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Protecting My Prince: A M/M Contemporary Romance by Alexander, Romeo (1)

Chapter One


If you haven't been to The Apple Tree, you need to go. It's the hottest club in Aldonia, probably in Eastern Europe, if not the whole world. It boasts the sexiest men and most beautiful women, out dancing and looking for a good time. Perhaps you're not familiar with Aldonia. You’re not alone, most people haven't heard of us and, in fact, only about half the world officially recognizes us as a country. But pull out a map and you'll find it, right there alongside Lithuania and Poland.

And right smack dab in the middle of the country is where you'll find The Apple Tree. I can't stress this enough, if you ever have the opportunity to go, take it. When you arrive and make it through the line that always snakes around the corner, you'll pass the bar where you'll meet Dennis, an absolute genius with drinks. He can whip you up anything you ask for, challenge him, he'll do it. Give him the most obscure mixed drink you can think of and, if it's real, he knows it and he'll make it better than anyone else in the world.

The DJ in charge of the music is a twenty-four-year-old woman named Ines, who is unparalleled in what she does. In addition to the music, she manages the lights, effectively setting the mood for the whole club. Most DJs make the mistake of just playing the fastest music they can, as loud as they can. When Ines is controlling the playlist, she takes you on a journey. Sure, she'll play the latest hits and plenty of songs to get your heart racing, but she'll also slow things down now and then to give you a chance to catch your breath. Or maybe she'll take you back to the 60’s, playing songs from the British invasion, and use those to lead into 70’s Aldonian New Wave music by bands like The Raccoons and Weaponized Peace. Two bands which David Byrne once said, on more than one occasion, were major influences for Talking Heads. I've even seen her play classical music, in the right context, Bach is just what the party needs to keep things moving.

If this sounds absurd, it's because you haven't seen it for yourself. Peanut butter and chocolate must have also seemed like an unlikely combination until some genius dared to combine the two.

A club is more than just the bar and music, it's the people and the atmosphere. The people here aren't just eye candy, they're talented and respectful dancers. I've seen Hollywood romantic comedies and they often make me cringe. It's not just that the stories are always boy meets girl that bothers me, it's that the boy is always so persistent. The girl tells the boy to get lost and it just makes him want her more.

That shit wouldn't fly in Aldonia. If you ask a person to dance here and they say no, you walk away. If you're not ready to take no for an answer, then you're not ready to ask.

These norms are reinforced at The Apple Tree. There are too many people waiting to come in for management to waste space on some rude, self-entitled prick.

How do you get into The Apple Tree? The short answer is you don't. You have to know somebody who's been vetted, get them to vouch for you, then spend upwards of a year on a waiting list.

Of course, these rules don't apply to me. That's one of the many benefits of being royalty. In quieter areas of the club, I can hear the whispers, "Is that Prince Beau? Goodness, he's even dreamier in person." I feel their eyes all over my body, especially around key areas of my skintight leather pants. I feel their longing.

Word gets around in our small country. Ask anyone in Aldonia about me and they'll share the rumors about my legendary endurance and flexibility. If they haven't experienced me firsthand, they've heard from a friend, or maybe a friend of a friend, who’s bragged about being one of my many one-time partners.

I love my country and want to show it as much as I can. I do all the typical charity work, feeding the homeless at soup kitchens, donating money to medical research, and adopting stray dogs who would otherwise end up in shelter, but I also have a God-given talent to provide enormous sexual pleasure. This is truly the best way to show love and it would be selfish to keep it to myself. Some men are good at sports. Others have brains. I have the ability to sexually satisfy and I share my skills with my country. I get pleasure in return, though isn't that the nature of all charity? It makes you feel wonderful?

The night everything began, I walked past the line, as I always did, and the bouncer, Chase, waved me through the velvet ropes.

"Wonderful to see you, Prince Beau," he said.

I nodded. "Always a pleasure, Chase."

I walked inside, welcomed by the flashing lights and loud music, sending thick bass rhythms through my body, shuddering in anticipation. Everybody knew the drill. I don't mean to brag, but I think half the reason anyone came here, and perhaps why it’s by far the most popular club in our country, was for the chance to see me in person and, perhaps, win the lottery and take me home.

