Dirty Royal:A Bad Boy Royal Romance

By: Amelia Wilde

A Bad Boy Royal Romance




Chapter 1

Jessica





The Purple Swan is on fire tonight.

Not literally, of course. But there’s clearly a heated kind of energy zipping through the ultra-exclusive dining and dancing club in the heart of New York City tonight. It’s evident everywhere—radiating from the couples swaying on the dance floor, emanating from the groups of twenty-somethings laughing raucously at the white linen–covered tables, and even projecting through the waiters who move double-time across the room in their spotless Swan uniforms, black jackets with crisp white shirts, with trays filled with glasses of sparkling drinks and plates of Michelin-star quality food so meticulously arranged it’s almost a shame to eat it.

That fire embodies everyone, the drinks and the food and the wild purposeless celebration of the night filling my friends to the brim. Their laughter is loud as they order delicacy after delicacy and send away piles of empty plates, their drinks never running dry.

It touches me, too.

Just not like it touches them.

It’s like my friends are out splashing and having fun playing in the ocean while I’m left standing on the shore, the waves lapping at my toes but never coming up over my ankles.

My friends love me—I seldom if ever doubt that—but there’s a barrier existing between us that I’ll never quite cross, no matter how often I get invited to the Purple Swan, no matter how often I borrow a new couture dress from my roommate, no matter how loudly I laugh along with them to their stories and jokes.

Everyone sitting at the table around me tonight, including my date—a nervous guy named Rick who has a pleasant enough face but absolutely no charisma—belongs to the top one percent of the wealthiest people in the country, if not the world.

Except me. I just know how to play the part.

“Jessica!” calls Christian Pierce from across the table, cheeks flushed pink and eyes glistening from the numerous drinks he’s downed over the course of the evening. This version of him is, if you can believe it, mellower than when I first met him. “Where are you, sweet thing?”

I can’t help but laugh. Christian can get away with saying that shit, but it’s only because we were part of a close group of friends at boarding school. That makes me sound upper crust, but don’t let it fool you. A scholarship put me through school. Christian’s father could have bankrolled the whole place.

“In my head, Chris. I can’t help it.”

“Tell me,” says Rick, leaning hesitantly toward me from his seat. “What entertains you, Jessica?”

It’s a bizarre question, and as I glance back over at Rick, giving him as much of a smile as I can muster, I feel so fatigued from spending time with him that I want to lay my head down on the table right there in front of everyone.

“I have my hobbies,” I say coyly before turning back to my friends.

Rick can’t let it go.

“Like what?”

The rest of the people sitting around the table are talking about a new Star Trek movie that’s due out this summer, and even that’s preferable to enduring stilted first-date conversation with a man I’m never going to go out with again.

I knew that within the first five minutes. Now I’m regretting being so polite.

“Um…” I’ve had several drinks myself, and suddenly I can’t think of a single thing I like to do in my spare time. I’m usually up for going out with friends after spending another draining day in the office, but what the hell do I like to do? Maybe this city, this club scene, is sapping me of my adventurous spirit.

Maybe I’ve just had too much to drink.

I see movement in the corner of my eye, and then Jax Hunter—the richest man in the city—is coming toward the table. My heart flutters. Christian set me up with him once. He would have been quite the conquest in bed if it hadn’t been for the faraway look he had in his eyes that night.

The object of his affections, another outsider named Catherine Schaffer, is on his arm. She’s wearing a short pink dress that attracts the lustful eye of every guy in the room and more than a few envious glances from the women.

“Hey, guys!” she says brightly, as Jax and Christian pound each other on the back in greeting. The two of them together is a study in contrasts. Jax is tall, dark, and handsome times a thousand, the sex appeal just radiating off of him, whereas Christian is his perfect foil, blond, blue-eyed and so All-American. But only one of them is on the market now. There are two other women at the table Catherine seems to know fairly well, and I take the opportunity to fall in with their chatter as Jax and Christian whisper to each other a few steps away from the table.

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