Royally Wed (Ladies-in-Waiting: Book Two)
by Pamela DuMond
I lay collapsed on my back, naked except for the tiara on my head. An ornate silver cheese platter rested on the bed next to me. “Hey, aren’t we supposed to be attending a surprise party tonight?” I fanned my face.
“No, Lucy.” Prince Nicholas Frederick Timmel of Fredonia picked up the tray and placed it on a nightstand. “But thanks for the appetizers.” He wrapped his muscular arms around me and squeezed me tight as he lay next to me—scratch that—for-the-most-part on top of me, on the king-size feather top bed. “We’ve attended back-to-back pre-wedding galas, cocktail parties, and family gatherings. Tonight is blessedly free. I think you’re simply exhausted from the jet lag and the time change.”
“You mean from our most recent round of toe-curling sex.” I pinched my forearm and reminded myself for the hundredth time that this was not a dream, nor had I been out boozing with my ladies-in-waiting.
“Ow!” Nick said. “You need to be nicer to HRH if you want him to make another royal appearance.”
Oops—that wasn’t my forearm.
“Sorry! I totally thought you were kidding when you told me your—I mean—the little prince’s nickname.” In a former life, I was a cocktail waitress. Now I was engaged to a real Prince, he of the black hair, the blue eyes, and the remarkable royal jewels. How could this be?
“I would never kid about HRH,” Nick said. “He can be overly-sensitive.”
“An admirable trait,” I said. “I don’t know, Nick. I distinctly remember an invitation that mentioned a surprise party. There was a photo of a woman’s finger pressed over her lips and the word ‘Shh!’ was engraved in big black letters on the cover.”
“No, Lucy. You’re remembering that time a few months ago when we visited the Viking Museum in Oslo.” He snuggled his five o’clock scruffy shadow into my cheek and nibbled on my ear. “The docent went out of her way to publicly admonish us.”
“You mean the cranky woman whose face resembled a pickle when she said ‘Shh!’ and told us to ‘cease our boisterous laughter?’”
“The very same,” he said. “I still remember her warm spittle striking my cheek when she uttered the words, ‘Hold opp!’ Emphasis on the hard d and ps.”
“Docent Marte,” I said. “Was she the one who was upset that we were kissing in public?”
“Kissing?” He waggled his eyebrows. “She complained that I was fondling your—”
“Right,” I said and mimicked Docent Marte’s outraged alto voice, complete with her thick accent. “‘Only women who are BREASTFEEDING are allowed to go TOPLESS in the Royal Viking Museum!’ Jeez! I was totally not topless.”
Nick smiled. “Well sweetie, you kind of were—”
“A nipple slip is technically not topless. I think she was jealous. You had your haircut that week, Nick, and you looked exceptionally handsome. Very rugged. Very royal.”
“You flatter me.” Nick kissed the palm of my hand. “Honestly, Lucy, I don’t remember receiving an invitation to a surprise party. But there are too many invites and far too many bloody events. It makes me want to call off this formal wedding and simply elope.”
“We can’t elope.” I smoothed an errant lock of hair off his forehead. My Nick was in his late twenties with high cheekbones, jet-black hair with a hint of a curl, come hither eyes, and a smoking bod.
“Why not?” He found his way to my neck and buried his lips in its sweep.
I shut my eyes and fantasized for a few seconds that he was a hot vampire, like the one young Brad Pitt played in that movie they adapted from the Anne Rice book. But then I remembered that I bruise easily, and the whole sexy fang thing would grow old quickly when my neck resembled an heirloom tomato. “We can’t elope because we’d disappoint too many people: your mother, my uncle, your grandmother, my ladies-in-waiting—”
“You mean your ladies-in-trouble.”
“Oh, come on!” I bit my lip. “We haven’t gotten into that much trouble lately.”
“The police reports regarding your recent trip to Monaco might have been destroyed but they’re seared into my memory.”
“There’s nothing to remember.” I cleared my throat. “That was a quick weekend ski jaunt to the French Riviera and perfectly innocent. No one was arrested. No one called the police.”
“Oh, but there was a call,” he said. “Someone called the royal Palais Princier de Monaco, got through to Princess Charlene, and asked if Prince Albert was in the can.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I rolled away from him, but his strong arm encircling my waist stopped me mid-turn.
