“Bad to the Throne” by Jenny Gardiner, (book three in the series)
Sometimes you can let your heir down a little too much…
When wild-child Prince Alexander goes on a naked bender in a Vegas swimming pool, cocktail waitress Andi McDonough decides to preserve a shot of those family jewels on her phone. But when she’s fired for capturing the royal treasures, she heads off to find herself. After backpacking the world-over on a dime and a prayer, she finds herself in Rome, where a chance encounter with the wayward prince only reinforces to her that Prince Zander is indeed bad to the throne. And more than likely to her fragile heart as well.
**Click HERE to buy “Bad to the Throne”
One year ago, Las Vegas
Andi McDonough assumed she’d seen it all working as a cocktail waitress at the amazingly cool swimming-pool-slash-lagoon at the hippest Vegas hotel on the Strip. Like the very, very (did she mention very?) old, very wealthy film star who had enjoyed an impromptu and extremely public poolside lap dance with a celebrated porn star—in his wheelchair. He damn near keeled over from a heart attack, and Andi damn near keeled over from a laugh attack at the preposterousness of the situation.
Or the time the famous bodybuilder-slash-actor pooped his pants while floating in the lazy river and they had to close the entire five-acre pool area for the day to disinfect it (meaning no tips for her, which was no laughing matter).
But never did she think she’d bear witness to such a stunning specimen of manhood as when the famous spare-to-the-heir prince from Moldavia or Monaforte—one of those blips on the map that no one knows much about—decided to strip down to his birthday suit while celebrating his own birthday and reveal to her and at least two hundred other pool-goers that his superior royal genes clearly had worked their magic with what until then had remained tucked awfully nicely into his royal jeans (that is before he’d decided to let it all hang out).
Yowza, she thought, is that a cricket bat he’s packing (a little nod to his country’s sporting pastime), or is he just happy to be stark-naked with a bevy of slutty gold diggers with particularly smokin’ bodies?
She hated those women.
Beyotches, she grumbled under her breath.
She certainly wasn’t allowed to peel off her own too-scanty cocktail-waitress uniform and join them. Not that she would, mind you. Her body couldn’t hold a candle to those women’s surgically augmented ones. Some could argue that Andi was toting a little spare in the back end, but she preferred to see it as just a bit “fluffy.” Semantics? Maybe. But it only mattered when she was stripped down to nothing, and under no circumstances would she ever do such a thing in a Vegas-hotel swimming pool. It was hard enough to take that plunge in front of a man who theoretically wouldn’t be judging her for her shortcomings.
Not that she’d had much experience with that lately either: with working full-time while attending school at night to earn her master’s degree in social work, there wasn’t time for a relationship in her life, let alone a casual fling. But damn, what a casual fling it would be with the likes of him, with his scruffy dark hair, green eyes, and trademark sexy five-o’clock shadow he was known for. And of course there was the little (er, make that big) matter of that package he was sporting…
Alas, Andi guessed the hookups would have to be left to the slutty gold diggers, because she’d be fired in a heartbeat for making a move on him, even if she were so inclined, which she wasn’t. She had too much self-respect to behave like a shameless skank just to have a roll in the hay with a, well, let’s admit it, an insanely hot, supposedly eligible man.
Now granted, she couldn’t—and wouldn’t—go near the man, let alone advertise her availability (She wasn’t! She was far too busy for that stuff!). But she could maybe discreetly pull out her phone and take a teeny, weeny (excuse the pun) picture or two. Just for memory’s sake. Not like she’d sell it to the tabloids. Though damn, if only that would pay for the rest of her schooling… It was a real shame she had too much integrity to attempt that. But she felt kind of sorry for him—the guy was just having fun. And it must be hard to simply let it all hang out (literally) if you were someone famous like him, to be able to just blow off steam and act like a stupid young man.
After all, it seemed to be the mandate of young men to act stupid, right? She’d seen enough of them here celebrating bachelor parties and birthdays and doing embarrassingly idiotic things to expect nothing less from the whole lot of them. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” they usually managed to blurt out just before vomiting or urinating into the fountain at the Bellagio or mistakenly wandering off with a tranny hooker at three in the morning. Indeed.
Andi wiped some spilled beer from her hand and tucked a strand of long blond hair behind her ear before pulling a phone from her front pocket (where she had to hide it because she couldn’t dare have a phone lumping out of the butt pocket of her very tight shorts). At least her skimpy apron hid her clandestine phone a little bit.
