Laszlo pulled the door closed, locking himself out of Sofia’s life once and for all. None of the people hovering in the hall looked at him. Every single one was paid well enough to call that a breakout meeting on world affairs—under oath, if it came to it.
Igor was paid so well, he had ensured the president of Presovia had been given a room on the same floor as the princess of Vallia. He followed Laszlo into his suite.
“Will there be anything more, sir?”
“We’ll return home tonight.”
“I’ll make the arrangements.”
It felt like a retreat, but Laszlo had sworn he wouldn’t go to her again and yet here he was, imagining washing himself in that shower with her, soaping her smooth skin, drinking her sighs as he brought her to orgasm with the rhythm of his touch.
She had bewitched him from the first moment he’d seen her two years ago when she’d mediated trade talks with Presovia and their contentious eastern European neighbors.
Laszlo had just won a brutal campaign and was determined to rescue his country from high taxes, poor infrastructure and regressive policies. He’d been receiving death threats every other day and initially tried to dismiss Sofia as an elitist pushing sweetheart deals for corporate interests.
She had been impossible to ignore. She was knowledgeable and determined, painstakingly neutral and committed to the betterment of all. In short, magnificent.
He had fought his infatuation for months and, the day the agreement was signed, managed a private conversation to thank her. He couldn’t say how they’d wound up locking lips, but their discussion had dissolved into torrid and frantic lovemaking.
With regret on both sides.
Princess Sofia was even more diligent about protecting her reputation than he was his. The only dirt anyone could dig up on her was her flawed pedigree. She was the daughter of the most debauched leader in modern Europe. The king of Vallia had slept with Presovia’s First Lady while Laszlo’s predecessor had watched—if rumors were to be believed.
Such rumors were always believed.
Laszlo was still cleaning house within Presovia’s government. He was under constant scrutiny and should have been courting a potential wife, subtly conveying his confidence in Presovia’s stability and prosperity, not having midnight hookups with anyone, let alone her. His countrymen might have seen past a bachelor having an affair. Maybe they would even accept his involvement with a princess if she renounced her title, since Presovia’s recovering democracy needed distance from supreme rulers like royalty and oligarchs.
But the daughter of the Kinky King? Absolutely not.
Why take the risk to see her at all? he kept asking himself.
Because he couldn’t stay away was the ignominious answer.
As a man trying to prove himself ruled by only Presovia’s best interests, he couldn’t allow himself to be ruled by his insatiable desire for Sofia.
So Laszlo made his staff travel home at this ungodly hour. He made himself leave so he wouldn’t give in to his basest urges. He made himself pretend—made himself believe—nothing would ever happen between them again.
It made him impossible and the staff avoided him for several days afterward.
On a quiet afternoon, Igor approached. “Sir,” he said with a note of concern. “There’s a headline in the news—the king of Vallia has died.”
Solntse was Laszlo’s first thought. Sunshine. It was the name he’d used for her private number. As he drew out his own phone, he saw no message from her. Why would she reach out, though? They were little better than one-night stands to one another.
“Where is she?” His chest hurt. The loss for her would be complicated, but she would be suffering.
“The princess was still in Geneva when he passed.”
“Why?” The conference was long over.
A rasping lick of jealousy briefly swept over him along with a kick of self-recrimination. If he wanted her to be faithful, he had to give her a reason to be, didn’t he?
“She’s on her way home.” Igor proved himself worth every lek Laszlo paid him as he said, “I’ll learn what I can about the funeral arrangements and organize your attendance.”
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