Read Seduced (Royal Expat Series Book #1) Online
Authors: Abigail Snow
Matilda’s hand lingered over the keyboard as she tried to talk herself out of confiding in her sister, Caroline. It was true that Caroline was one of the most capable people on the planet, but it was also true that Caroline would try hard to weasel out every secret Matilda had and make her feel guilty about it.
It wasn’t that Caroline was unkind – she just had the mindset that she was right about everything. Usually, she was correct, and this always drove Matilda crazy. In this case, however, she knew that she needed some good, sound advice in order to get out of the situation.
Ever since she had been small, Matilda had looked up to her older sister, who had always seemed to have everything together. Where Matilda had never been sure whether her duty to her family or her desire for freedom came first, Caroline had accepted her role as a royal princess without a fuss, performing it perfectly and making their father proud.
Matilda had always had trouble behaving the way she was supposed to. It was
n’t that she did anything bad; she was just more stubborn and always wanted to do things which were too dangerous, or too public. She remembered one day at high school, when her friends had convinced her that no one would ever know if they snuck down to the kitchens to get a late snack.
Later, in the principal’s office, she had been told by her father that Caroline never would have done anything so improper.
Then again, she also remembered Caroline telling her later that night that she did it all the time; she just never got caught.
Bracing herself, Matilda hit the call button and waited for her sister to pick up. Whether she wanted it or not, she needed her sister’s advice.
“What do you need?” was the first thing Caroline said to her.
“How do you know I need something?” Matilda asked, hurt.
“Because you always need something when you call me,” Caroline laughed. “So what’s wrong?”
“I need a bit of advice.” Matilda decided to cut to the chase. “Caroline, what do you do when… you have two conflicting interests?”
“You’re going to have to be a little more specific than that,” Caroline said. “I assume you’re talking about your responsibility as a royal and something inappropriate you want to do.”
“Something like that.” As expected, there was no possibility of fooling Caroline.
“Are you going to tell me?” Caroline asked. “Is it something you’ve done or something you’re thinking of doing?”
I just need to find a way to please everyone. There’s… this guy I want to talk to, but I don’t think daddy would approve of him and I know Colin doesn’t like him. But he’s a really good guy, Caroline. I just want to find a way to see him without disappointing everyone.”
It was close enough to the truth to satisfy Caroline without alarming her.
“Are you sure this guy is worth all the trouble?” Caroline sighed.
“I’m sure,” Matilda said fervently.
“Well, the best thing to do in that case is to compromise. You can’t expect to get your own way unless there is a measure of trust involved. Do you remember Charles?”
“Our uncle?” asked Matilda.
“No, my boyfriend,” Caroline said. “I met him when I was 18, but I know you were away at school at the time.”
“I remember,” Matilda said, conjuring a vague picture of a stoic, respectable guy with a degree from Oxford.
“Well, daddy was really against me dating him
he was a college student for one thing, and for another, we always have to be careful who we date and who we are friends with because we’re royalty. There are lots of people out there who would jump at the chance to take advantage of that.”
“Yeah, I know,” Matilda sighed. She’d heard that mantra thousands of times.
“Well, I wanted to date him, but father wasn’t too happy about it. He wanted to meet him first to make sure he was a good guy and serious about me.”
“I don’t remember that,” Matilda said, although she wasn’t surprised that their father had taken such a step.
“Yeah, well you were away, and for some reason he never made such a fuss when you dated guys.”
“Are you kidding?” Matilda scoffed.
“He traumatized practically every prospective boyfriend I ever had!”
“You have no idea how many guys he scared away from me before Charles,” Caroline said darkly. “But anyway, Charles consented, and he told father he was serious about me. That way, I knew he liked me for me, and father knew that I was dating someone responsible.”
“So you think I should introduce this guy to father?” Matilda asked doubtfully.
“Why not?” Caroline asked. “If he runs away, he’s not worth it.”
“But I know father wouldn’t approve
and it’s not fair.”
“Well, either way, you need to earn trust to earn freedom. Sneaking around behind his back is no good. Sooner or later he’ll find out. Compromise is the best way to solve a problem.”
“What if… what if Colin isn’t being reasonable?” Matilda ventured. “Then there’s no way I can earn trust.”
“Of course he’ll be reasonable,” Caroline said. “All men are easy to handle if you know the right buttons to push.
All you need to do is compromise
give him a reason to trust you and I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
“Thanks,” Matilda said. “I
I think I understand what you’re trying to say.”
“Well, be careful with this guy anyway. There are so many guys who are no good. It’s hard to find someone worth the while,” Caroline said.
“Even Charles turned out not to be worth it. He broke up with me in the end, because he didn’t want the pressure of being with someone so famous.”
did Charles make you feel?” Matilda asked.
Hm? What sort of question is that?” Caroline asked.
“I’m just curious
what did you feel like when you’re around him?”
“Just… normal, I guess. I
was upset when we broke up, but there are always other guys out there.”
n’t get dizzy when you’re around him? Or feel butterflies in your stomach? Or feel like the entire world has disappeared except for the two of you?” Matilda asked.
“Don’t be silly. That’s just romantic nonsense. Nobody really feels that way about anyone.”
“Is that why you’ve decided on an arranged marriage?” Matilda ventured.
“Exactly. It’s another compromise. I get married to someone suitable like daddy wants,
but I get to say yes or no.”
“Don’t you worry that it will stop you being able to find the right person?” Matilda asked.
“There are plenty of suitable men. I’ll pick the best, and I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.”
“Is that enough?” Matilda couldn’t help asking.
“Of course,” Caroline said. “Anyway, Tilda, I have to get going. It’s late in England.”