Angling from the hip, no ability to see if she was landing the money shot or not, she discreetly popped off a handful of frames, then tucked her phone back into her pocket and returned to attempting to do her waitressing job. But everyone in the pool area was completely focused on that prince guy, which meant no one was bothering to order more drinks. What was his name? William maybe? Ha! She could only imagine tomorrow’s headlines:
William Exposes his Willy!
Then she remembered—it wasn’t William after all. His name was Alexander something, she recalled, and Zander was the nickname. She remembered because it seemed such a strange nickname. Oh well.
God, it would be glorious to be able to pawn off her “exposé” images and pocket some desperately needed cash. But she couldn’t do it. Besides, there were likely a few hundred peter pictures of the guy already popping up right now on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It would be viral within the hour. The days of making money off something like this were over. Now it was just about bragging rights to have witnessed the event with your own eyes. Besides, the guy was asking for it, whatever exposure (aside from the obvious) he was going to land for this.
She was just pondering how to avoid tripping over the ogling crowd in order to attempt to deliver a few drink orders when her manager accosted her.
“Hand over your electronic order pad, McDonough,” he said with his hand out, a grimace smeared across his surly face. “And while you’re at it, give me your drinks tray and your apron.”
Andi stared at him as if he’d just asked her to pony up her firstborn child. “I’m sorry?”
“The phone,” he said, pointing to her hip. “I saw you taking pictures of him. And that is a clear-cut violation of company policy. It’s essential that staff respect the privacy of our customers at all times.”
“Privacy?” she shouted a little to be heard above the clamoring din of the rowdy crowd, all clapping to the beat of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” that the prince and three women were quasi-grinding to while pounding shots of Gran Patrón tequila in the shallow end. “Do you see him?” she said, pointing at his unclad body nearby. “This isn’t exactly the pinnacle of privacy! I was just taking a picture to show my mom when I get back from work today. She was feeling depressed, and I knew she’d get a laugh out of it.”
Her mother had been licking her wounds after her third husband left her for a much younger woman only a few months ago, and Andi was all about getting her mother’s mind off her misery, like it was her civic duty or something.
“Laugh or not, rules are rules,” he said. “After you’ve changed out of your uniform, you need to turn that in, plus your locker key. And you’ll not get a referral on your résumé, either. Now go.” He pointed with a stern look toward the main hotel, her only way out, one she would apparently have to exit with tail tucked neatly between her legs. She knew it wasn’t worth arguing. Despite this not being the world’s most gratifying job, she was well aware that women were lined up behind her to usurp her spot.
Andi did as she was told—which was how she operated usually—and as she climbed into her fifteen-year-old rusted-out clunker of a Ford Fiesta and drove away from the best-paying job (thanks to tips) she could’ve found in this town shy of stripping for a living, she couldn’t help but wonder how snapping a few innocent pics of the spare prince’s family jewels could lead her to a financial situation in which she’d never be able to afford any jewels. As it was, it was going to be near impossible to come up with tuition money without this job. And in this town, word got around fast enough she’d be blackballed from any of the higher-end waitressing jobs that could compensate for the lost income.
Jewels schmewels. They might have been old Zander’s crowning glory, but they now represented her financial demise.
Huh, she thought. If I had to do it over again, maybe I’d have kicked him in those jewels. Better yet kicked her boss in them. At least then she’d have gotten some satisfaction.
Despite the dire outcome, she and her mother got a few good laughs at her surprisingly spot-on shots of Zander starkers.
That and a whole lot more money would pay her tuition bill that was coming due.
* * * * *
The “It’s Reigning Men” Series
**Click HERE to buy book one: “Something in the Heir”
**Click HERE to buy book two: “Heir Today Gone Tomorrow”
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**About author, Jenny Gardiner:
Jenny Gardiner is the #1 Bestselling Kindle author of the award-winning novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver; the memoir Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me; the novels Slim to None (#1 bestseller on Kindle); Anywhere but Here; Where the Heart Is; the essay collection Naked Man on Main Street, and Accidentally on Purpose and Compromising Positions (writing as Erin Delany); and is a contributor to the humorous dog anthology I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship. Her work has been found in Ladies Home Journal, the Washington Post and on NPR’s Day to Day. She and her family live in Virginia. Visit her at her website, www.jennygardiner.net