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A Diamond in the Rough

By Shawn Bailey



Description

It has been announced that Piers Norwich, second heir to the throne of England is going to marry Penelope Baskov, daughter of the Prime Minster of Russia. Piers has never met Penelope, but will not embarrass his family by refusing to marry her.

Penelope turns out to be a tall, striking redhead, a young lady with a killer body, who says what's on her mind, and who likes to have fun. Piers decides to go on with the wedding and wants his older brother Gunter to be his best man.

Gunther Norwich, heir to the throne of England meets a young man at a club and likes what he sees. The young man turns out to be none other than Blaine Angelo, his younger brother Piers' wedding planner. While Piers and Penelope plan to spend the rest of their lives together, Blaine and Gunther meet for secret a rendezvous at Blaine's private S/M club.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward, Piers' and Gunther's cousin has his eye on Anastasia Angelo, Blaine's older sister. Nothing is exactly what it seems. Are the princes as happy as they appear or will one of them discover they've made a very big mistake?


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Excerpt

Chapter One

“Our guests should be arriving soon,” Beatrice said to her family as they sat in one of the smaller state rooms of the Westminster Palace. Visiting dignitaries were coming to make the final plans for the wedding of her son Piers to the Prime Minster of Russia’s daughter, Penelope.

“I still don’t understand why you chose a Russian girl when we have so many beautiful women right here in England to choose from,” Gunther, her eldest son, said. Gunther was thirty, and five years older than Piers with no immediate plans to marry and make her a grandmother.

“Because it is good for diplomacy,” Piers answered.

Beatrice smirked. Truth be told, Piers had seen the young woman on his last trip to Russia and fell head over heels in love with her. They weren’t even introduced but he wanted someone different and he’d heard Penelope liked having fun like him. Plus, he never missed a chance to give the media something to discuss about him. Unlike Gunther, Piers craved and loved attention. Since then Piers and Penelope only communicated over the phone. Penelope had agreed to marry Piers without ever laying an eye on him, which made Beatrice wonder what she could be up to or what she hoped to gain.

A small stringed orchestra entertained them while they waited. Included in the meeting of the two countries were various dukes and duchesses, some lords and ladies, the Minister of Defense and just a few select reporters. She would have preferred to do this in private, but there was no such thing as privacy for monarchs of the state.

Her nephew Edward Norwich bounded into the room, sweeping his long blond bangs out of his eyes as he headed toward them. At twenty-eight Edward bore a striking resemblance to most of the males on the king’s side of the family, except for Gunther who took his black hair from hers.

“They’ve arrived,” Edward announced quite exuberantly. “And they’re not alone. They’ve brought along an entourage.”

By entourage he probably meant their personal assistants and people to make them feel at home while in England.

The doors opened and everyone stopped what they were doing and stared straight ahead.

“Prime Minster Uri Baskov and his wife Zhanna of Russian,” the spokesman announced.

The Prime Minister and his bride entered dressed for the cold winter in fur coats with matching hats. They stopped abruptly in front of the podium and bowed.

“Welcome to our country,” Albert, her king said. “I hope you had a pleasant journey.”

“It was a long flight,” Zhanna said, removing her hat and shaking out her long red hair.

Beatrice couldn’t see her too clearly from where she sat but the other woman appeared to have a ruddy complexion and freckles.

“And a bit bumpy,” Zhanna continued.

Staff came forward to get their coats and hats. Prime Minster Uri had a head of thick brown hair and a lot of facial hair. He didn’t complain about the trip like his spouse.

“Where is your daughter?” Beatrice asked.

Noise from the hallway outside the room drew their attention back to the door. A young woman appeared accompanied by several other young women, who adjusted her long red hair and helped her out of her coat.

“Penelope Baskov,” the spokesman announced as soon as her people stopped fussing over her.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” Penelope said with a strong Russian accent like her parents. “My people are idiots.”

This got a laugh from the crowd.

Her people didn’t seem to appreciate her statement. They left the room quickly.

Penelope walked forward and bowed. “It is nice to be here. Thank you for inviting me.”

Beatrice smiled on the outside and fretted on the inside. Penelope was so not what she expected. She looked over at Piers. He seemed just as perplexed as her.

“So which of these gorgeous guys is about to get lucky?” Penelope asked, looking toward the princes.

Piers rose. “That would be me.” He walked down the steps to greet her.

All eyes were on him, exactly the way he liked it. Piers stopped right before the young woman and bowed gallantly. “Welcome to Westminster, Miss Penelope. I’m Piers Norwich, your groom-to-be.”

They were about the same height, Beatrice noted, which meant any kids born to them would also be tall.

Penelope wrapped her arms around Piers waist and hugged him tightly.

Beatrice grimaced. Damn, the girl is strong too.

Gunther just stared with a frightened look on his face.

Beatrice smirked. He’s probably wondering what I have in store for him. As the queen she could arrange a marriage for whomever she liked. She’d love to pick Gunther a mate, because she hated Lady Carmen Danning, who he’d been dating on and off since puberty. Hate was such a strong word, maybe despised would be better. Carmen’s parents, the Lord and Lady of Cambridge, were two of their closest friends, but their daughter was pure evil.

