Princess’s Forbidden Holiday Fling
In the final Princesses of Rydiania story by Jennifer Faye, a princess and a CEO know a festive fling is completely off-limits…but succumbing to desire is far too tempting!
Breaking the rules…until Christmas!
Princess Gisella’s fundraising gala must be a success. It will prove she’s capable of taking the throne she was never meant to ascend. Anxious and exhausted, she’s about to fire her New York PR firm…before she meets high-flying CEO Silas. Gisella’s duty-bound to marry royalty, while Silas can’t afford distractions, so a fling is completely forbidden. But their intense connection blurs the lines of tradition…
Read an Excerpt
ALMOST A QUEEN…
The words echoed in her mind.
Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Rydiania frowned as she stared out the tall windows on the thirty-eighth floor of a Manhattan office building. Lights shimmered across the darkening horizon. A gentle snow continued to fall upon the city, softening the sharp lines and hiding the blemishes.
Her gaze moved to Rockefeller Center and the giant Christmas tree that lit up the evening. The colorful twinkling lights glowed in the night. The scene appeared as though it were taken from the front of a Christmas card.
With it being December, it was already dark at four fifty-four in the afternoon. And the tree’s multicolored lights filled the winter evening with an array of festive colors. As Princess Gisella stared at the tree, she couldn’t help but think of the holiday activities going on at the palace. A gentle sigh escaped her lips.
Her mother, the Queen, would be overseeing the placement of the royal Christmas tree. It would be placed in the foyer with its upper branches soaring up to the second floor. It was always a magnificent sight to behold. All the while, the King would make himself scarce while the decorating took place. A smile tugged at her lips. Her father was never one for all of the fuss that went into decorating.
This would be the first holiday season that all of her siblings were living away from the palace. Even she was abroad taking care of palace business. She had never been away from home at Christmastime and though she wouldn’t admit it to anyone, she was a bit homesick.
Earlier that year, her brother, Prince Istvan, had stepped down as heir to the throne to marry the woman of his dreams. It left Gisella stepping into the role of Rydiania’s future queen. She’d always believed she was the right person to be heir to the crown. She’d just never thought it would actually become reality.
Everything had happened in rapid succession, starting with her father’s Parkinson’s diagnosis to her brother stepping away from the throne. She was scrambling to get up to speed with everything her life would now entail as queen. It was quite an undertaking to move from the spare heir to the crown princess.
And not only that but now she was expected to marry. It wasn’t a requirement of becoming queen, but her parents and the privy council thought it would give her position as queen the appearance of a more mature, wiser ruler. She didn’t know that she agreed with that, but she was overruled. The kingdom’s charter specified she had to marry someone of royal lineage. And her mother had already negotiated the “perfect” husband for her. On New Year’s Day the announcement of her engagement to Prince Matis from a small island kingdom in the Mediterranean would be made official. The thought left an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.
She shifted her thoughts to her mission: to oversee the preparations for the first international Bee Global gala. This trip was like an unofficial test to prove to the King and the royal privy council, as well as the kingdom, that she was the right future leader. In order to achieve that level of confidence, nothing about this trip could go wrong.
Gisella turned to her personal assistant, Stephanie. “Has Mr. Cabot arrived?”
She shook her head. “Uh…no, ma’am.”
Nothing could go wrong. Nothing at all. And yet this was to be her first in-person meeting with Mr. Cabot and he was a no-show.
“Where is he?” She struggled to keep her rising frustration under control. “Doesn’t he understand how important this meeting is?”
“I don’t know, Your Highness.”
“Then what is it?”
“You wanted to be notified if there were any new postings about the royal family.” Her assistant’s face was void of emotion.
Stephanie didn’t normally work as her secretary, but with the holidays, Gisella had given some of her staff with young families the opportunity to remain in Rydiania. Stephanie was an assistant in the Princess’s office, but Gisella’s usual secretary saw promise in the young woman and recommended that Stephanie be given greater responsibility.
Gisella hadn’t made up her mind about Stephanie. She was easily flustered and always appeared to be on her phone, but so far, she’d completed her tasks satisfactorily.
Gisella hoped the news about her family was positive. “Is it about the gala?”
Stephanie glanced down at the ground. “In a way.”
Gisella didn’t like cryptic answers. They usually preceded something bad. After the hatchet job a gossip site did before her brother’s wedding, her family was due some positive coverage.
Gisella crossed her arms. “Where is this news?”
“It… It’s a post on Duchess Tales.”
Hope fled her. The chance of The Duchess Tales printing something positive about her family was slim to none. Gisella schooled her features so as not to reveal her inner frustration.
The popular site was well known in Rydiania. It claimed to be the number one spot for all royal news. They posted at all hours of the day or night with “breaking” news. They gave the appearance of having sources planted everywhere. It amazed her the amount of information they were able to gather and at such great speed. Even more worrisome was how they were able to post news about the royal family even before all of her family members were notified of the matter.
“How is it possible that no one has been able to reveal the person behind that terrible gossip site?” She couldn’t help but think of the way the site and its lies had nearly destroyed her brother’s wedding. The anguish it had caused her family was reprehensible.
“I don’t know what to say. The palace has looked into The Duchess Tales, but they don’t have a physical office they could find. They couldn’t even find a dedicated phone line. It would appear the Duchess uses burner phones. They are very good.” Stephanie sounded quite impressed.
“There’s nothing good about them!” Gisella hadn’t meant to lose her temper. She watched as her assistant’s eyes momentarily widened. She hadn’t meant for the words to be so emphatic, but she was so tired of the troublesome site. “How is that possible? How do their sources reach them if their location and phone number are constantly changing?”
“I don’t know, ma’am.” The young woman shrugged. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Gisella shook her head as she reached for her phone. At least it would keep her from thinking how late Mr. Cabot was and how her patience was wearing razor thin.
She pulled up the website and right at the top of the site was the post her assistant had pointed out:
TO BE CROWNED OR NOT?
Gisella’s back teeth ground together. What was it with this Duchess person? Why were they always out to stir up trouble for her family?
It appeared now that all of her siblings had found true love and were in committed relationships that it was her turn to be dragged over the coals. She should just close the page without even reading the article. But she knew in her position as crown princess that she wasn’t afforded the luxury of sticking her head in the sand. She had to see what was being said about her and do her best to offset the bad coverage.
This Christmas it appears the Rydianian palace is deserted. All of the King and Queen’s grown children are spending the holiday season elsewhere. Even the Crown Princess has decided to spend the season abroad.
Of course, it’s said that she’s in New York to host the annual Bee Global gala. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to this trip. After all, it’s rumored that she and the King are at odds. The Princess is said to be very headstrong and unwilling to follow directions from the palace.
Is this why she had to leave so far in advance of the gala? Is there trouble at the palace? Is her chance of being crowned queen in jeopardy?
Keep reading, my lovely watchers, as I will share the details as they unfold.