Royal Pain (Sweetwater Creek #1)
by Danielle Doolittle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Falling in love can be a royal pain.
A cocktail of sex, booze, and breakneck speeds is what sends Prince Henry of Benignus into rehab. He’s expecting to skip out on lectures and smoke behind the shed. He’s not expecting Carleigh.
Carleigh Philips knows Henry is trouble. His bad-boy attitude reeks of self-importance and over-indulgence. She’s not expecting him to lift a royal finger during his time at the ranch. She’s not expecting him to be a threat to her heart.
When Carleigh’s life is on the line, will Prince Henry step up to the plate? Or will he prove he really is nothing but a phony royal pain?
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Purchase Link: Amazon.com
IT WAS THE BLARE of sirens still bouncing around his brain that woke him. Or perhaps the wad of sandpaper someone seemed to have shoved in his mouth. Whichever was to blame, Prince Henry Xavier Bartholomew Reginald Fitzgerald, self-proclaimed crown prince of the party, second in line for the crown of the Kingdom of Benignus, was seriously feeling its effects.
Where was he? The last thing he remembered was that blond—Mindy, maybe?—announcing to the fifty or so people he had invited back to his hotel suite something about body shots.
The lumpy mattress he was resting on sure didn’t belong to the Hilton. Groaning, Henry peeled open an eyelid, hoping for answers. His scratchy eyes took a moment to focus as the room swam into view. What greeted him only confounded him further. Were those bars?
“Where the bloody he—”
“Ah, good morning, Sleeping Beauty. Nice of you to join us,” a voice boomed, causing Henry’s headache to kick up a notch. “Or do you prefer Prince Charming?”
Henry turned his head and found a man standing on the other side of the bars wearing a smirk and the ugliest brown polyester uniform he had ever seen. The sight of the badge pinned to the man’s barreled chest filled him with both hope and an unsettling sense of foreboding. Forcing himself into a sitting position, despite the fact his head seemed to weigh double what it did last night—curious phenomenon, that—Henry decided to take charge of the situation.
“You there, sir. I demand to know the meaning of this.” He forced as much pompous superiority into his voice as he could manage. If it happened to come out as little more than a petulant complaint, well abject loathing was hard with a hangover the size of Texas. “I would assume you are the local law enforcement. Judging by your lowbrow comments, you know who I am. So I ask you, sir, why am I behind bars?”
“Well, Your Highness, it would seem you’ve broken several laws here in the great state of Iowa, and in doing so, you’ve landed yourself in jail.” The man—officer—managed to turn his title into a jab. “Now, I wouldn’t worry your pretty little head about it. It seems the judge has moved your hearing up a bit on account of who you are. You’ll be seeing him in about an hour. You’d best be getting yourself together. Wouldn’t want to keep the judge waiting.”
As the officer turned to leave, something he said finally hit home with Henry. “Wait. Did you say Iowa? How did I end up in Iowa?”
“It seems you drove here.” Officer Backwater gave Henry a look as if he was the idiot in the room while he flipped through some pages on the scarred clipboard in his hand. “Yep, says right here you were pulled over going one hundred miles per hour down Route Nine in a cherry red Porsche. Of course, we had to impound it and confiscate all of the paraphernalia…”
“Iowa. Porsche.” Henry couldn’t wrap his head around it. He had been in Chicago, awaiting his brother’s arrival for a business transaction. “What did I do last night?”
“That’s all in the report. Don’t worry. I’m sure Judge Freeland will be more than happy to go over it, point-by-point, at your hearing.” With those parting remarks, the officer turned his back on Henry, leaving him alone with his hangover.
* * * *
“All rise. The Honorable Judge Freeland presiding.”
The bailiff’s voice caused Henry’s brain to ricochet against his skull. He was slow to gain his feet as an elderly man in a billowing, black robe walked briskly from a doorway set to the side of the room. Henry watched the light reflect on the man’s bald head as he took his seat at the bench.
