Alexander & Rebecca (Royals of Valleria #1)

BOOK: Alexander & Rebecca (Royals of Valleria #1)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Copyright

 

Alexander & Rebecca (Royals of Valleria #1)

Copyright © 2015 by Marianne Knightly.

Cover Design: Marianne Knightly.

ISBN# 978-1942729006

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This ebook remains the copyrighted property of the author and may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed for any commercial or non-commercial use without permission from the author. Quotes used in reviews are the exception. No alteration of content is allowed. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.

 

Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental. The places mentioned are used fictitiously.

 

Adult Reading Material

*****

 

Other Books By Marianne Knightly

 

Sign-up for Marianne's newsletter
for exclusive news about sales and releases!

 

Royals of Valleria Series

Book 1
: Alexander & Rebecca

Book 2
: Marcello & Grace (
Pre-Order Now
)

Book 3: Arianna & Finn (Coming Soon)

 

The Italian Shipping Millionaires Series

Book 1
: Dante

Book 2
: Adrian

Book 3
: Giovanni

Book 4
: Luc

 

Hike to Forget Series

Book 1
: A Smokey Mountain Hike to Forget

Book 2
: A Big Bear Hike to Forget

Book 3
: A St. Michaels Wedding to Remember

Book 4
: A Bahamian Hike to Forget

 

 

Dedication

 

To everyone following me on my next great adventure.

 

Synopsis

 

Meet the Royals of Valleria, a country as old as the fall of the Roman Empire. The reigning king and patriarch rules with his beloved queen. Nine children, ranging from the eldest twins to the youngest son, watch over the country they love and care for. Bound by honor, duty, and each other, follow their lives as they fall in love, face tragedies, and triumph against the evils facing them.

 

***

 

Rebecca Campo loves her work. Chief of Staff to Princess Catharine, her best friend and Prince Alexander’s twin sister, she travels all over the world, meets with other royalty, and lives a life she could never have dreamt possible. Having grown up alongside the royal family, she can almost forget they’re royalty; well, all except one. Prince Alexander is every woman's dream, and he seems to want her. Even after their passions overtake them, Rebecca still doesn’t believe they are meant for forever because she’s only a commoner, not a future queen.

 

Prince Alexander, heir to the throne of Valleria, takes his duties very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he’s followed duty over pursuing the woman he’s loved for years. However, now it’s time for him to marry, and he’s tired of waiting. He’ll pursue her despite royal objections, and despite her own. Unexpectedly, a death threat is made against the Prince and the whole family goes on alert. What no one counted on, however, was Rebecca getting caught in the crossfire.

 

Chapter 1

 

The white, hot sun baked the sandy beaches of Masillia and the Mediterranean Sea beyond. Small sailboats and yachts dotted the sparkling blue and shifted as the waves rolled gently towards the shore. Few remained on the beaches this late in August, at the end of the three-week national holiday, but some tourists lingered in loungers of blue and white striped canvas. Staff from nearby hotels, clad in simple white trousers and shirts, brought trays of bright, cheery drinks to the stragglers.

 

One man currently watching the lazy afternoon did so with great purpose from the balcony of the Royal Suite of his preferred Masillian hotel. He could have stayed at one of the lesser royal castles, located further down the shore from his current perch, but that would have invited questions he was not currently prepared to answer. People would ask why he had left the palace, located in the capital a few hours north, to travel to Masillia so unexpectedly.

 

The man watching the shore, Prince Alexander, heir to the throne of Valleria, never answered questions until he was ready.

 

Alexander’s thick, black, wavy hair had grown slightly longer in the past few weeks, and curled intriguingly over his forehead and brushed the nape of his neck. Had he allowed himself more than a day to enjoy the sun, and moreso if he had been able to enjoy it from the beach below rather than his balcony, his hair would have lightened to include shades of dark brown. As it was, it remained as inky black as always.

 

His eyes, as startling a black as his hair, were covered by a pair of inexpensive sunglasses, given to him by a local vendor when he had walked by them earlier that day. He was just the sort of man to wear a gift like that, no matter what the cost, because of the joy it gave the shop’s owner when he had done so.

 

His body remained fit, with chiseled muscles and richly-toned olive skin hiding under the loose shirt and linen pants he currently wore, an outfit distinctly unroyal. He’d had to forego a pleasurable pastime of jogging along the beach for the hotel’s fitness center to maintain the hardened body, but he was no stranger to hard work.

