It’s going to be exclusive to Amazon and available to borrow in Kindle Unlimited until late February. Expect it at all the other ebook stores around 28th February 2018.
Also, check back for some more from me in December, including a freebie and a $0.99 discount bargain.
Scroll down for an extract. meanwhile here’s the blurb:
Blurb: The Prince and the Bodyguard by H J Perry
“I like my men available now and gone in the morning.”
Currently in personal security, Oscar sees his future as forever closeted and single.
His love life can never be more than a series of hookups with men who want the same. No repercussions and no emotional involvement.
Definitely not a client.
But it’s lust at first sight when he meets the ultimate temptation, HRH Prince Tobias.
Oscar was supposed to be guarding that body not getting to know it better.
For a week.
“Seducing the bodyguard was easy. Moving on and forgetting about him was impossible.”
Toby can’t stop thinking about his first time with a man.
The instant attraction between him and the gorgeous bodyguard was impossible to ignore.
With his anything’s-possible attitude, Toby can only see why they should be dating.
In this sizzling high-heat romance two men reassess what they want in their futures.
Among other things this high-heat, low- angst book features:
* Two men in their thirties.
* A bisexual prince charming.
* A temporary secret boyfriends arrangement.
* The International Year for Indigenous Languages.
* A Cornish pasty.
* A very romantic happy ever after.
Approx 50,000 words.
Standalone novel, there is no cliffhanger, no cheating, and there is a happy ending.
Fast food, french fries, a fatty burger, along with a sugary soda. None of it constituted Oscar’s usual dietary routine. Feeding himself utter trash was an aberration for a man who usually paid such close attention to his body and what went into it.
Yet, he figured he needed a blow out like this, just now and again. It wasn’t so much a loss of self-control because he chose to drop his usual self-discipline.
Waiting for the arrival of a client, Oscar’s typical way of passing the time at the airport involved chilling in the overpriced concessions. In this impersonal space, he gathered his thoughts, shed his personal life, and assumed his role. He usually did it with something more… healthy… than junk food.
The dietary deviation would counterweight the working week ahead, which was due to commence when the client touched down. Oscar would be back on his game for his newest assignment as the bodyguard for a European prince. To Oscar, the prospect screamed babysitter to an upper-class twat.
Still, it came as easy money to pay the bills.
Raleigh Security and Vital Protection, RSVP, paid well. Despite what they showed in movies, assassins were rarely hired to take out clients and all their security detail, fortunately. Kidnappings and car chases didn’t occur often. Protection being a misnomer, there was very little actual guarding involved, ever.
Oscar imagined the week would involve shadowing a posh foreigner who would sound as if he had a toffee in his mouth, wore clothes that cost more than Oscar’s salary for a month, and attended brunch. The client’d be a man who ate caviar and tiny portions of food in the sort of restaurants that treated food as an art rather than something to eat and vital to survival.
Even the name seemed dorky.
A number of the staff at Raleigh Security were surprised when Oscar declared he’d never heard of Prince Tobias.
The agency had given Oscar a small dossier of basic information about the prince including newspaper articles. Nothing really interesting. They expected the job to amount to nothing more than a week of being a rich dude’s escort.
Oscar had no idea why the client chose to travel on a scheduled airline with the masses, but the flight was due in soon.
Most security jobs were fairly easy jobs that Oscar could pretty much do with his eyes shut.
Well, not exactly shut, eyes very much had to stay open, but it didn’t get much more taxing than no sleeping on the job. Except when sleeping on the job was required, such as for this client. The prince required twenty-four-hour security. Around the clock. Someone who’d sleep with him.
Not sleep with, exactly, but be nearby in the same hotel.
Oscar always delighted in sleeping on the job, earning an excellent hourly rate for his bunse money while he lay between the sheets in a hotel room.
The client might carry the tag of His Royal Highness, but the threat was minimal, as evidenced by the fact that Raleigh Security assigned only one man to the task. Escorting the client from A to B would be Oscar’s main role. In addition, he’d appear intimidating and give peace of mind to someone who feared a shootout at the OK Corral might erupt at the drop of a hat.