The sooner this little show was over, the sooner he could find his car and get back to Chicago. His brother was expecting him. While he wasn’t looking forward to the idea of dealing with official state business, Henry found he actually missed Alexei. Must have been the hangover.
He hadn’t been home in six months. Not since they’d issued him the ultimatum. It was either change his ways on his own, or his family had resolved they would do it for him. He knew how they wished to solve what they perceived as his problem, so Henry packed up and headed to America. Here, his only official business involved deciding which party to attend and who he was taking back to the hotel with him afterward.
“What have you to say for yourself?” The old judge’s gravelly voice made Henry realize he should have been paying attention.
“I said, after your actions last night, what do you have to say for yourself?”
“I can honestly say, sir, that I sorely regret having to take the jobs of all the night staff at the Hilton for allowing me to leave the hotel in such a condition. So if you will let me be on my way, it would seem I have some business to attend to. And I assure you, after today, you will never have to see my face again. Now, if I could be on my way?”
“Hold it right there, son.” Steel had worked its way into Judge Freeland’s voice. “I know who you are, and I believe you expect it will allow you to walk away from this without feeling any repercussions. I’m here to tell you, young man, that in that assumption, you are very wrong.”
Henry felt himself shift under the weight of the old judge’s glare.
“You will find that we treat all offenders equally here in Sweetwater. You have quite a list of offenses: DUI, assaulting an officer, public nudity.”
“Now, see here!” Henry was outraged. Who did this backwater, sorry excuse for a judge think he was? Henry was royalty, nobility. Granted, he was currently on the outs with the family, but that didn’t change anything. He was entitled to a standard of treatment, and this old man was about to get a lesson in etiquette.
“Before you can launch into how I have offended your noble lineage, Your Highness, you should know that the District Attorney has been in contact with your embassy in Chicago. The royal family has been made abreast of our office’s suggested sentencing and has fully backed it.”
What? Those nosey diplomats never bothered to stick their noses in his business before. Why start now?
“While I cannot pass a ruling on someone with diplomatic immunity such as you, I do have this message.” Pulling a crisp sheet of paper from the manila folder he had carried into the room, the old man cleared his throat before continuing. “It is the decision of the Kingdom of Benignus that Prince Henry Xavier Bartholomew Reginald Fitzgerald be sentenced to thirty days in supervised detox at Mount Mercy Rehabilitation, followed by six months at Sweetwater Creek Ranch and completion of their sober living program. If he does not comply with our stipulations, steps will be taken to strip him of his immunity, and we will not interfere with any who wish to prosecute him for his transgressions.”
“I believe, despite that splitting headache I’m sure you are suffering, you heard me clearly. Thirty days at Mount Mercy, six months at Sweetwater Creek, and completion of the program or jail. Your choice.”
Henry could only sit there sputtering his protests as the man banged his gavel, making his judgment final. Fury quickly replaced his astonishment as he was led from the courtroom. How dare that man presume to pass judgment on him?
If he was going to be honest with himself, the driving force of his now simmering anger was directed at his brother. How could Alexei do this to him? He wouldn’t be surprised if Alexei was really behind that fiasco that had passed itself off as a trial. Henry wouldn’t put it past his brother to have someone trailing him, waiting for him to screw up and press the very ultimatum that drove him from home.
About the Author:
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Danielle has always had a passion for the written word. Initially starting out to be a high school teacher, she soon realized writing was her calling. Danielle lives in Ohio with her family. When she’s not writing (which is rare) she’s spending time with her husband, wrangling two rambunctious boys and one rowdy little girl, and baking like she’s on Cupcake Wars.
Danielle enjoys copious amounts of coffee and dark chocolate, chatting on Twitter, and a good love story. Oh, and an Alpha hero is a must!
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Royal Pain. These are the prizes you can win:
– a grand prize goodie bag including a handmade bookmark, 3 3×4 magnets, a Royal Pain deck of cards and a tote bag.
– 2 e-copies of Royal pain,