Home > Temporarily His Princess (Married by Royal Decree #1)

Temporarily His Princess (Married by Royal Decree #1)
Author: Olivia Gates


Six years ago

Vincenzo froze as he heard someone fumbling open the door.

She was here.

Every muscle turned to rock, every nerve fired like a high-voltage cable. Then the door slammed with an urgent thud and frantic footsteps followed, each jarring his equilibrium with the force of an earthquake.

There’d been no alert from his guards. No doorbell had announced her arrival. She was the only one he’d ever given unlimited access and keys to his penthouse.

But he’d given her more than access to his personal space—he’d given her dominion over his priorities and passions. She’d been the only woman he’d fully trusted, believed in. Loved.

And it had all been a lie.

The spear embedded in his gut twisted. Rage. Mostly at himself.

Even after he’d gotten proof of her betrayal, he’d clung to the belief that it would be explained away. She’d had him that deeply in her power.

That alone should have alerted him something was seriously wrong. It wasn’t in his nature to trust. He’d never let anyone come that close or become anywhere near that vital. As a prince of Castaldini, he’d always been suspicious of people’s intentions. After he’d become the rising-star researcher in the cutthroat field of energy alternatives, he’d believed any hope of a genuine relationship was over.

Until her. Until Glory.

From the first glance, he’d reeled at the attraction that had kept intensifying. From the first conversation, he’d sunk into a well of affinity, the deepest he’d ever known. It had been magical, how they’d hungered, connected. She’d aroused his every emotion, appeased his every need—physical, intellectual and spiritual.

But he’d just been a means to an end. An end she’d achieved.

After the first firestorm of agony had almost wrecked him, logic had doused it with its sobering ice. Seeking retribution would have only compounded the damage. He’d decided to let pain consume him, rather than give her more than what she’d already snatched from him. He’d walked away without a word.

Not that she’d let him walk away.

Her nonstop messages had morphed from worried to frantic. With each one, his heart had almost exploded, first with the need to soothe her, then with fury at falling for her act yet again. Then had come that last message. A heart-stopping simulation of a woman going out of her mind fearing for her loved one’s safety.

The pain had been so acute it had seared him with clarity.

He’d realized there could only be one reason behind her desperate persistence. Her plan must not be concluded yet. Even if she thought his avoidance meant he suspected her, she seemed to be willing to risk anything to get close to him again, to pull the strings of his addiction to her for the opportunity to finish what she started.

So he’d let her find out he’d returned. He’d known she’d zoom right over to corner him.

But though he’d planned this face-off, he wasn’t ready. Not for the sight of her, or for what he had to do.

Mannaggia! He shouldn’t have given her the chance to invade his life again for any reason. He just wasn’t ready….


A pale creature, who barely resembled the vibrant one who’d captured him body and heart, burst into his bedroom.

She stumbled to a halt, eyes turbid and swollen with what so convincingly looked like incessant weeping, and stood facing him across the bedroom where they’d shared unimaginable pleasures for the past six months.

Before another synapse could fire, she exploded across the room. Before he could draw another breath, her arms were around him, clinging like a woman would to a life raft.

And he knew. He’d missed it all, every nuance of her. He’d yearn for her, the woman he’d loved but who didn’t exist, until the end of his days.

His mind unraveled with the need to crush her back, breathe her in so he could breathe again. He struggled not to bury his aching hands in her hair, not to drag her face to his and take of her breath. His lips went numb, needing to feel hers, just one last time….

As if sensing his impending capitulation, she surged up, pulled his head down and stormed his face in kisses.

Temptation tightened around his throat like a noose. His hands moved without volition.

They stopped before they closed around her, his body going rigid as if guarding against a blow as what she’d been reiterating in that tremulous, strangled voice sank into his fogged awareness.

“My love, my love.”

Barely suppressing a roar, he clamped her arms before she sucked him dry of will and coherence.

She reluctantly let him separate them, raised the face that had embodied his desires and hopes. Her heavenly eyes were drowning in those masterfully feigned emotions.

“Oh, darling, you’re all right.” She hugged him again, seamlessly changing from overwrought relief to agitated curiosity. “I went insane when you answered none of my calls. I thought something…terrible must have happened.”

So that was her strategy. To play innocent to the last.

“Nothing happened.”

Was that his voice? That inhuman rasp?

Pretending not to notice the ice that encased him, dread entered the eyes that hid her soullessness behind that facade of guilelessness. “Did you have another breach? Did your security isolate you this time until they could identify the leak?”

Was she that audacious? Or did she believe she was too ingenious to be exposed? If she were still secure in his obliviousness, she wouldn’t conceive of any other reason he’d stay away while his security team investigated how his research results kept being leaked in spite of their measures.

Good. He preferred to play it that way. It gave him the perfect opportunity to play the misdirection card.

“There haven’t been any breaches.” He pretended a calm that had to be his greatest acting effort. “Ever.”

Momentary relief was chased away with deepening confusion. “But you told me…” She stopped, at a loss for real this time.

Si, that was a genuine reaction at last. For he had told her—every detail of the incidents and the upheavals he’d suffered as his life’s work was being systematically stolen. And she’d pretended such anguish at his losses, at her helplessness to help him.

“Nothing I told you was true. I let decoy results get leaked. I had great pleasure imagining the spies’ reactions when they realized that, not to mention imagining their punishment for delivering useless info. No one knows where or what my real results are. They’re safe until I’m ready to disclose them.”


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