"Are you feeling all right?" he gasped. One minute he'd been wandering the halls, minding his own business, the next—attacked!

"Oh, sure, it's just—I'd be crazy to plan on spending—what?—fifty, sixty years with you? Without... you know. Sampling the merchandise."

"If I understand you," he said carefully, "and I'm not at all sure I do, you're proposing we—may I have my shorts back, please?"

"In a minute," she said, and then she was nimbly unbuttoning his shirt and spreading it open.

"This is really too—" and then he forget where he was going with this as her soft, hot mouth touched his mouth, his throat, his nipples, and now she was actually licking his nipples, and he brought a hand up and fisted it in her hair, and she nipped lightly, which made him yelp, and then he was tugging at her shirt, her shorts, they were writhing together in the dark, his hands were everywhere, relishing the touch of her smooth, warm skin, her curls were in his face and he breathed deeply of her natural perfume. Being with her was like being in a dark garden.

He felt her hand clasp him—

"Oh, my. How many vitamins do you eat a day, Dave?"

—and groaned, felt her fingers slide up and down with delicious friction, and had trouble remembering the fact that ninety seconds ago he'd been wandering down the hallway, fully clothed and thinking about Aptenodytespatagonicus.

She had straddled him again and was all smooth, nude skin. She was humming something and in a minute he placed it—it was Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love."

She was still gripping him, and now she was easing herself down on top of him, and he instantly felt his I.Q. drop another thirty points.


"Wait," he managed, feeling for her soft pelt. "It's too soon, I don't want to hurt—" He found her slick folds and realized she was more than ready for him. "Belay that," he added, and she laughed, and eased down on him, and oh, it was—it was exquisite. He put a hand in the middle of her back, feeling her muscles flex, and sliding up into her was like sliding into the best dream he ever had.

It was a tight fit, but she didn't seem to mind, and God knew he didn't mind. He had thought it was the pinnacle, it was the finest, it simply could not get any better, and then she began to rock against him.

He pulled her down, found her soft, sweet mouth, and kissed her while she rocked, rocked, rocked, still humming that excellent tune.

He broke the kiss and groaned again, then managed, through gritted teeth, to say, "I have—very bad—news—"

"Oh, I know," she teased, leaning back and tickling his balls. When she leaned that far back, her curls brushed the tops of his thighs, and he shivered. "That's okay. My turn next time."

"Deal," he gasped, and then came so hard he felt his eyes roll back in his head.

"You tried to kill me," he accused, when he had his breath back.

"Oh, sure," she said. They were on their sides in the nameless, dark little room; he'd cuddled her against him like two spoons in a drawer. "That was my fiendish plan all along."

"It's the only explanation I can think of," he said, and puffed against the back of her neck, parting the hair so he could kiss the exposed skin. "I hope you don't think—that is to say, I enjoyed it very much—very much—but I wouldn't want you to think—"

"Relax, Penguin Boy."

"Please don't call me that after coitus," he grumbled.

"Please don't ever call it coitus. And I'm well aware of what happened—didn't I, what d'you call it—instigate the whole thing?"

"That's true," he said, cheering up. "I was just an innocent victim of your lust."

"Right. Anyway, I know it was too fast for me. But not for you. Right?"

"Right. Next time," he said, testing her.

"Right," she said, yawning into his forearm. "Next time. Fuck the king."

"I'd rather," he said, "fuck you."

"Such dirty language from a prince ... I bet that's the first time you ever said 'fuck.' Um, don't we have a meeting or something?"

"Yes, but I have to check on the penguins first."

"Ooooh, you're getting me hot all over again. I love it when you talk about flightless waterfowl after boinking me! Now talk about dead fish."


"C'mon, I need to hear it!"

"You're impossible," he grumbled, sitting up and groping for his shirt.

"And you're stuck with me," she said, sounding indecently satisfied.

"Yes," he said, feeling more than a little satisfied himself. "I suppose I am."

At Lady Christina's insistence, they combined the meetings with the florist, the caterer, the gown designer, the protocol officer, and about twelve other people into one efficient meeting.

