Authors: Elle Christensen,Skeleton Key
Tags: #Skeleton Key series
Love in Fantasy
Copyright © 2016 Elle Christensen
Cover Design: Jennifer Munswami
J.M Rising Horse Creation
Photo: Deposit Photos
Editor: Jacquelyn Ayres
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information and retrieval system without express written permission from the Author/Publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication’s use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
All rights reserved.
For anyone who loves a happily ever after.
How about twelve?
So many people to thank, but since I’m so far behind on my deadline, I’ll keep this short so I can hit publish!
Ro, I really don’t need to say it, do I? Everyone who reads this should thank her for making this book possible.
To my editors, Vanessa and Jacquelyn, thank you for fixing me! It’s like my fingers forget how to speak correctly. . .
Oh, Stacey. . .it’s just so beautiful!!! Champagne Formats brings the insides of my books to life!
Many thanks to Jennifer Munswami for the beautiful cover!
And to Scarlet Dawn for putting this series together and including me as a part of it!
To the many bloggers and readers who support and love me, you are the reason I continue to write! Thank you for reading my stuff!
Table of Contents
FANTASY MIRRORS DESIRE.
IMAGINATION RESHAPES IT.
When I see her.
was never one to put much stock in fairy tales, instant love, or happy endings. They didn’t seem relevant enough in my life to give a second thought. I was focused on my career, building my empire, and I had no desire to find love. In fact, I rarely even dated. I was no Prince Charming and the idea that I would find a princess was practically ludicrous. Never mind the fact that I grew up in a country still ruled by royalty; I’d left it behind long ago.
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, but the reality is, our future is of our making, or so I thought. When Preston St. Claire, King of Rêves and my best friend’s older brother, reached out to me, asking me to consider returning to my homeland, I made the decision as a professional. The country was dwindling, and without an infusion of business and tourism, it would soon sink into complete poverty. To my surprise, I realized a part of me had longed to return home.
These events were based on my decisions, my vision for the future. Turns out, that little diaper-wearing, flying bastard Cupid, was determined to prove me wrong. After several work-consumed months, I finally poked my head outside the hole I’d been in and accepted a dinner invitation at the palace. If you’re picturing a gigantic medieval structure complete with turrets and a moat, keep right on imagining it. It’s like something out of a movie, and speaking of movie moments, here is another one for you. I walked into the picturesque, stately home and was literally knocked on my ass by the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Philippa St. Claire came barreling around a corner, and the next thing I knew, we were sprawled on the ground, and I became very aware of the lush curves pressed against my body. The smell of jasmine invaded my senses, sending a tingling straight to my groin. After helping her to her feet, I swept my gaze from top to bottom, and the tingling became a burn. She had a knockout figure with large breasts, a small waist, and flared hips, all encased in a pair of tight jeans, and a black, long-sleeved top that clung to her upper body. She was on the shorter side, maybe five foot four, making her seem even more delicate next to my six foot three frame. And yet, I had a hunch her curvy body would fit perfectly into mine. Her dark, almost black hair hung from a ponytail in ringlets to the center of her back, and her sable eyes sparkled as she smiled at me. I drank in the sight of her honey-colored skin—heart-shaped face, with high cheekbones, and bee-stung lips. She was fucking gorgeous.
I wanted her. And not for a quick fuck or even one night. I wanted to be her forever. She was eighteen—the youngest of twelve sisters, including three sets of twins—so there was an eleven-year age gap between us. I didn’t give a flying fuck about it; Philippa St. Claire belonged to me.
After one evening in her company, I was even more enchanted. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, but her sisters and parents clearly adored her. When she displayed some sass and wit, it only confirmed what I’d felt, and I started to formulate a plan. I made time over the next several months to visit the family often and, in particular, get Pippa and me alone so we could get to know each other. She was earning her degree in English Literature, while attempting to establish herself as an “Indie” author. Whatever that meant. She wanted to travel the world, and I was more than happy to make her dreams come true, if only she would let me.
I was relieved when I didn’t notice a man spending time with her. If they came around, she sent them scurrying away with their head hanging in defeat and disappointment. It made things simpler for me since I didn’t have to pull them aside and threaten them to stay away from my woman.
As time went by, her face began to light up when she first saw me. She smiled incessantly, even when we had a spat. Admittedly, they were usually my fault since I enjoyed getting her riled. She looked so fuckable when she was fired up about something.
To my frustration, however, she avoided talking about us, or relationships in general, other than the occasional smartass remark about being “tied down.” I knew she’d fallen for me the instant we’d met, just as I had for her, but I had thought it best to allow her time for our relationship to build and for her to recognize her feelings on her own. Until it became clear my siren wasn’t going slow at all, she was putting up a fucking roadblock.
’ve finally run out of patience. I’m in a constant state of arousal every time I’m around Pippa—my cock hard and my body craving her touch. It’s time to claim her. Out of respect, I took her father aside yesterday and told him of my intentions with his daughter, although, his disapproval would not have stopped me. He laughed and shook his head with mock disappointment. “Another one bites the dust.” I gave him a questioning lift of my eyebrow. Instead of an explanation he said, “I wish you luck. If anyone can convince that girl to settle down, I’d put my money on you. But, I’ll enjoy watching her lead you on a merry chase.” He clapped me on the back and strolled from the room, still laughing. I was a little confused but didn’t dwell on it.