Didn’t the Prince know he was coming to one of the safest countries in the world? Oscar wondered if His Royal Highness, the hoity-toity prince, had ever encountered someone who wasn’t posh, rich, and pasty pale white.
“Flight 291 has arrived. Passengers are disembarking.”
The announcement came bang on time, exactly when Oscar expected it. Just as well, he’d eaten all the fast food he could stomach. He picked up his tray, carried it over to the trash, and dumped it. He straightened up his suit. Whatever the client expected, and even without a real threat, Oscar intended to be as professional as always.
While wondering if the client looked anything like he did in the grainy black and white newspaper photographs, Oscar made his way down to the arrivals terminus.
Oscar never really cared for media gossip, and people who were famous just because of the womb they crawled out of. He certainly wasn’t interested in following stories about celebrity families when he’d spent much of his life steering clear of his own. Not steering totally clear, exactly, but keeping them at arms length.
To Toby, a private jet seemed excessive to carry just him and his assistant. It didn’t seem right to be extravagant in the mode of transport, given the all the charity work he did. He’d argued to keep the trip on the down low and on budget. Being royalty wasn’t just a matter of birth and family, as he was frequently reminded, it was a business.
“We have a bodyguard waiting for you at the terminal, Tobias.” Teresa didn’t look at him as she spoke but ran a finger down her page of notes, the glow of the screen reflecting on her glasses. “Listen to him. This isn’t your home. There’s practically war on the streets here with frequent stabbings, vehicles used as weapons, and people murdered by toxic poisons. There are terrorists using things we’ve never thought of as weapons and there are even shootings. I don’t need to run through it all again. Just don’t be complacent.”
Toby shook his head. “It’s one of the safest countries in the world and the people are just people, like they are back home, but I take heed of your warning, yet again, oh wise one.”
“I am the greatest foundation of wisdom and don’t you forget it,” she joked.
He’d had to argue people are the same the world over all too often. He found it hard to believe how much some of his fellow countrymen held such strong fears about foreigners in other parts of Europe or just about anyone different to themselves.
As a photogenic prince, he had cameras focused on him much of the time. He’d gotten used to it, but it didn’t mean he liked it. People judged him based on his title, his family, and his looks rather than who he really was. And he wasn’t free to make mistakes in private and forget them. This wasn’t going to change, but he intended to work it to his advantage.
The fame and celebrity that came with being a prince was a double-edged sword. Now in his thirties, Toby had learned to wield the sword for good rather than evil. He embraced and treasured his charitable work. He used this undeserved fame to shine a spotlight on issues by showing up in troubled places. Doing this and posing for cameras raised awareness and often money to combat problems such as homelessness, diseases, or disaster recovery.
If he hinted at a relationship with some local starlet, he’d get even more of the media spinning.
Teresa huffed and looked up from the screen. She stared past him and toward the little porthole window.
Toby followed her gaze as the plane came to a halt.
“People like us they may be, they eat, breathe, and sleep, but it’s not like being back home. Now, you don’t have anything scheduled for the rest of the day. I have meetings, unfortunately. Tomorrow we’ll be making a whole host of first appearances. For today, your bodyguard will show you to your hotel and help you get settled in.”
Toby sighed. “Do I really need a bodyguard? I’m not even all that famous, I doubt anyone will recognize me.” It was no big deal for a prince to be among the common people in Europe. Only the monarchs and the most senior of politicians had continuous security.
“They might not recognize you. That’s not the issue here. We’re stopping over in London, it’s a dangerous place. You’ve seen the films like Fast and Furious and The Bourne Ultimatum.”
“They’re not real, they’re action films. You might as well mention American Werewolf in London and Shaun of the Dead, Teresa.” At times like this, Toby found his assistant frustrating. She meant well, but she seemed to suffer from travel-phobia, if that was a thing. She read the worst events in the news and wrote off whole countries as Thunderdome. “It’ll be fine. You should go out and see the sights too.”