“And when sweet, unsuspecting Charlene said she didn’t know what the caller was talking about, one of your ‘Ladies’ replied, “For the love of your country, it’s time to let Prince Albert out of the can!”
“I thought that was funny.” I tried to stifle my giggles but snorted instead.
“No, that was not funny,” he said. “I had to send a formal letter of apology, twenty pounds of Friedricksburgh chocolate, and lederhosen outfits for the royal twins.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “We were just goofing around.” I glanced at the antique ruby ring that he slid onto the fourth finger of my left hand ten months ago when he asked me to marry him. It was gorgeous, the main stone circled in diamonds, understated, and perfect, just like him. How was it even possible that I had scored such a great guy? Oh, right…Through a web of lies and deception when I posed as Lady Elizabeth Billingsley.
Yes, it was a part-time job. No, I wasn’t a drug smuggler, jewel thief, or a high priced prostitute. But hey—at least I copped to my crimes and even busted my own cover when I was standing at the church altar, right before I was about to marry his brother, Crown Prince Cristoph George Edward Timmel the Third. I said, “I don’t” instead of “I do,” and confessed to being a fake, a phony, and a hired impersonator. Then I ran back to my pathetic, mundane life in Chicago and stayed out of the spotlight.
But Nick tracked me down, declared he’d fallen in love with, and wanted to marry the real me: Lucy Trabbicio, not Lady Elizabeth Billingsley. Now I was in a royal palace sharing a king-size bed with a gorgeous man instead of lying on a lumpy twin mattress in a one-bedroom apartment that I normally split with my yellow Labrador, Tulip, on the Windy City’s Southside. I’d visited half of the countries in Europe, hobnobbed with royalty, and I was living in heaven instead of purgatory.
Nick kissed my neck, his lips venturing out along my collarbone. All the tiny hairs on my arms stood up tall and straight like soldiers on parade. This felt pretty good. No, no, we had a million things to do and this wasn’t the right time. I struggled to keep my wits about me and concentrated on boring things: Brussels sprouts, the national debt, vice presidential political debates…
Nick trailed kisses down my abdomen but I grasped his hair and stopped him in his tracks. “Wait a minute. Wait just one minute. What do you think you’re doing? We just finished round two. Give a girl a breather, please.”
He looked up at me and grinned. “We’re young, lusty, and healthy. Round three, darling.” He tickled my stomach and I giggled. “And then we can wander down to the kitchen and raid the pantry. I’m craving a Friedricksburgh chocolate croissant.”
“No-no, too many carbs. I have to squeeze into my wedding dress in a few days. It’s super dark in here, Nick, and I can’t see my Fitbit. I promised my Ladies that I’d walk ten thousand steps today. We’re supporting each other in our Say Yes to Fitting in the Dress quest.”
“Support groups are great. I’m sure you got in those steps,” he said and lightly slapped my ass.
“Hey!” I jumped.
“Albeit horizontally.” He winked.
“Those still count,” I said and stuck out my chin. “Maybe we should turn on the lights. Get serious about the dress, the exercising, the over the top parties. We could embrace the whole crazy royal wedding extravaganza thing, put the pedal to the metal, and get this puppy done.”
“Lucy, my love, you look delectable in candlelight and I’d rather embrace you.” He ran his thumb down my cheek. “I’m tired of the glare of the cameras, the crush of people, and all the chores that need to be scratched off the ‘To Do’ list. We’re getting married in a few days, and tonight I just want—no—actually, I need some quality quiet time with you, the girl I fell in love with. The girl who captured my heart.”
“Whatever we just did, Nick, was definitely not quiet, and might be outlawed in a few of the flyover states in America’s Heartland.”
He smiled. “Until twenty years ago, it was also forbidden in several European principalities and parts of Russia.” He grazed the flat of his palm across my collarbone. “Let’s do it again. Except this time—a little wilder. I think I was holding back a bit. You’re a firecracker in the sack, my love.”
“Fine!” I sighed. “Carry on, soldier. Your country needs you.”
“You’re my country?” He ran his index finger over my lips and my breath caught in my throat.
“You asked me to marry you, you put a ring on it, and you just planted the royal flag,” I said. “You’d better believe I’m your country.”