Besides being a bitch, Carmen was cunning, bossy and had everyone wrapped around her finger except Gunther who just found her amusing. She believed her son just dated Carmen to aggravate her since he knew how she felt about her. As far as she could tell the two of them had absolutely nothing in common.

“Penelope, stop squeezing Piers and let the poor boy breathe,” Zhanna told her daughter.

Beatrice sighed. The Baskovs were to be their guests for the next two months. It was going to be a long cold winter.

****

Penelope wasn’t exactly what he expected. The young woman had flaming red hair, a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose, and the height of a giraffe. Lucky for her, his younger brother Piers was also tall or things would be a bit awkward when they danced or posed for pictures.

Gunther considered her pretty, but not beautiful. She had a long face and beady green eyes. He gazed over at her parents. Penelope looked like a combination of both of them. She got her height from her father and everything else from the queen. He sighed wondering what his future niece or nephew would look like since Piers had blond hair and blue eyes. This match, he guessed, might change things.

Piers leaned toward him. “Well, what do you think?”

“She’s pretty,” Gunther said.

“And she’s tall like I like my women.”

“Then you’ve hit the mother lode.” If Piers liked her then that’s all that mattered.

“She a bit overly affectionate,” Piers continued. “And she has no respect for personal space with all the hugging and squeezing.”

“Complain to me when she’s not,” Gunther said as he watched some local dignitaries giving an interview to the local media. Palace life, he discovered at an early age could be the best thing in the world and sometimes the worst. Luckily for him he had his own home in Norfolk and only visited Westminster when necessary.

The Baskovs were deep in conversation with his parents and Penelope’s people had carted her off to relax in the suite of rooms assigned to her family. Gunther looked for the opportunity to leave his throne. He’d promised his cousin Edward he’d go with him clubbing tonight and he needed to get to his suite so he too could relax like Penelope before going out to the party.

“You aren’t thinking about deserting me and leaving me here with the old folks, are you?” Piers asked him.

“Yes,” Gunther answered. “Edward and I are hitting the town tonight. Too bad you’re going to be tied down here with your future in-laws.”

“We can always invite Penelope to come along with us,” Piers argued.

Gunther’s smile faulted. “We could, but what kind of fun could we have with her tagging along beside us? You better get used to being alone with her. You’ll be married to her for a good long time, and when the babies start arriving you’ll be chained to the palace.”

Piers looked horrified.

Gunther smirked. His fun-loving brother looked ready to call the engagement off. Gunther saw the opportunity and walked off the throne, giving Piers something to think about.

****

“What do you mean the princes have gone clubbing?” Penelope asked Darya her assistant. Darya always knew the current gossip no matter what country they were in.

“They left a short while ago,” Darya answered as she fanned Penelope. “They were accompanied by their cousin Prince Edward.”

Penelope had met Edward earlier and found him quite attractive. He also smiled at her several times and looked her in the eyes. “There will be none of that for Piers once we’re married,” Penelope said sternly. “No clubbing for him unless he’s accompanying me.” She wasn’t getting married just to be left alone home shackled to a bunch of whiney kids. She wanted to marry someone fun and who wasn’t afraid to take chances. That’s what drew her to Piers in the first place. She preferred her men to focus on her and her needs rather than their own. “Did they take women with them?”

Darya shook her head. “No Miss, but I’m sure there will be some at the club. There usually is.”

Penelope frowned. “This just won’t do.”

Darya stopped fanning. “What won’t do?”

“My fiancé sneaking off like a thief in the night. Quick, find me something to wear. I’m going clubbing too.” She’d show them she wasn’t the kind of woman to be taken lightly. She dressed in Western-style clothing: a short skirt, a cleavage showing blouse and boots.

Darya had to dress up too and accompany her. Penelope helped her with her choice of clothing, but Darya refused to wear a lot of makeup or show too much of her breasts. They snuck out the palace and suckered one of the prince’s drivers to take them to the club where the princes normally hung out. Penelope flirted shamelessly with the driver to throw off suspicions. Several minutes later the driver stopped in the parking lot of a swanky nightclub. There were some young people around her age talking, while others were going in and out the club. Penelope used her smile and mild flirting to gain them entrance without having to wait in line.

“Do you see them?” Darya asked as they walked into the lounge.

“No, not yet,” Penelope answered. “But it doesn’t matter. I like this place.” Instead of finding them seats first, Penelope dragged Darya onto the dance floor.

****

“Isn’t that your bride-to-be?” Gunther asked Piers as his brother opened another bottle of champagne and filled their glasses. They had just returned from the dance floor and had gotten rid of the young women they were dancing with.

Piers squinted. “It looks like her,” he answered. “But it’s probably not her. What would she be doing out of the palace?”

Gunther looked over at the dance floor again. It certainly did look like Penelope to him, but he was pretty tipsy from drinking too much champagne to be sure.

