Home > OrderA Romantic Suspense Secret Royal Billionaire Novel

OrderA Romantic Suspense Secret Royal Billionaire Novel
Author: Blair Babylon

Chapter One

 

 

Have You Read ROGUE Yet?

 

 

Rogue is the book to start the Maxence series!

 

 

If you haven’t read Rogue yet, get it here!

CLICK HERE to read ROGUE!

If you have read Rogue, turn the page to start reading Order.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Disappear

 

 

Maxence

 

 

Maxence Grimaldi disappeared.

Maxence Grimaldi disappeared because that’s what he always did.

When he’d left Dree Clark sleeping in the enormous bed in the suite of the Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris, he’d brushed her blond hair with a kiss, showered and packed in the bathroom, and quickly let himself out without waking her up. The hotel had summoned a car to take him to the Orly airport, where he’d boarded a private plane to take him to Kathmandu, Nepal.

A stewardess wearing a scarlet sheath dress with her black hair carefully smoothed back in a French twist leaned down and asked him, “Would you like scotch or wine, sir? Or something else?”

Maxence glanced at his phone, which was receiving a signal from the plane’s Wi-Fi connection. “It’s seven o’clock in the morning.”

She smiled.

Maxence shrugged. “Scotch.”

Her smile turned conspiratorial. “Yes, sir. And for breakfast?”

“Eggs. Toast. Something substantial. Thank you, Malini.”

She walked back to the plane’s galley, her slim figure swaying as she walked between the white leather reclining seats that lined the narrow fuselage of the aircraft.

The engines whined as the small jet drilled through the air, and Maxence spread his hands on the rich, burled wood of the table where he sat. Three more oversized seats, currently unoccupied, also stood around the table. He stretched his legs underneath, enjoying these last few minutes of luxury.

Not minutes, actually. Hours. The flight from Paris to Nepal, even with a private plane and with only a short refueling and reprovisioning stop in Doha, Qatar, was still nearly fifteen hours.

They raced south and east, toward the encroaching night, so his day would be shortened by several time zones. The plane would land in Nepal in the early morning of the next day.

Maxence Grimaldi ruminated for fifteen long hours upon the choices he had made in his life.

Some of that time, he read to deepen his thoughts. Several meals were brought to him, which were of excellent quality, and he ate. The two air hostesses tag-teamed Max to keep him company, sitting across from him at the table while they ate and indulging in polite small talk. The three of them played cards for a little while.

It wasn’t all charity. Long-haul flights weren’t easy on the flight crews, either. They were going to have to turn around and fly this long route again on the way back with an empty plane the next day. Max planned to be in Nepal for at least a month, perhaps two, so there was no use keeping the plane, the pilots, and these ladies stranded at the Kathmandu airport for such a long stretch. His family would surely utilize it in the interim.

As the hours passed, the air hostesses spent less time with him, as they always did, and Maxence spent more time reading and contemplating.

The plane raced toward midnight and the spot on the horizon where the sun would rise.

When it grew dark, Maxence asked for turndown service, and the air hostesses reclined one of the couches into a double bed and laid sheets on it before closing the window shades.

The turbulence of his thoughts would not allow him to sleep. He didn’t feel regret. He never did after one of those interludes when he slipped sideways and fell into temptation and his life as it might have been. But his lack of discipline and the depths of his own depravity disgusted him. He should not indulge like that. He should not lose discipline.

Although, if he hadn’t met Dree Clark, who had captivated him for those few days, it probably would have been worse.

It certainly would have included a greater number of women.

He probably should have thanked her for keeping him from having to perform even more penance, which was another item he would have to deal with when he reached the rectory in Kathmandu.

Two hours before they arrived in Nepal, Maxence arose from where he had reclined but not slept, and he took a small suitcase from the back of the plane, where it had been stowed for this purpose. He shooed the air hostesses back behind the curtain that shielded the galley for a few minutes of privacy. Malini wouldn’t let the other woman peek, not that Max cared.

Maxence was a large man, six feet four inches, and packed with a generous amount of muscle. For him, trying to change his clothes in a tiny airplane bathroom was an invitation for disaster. He would at least break the mirror when he stretched, if not accidentally tear a cabinet off the wall when he tried to put on a shirt.

He removed a suit of unrelieved black clothes from the suitcase and set them aside. He shrugged off the black Armani suit jacket he wore and unbuttoned the white, silk-blend shirt underneath.

Under his shirt, he wore a slim platinum cross on a thin chain that he didn’t take off. He’d hung it around his neck directly before he’d left the hotel and Dree sleeping like an angel in the crisp, cotton sheets.

As he removed each item of clothing, he folded the clothes neatly and tucked them inside the empty luggage.

After a quick shower in the private plane’s minuscule stall, he donned the other set of clothes, which was just as finely made and also Armani, but tailored in a more subdued style. He tucked the platinum cross inside the shirt, next to his skin.

The shirt’s collar was a high, ecclesiastical band into which he inserted a white tab.

It felt less like a baptism and more like a snake shedding its worthless skin.

When Maxence looked up in the mirror, a Catholic priest—or almost-priest—wearing a Roman collar looked back at him, judging him for the way that he had spent the month since he had last worn ecclesiastical garb.

It was a harsh judgment, as it should be.

Also, his black hair fell in curls over his forehead and around his ears. He really should’ve made time for a haircut while he was in Paris.

When he returned to his seat, he slipped on a suit jacket that matched the slacks, also in sober black and as well-tailored as everything else he owned.

Back at the suitcase, Maxence removed a fine gold crucifix on a string of black rosary beads from a side pouch of the bag and stuffed it in one of his pockets. He looped a different cross around his neck, a slightly larger one made of iron on a matte, metal chain.

As the plane began to descend to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, Maxence took the opportunity to utilize the plane’s Wi-Fi to check his messages.

His cousin Alexandre had texted a long diatribe about their family’s political machinations and how much of his time these intrigues required. Alex also said he was on his way home because a particular errand required his presence, which seemed menacing, and he suggested that if Maxence wanted to attend their dying uncle’s funeral, he might want to start finding his way home because it would happen soon. Alex also mentioned that his wife, Georgie, had been in touch with her college friend who had married the notorious Wulfram von Hannover, and unmentionable plans had swung into progress re: Flicka.

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