“It’s within my royal duties to serve and protect, Lucy.”
“Why don’t you serve first and we’ll deal with the protect part later?”
And then he served. Oh, how he served. I grasped the headboard with both of my hands and tried not to scream his name, or the lyrics to Fredonia’s National Anthem, which I’d dutifully memorized.
But something was wrong. Through our gasps and moans, I heard the distinct creaks of a door opening and muffled whispers. Someone switched on an overhead light, and the soft glow of a crystal chandelier that dangled overhead from the vaulted ceiling illuminated the room.
“Oh my God!” I scrambled for sheets and blankets but could only find plates of appetizers. I grabbed the festive cheese and cracker silver platter off the nightstand, slid it over my private girlie parts, and slapped my free hand and forearm across my boobs. “Who are you people and what do you want?” I asked.
“We’re not just people,” Lady Joan Brady said. “We’re your ladies-in-waiting.”
“We brought a few more folks,” said Lady Cheryl Cavitt Carlson.
“Because if you won’t come to the surprise party, Lucy,” Lady Esmeralda Ilona Castille Hapsburg piped in, “then we’ll bring it to you.”
The overhead lights in Nick’s bedroom clicked on and a robust crowd of people shouted, “Surprise!”
Royally Wed Excerpt #2
(From Chapter Two)
“Hang on.” Cheryl slipped a silver flask from the bustle of her bridesmaid dress. “This is cause for celebration. We don’t get to cheer on one of our own all that often. We’re always stuck buying fancy presents for the girls getting married who we don’t care that much about because we know they don’t care that much about us, either.”
“Here, here!” Joan said as Cheryl took a shot from the flask.
“And then,” Cheryl said and wiped her mouth on her sleeve, “those bitches complain behind our backs, but we always find out about it through the royal grapevine, that we should have bought them a pricier item on their registry. So here’s to our Lucy, who we care about, who would never say bitchy things behind our backs.”
“I’ll say them straight to your face.”
“That’s one of the reasons I like you. Here’s to Lucy’s wedding day.” She slugged back a shot and handed it to Joan. “May it be everything you ever dreamed and more.”
“Cheers!” Joan knocked back a shot and handed it to Alida.
“Salute!” She took a sip, grimaced, and passed it to Mr. Philips who took a quick sip.
“Nicely done, ladies. Prince Harry’s Private Reserve?”
Cheryl nodded. “I don’t skimp for weddings.”
“You don’t skimp for anything.” Esmeralda took the flask from Philips and downed a shot, then dabbed a little behind her ears and on her cleavage. “One of the reasons I like you.”
“You’re wasting good liquor,” Mr. Philips said.
“I prefer to think it’s an investment. The scent of Prince Harry’s Private Reserve is practically an aphrodisiac for any titled man at a wedding reception,” she said and passed the flask to me. “I’m tragically single, you know.”
“Not so tragic,” Cheryl said. “You told me you never wanted to get married.”
Esmeralda put her finger to her lips. “Shh!”
“No thanks on the shot.” I shook my head. “The Champagne finally wore off. I’m only getting married—for real—once. I’m not walking down the aisle tipsy, let alone with scotch on my breath.”
“But you have to,” Cheryl said. “It’s tradition.”
“Not where I’m from.” I grabbed a bottle of Fredonia Mineral Water, raised it high in the air, and toasted my Ladies-in-Waiting and the boys. “Cheers!” I took a healthy slug.
“Dios mio!” Alida exclaimed.
“Merde!” Joan said.
“Crap!” Esmeralda leapt toward me and knocked the bottle out of my hands. It flew across the room, splattered Mr. Philips tuxedo trousers and landed open-mouthed on his shoe as it poured out.
He stared down at it and sighed.
“Why’d you do that?” I asked.
Alida crossed herself. “Don’t you know, Lucy?”
Cheryl’s face turned ashen. “It’s terrible luck to toast with water.”
“That’s just an old wives tale,” I said and waved my hand at them. “Go forth and march down that aisle now because I am finally getting married. My worries are over. Does anyone have any chocolate? I’m a little lightheaded. Probably my low blood sugar. I’m good. I’m ready. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?”
Royally Wed Excerpt #3
(From Chapter 4)
Mr. Philips held out his arm to me. “I’m sorry your most recent nuptials haven’t been trouble-free, Lucille.”
