Royal Chase(2)

By: Sariah Wilson

This man was the right choice. He would give me the future I wanted. I knew he would never hurt me.

“Yes, Sterling,” I said. “I will marry you.”

Chapter 1

I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to say it. It will change everything between us. But I can’t keep this secret from you any longer. I’m . . . Batman.

Loud sobs erupted from the stall behind me. I dropped my Great Lash mascara and turned. “Hey, are you okay?”

Whoever was in there tried to stop crying and catch her breath. There was another blubbering whimper, and then the sound of a nose being blown. The toilet flushed and a girl walked out in an evening gown, eyes red, looking embarrassed.

“Sorry,” she said, her breath still ragged. “This is all stressing me out.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

She shook her head. “I’m fine. Just needed to blow off some steam before tonight. I’m sure you know how it is.”

She wasn’t the first girl to cry in a bathroom stall on this show, and I was sure she wouldn’t be the last. I fluffed my short, blonde bob with my fingers, and then finished putting on my mascara, keeping an eye on her while she smoothed out invisible wrinkles in her dress. I had only been here for a couple of days, but I was ready to lose my mind with all the drama from the sequestered contestants. I didn’t know how the producers put up with it. I didn’t know how Dante was going to deal with all the madness.

Not that I minded Dante suffering just a little. It was his fault I was here.

“I have to tell someone. I feel like I’m going to burst. I saw the guy. You know, the guy we’re all here for?”

The girl thought that I was one of her competitors. It was too complicated to explain who I was, and telling her might give away Dante’s secret. The secret the producers were trying very, very hard to keep under wraps from the contestants on the show.

“You saw him?” I asked, trying to assess the damage. The show was deliberately keeping Dante away from all the wannabe wives. How had she managed to catch a glimpse?

“Across the courtyard. He was being led into some room with this big entourage. Anyway, I think I recognized him.”

I had been putting on my favorite Tom Ford red lipstick, but her words settled into the pit of my stomach. She washed her hands in the sink next to me. Her reddened eyes looked at my reflection in the giant mirror. Some detached, unfrantic part of my brain noted that our eyes were the same shade of dark brown.

I finished applying my lipstick and tried to sound casual. “Really? From where?”

“I think I saw something online. I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he’s a prince.”

My mouth went dry, and my heart beat quickly. “What makes you say that?”

“I can’t be sure, but I think he’s the brother of that European prince who’s marrying that American girl.”

That American girl was my best friend and former roommate, Kat. And that European prince was Kat’s fiancé, and my current client, Nico. The brother was His Royal Highness, Prince Dante of Monterra.

But no one here was supposed to know that. I didn’t respond, which didn’t seem to matter as she just kept talking.

“I can’t wait to tell everyone else,” she said as she shook her hands and turned off the water. “They are going to die.”

They would die and this whole thing would be over before it ever even started. We were in Southern California filming Marry Me, a reality show where dozens of women vied for the true love of one eligible bachelor—a love that would last forever and ever, or until the show ended and the publicity tour was finished.

And sometimes the pseudo-couple wouldn’t even make it that long.

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