Eyes shifted towards me and a brave man approached. A blond, whose glasses and pale skin made him look like he spent his days in front of a computer, asked if he could buy me a drink. I turned him down, though not without allowing him to take a picture with me.

Never go home with the first person who offers you a drink. They're too forward and too full of themselves, more likely to think they're doing you a favor rather than the other way around.

I generally allow people to approach me and I choose from them, though tonight I was feeling a bit more adventurous, the hunting rather than fishing approach. I went to the bar and ordered a vodka sour while scouting out the dance floor. One man caught my attention. Tall and dark, conventionally attractive. But it wasn't his looks that caught my attention, it was his dancing. He flowed with the music like a leaf on the ocean, allowing it to dictate his moves, but always staying on top. It was quite beautiful to watch. He acted like he didn't even know I was there.

That's when I saw Officer Nancy. Seeing her meant my fun was over. Her job, one of her many duties, was to be a public liaison between my mother, the Queen, and me. If she showed up at a place like this, it was never good news. Often it was a death in the family, though other times it'd been a storm warning. Neither was the case this time, but the message was the same, I needed to go home.

"Prince Beau," she said. "I need you to come with me."

"What is it, Officer Killjoy?" I asked.

She didn't flinch. She acted like a machine programmed to perform her mission. "I need you to come with me," she said again. "It's urgent. It isn't safe for you here."

I shrugged her off. Not safe could mean practically anything. It could mean they recently discovered the building wasn't up to code. "I'll be fine. I'll see you in the morning."

"I must insist. It's a matter of some urgency."

I felt my eyes roll. "What is it?"

"It's classified. We will discuss it in the safety of the palace."

I shook my head. "No, I think I'll stay here," I said.

"You don't understand. This is not a request."

"I do understand and I'm saying no," I said. "There's nothing you can do to make me go with you."

"Very well, Prince. If that's how it must be."

She walked away. I looked back at the dance floor and my would-be bed partner was no longer in sight. I left the bar, heading towards the dance floor to look for him, though that was a fool's errand as a swarm of people immediately surrounded me, dancing in an effort to attract my attention. Cell phone flashes lit me from all angles, adding an additional strobe effect on top of the club's bright colored lighting flickering around me in time with the music. Ambience aside, it made it difficult to track down the dancer.

Through a flash of green alternating with blue, I saw him. I made my way through the crowd and as I got closer he became aware of me, looking up, but still moving with the music. I started dancing as well, moving my body closer to his. He responded by moving closer to me, too. I noticed the thin layer of perspiration lining his forehead as he moved his face up next to mine and I felt a jolt shoot through my body, moving from my head down to my toes, then back to my heart that quickened its beat to match the club music.

I moved my mouth to his ear. "What's your name?" I asked.

"Sean," he said.

I felt his energy and made my intentions clear, speaking only through our bodies. A sultry look accompanied by a sturdy, forward posture and a hunger in my eyes told him I wanted him. He responded with a sly smile, then licked his lips. My intentions were well-received, giving me permission to verbalize my desires and cut to the chase. "Do you have a place we can go, Sean?"

He played it cool. I could see the look in his eye, giving him the same shudder he gave me. "I have a place, yeah."

I exercised as much restraint as I could. My body was telling me to jump him and take him right then and there. My brain told it to calm down, all good things come to those who wait. You will have him in due time, it said, just be patient. My body didn't want to and sent a message back to my brain in response, letting it know I wasn't going to wait much longer. My brain got the message.

"Take me there," I said.

Sean moved towards the back of the dance floor, heading for the door and I followed as close behind him as I could.

That was when the music abruptly stopped. The flashing lights turned off and the fluorescents lit up, turning the exciting night club filled to the brim with sexual energy into a warehouse full of sweaty people.

Ines took the microphone. She was reading from a card. "Under orders of Queen Windfra, effective immediately, The Apple Tree must cease all music and dancing until Prince Beau returns to his palace."

Sean looked over at me, shrugging his shoulders, trying to pretend he didn't just lose out on the opportunity of a lifetime. "Maybe next time," he said.

And my body cursed my brain for not acting just a little bit faster.