 

His eyes narrowed as they scanned the horizon, and his firm lips were pursed in concentration as he watched for the first sign of a particular ship coming towards shore. He shifted his sunglasses to the top of his head and picked up a pair of binoculars, set nearby for this exact purpose, and began to scan with greater vengeance. The ship was late, and Prince Alexander was growing impatient.

 

Several minutes passed before he saw the ship appear, and he let out a sigh of relief. He felt as though his heart were returning to him and, in a way, it was. The ship carried his twin sister, Catharine, back from the Vallerian island of Ilva, where his Nonna, his grandmother, had resided since the death of Alex’s grandfather and former king. Happy though Alexander was to see his sister again, and remind her of the fact that he had been born thirty minutes before her, it was another woman on the ship that held his heart.

 

Rebecca.

 

Alexander had grown desperate over the last few weeks while Rebecca had accompanied his sister on her journey at the last minute. Desperate for just a look at her, desperate to see her smile and see her long brown hair shifting in the wind.

 

Prince Alexander was not a man prone to desperation.

 

Alex had not planned to spend any time in Masillia during the national holiday. He had not planned to take any time off, at all; future heirs to the throne were rarely afforded such a luxury as a vacation. However, he had known Catharine and Rebecca would return to port here, so he had arrived in Masillia early that morning under the ruse of work.

 

Work, in fact, had become a clever ruse he used often where Rebecca was concerned. He orchestrated the need for events where he and Cat would appear together, forcing Rebecca into his path with the planning of them. He’d planned several over the last few months, and had been able to see her almost every day. It made a three-week break from her all the more potent and frustrating.

 

He saw the royal ship edge closer and closer, and the knot around his heart loosened as it did. He had just enough time to change and meet them when they came ashore. He could think of nothing better he would rather do.

 

When he finally caught a serendipitous glance of Rebecca as she walked the deck of the ship, his lips curved into a small smile. Eventually, he put the binoculars down and gave the ship a last look before turning, noting the gathering of a small crowd on shore to watch, as it always did, the arrival of a member of the royal family. With nine sons and daughters of the reigning king and queen, all unmarried and many involved in various royal duties, there was always a royal here or there to amuse them. Well, today, they would have the luxury of two.

 

And, if he played his cards right, perhaps a future princess and queen as well.

 

Alex would need to keep his expressions blank and disinterested for the most part, since they were to have an audience. For, while the love of his life was on that ship, no one, not even she, knew it.

 

He had loved Rebecca from afar for years. Years in which they had both grown older and shouldered greater responsibility, years in which the press and public had speculated on the presumptive heir’s lack of a bride and future queen. As a future king in his thirties, it was time for him to make a change. He was tired of aching for her day and night, particularly the long nights, and knew the time had come to make her his.

 

***

 

Rebecca Campo stood on deck of the lavish royal ship and her rich, chocolate eyes watched as Masillia came slowly into view. If she looked far enough to the left, she would see France, the country with whom Valleria shared the majority of its borders. She had seen plenty of Valleria’s other neighbor, Italy, as the royal ship had made its way from Ilva along the Italian shore towards Valleria.

 

Though the heat was strong, the sea breeze was cool and circled around her and shifted her long, wavy, chestnut hair, which was currently pulled back in a ponytail. Her slender arms were wrapped around her, holding the breeze at bay against her olive-hued skin, which had turned nary a shade more golden, as one might expect after a few weeks in the summer sun.

 

Though she had a sweater, it was tucked away in her cabin, which seemed miles away at the moment, so she remained where she was rather than to go get it. Her simple dress, casual yet appropriate for the Princess’s chief of staff, was a fitted cream with splashes of dark purple flowers, and a wide belt. It was the ideal cut to diminish some of her curves, while accentuating others.

 

Her jewelry, also demure, boasted a watch worn for purpose rather than fashion, though it had both, and simple pearl earrings. The one piece of jewelry that remained constant was the pin she wore, an image of the royal crest of Valleria, carved in gold and covered in small colored jewels. It was the most expensive thing she owned, an indulgence to show her commitment to her position in the royal offices.

 

Even though the last few weeks had been, for Princess Catharine at least, a break from her royal duties, the same had not been true for Rebecca. While the Princess had lain lazily on the private royal beaches of Ilva, Rebecca had used the time to confirm Catharine’s schedule for the next several weeks and coordinated with the other royal chiefs of staff on upcoming events.

 

Rebecca never minded the work, however, and in fact thrived upon it. She had been given a great gift and great responsibility with this position, and she would do whatever it took to be the best, would give whatever was needed to
be
the best. As the daughter of the head groundskeeper at the Vallerian Royal Palace, she had never dreamt she could have such an important position in the royal offices.