Well, as efficient as such a meeting can be ...

"No, no, no. No wedding announcements."

The royal protocol officer, a woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to Shania Twain, gaped at her. "But my lady ... we have to ..."

"Invitations are enough. Look, we all know announcements are just a greedy grab for more presents. And we're going to get tons of stuff, anyway. Right?"

"But it's not a—not a greedy—ah—greedy grab—"

Edmund's hand dropped to the protocol officer's shoulder. "It helps if you close your eyes and think of a happy place," he said in her ear. Then, louder, "Very well, my lady. No announcements ... except to the press."

"Well... okay. They're gonna find out anyway." Christina stretched. She felt pleasantly sore. Tackling David had been educational and fun. The man had a dick on him that wouldn't quit. She couldn't wait to get her hands on it again. For compatibility's sake, of course. Not because she craved his company or anything. "And where is David?"

"He's coming, my lady."

Again, you mean. "Hip-deep in penguin crap, no doubt."

"No doubt, my lady."

"And while we're on the subject—"

"Of penguin crap?"

"—who's paying for this shindig? I've got my last paycheck, and that's it."

"I'm paying for it," the king announced, entering the large meeting room. "Sorry I'm late. Last night's pizza is not agreeing with me."

Edmund closed his eyes, as if in great pain, and Christina giggled.

"I guess that's my cue to protest," she said, "but since this is a royal wedding, I guess a royal guy has to pay for it."

"You just show up. If you do that, we'll all be happy."

"Really? That's all I have to do?"

"Sit down, my lady," Edmund said sternly. "The king exaggerates."

The king slumped into the tattered blue La-Z-Boy at the head of the table, and hit the recline lever. His feet went up and he sighed. "So, where were we? And where's David? Jenny, you don't look so good."

"I'm fine, Your Majesty," the protocol officer replied, trying a game smile.

"Put your head between your knees," the king ordered.

"It doesn't help," Edmund said. "Trust me."

"Sorry I'm late," Prince David said, hurrying in. He looked gorgeously out of breath, and flashed her a secret grin. She had to put a hand over her mouth so as not to grin back.

Gorgeously out of breath? Had she really thought that? What was with her lately?

"What'd I miss?"

"No wedding announcements, just invitations," Christina said. "And your dad's got the runs."

"That makes good sense. The first part, not the latter. Dad, how many times do I have to tell you to lay off the pizza?"

"You might be the crown prince, but you're still a punk," the king snapped. "I'll eat what I like."

"Fine, enjoy your week in the bathroom." David took the seat next to the bride, bending to drop a careless kiss to her forehead as he did. It was not lost on Edmund that she blushed for a moment and her eyes got very bright.

"Well," Jenny began, "I think we need to pin down the wording of the invitation. I was told that the lady's parents are deceased?"

Christina nodded. "Completely deceased."

"Well." She cleared her throat. "Protocol dictates that only the living can issue invitations."

"Well, duh. I don't want my dead mom to be inviting people .. . yuck!"

"Perhaps the king can invite guests on behalf of both parties," Edmund suggested. "It's a little unorthodox, but..."

"That will be fine," Jenny said gratefully, crossing an item off her list. "And I'll meet with the engraver this afternoon, so—"

"What? Engraver? Come on, that'll cost a fortune. What's wrong with just using a printer?"

"Happy place, you're in your happy place," Edmund reminded Jenny.

Christina appealed to the king. "Seriously, Al, come on—d'you really want to spend a zillion dollars on the invitations? What's the alternative to engraving?"

"Raised print," Jenny said in the same tone someone would have said, "A cobra under the bed."

"Well, do that. What's wrong with that?"

"Chris, hon, I can afford it," the king said gently. "It's no problem."

"I know that, but why throw your money away on something David and I don't care about? Right, Dave? You don't care, right?"

"I don't care," David admitted.

"All right, then. Next!"

The other wedding experts had managed to bunch themselves into the far corner of the meeting room, suspiciously close to the window. As they were meeting on the first floor, escape was plausible.

"Come on, come on," Christina said impatiently. "What's next?"

Most Popular