If only the press knew the real story behind her relationships with the Dudley boys. Then, they’d really sell some papers.
Oliver Dudley, youngest son and third in line for the throne, loves everything about his life. The fame. The parties. The women. The utter lack of expectations and responsibilities that come with being last in the line of succession. But while the world thinks he has everything he wants, there’s one thing he was never able to call his own—the beautiful and spunky American Aly Ryans. But how can he convince her when she hates everything about his life? And what is he willing to give up to get her?
Check out our exclusive excerpt below!
“Do what?” I breathe, finding it hard to concentrate on anything but the way his fingers feel against my body.
“Talk down about yourself like you’re not the single most amazing girl in all the world,” he replies. He places a finger under my chin, so I am forced to look at him. I reach up to run my hand down my hair, but Ollie catches it. He brings my hand up and places it over his heart. “You don’t have to be nervous around me, Ryans. I’ll never do anything you don’t want me to do.”
I look at the way his hand covers mine, so gentle, yet so protective. How safe the sight of our hands together makes me feel. “I don’t know what I want,” I admit.
Ollie squeezes my hand before letting it go. He takes a step back. “That’s all right, too,” he replies, offering a small, pained smile.
“Good night, Ryans. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he says before turning away.
“Ollie! Wait!” I call out. “I want you to kiss me. I don’t know why I want it, or what it means to want it. All I know is that’s what I want right now.”
Ollie doesn’t hesitate. In a matter of milliseconds, he’s back in front of me, hands on my face, pressing me back against my bedroom door. His lips inches from mine. And then he stops. He eyes search mine, and I think I’ll die from waiting. “Ollie,” I beg, my voice all throaty.
“I’ve thought about what it would be like to kiss you again for three years. Let me have a few seconds to enjoy it, Ryans,” he replies, roughly. Three years? Had Ollie been pining for me for three years? Me? He licks once at his lips, and I groan. The side of his mouth twitches, and I’m about two seconds from punching him right in the gut for making me beg for it.
The door opens at the sound of my voice. Ollie stares down at me, his face etched with weariness and worry. I don’t know how to make any of that go away, but I’m still here.
I’m here, Ollie.
I follow him into the room where we shared my first kiss all those years ago. How different it all was back then. How young and happy we were. Would we ever feel that way again? With a heavy sigh, Ollie sits on the bed, staring up at me wordlessly. He wears happiness on his face so often that it’s unsettling to see it gone. It breaks me.
We don’t speak. We simply stare at each other. All the revelations of earlier, the uncomfortable truths thrusts amongst us, like a wall between what we want and what we can have, and the more I stand here staring at him, the angrier I become at it all. Why does it have to be like this? What else will we have to sacrifice in the name of the crown? How would our lives be different if we were just a man and a woman?
As I look around the room where he had just been a boy and I had just been a girl, I’m desperate to pretend again that we could be those people. Even though I’m sure it’s madness that drives me, I turn and walk back to the door. I close it.
And then I lock it.
I let free a shaky breath as I turn around and lean against the door. I bite down on my bottom lip as my eyes rake across Ollie’s face. Want. It stretches between us like lightning crashing from the sky to the ground. Like a tether that will always connect us to each other no matter how hard we pull against it.
Ollie bolts up from the bed, pressing me against the door. His mouth crashes into mine, and I moan. I clutch onto the fabric of his shirt, pulling him close to me, needing, wanting to feel every inch of him against my body. He braces his hands on both sides of my face. His lips burn through my skin: my lips, my neck, my chest.
It’s still not enough.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don’t ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).