The Royal Elite:LeanderBy: Danielle Bourdon
The Royal Elite:Leander
Pressing his back against the rough stone wall, Leander paused to listen to the sounds of the night. The echo of a trickling creek and the distant howl of a feral animal made themselves known above the whispering wind. Leaves rustled. A tree branch groaned. He heard no voices, no telltale snap of debris indicating another human might be close by. Curls of mist shifted through the air like old ghosts, hindering his view of the adjacent forest. He could just make out heavy boughs and thick trunks, the shapes undefined in the darkness. The scents of pine, fir and aspen were almost strong enough to overtake the smell of damp earth.
Trusting his instincts, he crept forward inch by inch, senses honed to a fine point.
Nothing could come between him and his mission.
Creeping to the end of the wall, he waited through a silent three-count and went around the corner low and fast. A shape lurked ahead through the fog, big and bulky, pressed as close to the wall as he was. Leander froze—prepared for—but not expecting to see anyone else out there. On stealthy feet, Leander closed the distance, fingers flexing in and out of his palms. Ready for action.
Ready to take down the enemy.
At the very last possible second, when his fingertips were less than three inches from making contact with a body, Leander suddenly found himself under attack. The bulky shape spun around and grabbed him, wresting Leander's balance off kilter. Faster than he anticipated, the man was also strong as an ox. Leander grappled for a hold, lost his footing, and went down with a hard thud. Fighting off a stranglehold, Leander threw a punch and torqued his body to the right, flipping the stranger over to the ground. A grunt split the night.
Breathing fast, knowing the glancing contact of knuckles to jaw wouldn't last long, Leander scrambled atop the writhing stranger and went for the throat.
“Don't move,” he hissed through clenched teeth, “or I'll open your jugular right here.”
. . .
“To my best friend, Chey. May my marriage be as happy and productive as yours.” Wynn Hudson leaned forward to tink her wine glass against Chey's.
“Seriously, Wynn, I'm surprised you're not pregnant already. How many times have I accidentally walked in on you two in flagrante delicto? My virgin eyes can't take anymore.” Chey not-so-innocently sipped the wine.
Choking on the berry red, summer sweet vintage, Wynn said, “Just twice! Or maybe...three times. That's all.”
“More than three. There was the time in the grotto, then the beach house, and--”
“Okay, okay! Maybe four times. And what was the Queen of Latvala doing climbing the south tower, anyway? You shouldn't be taxing yourself like that.” Wynn sidestepped Chey's whap of retaliation, grinning like a fiend. Chey had to be the most unorthodox queen in the history of the world. With long dark hair, vivid blue eyes and a sassy grin, Chey reminded Wynn of the girl-next-door rather than the co-ruler of a small country.
“I'm allowed to explore every inch of the castle I live in, Winnie. I can't help it that you happened to be exploring someone else's few inches at the same time.”
“Chey Sinclair!” Wynn guffawed and blushed so hard she felt heat creep from her throat to her cheeks to her hairline. Then, under her breath, she whispered, “It's more than a few. And don't call me Winnie.”
“I heard that. Leander has turned you straight into a harlot,” Chey declared with a laugh.
Leaning against the counter in the cozy kitchen, suffused light shining down from the ceiling to cast a warm glow over their impromptu 'celebration', Wynn decided to go with the flow. She toasted Chey with her glass again, silently agreeing to the harlot moniker. What could she say? Her fiance was hot.
“He makes me purr,” Wynn said with a mock dreamy sigh.
“Oh boy. If you start naming your favorite positions next, I'm going home.” Chey, sitting on the counter instead of leaning against it—so uncouth for a Queen—had a longer sip of wine. She didn't appear to be going anywhere.
“Look who's talking. You and Sander can't keep your hands off each other for any length of time. If I'm a harlot, so are you. In fact, you're the Queen of Harlots. How fitting.” Thinking herself sly and clever, Wynn had another drink of wine.