 

Commoners rarely, if ever, ascended to such positions. Even the other chiefs of staff were from the higher reaches of society or lesser royalty, either through marriage or birth. Only the dedication Rebecca consistently exhibited at her job had earned their trust and respect, and she would do what was necessary to keep it.

 

Lately, though, she had been stumbling a little and was worried that respect was slowly slipping away. She knew the cause of her nerves and uncertainty, and its name was Alexander.

 

She wasn’t sure why, but there had been a greater number of engagements that included Catharine with her twin brother and future king, Alexander. Her pulse raced at just the thought of him, though she knew many women suffered similar afflictions when he was nearby.

 

It had been Alexander’s eyes that had first drawn her to him. A prince he may be, but those eyes drew you in, captivated you, and possessed you, all with barely a glance. Even with her innocent experience, or perhaps because of it, she fantasized about him, her enigmatic prince and future king.

 

She and Alexander may never have crossed paths, had their fathers not become friends or, more particularly, if she had not become friends with Catharine at the tender age of five. Once Catharine entered her life, her twin brother had invariably come with it. She had managed to avoid him, thankfully, during most of her awkward teenage years, but now as adults it was becoming impossible.

 

As much as her nerves made her seem incompetent in his presence, she still longed for those moments she could see him. Perhaps this was why she wasn’t involved with anyone; she compared everyone to the one man she could never have. She’d never even entertained thoughts of the two of them together; she was only a commoner, after all. No, Alexander was meant for fantasies, not reality.

 

“Whatever are you thinking about?”

 

“Princess Catharine,” Rebecca said as she dropped into a quick curtsy and ignored Catharine’s annoyed sigh.

 

“Rebecca, I told you that don’t need to curtsy.”

 

“It’s only proper, Ma’am.”

 

Catharine rolled her eyes and smoothed the skirt of her light pink designer dress with matching jacket. Catharine was known for setting the fashion trends for the country with help from the other princesses. Rebecca often thought that, had she not been born a royal, Catharine would have become a fashion designer. “Again with the ‘ma’am’. I would prefer not be thought of as a ‘ma’am’, if you please,” Catharine said.

 

“It is protocol, Ma’am,” Rebecca said with a smile. “Though, perhaps, you can work with the Royal Council to pass a law against such an address for a member of the royal family.”

 

“Always so formal. You looked much less formal while you were looking off into the distance a few moments ago.” Catharine gave her a critical eye. “You know, I don’t think you let yourself have even an hour’s rest in the last three weeks. You know it was supposed to be a vacation. Even Nonna said you work too much.”

 

Rebecca’s eyebrows shot up. “Your grandmother, Her Royal Majesty Victoria, was displeased with me?”

 

Catharine waved away the comment. “Of course not. While she applauds your work ethic, she did suggest that next year I leave you on the mainland. She thought you may relax more if I weren’t there. How ridiculous is that?”

 

Rebecca bit back a smile. Victoria, the former queen, was very astute, though Rebecca would never tell Catharine that. “If you feel that my services are not needed, I will, of course, remain in Valentia, Ma’am,” Rebecca said, referencing the capital city of Valleria, where the royal palace and offices lie.

 

Catharine shook her head. “You know, you were much more carefree when we met at five-years-old on the palace grounds and spent the whole day playing.”

 

Rebecca let a loose a bright smile. “Of course, at that time, I did not realize I was speaking with
Princess
Catharine, My Lady. I thought I was merely playing with a girl named Catharine.”

 

Catharine smiled at the memory herself. “You were playing with a girl named Catharine. Oh, it was so freeing spending the day with someone who didn’t know or even care if I was a princess. You were never so proper, though, until I hired you on as my chief of staff.”

 

“It’s protocol for someone in my position, ma’am, to address a woman in your position as ‘Your Highness’, ‘My Lady’, or ‘Ma’am’, and I wouldn’t do anything to compromise this position, or you,” Rebecca added.

 

“It may be protocol,” Catharine said as she took Rebecca’s hand.  “But sometimes I miss my carefree friend.”

 

Rebecca’s heart softened, as it always did, for Catharine, who was the closest thing to a real sister she had ever had. “I hope I am always your friend, My Lady, no matter what name I call you.”

BOOK: Alexander & Rebecca (Royals of Valleria #1)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Three-Card Monte by Marco Malvaldi, Howard Curtis
The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
Rough Cut by Owen Carey Jones
The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins, Sandy Rideout
The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber
Vision by Lisa Amowitz