Like show-pan?

Oh. My. God.

My cheeks go bright red.

The queen exchanges a humorous look with Viktor and then walks ahead.

I glance up at him, ready to crawl into a hole and die. How American must I have just sounded? Chopping? Like choppin’ wood? Jesus.

Viktor is trying not to laugh but he fails.

“You jerk,” I whisper. “That was so embarrassing!”

“Was? I think it still is.”

I punch him on the arm, much to the amusement of some of the other guests as we make our way into the dining room. Whatever, at this point I’ve lost all credibility. I’m the uncouth American to everyone, watch me blunder my way through this next portion of the night.

But even though dinner looked to be an intimidating affair with this long fancy table and waiters hovering around and five courses and a million forks and knives, none of which I know how to use either, the whole event isn’t too bad. It helps that no one really pays me any attention so they just talk about everyone and everything else.

By the time the deserts come out though, people start retiring to different sections of the room and both the King and Queen sequester Viktor, leading him out of the room and elsewhere.

Viktor glances at me over his shoulder with a look that tells me not to worry, he’ll be back, and then I’m left alone with all these people I don’t know.

Fuck. This is the worst part of parties and being with royalty who come from completely different lives than I do, let alone, most people, I just want to shrink in the corner.

But I try making small talk with Princess Stella who is probably in her early thirties and when that doesn’t really go anywhere, I start making conversation with her daughter Anya. She might only be six but she’s the best talker out of all of them, and she speaks fluent English as well. We get in a discussion about Katy Perry and once again I’m grateful for pop stars, the universal language.

Finally, once the drinks start getting passed around and Viktor still hasn’t come back yet, I get up to go and find the bathroom and end up wandering down an endless hallway. Shit, I hope I don’t get lost and then end up walking into some forbidden room or something like that. I bet they have a dungeon downstairs that they would gladly stick me in.

“Maggie,” I hear Viktor whisper from behind me.

I turn to see him creeping toward me with his finger to his mouth, telling me to be quiet. The fact that he’s in a suit and doing this along the ornate palace hallways reminds me of a movie I can’t quite place.

“Where are your parents?” I ask him in a hush.

“They’re coming,” he says.

“Where did you go?”

“They wanted to have a talk with me.”

I stare at him. “Yeah, and? What did you talk about?”

“Many things. Nothing to worry about.” He jerks his head back toward the dining room. “How is it in there? Has Aksel softened up at all?”

“A bit,” I tell him. “Everyone is getting into the brandy and aquavit now. I was just going to freshen up my lipstick. Normally I would whip it out and do it right there but it feels so rude in front of the King of Denmark.”

Viktor smirks. “It’s so easy to take that sentence the wrong way. Come on.” He takes my arm and strides down the hallway, shoulders back, taking long, wide steps, like he’s the king of everything. Even though he seems to have hesitations about this place, it certainly suits him.

We walk past several doors and it isn’t until he pokes his head in a library and ushers me inside that I clue in to what’s going on. He looks back and forth down the hall to make sure no one saw us, then shuts the doors gently.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Stealing you away from the party,” he says, grabbing me by the silky waist of my green dress and turning me so my back is pressed up against a row of books. “Taking you for myself.”

“Sounds selfish,” I tease.

“Sounds like the truth,” he says. He brushes the loose strands of my hair behind my ears. “I hate having to share you with people. That my parents and other monarchs want a piece, have an opinion. I hate that I can’t keep you for myself. I hate that soon, whatever private and precious thing we have will be gone.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, we can’t stay a secret forever, Maggie. People will find out who you are. And I don’t want the world to cheapen what we have.”

“Cheapen?” I repeat. “Because they’ll find out I’m a commoner, is that right? No wait, I’m worse than a commoner. I clean commoner’s hotel rooms and live in small-town in America, taking care of five kids.”

“Maggie,” he whispers to me, picking up my hand and kissing my knuckles, his eyes sinking deep into mine. “Don’t say such things. You know that it’s not true, that you’re not cheap. None of that matters. What matters is that I’m public property and I don’t want you to be public property too.”

I guess I was a bit defensive. I give him a soft smile. “Sorry. I guess I always think the worst.”

“Don’t think the worst,” he tells me. Winks. “Especially when I’m about to give you my best.”