I took his arm. “Nothing’s trouble free, Philips. Sorry about your shoes.”
He shrugged. “They’re playing your song. I expect Royal Nana will be entering with Nick escorting her just as we arrive at the altar.”
“Should make for a lovely photo op,” Famke said. “I’ll alert the photographer assigned to the front. If you can get a picture with grandma in it, that might even be worth a cut-away from Gabecca.”
“Gabecca?” I asked.
“Gary Hall and Rebecca George,” she said. “The Hollywood couple whose divorce announcement is stealing yours and Fredonia’s thunder. Move, Ms. Trabbicio. Go. I beg you. Smile. Look virginal.”
“Walk me down the aisle, Mr. Philips?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” He held out his arm.
My hand trembled as I took his arm and started my wedding march for real. I tried not to stare too hard at the guests and the looky-loos in the cathedral pews. Gabecca or no Gabecca, I already knew this was going to make the news. What royal bride walks down an aisle without her groom standing at the front waiting for her?
No royal bride. That’s who.
Beads of sweat erupted on my forehead. I glanced at Esmeralda standing close to the altar, and I wondered if she still had the mini-pads stuffed in her purse. I’d lay odds that Cheryl still had the scotch and I really hoped Joan was packing some chocolate. I was feeling woozier by the second and if push came to shove I’d ask that chubby priest for a few a communion wafers.
“You’re doing a great job, Mr. Philips.” I clung tighter to his arm. “Have you walked women down the aisle before?”
“Well you, sir, are brilliant. As much as I wish my dad were still alive to perform this fatherly rite of passage, I will totally recommend you to all my friends who need a solid male arm, a man who prides himself on an immaculate appearance to fill in and get the job done on their very big day.”
Royally Wed Excerpt #4
(From Chapter 6)
I woke up on the cathedral’s stone floor and glanced around, as wedding guests applauded from their seats in the wooden pews. “Thank you,” I said. “Thank you very much,” and pushed myself to standing. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve all this wonderful affirmation, but I sincerely appreciate it.”
Nicholas stood at front of the church and smiled and waved at me. “Lucy!”
“Nick! You’re here. Oh, my God, the whole nightmare about you standing me up at the altar was simply a horrible dream. I should have known better. What’s all the kerfuffle? Why are all these people applauding?”
“They’re celebrating our wedding my love.” He held out his hand to me. “It’s finally time that we get married. But first you have to walk down the aisle. Let’s get the party started, Lucy.”
“Oh my God, Nicholas. That is the most romantic thing I think you’ve ever said to me, especially in front of all these people. Hang on, I’m warming up.” I shook my hands, cracked my neck, and started my crazy great dance moves down the aisle as “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE played in the background.
“Lucy, my darling, I’ve wanted to slip a ring on that important finger since the first time I met you. I imagined what it would be like to be your husband. We’d have sex every morning, twice at night, and even a few times during the middle of the day during national holidays. You’ll never have to count calories ever again. You’ll burn them all off with me!”
“The dream of wedded bliss keeps getting better and better, Nicholas!” I said, busted a few more moves to the song, and waved back at all the folks who were waving to me. Everyone was so friendly at my wedding, and I wondered why I was worried about them being judgmental.
An old duke peppered with liver spots eyed me and snapped his fingers in time with the music. A few teenagers hopped up on the church pews and danced with each other. By the time I glanced back at the altar, Nick was eating from a huge wedding cake with his hands, frosting dripping from his fingers. “It’s so yum, Lucy! Hurry up! Pick up the pace! We must wed now!”
“Yes, Nicholas,” I said, and jogged toward him. “I can’t wait to marry you! This whole thing is so exciting it almost makes me want to take my clothes off and run through a sprinkler with you and my dog, Tulip! She’s a yellow lab and you know how those dogs love the water.”
“We can do that after we get married, Lucy,” he said, and licked frosting suggestively from his fingers. “I love you!”
“I love you back,” I said, and jogged even faster.
“But you won’t have to take your clothes off, Lucy. You’re already breathtakingly beautiful in your naked form.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about Nicholas.”
“You’re in the buff, my love,” he said. “Why do you think the crowds are applauding so enthusiastically?”
