Home > The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)

The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2 - The Man's Outrageous Demands

The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)
Elizabeth Lennox



Chapter 1

Marabeth Elizabeth Marquenda, Royal Princess of Cordova, stood in the red salon, twirling the tassel of the velvet curtain between her fingers. She took a deep breath and began again, wishing she could come up with the right words to explain her proposal. “Here’s the situation, Lord Marcum,” she explained to the man sitting on the settee behind her. “I know you don’t really understand the problems of being royalty,” she began. “It can be extremely tedious sometimes and there are restrictions on what one says and does and where we go and how we act. But there are advantages as well. For instance, we….” Marabeth looked out at the darkness, trying to come up with an example. “We….um…” she couldn’t really think of anything right at the moment. She sighed, frustrated and embarrassed but trying to put on a good front and determined to plow through the situation. “Well, there are, you’ll just have to trust me.”

Since the man hadn’t interrupted her, she took a deep breath and continued. “You see, I have to find a husband quickly. And you seem to be the one my parents apparently like. So…I was wondering, if it isn’t too much trouble, if you could possibly see your way, to, well…you know… perhaps it wouldn’t be terribly awkward…." She stopped, flustered on how to proceed.

Marabeth was just too embarrassed. She was glad her back was still to the man or he’d probably see the color in her cheeks.

She wanted to propose to Lord Marcum, but the words just wouldn’t come to her. How does one tell a man that, because he’s not terribly loathsome, he would do for a husband? Wasn’t there more to the world? Didn’t she have some other opportunity besides being married to a man she could barely endure? Was this what she would face for the rest of her life?

“Please continue. I’m desperate to hear what you’re about to ask your devoted audience,” a strange, deep voice said from behind her.

Marabeth spun around to locate the voice, her flaming red hair swinging over one shoulder and her crystal blue eyes turning angry at the invasion. She had thought that she and Lord Marcum were alone in the salon. She’d been sure to check the area before starting the conversation only a few minutes ago, which meant someone had invaded the room while she’d been talking, an horribly humiliating possibility.

But there, standing just inside the doorway, was an incredibly handsome man leaning against the wall with a slight smile on his lips. He was extremely tall, with dark hair and very broad shoulders. His tuxedo must be well padded which made him look more muscular than he possibly could be.

“Who are you?” Marabeth demanded, shocked and embarrassed that she had been caught in such an awkward situation.

The man walked over to her and bowed low. “Sam Montrose, at your service, Your Highness.” He took her cold hand in his large, warm one and kissed her fingers, sending delicious shivers through her system. He glanced at the man sitting on the settee behind them. “Would you like me to rouse the man so you can finish proposing to him?”

Marabeth ignored the tingles shooting up her arm from his touch and quickly pulled her hand out from his, feeling her cheeks flame red with embarrassment. She looked over at Lord Marcum and, sure enough, he was sound asleep on the settee, leaning precariously against the side as if he were about to topple off the furniture.

Good grief, she thought as she looked at the sleeping man and wishing him to perdition for the humiliation he was currently causing her. What was wrong with her? She couldn’t even propose to a man? Was she that boring and pathetic? Couldn’t she hold a man’s interest for longer than the time it took to dance and say all the correct trivialities?

The man named Sam chuckled at her indignation. “I’m guessing he’s not very interested. But perhaps if you ask me, I’ll stay awake long enough to hear your proposal.”

That only ignited her anger more. How could he be so ungentlemanly to tease her in such an embarrassing moment such as this? The double insult, first from Lord Marcum falling asleep during her proposal and now this…this man teasing her, it was just too much for Marabeth to take with her present frustration. “Oh! Who are you and what are you doing in here?” Marabeth demanded, taking several steps away from the tall, overwhelming man who smelled wonderful, she noted irritably.

“My apologies for the intrusion, Your Highness,” he said and bowed again but his eyes were glinting with humor. “I’m here at the request of your brother, Prince Maximillian. But I’m very glad to have made your acquaintance.”

Marabeth was not used to someone being so casual around her. Most people bowed and curtsied in her presence, usually driving her nuts. But this man was entirely too casual for her. Didn’t he have any respect for her title at all? She was a royal princess but he was treating her as if she were a waitress at the bar he was patronizing.

“Shall I rouse him so you can finish?” Sam offered again.

Marabeth looked over at the man sleeping on the settee with disgust. “No. Thank you though,” she said as politely as her anger would allow and started to step around the taller man. But Sam caught her by the arm to stop her. His grip wasn’t hard. It was very light in fact. It was the heat coming through to her skin that shocked her to her core.

Gone was the teasing glint and mercurial smile. His eyes were intense as they bored into her own gaze. “Don’t sell yourself short, princess,” he said earnestly. “You’re worth more than just someone you can endure. Shouldn’t you be looking for someone you’re attracted to and could grow to love instead of simply someone your parents will approve of?”

She jerked her arm out of his hand and stepped back, wishing she didn’t already feel bereft now that his touch was no longer on her arm. “What do you know of my situation?” she demanded, furious that the man had heard her whole, pathetic almostproposal and could read her so easily.

Sam dropped his hand from her arm and nodded slightly. ”Nothing. Nothing at all, but my statement still stands. You’re worth a whole lot more.”

Marabeth was captured by the intensity of his gaze. His eyes looked down deep into her soul as if he could sense the butterflies his touch and closeness created.

“Well, thank you very much for your advice,” Marabeth whispered. “If you’ll excuse me, I really should get back to the party. My parents will be wondering where I am,” she said.

“What about your date?” Sam asked, nodding to the still sleeping man slumped over on the settee.

Marabeth looked at the man and sighed. “He’s not my date,” she said and shook her head as she rushed out of the room on shaking legs.

What a fiasco, Marabeth thought as she hurried back into the ballroom and took a glass of cold champagne. She didn’t really want the liquor. She’d prefer a glass of ice cold water. Or something that would cool off her embarrassment. But Marabeth understood that life rarely gave one what was asked of it. She watched in horror as her brother, Max, brought the tall man from the salon up to meet her father, who instantly shook his hand and nodded enthusiastically. They seemed to be talking intently, her father nodding at whatever Sam was saying.

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