She shook her head. “Tobias, we’re both tired and I’ve got work to do. And then we’ve still got the long journey to Cornwall to look forward to.” She rolled her eyes. Internal travel to the far-flung western region was set to take longer than getting to England in the first place. “Let the security do his job and look after you. And I’ll do my job, which unfortunately means going straight to a meeting from the airport, with my suitcase.”
“Expanding your horizons is never a bad thing. Do you want me to take your suitcase?”
“No.” She shook her head and smiled. “I’m sure I’ll manage.”
Unlike his sheltered assistant, Tobias intended to enter the country with an open heart and an open mind.
While the prince hardly hated flying, he didn’t exactly love it either. When the seatbelt light turned off, Toby stood up along with everyone else. He pulled down his bag from the overhead compartment, and Teresa’s, which was packed alongside. As an experienced traveler, he’d practiced packing light. “If there’s nothing else to do today. I’m going to explore and see where the day takes me.”
“This is why your father insisted on a bodyguard. You’re so anarchic.”
He placed her bag on the seat he’d vacated, knowing from experience she’d be the last one off the plane after she’d reorganized her hand luggage. He didn’t need to wait for her as they were both meeting separate people in the airport and she had to go off to a meeting before checking into the hotel.
“Consider it a contribution to the local economy.”
He walked off the plane, surrounded by people too involved in their own traveling stresses to recognize him.
Once through all the passport checking and bag collecting ordeal, Toby was finally on the free side of the airport. He wanted a drink, if nothing else. No better way to get to know a new place than in a local bar.
First, though, he had to kowtow to the wishes of the CEO of The Royal Family PLC, whether he liked it or not, and find that bodyguard.
After having an issue with the first security company they’d tried to make arrangements with, the actual security thing had been organized at the last minute, right before the plane took off, so Toby didn’t know what the guy looked like, or his name, or even if he was a man. In conversation with Teresa, they’d both assumed the bodyguard would be male, but Toby had certainly met female security guards before.
Toby only knew the company name; he remembered that because it didn’t sound real. RSVP. How could it be real? Private protection security companies weren’t known for their sense of humor.
Toby scanned the waiting room outside the gate.
There, some distance away, stood a handsome man in a dark suit. He had chiseled features and neat hair. His appearance spoke of a man who took control and liked organization. Yet, at the moment, as his gaze skated around the room, he appeared vulnerable and a little lost.
He was so striking, even beautiful, Toby found it difficult to drag his eyes away in search of his security.
There was no obvious representative from RSVP. No one holding up a card with this name, HRH Tobias, thank god.
In the absence of anyone else to distract him, Toby found his feet taking him closer and closer to the handsome stranger in the suit. Something about the man said he wasn’t a businessman, but by god, he wore the suit well.
For a moment, he let his daydreams run wild and thought about propositioning the man. About watching him remove that suit in a nearby hotel. A man could dream though, couldn’t he? Maybe something for his private times in his bedroom.
Toby had to get a grip and reign in his freely roaming imagination.
Toby wasn’t naïve. He couldn’t ask his, as yet, unidentified security to wait outside while he had a quickie with a stranger in the closest hotel.
Even if this was England, well-known for it’s libertarian support for gay rights, bodyguards had an incredible love of the type of manliness that included a strong dose of homophobia.
Step by step, Tobias moved closer to the man, until he stood right in front of him and had no choice but to speak.
This was not the time for cruising. Nevertheless, Oscar’s eyes did their own thing.
He’d spotted The Guy straight away. A gorgeous man, with Mediterranean features, his stylish but casual clothes said Italy. And then there were his limbs. Casually dressed in a collared shirt with short sleeves, The Guy’s incredibly toned forearms, and how they led up to more delicious meat, caught Oscar’s attention immediately.
If ever he’d like to meet a man who looked like The Guy it would be by chance in a certain type of bar. But not here. Not in an airport. Not when Oscar waited on a client.
The procession flooded outward. Woman. Old man. Child. He knew Tobias wasn’t geriatric or too young. He was an adult, and they were much the same age.
Oscar’s attention flitted back to The Guy with the arms and hungry desire in his eyes. Eyes that raked up and down Oscar like he was a piece of meat and took Oscar’s breath away.
