Oops! My “Royal Bride” Look inside on Amazon doesn’t work, so… Ch 1 Part 2
…I’m posting Chapter 1 in excerpts. Part 1 is HERE
Now for Part 2:
Here is Excerpt #2:
Violetta was trying to make me feel at home, but I fretted like a mermaid caught with her tail in a net. I wasn’t a royal or even a Monterran. I didn’t fit into their fairy tale, but I appreciated her trying. I just wanted to fade into the background in this exquisite ballroom and marvel at the crystal chandeliers and too many marble columns to count.
“May I have this dance, signorina?” he said, smiling. Thank God he put away his phone, but I don’t think he even looked at me. Through me was more like it. As if I were a pesky ghost who crashed the party. I must have been mistaken earlier when I thought he noticed me. More likely, he was calculating how to make a quick exit.
“You don’t have to dance with me,” I said, rubbing my clammy palms on my dress. Why did I do that? Nerves. Too late now. I’d never forgive myself if I stained the gown. “Honest. I’m happy to watch.”
He seemed surprised. As if he wasn’t used to being turned down by anyone. Goosebumps popped up on my arms the closer he got to me. “You’re a guest here in my country. We shall dance.”
It wasn’t a question. More like an order. Something I wasn’t used to, no matter how handsome he was.
“No really, I—”
Before I could protest, he led me out to the dance floor where the teens whooped it up with their wild gyrations, flailing around in their tuxes and ball gowns, the girls kicking off their high heels and the guys swinging their black ties around like lassoes.
I wondered what my dance partner would do, but he seemed oblivious to the bodies grinding around us. He held me in his arms like we were players in a historical drama. You know, where the dashing military officer makes every girl sigh with envy when he dances with the plain Jane?
I pulled in a deep breath and tried to feel pretty for once. Maybe it was the swish of the satin in my ears or the red lipstick that made me feel sexy, but hey, it worked. You’d think I was a real royal by the way he paid attention to me. He looked down at me with eyes deep and brown, eyes that swirled like a tempest of dark moods when he held me close. I tensed when I felt his breath hot on the back of my neck, his strong arm holding me around the waist. My heart thumped against my ribs, but I couldn’t move. His presence was too disturbing. So, too, were the other thoughts that crept into my mind, teasing me.
Thoughts of forbidden kisses with a man I didn’t know but wanted to. And, since I existed in a dreamlike state, I didn’t fight it.
I did what came naturally.
“Don’t be afraid, signorina,” he said in a low, sexy voice that gave my goosebumps goosebumps. “I don’t bite.”
“Neither do I,” I said with a straight face.
He lowered his chin and glared at me as if he’d lost something in translation. I grinned like a kid with her hand caught in the royal cookie jar, but he laughed and held me tighter. Which did nothing to make me relax. Just the opposite. Never before had I met the acquaintance of such a cavalier, a man so charming I wanted to draw nearer to him . . . and see what happened next.
I’d soon find out. The music slowed to a dreamy ballad and we danced. And danced.
To my surprise, I followed his lead easily.
You’d think the kids would snicker and stare at us. Just the opposite. They gave us space and my handsome partner showed off his dance moves in a grand style, twirling me around and dipping me back so far my head almost touched the dance floor.
Never once did I think he’d drop me. His strong arms held me tight and I was gripped by the stunning sense of how dangerously close I was to going limp in his arms, my whole being suspended in this moment of unreality.
I thought I’d pass out from the sheer joy of it.
“You’re making me dizzy,” I said, laughing.
“I apologize, signorina.”
“No, it’s a good thing,” I said, trying to make myself heard over the loud music. “I’ve never danced with anyone like this before. You’re amazing.” The truth was I hadn’t danced with anyone since high school, but I’d never tell him that.
“My objective, signorina, is to make certain you enjoy yourself.”
He twirled me around so fast, I couldn’t catch my breath. Round and round we went until I swore my feet didn’t touch the ground. It was the most exhilarating feeling I’d ever known. Like being free, really free from everyone and everything that had ever hurt me.
“I’ll . . . never . . . forget tonight,” I said, breathless, half-closing my eyes and seeing a rainbow of light streaming around me in a never-ending loop.
“Neither will I, signorina,” I heard him whisper, his lips close to my ear as he bent down to dip me again. I peeked through my half-closed lids and saw him smiling at me with a tenderness in his eyes I hadn’t seen before.
I did, didn’t I?
Or was I only seeing what I wanted to see?
Before I could react, say anything, even take a breath, he led me across the dance floor in a wide arc. A sudden rush of excitement filled me, sending a pleasant feeling down to the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t help but wonder who he was. He was built like a bodyguard and kept his eye on everyone as we danced. And get that authoritative voice and attitude of his. Had to be castle security.
He was especially watchful of Princess Heather, laughing and sharing chocolate cake with a good-looking young man. A pretty girl with fair hair and freckles and even fairer skin, she had the air of an aristocrat in the way she moved, but I didn’t get any uppity attitude vibe from her. Instead, I detected a sadness in her eyes when she thought no one was looking, giving her a vulnerable quality.
I knew that look. I’d seen it on the faces of so many kids in rehab who lost their way. A subtle warmth settled on the princess’s cheeks when she saw us, as if something had upset her.
Which surprised me.
Why wasn’t she as happy as she pretended to be?
I had no more time to think about it as the song ended. Too soon for me. The band announced they were taking a break, giving Violetta the opportunity to show up right on cue. My dance partner acknowledged her with a slight bow.
“Sorry I had to disappear,” she said, her fingers wrapped around her phone, “but that was a call from Paris about a couture fashion show I’m putting together.”
“Anything wrong?” I asked, concerned.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” she said in a casual voice, but the way she furrowed her brow told me something was amiss. “So, how are you two getting along?”
“Max is a fabulous dancer.” His name rolled off my tongue before I could stop myself. I felt rather bold using his first name since we hadn’t been formally introduced, but what else could I do? Anyway, that special moment we’d had was over. I smiled at him and he nodded. He said nothing about my dance ability, in fact, he said nothing at all. I don’t know if it was because I was a terrible dancer or it wasn’t in his job description.
I breathed out easier. Must be why he was so stoic. I imagined his duties called for him to twirl royal spinster aunts or dreamy-eyed female tourists around the dance floor.
And that look in his eyes? Was it really for me?
I’d never know, would I?
“I had no idea you could dance like you were on a reality TV show, Max,” Violetta teased, poking him in the ribs. “It’s not exactly a family trait, though Nico’s pretty good with his dance moves.”
“What do you mean, family trait?” I asked, my skin prickling on my arms. I had a funny feeling she was about to turn me into a pumpkin after all.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t finish introducing you.” Violetta winked at me. “Zoey, I’d like you to meet Prince Maximiliano Risconti di Montevecchio.”
End of Chapter 1
Dreamy dancer, our prince.
What other secrets is he hiding?
more coming up in Chapter 2…
Posted on November 13, 2016, in Amazon, books, bride, heroine, hottie, hunk, romance, Uncategorized, video, Vimeo, wedding, writer, Writing and tagged Amazon, bride, Cinderella, dance, dare, glass slipper, kindle, magic, prince, princess, romance, royal, wedding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.