I let out a laugh that turns into a gasp as he grabs my hips and hoists me up so that I’m balanced on the edge of a book shelf, my hands gripping the sides to keep me steady. He tugs my dress up so it’s gathered around my waist, then crouches down, his head between my legs, my underwear pushed to the side.

I barely have time to compose myself, to prepare, to say “hey, are you sure we should be doing this here?” I don’t get to say any of that because he’s at me like he’s starving, his fingers sliding me apart, his tongue and mouth so soft and warm. I feel every sensation like a bullet, each stroke a hit, radiating outward.

And just like that, any hesitation I had about him screwing me in the palace library melts away. His touch always brings what I feel for him to the forefront. It’s how he soothes me, how he tells me that what we have is good and strong and that we’re meant for each other.

I want so much from him. But among his satisfied groans and his hungry sounds, I know he just wants to devour me. He wants me to have as much pleasure as he can bring me, because he isn’t sure that he’s doing enough, making me feel enough. He doesn’t want to share me with the world.

But he won’t.

I’m all his, always his.

I groan, loudly, and my fingers curl around the edges of the shelf. I’m not sure if this room has cameras and I don’t think it has a lock, so what we’re doing could get us in big trouble. It’s not secret in here that we’re together but even so…

My thoughts melt away again, becoming less and less as he licks me out.

His mouth is ruthless. He’s tireless. His tongue plunges deep inside me before licking up my clit and sucking me into his mouth. I nearly scream, my body at the height of all awareness, on the verge of overload.

He reaches down with one hand, and two long, beautiful fingers thrust deep inside, curling against me. The heat builds deeper, and my nerves are a million champagne bottles about to burst. It’s the slow, twisting anticipation that makes my mouth drop open and my neck arch back until my head meets the books on the shelves.

God, I’m not sure how much longer I can last and Viktor’s just gotten started. My legs clench around his face, driving his lips and tongue and fingers against me, inside me, harder, deeper, and he responds by acting as if I’m all he needs to live his life, like he’d die without me.

With impatient hands, he pulls me toward him, his tongue hard and urgent, and the world begins to move, to swing like a pendulum and we’re both on it for the ride.

I want to feel him, all of him. My hips rock into him hard. He drags his tongue back over my clit, flicking it so fast, back and forth, over and over, and I can’t breathe anymore.

He moans against me, the vibrations shattering my resolve.

And then I let go.

I’m swirling into space, coming into his mouth, nearly falling off the edge of the shelf. His hands grip my waist, holding me up, while he finishes me up with the hard suck of his lips, ripping a cry out of my throat.

I’m loud. I know I am. And at this blissful moment I don’t mind if someone in the hallway knows, overhears my cries, because this man is incredible and the whole world should know it.

When my orgasm subsides against his lips, he straightens up, staring at me with feverish eyes. His eyes that say he knows my body better than anyone, better than myself, and he’ll never stop proving it.

Instinctively, I grab his head and kiss him, long and soft, the taste of me on his tongue reinvigorating me.

He moans into my mouth, and it’s a sound straight from his gut, making my blood run even hotter. “You taste like a peach,” he whispers, his lips moving to my neck. “Now you know just how good.”

I undo his belt and unzip his pants, fumbling for his cock, grasping his stiff length in my palm, so hot and pulsing against my skin. He moves forward and I guide him in, so wet and ready for him that he slides in like silk, our bodies accustomed to each other with a beautiful kind of ease.

I wrap my legs around his waist, the dress flowing around us, my heels digging into his firm ass as he starts rocking into me, each slow, slick glide igniting my nerves once again.

I whimper as we find our rhythm, like we always find our rhythm. My body aches from wanting him so intensely, and without saying anything, his body responds, always giving me more than I need.

Always more, never less.

“Maggie,” he groans against me, breathless, as a bead of sweat falls off his brow and onto my collarbone. He thrusts in harder and deeper, and it feels like the air is being pushed out of my lungs and I’m clinging to his body as his pace quickens.

I press my nails into his back, hanging onto the ride. Our skin slaps together in a violent, thick sound that echoes off the bookshelves. Each push is long and hard, and he grunts with effort until his cock hits me in just the perfect place.

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