©2014 Zondervan – Excerpt used with permission
Reggie exploded out the door and into the pack of waiting press. The chilled air reached for her, and she longed for Tallahassee’s late September heat.
“Princess, over here.”
“What do you think of Hessenberg?”
“Are you really the great-granddaughter of Princess Alice?”
“Are you going to sign the entail?”
Cameras clicked and buzzed in her ears and her forward motion stopped when she sank into the mud of media.
“Pardon me.” She shoved forward and knocked one odious photographer into another. “Stand back.”
She worked her way around the back of the car and found Dickenson reaching for her, his eyes popping, his expression grim. “Your Majesty, I didn’t know you were coming.” He wrapped his arm about her shoulder, shielding her from the press.
“Dickenson, give me the keys.” She hovered by the driver’s side door.
“I–I can drive you, miss. Please, let me . . .” He reached around her to open the door. “I’ll unlock the back . . . Stand down, man, give the princess room.” Dickenson put his shoulder down and rammed a man twice his size in the chest.
“Dickenson, please.” Reggie raised her head long enough to look him in the eye. “Give me the keys.” She held up her palm.
“I–I . . . miss . . . please . . .” He sighed and dropped the keys in her palm. “Unlock the ignition with the key, then press the starter button on the panel.”
“Thank you.” She’d kiss him if she wasn’t in such a hurry to get out of Dodge. Oh poor, sweet Dickenson. He wore the most bamboozled expression.
In the driver’s seat, Reggie exhaled her anxiety and inhaled confidence. She knew nothing about being a royal or how to handle the media, but she sure as heck knew how to handle a car. The engine roared to life when she engaged the push button ignition. She gunned the gas as a warning to the photographers hovering about her window and the front of the car.
“Move, bubbas,” she muttered with another rev of the engine.
“I’m going whether you’re standing there or not.”
She mashed the horn, giving it a good long blast, then shifted into gear and was about to take off when Tanner knocked on the passenger door window.
“Regina, let me in.”
“Stand back, Tanner.” She inched the car forward, motioning for the photographer aiming his camera through the windshield to mooove!
“Open the door.” He banged his fist against the glass, then raised up to peek over the hood. “Dickenson, how could you—”
His voice faded, lost in the rest of the crowd noise.
Reggie powered down the passenger window. “Hey, don’t yell at Dickenson. I demanded the keys. And by the way, did you set me up? Did you know he could charge me with all of that? Did you know he was the one who filed the petition?”
“Open the door.” Tanner bent over the door, looking for the lock button. Reggie inched the car forward. She’d waited too long to get out of here. “Tanner, back up, because I’m going.”
“Open the door, you insane girl.”
“Insane girl! Is that how you speak to your princess?” She powered forward, scattering the last lingering, daredevil photographers.
“Yes, when she acts like she’s lost her last marble.” Panic infused his words. “Open the door, Regina.”
“I need to think.” She gunned the car forward, laying on the horn again. A photographer with a death wish had stepped in front of her. “Maybe I have lost my last marble.”
“I’m coming with you. We can search for the lost marble together.” Tanner skipped along the side of the car as Reggie rolled out from under the covered portico. “Regina, oh, you are a stubborn one.”
With that, she hit a clear path and pressed the pedal to the metal. Tanner lunged through the window as she whipped the car around toward the entrance, fishtailing the back end, planting his face in the passenger seat, his legs flailing, his feet kicking at the wind.
“Tanner, I suggest you buckle up.”
Rachel Hauck is a bestselling and award winning author whose releases include Sweet Caroline, Love Starts With Elle, and The Wedding Dress. Hauck’s latest release, is Princess Ever After, the second release in the Royal Wedding series. She is the past president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves on the executive board. She was named ACFW 2013 Mentor of the Year.
Visit her website at www.rachelhauck.com for more information on her books, and follow her on Facebook (Rachel Hayes Hauck) and Twitter (@RachelHauck).
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