We're staying with the Royal House of Saene series for this week with THE TAINTED PRINCE.
The gist is that after an assassination attempt on Crown Prince Zawadi, the Bagumian Intelligence Service suspect there is a mole at the palace and send in Special Agent Danai to investigate and her cover is to become Zawadi's chief of security.
This scene is taken from Danai's first day in the palace but it's not the first time she meets the prince. Enjoy it.
Zawadi strode to the sofas and lowered his body onto the one opposite Ms Ruga as Zareb shut the door behind him.
She stiffened, sitting upright, and meeting his gaze.
One thing he’d give the BIS agent, she didn’t cower easily, and her gaze didn’t flick away coyly like other women did in his presence.
He’d seen her in three different outfits, a ballgown, a sports kit and this formal suit and tie. Each time she looked different. And yet familiar.
There was something about her…
What are you doing? The voice in his head pulled him from his wandering thoughts. Kept him grounded in the now.
“How long?” he asked, keeping his voice and expression devoid of emotion.
“Your Highness, I don’t understand the question,” she said, forehead furrowing in a frown.
“I mean, how long are you going to be—” he hesitated for a beat as he chose the right words “—working at the palace.”
He avoided asking how long she was going to be his bodyguard. That would have made it seem personal when this was a professional situation, and she was on a mole-hunt. The PPO bit was just her cover.
“As long as it takes to find the palace spy. Then I’ll be out of your hair,” she said in a weighted tone as if she appreciated he didn’t want her here.
“Good. Well, thank you, Ms Ruga. You can return to your duties.” He stood, dismissing her, and strode towards his desk.
“Your Highness, one more thing,” her smooth voice held authority. Like she was commanding him to stop.
Hmm? Didn’t she understand that he had dismissed her already? That she couldn’t reverse it.
No one commanded him except for his father, the king.
Around here, in the palace especially, he gave orders, and everyone else obeyed.
Yet, he halted and swivelled. Body stiffened, one brow raised, he hardened his tone. “Ms Ruga?”
She stood and met his gaze without flinching, hands clasped in front. “The positioning of your desk is too close to the window and gives a sniper direct access to you. I’d like to request moving your desk over to this side of the room and moving the sofas over there.”
For some reason, her request irritated him.
Maybe because it was another thing linked to the assassination attempt, which had become the bane of his life in the past few weeks. It was bad enough he’d had to change so much about his life since the event.
As it was, he couldn’t shake the sense of impending doom, as if his life was disintegrating and he couldn’t pull it together.
He’d already relocated his office from the ground floor space he used previously to this one after the incident. He didn’t need any more rearrangements. The window was bulletproof anyway. Zareb had them all changed recently.
“No, Ms Ruga,” he said in a cold voice. “Your request is denied. You’re dismissed.”
He turned his back to her, strode to his desk and sat in the brown leather armchair. Not looking at the woman, he opened his laptop and logged into the network.
His heart thumped against his ribs as the seconds ticked by before he heard the door shut with a click, announcing Ms Ruga’s departure.
He tipped his head back, blew out air. This was turning into one of those days, those weeks, those months.
He was a prince, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Bagumi. His responsibilities were immense, and he couldn’t allow himself to be distracted by an assassination attempt or the woman sent to investigate it.
He counted to five, cleared his mind and focused on the next item on his seemingly never-ending to-do list.
Hahaha. Zawadi was a tough nut to crack. Can you tell?
More about THE TAINTED PRINCE (Royal House of Saene #6)
Crown Prince Zawadi has prepared for one thing all his life—to become the next king of Bagumi Kingdom. Driven by the need to uphold the traditions and the prestigious name of the Royal House of Saene, he strives to balance culture and technology in building a better nation. Until his perfect world becomes tainted by an assassination attempt and a woman who goes against everything he believes.
Available in ebook and paperback.