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Royal Rock:A Bad Boy Royal Romance

By:B. B. Hamel

PROLOGUE: BRYCE


I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not great at geography.

It wasn't my best subject when I was a kid, and as I got older there  just wasn't much use for it. I never needed to know exactly where  Belarus was or if Luxembourg was landlocked or not.

So when someone told me about Starkland, it was no surprise that I had never heard of it.

I'll never forget that morning. I came downstairs, made some coffee, and then my stepmother cleared her throat.

"Bryce," she said, "did you know that you're descended from royalty?"

I nearly choked on my toast.

As it turns out, my father comes from an old royal family in Starkland.  Over five hundred years ago, they were kicked out of the country after  another family took control, and we never looked back since. Back then  we were called the Bismarck royal family, but now we just go by Koch.

My father never talked about Starkland. Apparently having royal blood  never much mattered to him. Robert Koch is a practical man, an  accountant, kind, and generous. Having obscure royal blood in his veins  just never much mattered to him.

Until one day it mattered a lot.

I'll never know what my father first thought when he saw that letter  written on royal stationary. He probably doesn't even remember. But it  was an invitation to return to our ancestral home and to meet the  current royal family. Of course, it was an all-expenses paid trip, and  so we jumped at it. How could we have known what they really wanted?

It wasn't like they came out and said it in the letter. Could you  imagine? "Dear Robert Koch, we'd like your daughter to marry our  reigning monarch because there's this bitter civil war raging and he  needs an heir, so this would be a really great publicity move.  Interested?"

Dad would have freaked out.

Fortunately for the Starkland royal cabinet, they didn't bother  mentioning their real motives for inviting us. If they had, none of this  would have ever happened.

But they didn't, and so we went. I'll never forget stepping off that  plane for the first time and seeing Starkland. Vast forests, wide,  beautiful rivers, and him.

He was more impressive than the landscape. Christophe Werner von  Brunhild the Third, Prince of the Lowlands and the Right King of  Starkland, or Trip as I'd later find out everyone called him, stood  easily over six feet tall and held himself with that cocky swagger you'd  come to expect from a guy at a dive bar, not from royalty. He smirked  at me as soon as I made eye contact with him, and that smile sent a jolt  running down my spine.

He looked the way I imagined kings should look. Muscular, broad, and  handsome, there was that slight stubble on his chin that suggested he  was either way too busy to shave or just didn't give a damn what people  thought. Still, there was something off about the way he held himself.  I'd expected a rigid and serious man, but instead Trip seemed to regard  the whole spectacle with detached amusement.

In only three short days, I'd feel his breath against my neck in the  deep darkness of the castle's interior. His lips would brush my ear and  he'd say, "Pretend all you want, Bryce, but we both know what you want.  You can't stop thinking about my hands between your legs. Are you  dripping wet already? Let me find out."

If I could go back and do it all again, I'd warn myself. Standing on that tarmac, I had no clue what was about to happen to me.

If I could, I'd tell myself to turn around and run away. Trip might be royalty, but he's a royal asshole.

A handsome, cocky, devilish royal asshole. The kind of man that makes me  so angry I can barely speak while still absolutely dripping wet.

That's Trip, layer after layer, all rolled into one deliciously handsome package.

But I didn't turn around and I didn't run away. I shook hands and smiled  for the cameras just like I was told. When I got to Trip, he leaned  forward and whispered into my ear.

"Welcome to Starkland," he said. "Call me Trip. I can't wait to see what  that beautiful ass looks like in just a pair of panties."

What happened next changed a lot of lives, especially mine.





BRYCE





Nobody actually tells you not to slap the King.

Nobody said those words. Sure, they tell you to be polite and to smile  for the pictures, but they don't warn you that the current King of  Starkland, a young and handsome asshole named Trip, might whisper  something dirty in your ear. And in response, you might want to slap him  in the face.

They don't tell you not to do that. So when I wound up and slapped him  right in his cocky, attractive face, the crowd went absolutely still.

