Authors: Marianne Knightly
A Royal Holiday (Royals of Valleria #5)
Copyright © 2015 by Marianne Knightly
Cover Design: Marianne Knightly
Cover photos (Shutterstock.com): © Syda Productions | © antoninaart
All Rights Reserved.
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This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.
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: Alexander & Rebecca
: Marcello & Grace
: Arianna & Finn
: Charlotte & Nate
: A Royal Holiday (Novella)
Book 6: (Coming March 2016)
The season for stolen kisses and royal wishes is here. Catch up with the Vallerian royal family as they celebrate the holidays together … and apart.
The day of the Holiday Ball – and her engagement party – has finally dawned for current commoner and future princess Rebecca, who has been swept up in a whirlwind of royal pomp and circumstance ever since she fell in love with Alexander, her fiancé and heir to the throne … Alex is ready to spend the holiday wrapped in his love’s arms. When a royal scandal breaks just days before the ball, sending his reputation into a tailspin, will they recover in time to navigate through a Holiday Ball and their first Christmas together?
English Lady Grace’s troubled past still haunts her. After years of difficult holidays, she’s ready to make some new memories with her prince, Marcello. But can she give him the one thing he wants most? … Marcello knows the holidays are difficult for Grace. Will he be able to help her through these difficult days, or will managing the royal scandal keep him from the one person he loves most?
Charlotte, head baker for the Vallerian Royal Palace, has been working at a frantic pace leading up to the holidays due to the Royal Holiday Ball, multiple parties, dinners, and events in the works – all while recovering from a gunshot wound. She’s barely had any time to spend with her own prince, Nate, much less think about what she should get him for the holidays. What do you get a prince your first holiday together? … Nate is so proud of his lady love, but needs some time alone with her, away from the palace and their work. When Nate decides to spirit Charlie away, will his surprise rise to the occasion, or fall flat as a bad cake?
Pregnant Princess Arianna has made a home in the small country of Brazenbourg with its prince, Finn, but her first holiday away from Valleria proves to be harder than expected … Finn would do anything for his princess, including pulling off the impossible. Can he make a miracle happen and grant Arianna her most fervent Christmas wish?
Come visit Valleria this holiday season, where surprises abound, dreams might come true, and a series of events plans to make for a very interesting New Year.
Icy December rain pelted the palace windows, but Alexander, heir to the throne of Valleria, was more than warm inside snuggled against his fiancée, Rebecca. Though the palace was quite sturdy, it was still prone to chilling drafts in the winter, though he hadn’t noticed any of them this year.
He currently spooned the love of his life, his nose nestled in her rich, wavy chocolate brown hair. The faint scent of lavender on her olive-hued skin calmed as much as aroused him, and their naked bodies were cozy and comfortable. They barely wore clothes to bed anymore – what was the point when they just ripped them off each other almost every night? – and last night had been no exception.
She sighed, and he smiled into her hair. She often sighed just before she roused from sleep, and he loved that he was the only man who knew that about her, or would ever know that about her. She’d been a virgin when they started dating, and he can’t say he minded that fact at all.
“Why are you always up before me?” she said, her voice low and soft. She turned in his arms to face him, her eyes blinking open. Her nipples, soft from sleep, began to harden when pressed against his broad chest.
“I love watching you sleep, darling.”
Her arms wound around his neck and teased the ends of his inky black hair, while one of her smooth, toned legs sidled between his. “One of these days, I’m going to wake up before you.”
He dropped a quick kiss to her irresistible pouting lips. “I wait with bated breath for that day.”
She huffed a laugh. “That’s because you think if I wake up early, you’ll get lucky.”
“I have you; I’m already lucky.”
A broad smile spread across her face. “You always know just the right thing to say.”
“It’s the truth.”
“Truth it may be, but it was also very effective.”
The side of his mouth quirked up. “How effective?”
She pressed her hips against his cock, which had woken long before he had. “Very effective,” she whispered.
He groaned. “I love you, Becca,” he said, using the nickname that flew from his lips when he was aroused.
“I love you, Alex,” she said, her easy breathing turning to short gasps. “Make love to me.”
He took her lips in a hard kiss, their moans shattering the quiet of their bedroom. He shifted on top of her, his lips trailing over heated skin as they moved down her body.
As passion and control fought a valiant battle inside him, he took a moment to watch his lover’s body quivering beneath his touch. She was his best friend, his confidant, his temptress, and Valleria’s future princess and queen.
God, he loved her.
In another royal apartment in the palace, Prince Marcello was sharing a steaming shower with his love, Lady Grace. His deft hands slid soap over Grace’s pale skin and waif-like body, tangling occasionally in her long, golden hair, which was lighter than his own dark blond. Her soft moans were all he needed to keep going.
“Marcello,” she whispered in her refined English accent. “Please.”
“Please, what?” he murmured as he brought her against his svelte but toned form.
“Love me,” she whispered, her eyes drugged with passion.
“I already do, fair Grace.”
“Love me more, then.”
He chuckled. “Impatient, are we?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact.” Her slim hands roamed down to his ass and she forced his body harder against hers.
A low growl escaped him and he took her lips in a kiss meant to leave her weak. When her grip slackened, he turned her around. “Hands on the wall,” he whispered just loud enough to be heard over the heated sprays of water around them.
With her hands flat and her body bent for him, he gripped her hips and entered her in one hard thrust. Her cry made him pause but, when it turned into a moan, he let out a sigh of relief. Grace had a heartbreaking history and he would never let their lovemaking remind her of it.
Assured that passion, not the past, was ruling the woman he loved, he fisted a hand in her long, glorious mane, and thrust into her with more purpose.
