Authors: Ella Slade
A Prince’s Ransom
(Kidnapped by the Billionaire)
By Ella Slade
Copyright 2016 © Enamored Ink
And Stay Tuned for your
One Night with a Bad Boy: (A Redemption Story)
, at the END of this Book!
Montavian was one of those places that didn’t sound real by any stretch of the imagination—quickly explained away as actually existing by being too small to see on a map unless you were
zoomed in. Not that it really mattered because Katherine didn’t care where they were going. It was very low on her list of priorities
they were going, even as she read over the list of supplies they were supposed to bring with them and haphazardly dumped them into her suitcase. Currently in her hands was her socks and underwear drawer, taken out of her dresser—yes, entirely taken out—so that she could dump it all without making a bunch of trips. That should probably be enough, right?
There was a knock on the door to her dorm room, and Katherine turned, raking her short, platinum blond hair back from her face. “Come in, the door’s open.”
With a lifted brow, Tara wandered in cautiously. “You’re already packing? I didn’t think you were that excited about the trip,” she pointed out carefully, her fingers convulsively making sure her black hair was all smoothed back into her strict bun.
“I’m not excited about the trip,” Katherine replied matter-of-factly as she put her drawer back in her dresser, and then turned to face Tara with her hands on her hips. She ignored the fact that she had to crane her head back to look up at her. “I am excited about being in a country that doesn’t have a stupid drinking age.”
Tara grimaced. “Oh geez—seriously, I doubt we’re going to have time to go out partying or whatever, Kat, there’s a lot on our itinerary…” She trailed off, noticing the scattered cluster of paper torn off of the staple on the floor. “...which you haven’t even bothered to look at. That’s fantastic.”
won’t have time to go out, but that’s the only reason I’m going. I don’t give a shit about some tiny ass country and the great-great-great nephew of King Charles V or whatever it was who founded Montavian because he was annoyed he wouldn’t get his own throne,” Katherine quipped stubbornly.
“That’s not even remotely close to the history of their country!”
“Again, I don’t care! Tara, this is the furthest away from my parents I will probably ever be in my life, they aren’t even going to have my cellphone number because I’m bringing a disposable international phone. It’s more than two weeks where I don’t have to care at all what they’re doing or what they think, and I’m going to make the very, very best of it that I can. With you, or without you.”
Tara made another face, even as Katherine turned around and moved to her closet. She had to stand on tiptoe to grab her clothes off the hangers, and even then, the force she pulled on the shirts with sent the hanger swinging around to bang into the ceiling.
“I gotta wonder how your life was really so awful living in Arizona, ten minutes away from the most incredible parts of Las Vegas,” Tara said at last, shaking her head. “I mean, they could afford to send you to school across the country, and they aren’t exactly breathing down your neck that you’re almost through your junipr year and still haven’t picked a major—” Tara yelped when a tank top landed her head, scowling as she pulled it away. “I’m just saying, Kat, you could at least try to make the most of school.”
“I’m sorry I’m not like you, Tara,” Kat replied, turning around to face the other girl, her voice growing softer with emotion. “My parents ranted and raved about the value of education, even while leaving me home alone at six years old to go out partying every night and coming home drunk at three in the morning. My whole life was like that, being lectured about what they wanted me to do while they abandoned me to do whatever they wanted. And now they still
have the nerve to try to micromanage my existence, even though they obviously don’t give a shit. I’m only here because college was the easiest, fastest way to get out of that house and away from them. It was the only way to have any chance of actually living a life for myself. If I bounce around the entire school three times before settling on a major—if I ever settle on a major, that is—it’ll still be worth it.”
you settle on a major?” Tara echoed with a grumble, and shook her head. “Whatever, I can’t imagine it being as bad as all that. And I have a feeling you were just as much of a trouble-making brat as you are now, so I find it hard to blame them.” Tara stuck her tongue out at Katherine, who threw another shirt at her.
“Just for that, I’m not going to bring you with me when I sneak out of the hotel the first night and find the best club.”
“Who said I wanted to sneak out and go clubbing with you in the first place?”
“Oh, please! You’re always jealous when I go out without you, don’t try to deny it.” She grinned at her friend, who rolled her eyes and got up from the bed.
“Yeah, yeah, keep telling yourself that, little Kat.” Tara started to head out, patting the much shorter girl on the head like she was a doll.
“Hey! I’ve told you I don’t like that!”
“Mm-hmm, sure… Jenna and I are going out for dinner, and I was going to invite you, but I can understand you not wanting to go…”
Katherine glowered as Tara looked at her innocently over her shoulder, only to huff in annoyance and grab her purse off her desk. “I’m gonna make you pay for that.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
“Alright, everyone, I know you’re tired from the long flight, but as soon as you all finish checking into your hotel rooms we have a huge treat planned for this afternoon. I know the itinerary says we were just going to go out to dinner at one of the premier restaurants in the city, but instead we have been granted permission to take a tour of the royal family’s palace!”
Dr. Walker’s voice was clearly fraying, betraying the fact that the tour was the last thing in the world she wanted to do. Most of the students groaned a little bit as well, and Katherine scowled.