And honestly, at a different time and in a different place he’d have welcomed such attention. Subtle changes in his body language would have signaled his interest and invited The Guy over.
Now, Oscar tried to avoid eye contact.
In most aspects of his life, Oscar pushed himself to exceed limits and expectations. He was a sportsman and highly competitive, but this one thing easily defeated him. He couldn’t handle approaches from men in public. It would have been easier if he’d been either straight or out, but he wasn’t one or the other. Deeply in the closet, gaining the lustful attention of men in public places made Oscar very uncomfortable. He didn’t know how to react.
His mouth went dry.
The Guy made his way toward him though, he wasn’t be put off by Oscar looking away.
When the stranger came to a halt, standing right in front of him, Oscar had no choice but to look the man in the eye. Those beautiful come-to-bed eyes. Such expressive eyes that sparkled with warm, friendly humor.
“Hi.” The Guy’s voice wrapped around Oscar’s head like a warm scarf in winter. “I’m supposed to meet someone here. Are you, by any chance, with RSVP?”
Prepared to say no and back away, the words caught Oscar by surprise. He coughed to clear his throat. He’d obviously read the situation all wrong. The man was so damned attractive it had distracted and disarmed Oscar: not good in his line of work.
“Oh um… yes. Prince Tobias?” He must’ve seemed like a fool who’d forgotten his own name and why he was there.
He hadn’t been toppled by a dude’s looks in a very, very long time. And now, to discover it was the client who had this effect on him, it shook Oscar.
A hand shot out. “A pleasure to meet you,” said the prince, that accent of his as charming as anything else about him. Perfect English diction with a hint of southern European vowels. It didn’t sound like there was any candy or food of any kind stuck in his mouth.
Oscar never thought of himself a man who’d be disarmed by a sexy accent, but this prince? His voice was like sweet frosting on a hard-bodied cake.
With ease, Oscar fell into his familiar professional role. “Pleased to meet you, sir.” Oscar shook the warm hand, noticing the soft skin that hadn’t done a day’s hard labor, and he did not imagine the silky soft skin on other parts of the prince’s body.
Moisturized hands notwithstanding, Tobias didn’t look like someone who needed a bodyguard. He didn’t project privilege, wealth, and royalty. He carried himself like a normal guy, albeit one with confidence. As he was tall, broad, and fit, he looked as if he’d be able to handle himself in a fight and maintain a pace with Oscar’s extreme fitness regime.
Mentally, Oscar slapped himself.
It didn’t do to salivate over a handsome client, or imagine himself wrestling with the same client.
Wrestling in nothing more than underwear. Oh, no.
“I’m Tobias. Please call me Toby,” the prince said. Snapping Oscar’s thoughts back from a place he never wanted them to go. This guy made the name Toby seem sexy, something that Oscar had previously considered impossible. “And you are?”
“Prince, Oscar Prince.” He’d always thought saying it like that made him sound cool like Bond, James Bond. Usually, though, he only said it like that when he was trying to charm a guy into his bed for the night.
“Prince? That’s your name?” The prince laughed.
Oscar gritted his teeth. “Yes. It’s a pretty common surname here.”
“I’m sure. I never expected to meet another prince in the airport. Did they pick you out for this job because of your name? Like, do RSVP have a sense of humor?”
“Um, yeah.” Oscar forced a laugh. “So, if my briefing is correct, I’m to look after you for the next week. A few days in London and then down to Cornwall?”
Tobias nodded. “Isn’t it across to Cornwall?”
“Technically it is, but we always say up to London, no matter if you’re going down.” Shit. Should not talk about going down with this guy.
“No going down, got it.” The prince winked.
Oscar blinked. He couldn’t react. As a professional he had to ignore the prince’s sexual banter.
“You shouldn’t really need security. Especially not in Cornwall. But I shouldn’t talk myself out of a job either. So if you are ready I have a car outside.”
“Lead the way.”
They set off walking to the short stay VIP car park immediately outside arrivals.