“OK. Well, I’ll talk to you soon,” Matilda said.
“Be careful,” Caroline warned, and hung up.
Matilda sat back and thought about what her sister had said. Was it really possible just to feel OK about someone and think that you were in love with them? She had never felt the way she felt around Damian. Somehow she knew it was a once in a li
fetime thing. He was special. She wanted to be with him. She didn’t want to throw that feeling away.
According to Caroline, the only way she could
date him was with compromise
exchanging trust for privilege.
She thought about Colin. T
here was no way that trusting her would mean she could see Damian. He wanted her for himself, and he didn’t want anyone else to have her.
But what if… a thought occurred to her which, while unpleasant, was somehow compelling. Caroline had said that all men were easy to handle if you knew which buttons to push…
She knew what Colin wanted. He wanted her. He wanted to have her. To sleep with her. If she slept with him, maybe
she would be allowed to see Damian.
It was the only way, Matilda realized. This was the only way to get out of her situation. She had to agree to have sex with Colin.
Matilda wasn’t sure if her resolution would last until the
morning. Every time she remembered the feeling of Colin’s presence near her it made her shudder. Would it even be possible for her to force herself to sleep with him? But she woke up resolute, knowing that it was the only solution in which she would have any power at all.
Would it really be so bad? After all, she could lie back and close her eyes, think hard about anything but what was happening, and it would be over before she knew it. The idea made her sick, but it would be worth it if she was able to see Damian freely. Who knew, maybe Colin would get tired of her afterwards and leave her alone?
She had kept the door to her apartment locked and bolted since the last incident with Colin. Now, she unlocked the door, stepping confidently towards Colin’s apartment in order to confront him. She had her entire speech prepared: she will sleep with him if, and only if, he agrees to her terms. He will allow her to see whoever she wants without showing the photos to anyone. If he refuses to go along with her offer, she will make sure that he never gets what he wants. There were some flaws in the plan, but she was hoping that the idea of her coming to her willingly would be enough for him to accept the idea.
She knocked on the door, steeled for the conversation. Colin answered in his pajama pants, his stringy torso bare, and she forced herself not to shudder at the sight of him half naked.
“What a pleasant surprise,” he smiled. “The princess has decided to come out of her castle.”
“Can I come in? I have something to discuss with you,” said Matilda, trying to stay strong even though part of her wanted to turn and leave. His physical presence intimidated her
, not to mention the fact that just looking at him made her sick.
Nevertheless, when he held open the door, she forced herself to enter, sitting down on his sofa and crossing her legs, trying to seem at ease and natural.
“So? Have you seen sense?” Colin asked cockily. “Or was there something else?”
“I have a proposition for you,” Matilda said. “I have something
you want, right? You want me: my body.”
“I can’t lie,” Colin shrugged, eyeing her breasts appreciatively.
“You’ve got a sexy body and I want it. What’s your point?”
“But you don’t just want it
I mean, you don’t want to take it. You want me to give it to you. Isn’t that right?”
“I don’t have a problem taking what I deserve,” Colin said, “but if you were willing to cooperate it would be a lot easier.”
“Right,” Matilda said, trying not to let her disgust show on her face. “So I have a proposition. I give you what you want
me, willing to sleep with you
but only in return for what I want.”
“Oh?” Colin said, leaning forward with guarded interest in his face. “And what’s that?”
“If I agree to sleep with you, I want you to let me see Damian,” she said in a rush. “It’s a fair exchange.”
Colin appeared to think about it for a few moments. Then, he burst out laughing. First Matilda was startled, then she began to feel indignant.
“I get what I want and you get what you want,” she said.
“You’re so naïve, princess,” Colin mocked. “What made you think that what you want ever factored into it
at all? I have all the power
all of it. You have nothing to negotiate with. Your body? It’s a sweet offer, but I think I’d like it all to myself, thanks. I don’t want Damian or any other man getting to use my property.
“Just because I’ve been lenient so far doesn’t mean that I’ll continue to be so. I can have you whenever I like whether you want it or not. Why would I agree to share you with that man?”
“So you’d rather rape me than give me one small thing which would make me come to you willingly?” Matilda said.
“I never said rape,” he said. “I’d only be taking what I deserve. What gives you the right to reject me? Because you’re royalty? Does that make you too good for the likes of me? I’ve got money. I own a car and property. I could make a good husband for you, Matilda.”
“It’s called being a human being,” Matilda said
, trying to ignore the bad taste in her mouth as the word ‘husband’ and the word ‘Colin’ both mixed together in her head. “By rights I should have the freedom to choose who I sleep with
not only that but where I go and what I do, especially who I marry. What you are doing is rape and blackmail. If you can’t bear to face the facts, you shouldn’t be committing the crimes.”
Her words seemed to have an effect on Colin. In his mind, she was sure that he was the hero of the piece, entitled to what he wanted and clever for finding a way to achieve it.
He seemed to truly believe that he was justified in what he was doing. If she could somehow manage to impress on him that he was not only hurting her but also breaking the law, then maybe she could get out of this. Maybe Caroline had been right; she only needed to find the right buttons to press.
But she was too hopeful, too soon. The look of doubt faded from Colin’s face.
“Tell you what, princess, I’ll think about it
is that good enough? But I promise nothing. I really don’t like to share,” he said.
“Thank you,” Matilda said. She could tell from his face that pressing her case would only make him angry. Instead, she left the room silently, hoping that somehow he would agree to her request.
It was ironic that she was hopeful that even this bleak request would be fulfilled, when in reality, he won either way. Either way, she lost herself to him.