Nobody moved a muscle. Technically, striking the King of Starkland  carried the penalty of death. Or at least that was what I read online  later that night.







As soon as my hand left his cheek, I covered my mouth in shock.

Trip turned to me, and for one smoldering moment I thought he might reach out for me and pull me against him.

Instead, he laughed. Loud and boisterous, he tossed his head back and laughed.

"Ladies and gentleman," he called out, "this American sure as hell has spirit!"

The assembled media broke out into laughter and the whole thing was  quickly smoothed over. We were whisked away into a black town car that  headed toward the capital city of Starkland and the royal castle, where  we'd be staying during out visit.

My stepmother was livid. As soon as the doors closed, she whirled on me.

"What the hell were you thinking?" she hissed.

Lucy Koch was a couple years younger than my father, and I had no clue  how he could stand her. Blond and severe, my stepmother seemed to only  care about appearances and status and not about anything that actually  mattered.

"He said something to me," I answered, frowning.

"He's the king, Bryce! He could whisper anything in your ear and you have to just smile and nod." Lucy was fuming.

My father, though, simply put his hand on her knee. "What did he say, honey?" he asked.

Robert Koch was a kind and quiet man. Dark haired and blue eyed,  everybody said he was incredibly handsome. I didn't really see it, but  he was my father after all. It'd be weird if I did.

"Nothing," I said. "I'm not repeating it. But it was inappropriate."

"Maybe that's how they greet people here?" he asked.

I looked at my stepmother. "Did he mention anything about panties to you?"

She paused. "No," she admitted.

"Then I suspect it wasn't that."

Dad shook his head. "Maybe this was a mistake."

"No. The only mistake was when Bryce slapped the King in front of cameras," Lucy said.

"He deserved it," I said.

She shot me a look.

"We can leave," Dad offered. "Right now. It's not too late. We can turn back around and leave."

I bit my lip and could feel Lucy's stare boring into me. I knew that if I  said the word, we really would get the hell out of Starkland as fast as  we could. But the truth was, I didn't want to leave.

Starkland was beautiful. Even just having been in the country for less  than an hour, I was already starting to fall in love with it. The whole  place looked like it came right from that famous mountain meadow scene  in The Sound of Music. It was picturesque, with rolling hills and  majestic mountains and deep, dark forests. It was like a fantasy novel  come to life or something.

And besides, I'd always wanted to know about my heritage. As far as I  had heard, the Koch family had come to America with some of the original  settlers. We were as American as possible, which meant we didn't have a  deep history. I wanted to know more about my bloodline, about the  people I was descended from. As far as I could tell, this was my best  chance to really understand my own history.

Finally, I wasn't doing much back at home in Philadelphia. I was home on  break from college, where I was studying to become a nurse, and I was  bored as hell. I went to school at Temple University, which was right in  the heart of Philadelphia. The suburbs were boring me to tears, and a  trip to some tiny European country that I'd never heard of sounded like a  lot more fun than working at Rite Aid for three months.

"It's only two weeks," I said finally. "Let's just stay and see what happens. We can always leave later."

Lucy nodded, looking smug. "See, Robert? She's fine. She'll apologize to the King and things will be fine."

Dad frowned. "Are you sure?" he asked me.

"I'm sure. I won't apologize, but we should stay."

Lucy shot me another look, but I ignored her.

We were in a beautiful country, foreign and exotic. I was getting a  chance to finally see where I came from, and all for free. Sure, I'd  slapped the King in the face, but that would be smoothed over  eventually. Besides, I doubted we'd even be seeing much of him again.

Not like I'd want to anyway. He was crude and totally out of line. So  what if he was also incredibly handsome and had a grin that could melt  glass? The man was a royal asshole, and that was all I needed to know.

As the car wound its way through the capital city of Stehen, I was already trying to put that cocky king out of my mind.





TRIP





"Your highness, shall we have that impudent American arrested?"

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