of here. I could head back to the States.

I mean, sure, everything is different now. It's been two years since I've lived in the States. I was supposed to go back and move in with Derek.

Derek and I had been in a long-distance relationship while I was in Africa, which seemed like the thing to do at the time, although in retrospect, it was obviously a stupid idea. But we'd dated throughout college, and my mother and his parents were friends. It's not as if we had no history together.

It was expected that we’d be together. But if I were being honest with myself, I’d admit to myself that I was never in love with him. Not really.

It was far too easy to leave him for two years to go to Africa. It shouldn’t be that easy to walk away from someone you love.

To say that my mother will be disappointed with my breakup will be an understatement. It’s the reason I’d been avoiding her phone calls for the past week, hiding out while I got my shit together after the Vegas debacle. She had to send bodyguards and a private plane to escort me to Protrovia, ostensibly because I was avoiding her calls, but also because that’s just like her, to do something like that for dramatic effect.

There’s a single knock on the door, and the door swings open without hesitation. My mother closes it swiftly behind her, standing with her hands on the doorknob behind her back as if she needs it to support her. “Isabella Kensington,” she says, her tone harsh.

“I understand you're upset, Mother," I start. "I had planned on telling you about what happened with Derek. I just needed some time."

"No," she says, walking toward me with long strides, her expression calm. You'd never know she was upset in the least, not to look at her. "Upset isn't the right word to use in a situation like this. Right now, I’m devastated."

I choke back a laugh. "Devastated?" I ask. "You're devastated about my broken engagement? I think that's how I should feel."

She holds her hand up, making a silence gesture. "I tolerated your need to run off to that God-forsaken continent to save the world. I was more than understanding."

"Yes, you were the epitome of support," I say, my tone bitter. I applied for the two-year position without telling anyone, using my mother’s maiden name and keeping my secret until I knew I’d gotten it without any connection to my mother or the Kensington fortune. I only told her after I’d already made the decision and accepted the position.

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