The Royal Treatment
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When we reach the vault room, there are two guards standing at the door. Normally there is just one, sitting on the inside; but for nights like tonight, there are a total of six. I nod, and one of them opens the door.
“Good evening, fellows,” I say.
“Good evening, Your Highness.”
Once inside the room, we go through the same routine with the other four men. I go to the keypad and press the code, then hold my face in front of the camera for a retina scan. When I look down at Tessa, she actually looks impressed.
“A little Bond-esque, no?” I ask.
“Come on, Moneypenny, let’s get you something for that beautiful neck of yours.” I tug her hand and pull her in with me before she can say no.
She’s already shaking her head, but I hold up one finger. “I can see those Sharpe family brains of yours going to work on ten different reasons why you won’t borrow a necklace, but I have already prepared counterarguments, and since we are now twelve minutes behind schedule, please allow me. One, they’re already paid for, some of them hundreds of years ago, so it’s not coming out of anyone’s taxes. Two, like the books in the library, they’re going to waste in here. Three, for the first time in my life, I want to share something with someone else—someone who deserves to feel like a queen, even if she’ll only allow herself that for one measly little evening. Four, I have this fantasy of seeing you in only the jewels. Maybe the heels could stay.”
Tessa laughs and her cheeks go pink. “All right. One necklace, but make it a cheap one.”
I raise one eyebrow. “Define cheap.”
“Less than a kitchen stool.”
“How about less than a car?”
“I said ‘queen.’ Would a queen really wear a sofa around her neck?” I reach up and run my fingertips along the base of her neck.
“Would she wear a car?”
“Good point.” I lean down and kiss the crook of her neck. “How about this? You choose whichever one you like the best, and I won’t tell you how much it’s worth.”
I continue to brush my lips along her skin, then move up to her earlobe. The other night, I discovered a little spot at the base of her ear that turns her to putty. After a moment of some careful work, I get what I want. A breathy, little ‘okay’ escapes her lips.
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