“Ugh, like we aren’t all tired enough… I’d skip the palace tour altogether if it meant I didn’t have to go today,” she grumbled to Tara as she fumbled with her heavy luggage.
Tara wrinkled her nose. “So says you. The palace is supposed to be absolutely spectacular, and getting a tour is almost impossible because the royal family is so private. Just think of all the beautiful historical pieces that must be in the—”
“Tara, you are such a nerd,” Katherine interrupted. But she knew she was just being grumpy because she hated airplanes. Claustrophobic spaces, crappy food, the worst smelling bathrooms that she could ever imagine… after eleven hours, she wanted to crash on a real bed and bury her face in a pillow.
Her friend glared at her sharply before smiling broadly. “Well, I happen to think this trip is an amazing opportunity, and I’m not going to let your grumpy, jet lag-induced mood put a damper on it.”
Katherine took a deep breath, then rolled her hazel eyes. “Whatever, where are we eating tonight?”
Le Parapluie du Poisson
“and that means what, exactly?”
Tara snorted slightly. “Amazing…do you remember sitting next to me in French class? It means ‘The Fish’s Umbrella’.”
“It’s not that I never went to French, it’s that I don’t
French. I only signed up for that class because you wanted me to…”
“You picked a great country to go to for not getting French. It’s one of the main languages of the country, after all.”
“Yeah, well, that’s why I have you,” Katherine replied with her first real laugh since getting on the plane, sticking her tongue out as they leaned against the back of the elevator and started upward. It was one of those old-timey grated elevators, so that they could see the walls of the shaft around them. The elevator would stop on each level and open up to a gorgeous common area with marble fireplaces and plush red carpets, and the unmistakable scent of fine wine. The fixtures were all gold, and crystal chandeliers glittered in front of large windows. They gawked in admiration all the way to the ninth floor.
“What room are we in again?”
“918,” Tara replied as they started down the hallway, looking at the engraved plaques outside each door that stated the number. They found theirs, and Tara carefully inserted the key the concierge had given her.
The door swung open silently, and both girls gasped. On the other side of the room was a massive window that offered a spectacular view of the city overlooking the river, but what caught their attention first was the two beds covered in pristine, white silk bedding.
“Holy shit,” Katherine breathed. “I knew the hotel was expensive, but it’s
expensive?” Even as the words fell out of her mouth, she dropped her luggage inside the door and bolting toward one of the beds, barreling into it. “Oh my
this is so comfortable! Seriously, you gotta try this.”
“Uhm…no, I’m okay, I’m good,” Tara stammered, carefully edging into the room with wide eyes and setting down her suitcase.
Katherine rolled over and lifted a brow at her as she tucked a pillow under her stomach. “Tara, you spent like four hundred dollars on this room alone. It’s yours for the next two weeks. I will beat you with these pillows if you tiptoe around like you’re afraid of messing anything up—not that that’s a great threat because I seriously think these are filled with goose feathers, holy crap.”
Tara flushed. “Someone has to balance out how messy you are!”
“Yeah, but it isn’t going to be you.” She clambered off the bed and grabbed her friend, making her yelp in surprise as she was forcefully tossed onto the other bed.
“Katherine!” she squealed, trying to get back up—only to realize how comfortable it was and completely melt. “Oh my god, how is this so comfortable?”
“Don’t know, don’t care,” Kat replied as she collapsed back onto the other bed.
Tara lowered her head onto one of the pillows. “Okay, now I don’t want to go to the palace either.”
Katherine tilted her head at a line of portraits that dated back over four hundred years. She wasn’t sure she had heard the tour guide correctly. They were all of the ruling king and his queen in extremely stuffy and outdated outfits, even on the most recent couple. The line ended with what was apparently a very recent painting of a young man in his mid-twenties, with black hair that was obviously carefully disheveled for a sort of roguish look, and intense, icy blue eyes. The spot next to him was obviously prepared for a portrait, but pointedly empty.
She lightly poked Tara’s arm as the tour guide droned on about one of the portraits further down the line. “Tara,” she hissed, earning a scowl when her friend turned around to look at her. “Who’s this guy?”
Lifting a brow, the taller girl looked at the portrait. “Oh, the current crown prince—Eric Jean-Francois Devillers, III.”
“What a mouthful,” she muttered, shaking her head, and then looking back up. “Crown prince, huh?”
“He’s set to become the new king of Montavian when his father steps down from the throne,” Tara explained.
“Oh. Well, he’s cute. At least he’s got that going for him—even if he is wearing really awful, probably moth-ridden things.”
Tara grimaced down at her. “Is that all you care about right now? Really?” she asked, wrinkling her nose. “We are surrounded by hundreds of years of beautiful antiques and all you can say is the prince is cute?”
surrounded by the softest pillows on the face of the Earth,” she retorted. “Now I’ve been trudging around for hours and I’m still wearing a bra. I don’t care how hard it was to get us a tour reserved, it was stupid to do it today—we’re
zombies after the flight.”
“I told you to wear more comfortable shoes,” Tara replied, repressing a laugh as she pointed at the four-inch wedges Katherine was wearing—her attempt to make herself taller, which still didn’t really work compared to her classmates. Kat rolled her eyes in annoyance and crossed her arms over her chest, going back to look at the portrait of Eric.