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The Naughty Princess – A Sexy Royals Novella – 1001 Dark Nights
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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Claire Contreras comes a new story in her Sexy Royals series…
Princess Pilar is tired of playing by the rules. She’s sick of the spotlight and being seen as the uptight goody-too-shoes the media has cast her to be. She’s especially tired of the fact that her brothers are allowed to run off and do whatever they want while she sits inside watching the world pass her by. That’s why she decides that while her older brothers are off on their usual summer holidays, she’s going to quietly pack her things and travel to the one place her parents have always forbidden her to step foot on – Ibiza.
As the star of the French premiere fútball league, Benjamin Drake has it all – the money, the cars, the clothing contracts, and any woman he wants. Problem is, the only woman Ben has ever wanted badly enough to stop partying is Princess Pilar, the one he can never, ever have. Despite his fame and achievements, in Pilar’s world, she’ll always be royalty and he’ll always be a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who got lucky. He’d never be accepted. He knows that. Yet, when he spots Pilar partying at the same club as him, all bets are off. He’s determined to get her in his bed, even if it’s just for one night.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
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One Thousand and One Dark Nights
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories… to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday’s wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier’s daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story… I begin a new
one… like the one that you, dear reader, have before
1 year ago…
“Your father is dying.”
My older brothers and I exchanged a grave look at those words. It wasn’t a surprise or a shock. His health had been declining for years, and it was only a matter of time before it happened. None of that made it any easier to prepare for. My mother was stoic even as she laid the news out for us. She once said she’d learned the trait from watching my father. In the silence of his chambers, I tried to form a chant inside my head. “Long live the king!”
It was something people said in pubs while drinking, outside of the palace walls during ceremonies, and in the form of a salute when they met my father. My father. The King of France. The one who was slowly deteriorating in the room next door like many kings before him.
We were well-taught and knew the history of our sovereigns, as well as the ones in my mother’s homeland of Spain. The one constant in all of those stories was death. Death by plague, death by combat, death by cancer, but always death. However timely or untimely it may seem. Yet when faced with it, we weren’t sure what to do. When confronted by it, we all felt the same thing those outside these walls felt. Even if we didn’t show it on our faces like my mother. On the inside, we wept and trembled. We were scared. We felt hollow.
My eldest brother, Elias, took my right hand. My other brother, Aramis, took my left. We squeezed, the three of us knowing that this would change the course of our lives forever. We were the only ones who could possibly understand what the other was feeling, allowed ourselves to wallow as our mother stood with her back to us, her head held high as she looked out the window.
“He wants to crown Elias before he goes,” Mother said, her voice shaking. “He wants to be here for that, at least.”
Elias’s hand tightened on mine. He hung his head as if her words had delivered a blow. I knew they had. One thing Aramis and I did not envy was that Elias was next in line. The idea of being king may seem exciting to some, but we knew the reality of it. The proof was dying in the next room.
“The doctor is giving him six months,” Mother continued. “You will all be on your best behavior in the coming weeks. Your father does not want anyone to know about this yet. Not until everything is ready for the coronation. That means you may take your short holiday as you normally do, but no scandals this time. We do not have room for missteps. Elias, you’d do well to use this time to reflect. It may be the last time you’re able to do that. Aramis, I beg you to be discreet. Please, no tabloids. Pilar, you’ve never given us any grief. Please keep it that way.”