I tripped over a photographer, sent him flying, and looked down in horror. I no longer wore a beautiful flowing vintage silk batiste wedding gown, but a size fourteen suit of bare lady skin. I was jogging down the aisle of the Royal Fredonia Cathedral one hundred percent naked.
“Ms. Trabbicio! Ms. Trabbicio!”
I turned and stared at the photographer I’d just drop kicked down the aisle. He was hunched in a ball on the ground but still managed to hold his enormous camera and aim it straight at me. “I need to take your picture for our magazine,” he said.
I turned and mooned him. “Then you’d better get a picture of my good side.”
Royally Wed Excerpt #5
(From Chapter 10)
I drifted into a light sleep under the flower power psychedelic bedspread when suddenly, I blinked my eyes open, and found myself back on the plane flying from America to Fredonia. I sat in a first class passenger seat, the tray table next to me open and filled with saucers of honey-roasted peanuts and itty-bitty pretzels.
“Of course, you can have as many bags of peanuts as you want, Ms. Trabbicio,” the flight attendant said, and placed a large Tupperware container of them on the tray. “You’re flying first class now. For you, we even have those super yum Friedricksburgh Farm mint sugar cookies. Would you like some freshly made hot chocolate with that?”
“I’ll make Lucy’s hot chocolate,” Nicholas said, wearing nothing but a tie in the Royal Fredonia colors and matching boxer shorts.
I took in his defined shoulder and chest muscles, and inhaled sharply as I drew my hand over his six pack, rock hard abs and journeyed down to his festive underwear that suddenly tented in my honor.
“And to sweeten the deal,” he said, “I’m putting extra fresh, homemade whipped cream on top.”
And just like that, a huge cup of steaming cocoa materialized on the tray next to me with a swirl of whipped cream about eight inches high that looked suspiciously phallic. “That looks super yum,” I said.
“You’d better believe it’s super yum, my American Princess-to-be.” He leaned down, his jet-black hair brushing against my forehead. His sexy day-old stubble scratched and tickled my cheek. He squeezed my knee and whispered in my ear, “Come on, Lucy. Humor me. It will be so much fun. I’m dying to initiate you into The Mile High Club. Who better to introduce you to the joys of carnal relations at 5280 feet? I am, after all, your fiancé.”
“Is this your fantasy that involves the first class bathroom on this plane?” I asked. “Because I’ve already visited that room for the usual reasons. The lighting is awfully harsh and I can see every pore on my face. The sink is itty bitty and I’m not sure I want those sharp, germ-ridden hot and cold water spigots etched into my ample backside.”
“Point taken,” he said. “Let’s improvise!” He leaned down, kissed me fiercely, and then peeled off my proper pant suit in the middle of British Airways First Class.
“No! I didn’t wear my fancy underwear, Nick. Just my every day cotton briefs. Everyone will see!” I glanced around at all the other first class passengers who were oblivious to the throes of our passion, as they were absorbed in re-runs of Downton Abbey, a war movie on their iPad, or a mind tickling Sudoku puzzle.
“It’s only you and me, Lucy.” Nick hit the recline lever on my seat and threw it back into near horizontal mode. He stared down at me, his lips full and bitable, his black hair messy, that one lock traipsing across his moist forehead. “Let’s give it a go, shall we?” He dropped trou, lifted one of my legs up over his shoulder, and had his wicked way with me.
“Is mile high sex always this good?” I asked about twenty minutes or two hours later, I couldn’t tell, as he lay collapsed on top of me.
“Only airplane sex between you and me.” He lifted his head and smiled at me. “Round two, darling?”
Pam pitched Erin Brockovich’s story to ‘Hollywood’. ERIN BROCKOVICH the movie earned 4 Academy Award nominations, and Erin became a household name for environmental activism.
Pam writes Romance, YA, Mysteries, and even Self-Help. All her stories have humor and heart.
She’s addicted to TV shows — The Voice, The Blacklist, and GOT. She likes dogs and cats equally, prefers her coffee strong, her cabernet hearty, her chocolate dark, and her foods non-GMO. She lives for a good giggle in Venice, California with her fur-babies.
Sign up for her NEWSLETTER for info on upcoming books, deals, and special events on her website at http://www.pameladumond.com and check her out on Facebook at PamelaDuMondAuthor.