Royal Chase(5)

By: Sariah Wilson

Someone had asked how I could tell the twins apart, to which my friend Jenna had said, “Why would you need to? Who cares? Date both!” After I had glared at Jenna, I explained that beyond the obvious—Rafe wore glasses and Dante didn’t—their personalities were total opposites. Dante was fun and flirtatious, Rafe more serious and reserved. There was a deep sadness behind Rafe’s eyes, even when he laughed and teased. I asked Kat once if she’d ever noticed it and she’d said no—which was probably due to the fact that she spent all her time looking at Nico. Not that I could blame her.

My pulse raced and my heart throbbed from Dante’s nearness, so I reminded myself of the one thing that should make every inner voice go silent and my knees hold still.

I was engaged.

Engaged and getting married in only six short weeks. Sterling and I had agreed to get married the weekend after the show had finished filming.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Dante asked. “And why are you carrying a dress?”

I hated that he could tell right away that something was going on. I didn’t like feeling like he knew me. “There’s a girl in the bathroom who knows you’re a prince, and I had to do something to keep her there until I could tell someone on the production team.”

“So you disrobed her?” This amused him way too much.

“I couldn’t think of another way to keep her away from the other girls,” I said, walking away, determined to find Taylor and leave Dante with whoever was supposed to be babysitting him.

“Don’t be defensive. It was very clever of you.” He paused. Though I was practically running, he had no problem keeping stride with me. “Is this a new rule?”

“Is what a new rule?” I asked over my shoulder. It was easier to control my attraction when I didn’t look directly at him. It didn’t eliminate my symptoms entirely, but it did help.

“Does this mean that anytime you do something I don’t want you to do, I can take your clothes?” I stopped. He’d asked the question so innocently, but my skin immediately flushed in response and I couldn’t look him in the eye.

“Ha-ha,” I replied, forcing myself to walk on now unsteady ankles. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

He gave me a half bow. “By all means, go save the day.”

I thought I had escaped, right up until he reached out and gently grabbed my hand, forcing me to turn and look at him. Which promptly made me hold my breath and my heart stopped. “Dante, I talked to you about this . . .”

As if realizing what he had done, he held both of his hands in the air. Like he was surrendering. “I know, I know. I’m not supposed to touch you. I try and remember that I’m not allowed, but my heart forgets.” He said it with a wink and a playful grin that made me remember the first time he ever kissed me.

Last Christmas I had made my best friend come with me to Monterra, a small European nation between Italy and Switzerland that most people had never heard of. Some friends in my ski club mentioned that Monterra had some of the best powder and some of the cutest guys. My parents had plans to go on a cruise to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary, and I asked if I could take Kat to Monterra to go skiing for Christmas.

The first day we were there, on the one day that Kat had promised to ski with me, she had a terrible accident. She had planned to meet me on the bunny slope. I had been skiing around waiting for her when I heard yelling and whistles farther down the mountain. Curious, I went off to see what was going on. There was Kat, strapped to a board and being pulled toward a waiting helicopter. I couldn’t recall another time when I’d ever felt so panicked or worried. I had tried frantically to get to her, to make sure she was okay, and someone grabbed me to keep me back. To hold me. To comfort me.

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