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Punished by the Prince
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Elizabeth just learned she’s a princess, and she’s promised to a prince.
Finding out I’m actually a princess was a shock. Finding out there’s a prince who has been waiting to marry me when I turned eighteen? Yeah, that was a shock too.
I’m not exactly princess material, even if I do have the evil sisters and neglectful parents thing going on. My life was supposed to be boring, cruel, and most of all, uneventful.
But all that changed.
I’m taken to a city that shouldn’t exist–a kingdom that shouldn’t exist. It’s a whole new world full of possibility, where teams of servants cater to my every need and my room is at the top-most tower of a palace. It should be perfect. It should be a dream come true.
But my husband-to-be would give a glacier the chills, and one look makes me want to get as far away from this man and this place as I can.
I’m captured during my escape by the most breathtaking man I’ve ever seen. He says he is going to make sure I’m “punished” for trying to escape.
I never knew punishment could be so… intimate, or so enjoyable. And I definitely didn’t expect to learn Mr. Tall Dark and Gorgeous is actually a prince too–my husband-to-be’s older brother, in fact.
**This is a full-length, standalone fake marriage romance. No cheating or cliffhangers, and as always, Happily Ever After guaranteed. Bonus content included!
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My eighteenth birthday is shaping up to be completely and totally average. Unfortunately, average for me is probably a lot more like garbage that smells so bad you can practically taste it if you breathe through your mouth.
My parents make decent money and they love each other. My little sisters get along great and they’re well-adjusted at school. The only problem is for as long as I can remember, they’ve all treated me like a wet rat that just landed on the table in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner.
I make the best out of it, though. It’s become a hobby of mine to keep a running tally of all the different ways they find to hurt me. There’s the small, everyday neglect like cooking enough breakfast for everyone but me, or the fact that no one else in the house has chores except me. There’s the way I always got punished for getting a “B” on my report card, but my sisters didn’t. Then there’s the big stuff. The whoppers. Like the time I learned that my parents used up my college fund to pay for beer runs and vacations–but hey, at least I had a college fund at some point. There was also the time they “accidentally” left me at a rest stop in Florida on a ninety degree day with about three thousand percent humidity; the worst part was they didn’t even come back right away when I finally bummed a stranger’s phone to call them. They stopped to see Carl’s Alligator Farm first, and I’m pretty sure they even grabbed dinner because they all miraculously claimed they didn’t need to eat when I asked where we were going to stop.
So when I say my eighteenth birthday has been an average, par-for-the-course kind of eighteenth birthday, that’s exactly what I mean. It’s not that I’m ungrateful. Don’t get me wrong. I guess my family could take their neglect of me to an entirely different level and leave me home while they go celebrate my birthday without me. So, you know, at least I was invited to my own birthday party! Hooray for me.
The restaurant is my family’s favorite: Jasper’s Alehouse. The booths are oversized, the portions are oversized, and even our waitress must be at least six foot two. Country music plays over crackling loudspeakers, but it’s barely audible over the drunks at the bar who wear flannel shirts, cowboy hats, and sunglasses even though we’re inside.
“They said they would be here by seven,” I say, sneaking a glance at my phone. I laugh a little nervously. “Which means they have minus thirty minutes, but I know they’ll come.”
Erica sighs dramatically, adding a roll of her mascara framed eyes for emphasis. She’s two years younger than me, but she’s the daughter my parents wish I was. She has silky black hair that falls straight past her shoulders. Everything about her screams perfection, but it only takes half a brain and a few minutes to see past that. “Your friends ditched you, Elizabeth. Wake up and smell the rejection.”
“So should we break into the cake?” asks my dad. His eyebrows are pinched in a permanent expression of scrutiny, like he just can’t quite believe what he’s looking at. The only time his expression softens is when he looks at my mom, Erica, or Anise, my other little sister. To be fair, he has been known to look pretty lovingly at hot wings too, but I don’t think that counts.
Anise claps her hands together excitedly. “We should’ve broken into the cake thirty minutes ago.” Anise has my sister’s black hair and the same can-do-no-wrong reputation with my parents, but where Erica is thin as a rail, Anise has my mom’s genes and wears her curves proudly.
My mother laughs, not even glancing my way before half-standing to start cutting the cake. The first slice–and the biggest, goes to Anise, who digs in right away. Erica gets the next slice, which is just a touch smaller than Anise’s slice, even though Erica will probably only take a bite or two. Then my dad is served, then my mom serves herself, and then she cuts a sliver of cake only a little bigger than a mouthful off and serves it to me.
“It looks really good,” I say, eyeing the cake. I know it’s hopeless, but I hope if my mom sees me enjoying it enough, she might give me more than a hamster’s portion.
“Most cakes do,” snaps my mother. “Sit up straight, how many times have I told you?”
I do as I’m told because that’s the only way to survive in this family. For me, at least. I pick at my portion of cake, trying to drag it out and savor it as much as I can. I also try not to think about Kerry and Angel, who promised they would be here. My gut tells me they went to Kyle’s graduation party instead.