Several hundred miles north of the Vallerian palace, Valleria’s current princess and Brazenbourg’s future princess, Arianna, lay against Brazenbourg’s leader, Prince Finn. Her head rested on his hair-strewn chest, and the heartbeat she heard underneath her head was calming. Her hand rested on his stomach, just above his only article of clothing – a pair of form-fitting boxers. She wore just one of his simple cotton shirts; they were the only thing she was comfortable sleeping in these days as hormones sent her temperature fluctuating like mad during the night.
Finn stroked his hand soothingly along her spine, his fingers occasionally shifting her caramel-coloured hair. The tiled floor was cool underneath their bodies but, given the way Arianna was feeling, that suited her just fine. When her stomach contracted again, she groaned and turned away from the man she loved.
“Oh, baby,” Finn said softly, and ran a comforting hand over her head and soft hair.
“Baby is right,” she muttered as she rubbed her body just under her belly button, where their child lay nestled inside. “Our child seems to like torturing me.”
Finn pressed a kiss to the crown of her head. “It’s torturing me, too. I can’t stand to see you in pain.”
“I know.” Arianna brought Finn’s arm around her, so it rested with hers over her womb. He settled in to spoon her from behind. “You should go relax in our bed. There’s no sense in both of us lying on the bathroom floor waiting for my morning sickness to rear its ugly head again.”
“Where you go, I go, and that’s that.” She felt another kiss and Finn’s arm tightened around her.
She felt so safe and secure with him, so loved and cared for. She was so damn lucky they had found each other. “Thank you, Finn.”
“For being here with me. I know you’ve got a lot to see to.”
Finn sighed. “Being with you is my favorite place to be, no matter what royal business awaits me.”
Brazenbourg was a small country, barely a thousand square miles total. Finn had taken over as ruler after his elder brother, Henry’s, schemes had failed, killing him in the process. “I’m excited to spend my first holiday in Brazenbourg.”
She could feel Finn smile against the nape of her neck. “Are you really, Princess?”
“Oh, yes. I’ll definitely miss Valleria and my family, but I want to show the people here that I love them as much as they seem to love me.”
“They do love you, Princess. Don’t have any doubts about that. Do you know what traditions you’d like to have this Christmas?”
“You and me and baby, snuggled up near the fire, watching the lights twinkle on the tree.”
“Mmmm. I like the sound of that. I meant any Vallerian traditions you’d like to have.”
“Oh. Well, they wouldn’t be the same without the family.” She let out a soft sigh of despair; maybe missing Christmas with them would be harder than she thought, but she was determined to be the best princess that Brazenbourg had ever seen.
“I’m sorry, baby.”
“Sorry for what?”
“I’m sorry you’re missing Christmas with them. Why don’t you go back home to Valleria? I don’t know that I could go with you, but your family would take care of you if I couldn’t.”
“Oh, Finn.” She turned in his hold to face him once more, and pressed a hand to his scruff-covered cheek. “Where you go, I go, remember? You’re my home now, don’t you know that? You and Brazenbourg. This is our first holiday together, and I’m not missing it for anything. Just because I miss my family, well, just remember that I’d miss you more if we were apart.”
A smile that sent her heart stuttering spread across his face. “I’d miss you, too. Like crazy.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead and snuggled her against him.
“What do you want for Christmas, baby?” he asked.
“I told you.”
“The Christmas tree’s a given, and so am I for that matter. I’m going to get you something, whether you like it or not, so you’d better just tell me.”
She smiled against his chest. “Then I’d have to get you something, too, right? What would you like?”
His hand slipped under her shirt to rest over her womb. “You’ve already given me everything I want. Let me pamper you.”
She sighed. Was it any wonder she’d been lost, almost from the first moment they met? “I just want you, Finn, that’s all. I’ll be happy in a few months when my morning sickness is behind me and we can finally get married.”
“So will I, baby,” he said as he kissed her forehead again. “So will I.”
Back in Valleria, Prince Nathaniel, who was tucked away in yet another royal apartment, woke aroused and alone. He let out a groan at the feel of the cool sheets next to him, which still lingered with Charlotte’s sweet scent.
He sat up and pushed back his chin length hair. The sheets fell away, revealing a broad, tapered chest smattered with chest hair and tattoos, and a long cock looking for his love.
He stood up and glanced around the room. Charlie’s clothes were still scattered on the floor where he’d hastily thrown them last night, and her robe was still draped across a chair. Noticing his shirt was missing, he now knew exactly where she was.
Deciding against even a robe, he walked naked out of the bedroom towards the kitchen. The smells of sweetly baking brioche – one of his favorite breakfast foods – filled the air, along with the scent of freshly brewed Vallerian roast coffee. As he reached the kitchen, he crossed his arms and leaned against the doorjamb.
Charlie stood hunched over the counter, rolling out a batch of fondant the color of deep green holly. She wore his shirt, its sleeves rolled up several times, the bottom edge falling on her mid-thigh. He spotted his boxers on underneath, which ended just above her adorable knees. Her straight, mouse brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her toned legs ended in a pair of bare feet.
“You make quite the sexy baker, Charlotte-mine.”
Her head whipped around at the sound of his voice and she blushed. He noticed she blushed much more easily now, and he loved to watch it spread across her skin, loved to taste it. His cock twitched, and Charlie’s eyes drifted down.
“In more ways than one.” He pushed away from the door and began to step inside.
“You can’t come in here.”
He curved one eyebrow and paused. “Why not?”
“I’m baking for the palace. You can’t be around food like that.”
“Say it,” he said in a low voice. He couldn’t help but be amused that his confident, kick-ass woman was still shy discussing nudity.
“I’m so glad you noticed.”
He tried another tack. “It looks like you’re simply rolling out fondant, correct?”
“Well, yes. I was going to make miniature wreaths to place on some cakes the staff are working on downstairs.”
“Do you have more fondant downstairs?”