“Having a bodyguard wasn’t my idea, no offense intended. It’s the CEO back at the family business. He’s afraid I’ll wander into a dark alley and be shot by rednecks, hence hiring your company.”
Oscar must’ve looked blank because Tobias, Toby, instantly explained. “Royalty is the family business, and dear old Dad is hands-on as the CEO. We call him King for that reason.”
Relaxing a little more, Oscar smiled. A chatty client with a sense of humor seemed a huge improvement on how Oscar had imagined the prince. They just might get along well for the week. “Dark alley rednecks.” He scratched his head. “I think you’re mixing up your stereotypes and your countries.”
“Those were his words, not mine. I’m more than happy to learn the difference.” He was friendly. Cordial. And attempting to break down barriers.
Yet, being on the job for Oscar meant stopping at professional conduct, not getting overly friendly. “Come along. Apparently, being your bodyguard also means I’m your chauffeur today.”
Oscar didn’t have to follow the client to the toilet or anything crazy, but his job was to stick close, to drive him around while they were in London, and sleep in an off room in his hotel suite.
The prince followed his lead without complaint.
When Oscar opened the driver’s door of the security firm’s standard issue, black town car Toby approached the passenger side.
The prince must have picked up on Oscar’s surprise.
“It’s typical for clients to take the back seat. That’s all.”
“You’re a bodyguard, not a chauffeur. Maybe you can guard my body better if I sit here next to you.”
Oscar could do without references to the prince’s body; the client may have been flirting, Oscar wasn’t sure, but he could do without flirting too.
“So, can I call you Oscar? Or is it Mr. Prince?”
“Oscar is fine,” he replied without emotion.
“Right. I like informal too. It’s definitely Toby, not so much Tobias, and certainly not Your Royal Highness Prince of Europe.” He chuckled. “So, Oscar, does a fine strapping chap like yourself have a lady? Kids at home? I noticed there’s no ring on your fingers.”
Jump right in with personal questions why don’t you?
Oscar couldn’t help but notice the way the royal looked at him, like he was some sort of curiosity.
“Company policy forbids personal jewelry.”
“So if a nice lady tries to seduce you on the job are you open to offers or already taken?”
“Fraternization with the clients is also forbidden.”
“Wow.” The prince dragged out the vowel, sounding genuinely surprised. “That sounds strict. It’s not the army.”
“It’s basic professionalism, sir.” This man was relentless. Had he no shame or reservations about trying to poke through Oscar’s personal life?
“Sorry, if you don’t want to talk. Back where I’m from, people chat and joke about these things. I don’t mean to offend you.” Tobias held his hands up as a sign of submission. “I don’t want to overstep any boundaries. I’m single, myself, by the way. No kids either.”
Why had he said that? Oscar couldn’t figure it. Was this casual conversation about families and home life or was this goddamn client letting him know he was single for a reason? Was he interested?
“Right. You probably won’t want me keeping all the good looking ladies at too great a distance then, when I’m guarding your body.”
The prince laughed. An easy, full, hearty laugh.
The laughter was infectious. Oscar smiled too. He couldn’t help it. He enjoyed playful, funny people. Someone who made him laugh would be the type of boyfriend he would have if he could have boyfriends.
“I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you seem to speak perfect English with hardly any accent.”
“Privileged education. I actually studied here in England for a few years,” Tobias replied. “Come on now. You and I both know that there’s no threat to my well-being. You’re a security blanket. Basically, you’re here to make my team feel better about my safety while I’m here. But I don’t feel uncomfortable. It’s the other people in the royalty business back home who are worried.”
This made Oscar’s smile wider. He could totally picture himself as the prince’s blanket, the thought was already warming him up in ways it shouldn’t. There were ways he wanted to make Tobias feel better, but damn if any of them were actually legal to do to someone without their permission.
“I have to be alert for any threats to your well-being.” Mostly, the biggest threat to the prince’s well-being right now seemed to be Oscar himself.
Find it at Amazon:
Dot COM: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KQFVYK3
Dot CO UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KQFVYK3
And from 1 December I will be joining many other authors to contribute to a special advent calendar of FREE LGBT short stories. A treat or two for every day of December.