The young woman in question appeared to be about the same height as Penelope. She also had the same color hair. He supposed he could be wrong, especially since she was bumping and grinding with some guy and acting most unladylike.

“I don’t think a Prime Minister’s daughter would dance like that,” Edward said, lifting his glass and then sipping. He too had done a considerable amount of drinking.

“Why not?” Gunther asked.

“Because she has class and wouldn’t be shaking her ass around like some tart.”

Gunther chuckled. “Your ass is so drunk. Of course she would dance like that as soon as she is away from her parents.” He looked back at the dancers. The young lady next to the Penelope kept tugging at her skirt to make sure it didn’t rise up her thighs. Two young ladies danced over to them. One of the young women stood about five feet seven and had a slender frame. She wore black and white symmetrical top that hung low to cover her behind. Beneath she wore a pair of black tights and a pair of knee-high black boots.

The other young woman stood about five feet ten. She was also slender and dressed in leather from head to toe. Gunther squinted. The woman’s fashionable auburn bob bounced against her face and neck as she danced. The one in leather now danced with the Penelope look-alike and was rocking her slender body to a Korean pop song. Both were pretty good dancers, but Gunther kept his gaze on the leather clad butt as it bounced up and down to the music.

“What are you watching so intently?” Edward asked him.

“Just some people dancing.” He didn’t want to shock Edward by confessing he was watching some woman’s ass.

“Which people?” Edward asked.

Gunther pointed in the direction of the dancers.

“Oh, you mean those two dancing with Penelope?”

“You two morons are drunk,” Piers said. “That isn’t my sweet Penelope. She is back at the palace having loving dreams about being married to me.”

“Which one are you checking out?” Edward asked Gunther. “The one bird dressed in black and white, or the dude in leather?”

“What dude in leather?” Gunther asked. “You’re drunk. That’s a woman.”

Edward chuckled. “Is not. It’s a guy.”

Gunther frowned. I must be drunker than I realize. Yet he couldn’t take his eyes off the phenomenal butt.

“Women asses always shake like jelly,” Edward explained. “That is definitely a guy rocking those pants. Look how firm his ass is.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Gunther said as he went back to sipping his drink. The dancer in leather stopped dancing and headed toward the rest rooms.

Suddenly Gunther had the urge to empty his bladder. “I’ll be back,” he said as he scooted out of the chair. He walked toward the men’s room hoping to get by the crowd unnoticed. He still had on his dark shades and street clothes, but every now and then some lucky soul still could identify him as the prince. He glanced over at one of the tables. Sure enough the young woman bore a remarkable resemblance to his future sister-in-law right down to the red hair and freckles. Well, they said everyone had his or her double.

Gunther walked into the men's room and entered one of the vacant stalls. He heard the door next to him open and then water gushing from a faucet. Gunther flushed and exited the stall. He looked the other guy over from the jacket down to the leather pants. Definitely an ass worth noticing. When he looked up he saw a pair of hazel eyes staring back at him through the mirror. “Nice, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Gunther said walking over to the sink and washing his hands. “But the face staring back at me is better.”

The man turned slowly and checked him out from top to bottom. “Not bad,” he said. “What color are your eyes?”

“Baby blue,” Gunther said, flirting mildly with the gorgeous stranger.

The other guy stuck out his tongue and slowly moved it over his bottom lip.

Gunther moaned. That is the single most erotic sight I’ve ever seen. “Yummy. What’s your name?”

“My name is Blaine but friends call me Angelo,” he said as he dried his hands on a piece of paper towel. He pulled a small tube from his pocket and added what appeared to be lotion to his hands. He then pulled a business card out his pocket and handed it to Gunther.

Gunther tossed the paper towel into the trash and accepted the card.

“Call me when you’re not hiding those baby blues from the world,” Blaine said as he headed toward the door.

“Don’t you want to know my name?” Gunther asked as he put the business card into his pocket.

Blaine stopped. “Can’t I call you a man of mystery?”

“Yeah, but my friends call me Gun.”

“See you around, Gun,” Blaine said, rewarding him with a smile. He walked out the door.

Blaine Angelo was gone by the time Gunther made it back to the table.

“What took you so long?” Edward asked as he shooed off some young lady he’d been talking to. He slurred his words.

Gunther smirked. At least Edward could hold his liquor better than Piers who snored loudly. He had his head down resting on his hands like he used to do as a child. “I had to use the toilet. Are you ready to go?”

Edward nodded. “There’s not much action here tonight.”

Gunther agreed. They were too inebriated to chase down dates for the evening, unlike the Penelope look-alike that had an over-abundance of guys surrounding her as she busted some mad moves on the dance floor. She waved at him. Gunther gulped. “Let’s get Piers out of here. She’s the real deal.”

“Ooh shit, you’re right,” Edward said staring at Penelope. “What is she doing here?”

“Spying on us, no doubt,” Gunther said. He grabbed his sleeping brother and pulled him out the chair.

“What are you doing?” Piers asked him.

“I’m getting you out of here. Your engagement is at stake.” He took one side of Piers and Edward took the other side and hauled Piers out the lounge and into the waiting car.