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Broken Crown Trilogy #1

Royal Creed

Royal Creed

Romantic Suspense, Dark Themes

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Regular price Sale price $4.99 USD
Format

She asked me to be her first. I want to be her last. But she's royalty. And I'm just the hired help.

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Heat Level

🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ - At least two intimate scenes, explicit language with a variety of sexual acts.

Tropes

Cinnamon Roll Hero, forbidden, bodyguard, royal, forced proximity, brother's best friend, arranged marriage, second chance, military romance, love triangle, one night stand, one night stand

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Our love is strictly forbidden. But every person has their breaking point. And we’re about to reach ours.

The last time I saw Creed Lawson was the morning he left for basic training. After eight years apart, I thought I’d gotten over my innocent crush on my brother's best friend.

But when he walks back into my life, there’s nothing innocent about the way he looks at me. Or the thoughts that enter my mind.

I try to ignore the obvious chemistry between us.

​After all, I’m second in line to the throne.

​And he’s a career military man who’s about to be sworn into the royal guard. Even if I weren’t being forced to marry a man I don’t love, Creed would never act on his attraction.

​Or so I thought…

​Until we reach our breaking point and finally succumb to our desires.

​There may be no future between us, but that doesn’t stop us from being together, despite the risk.

And with each day, that risk becomes more dangerous, especially when I learn there’s more at stake with my arranged marriage than I’d been led to believe.

​My grandmother always told me there’s no place for love in a monarchy.
Maybe she was right…

​This trilogy features:

* A jealous, protective military MC who only has eyes for her.
* An inexperienced FMC.
* A secret forbidden relationship
* Lots of sneaking around and nearly getting caught
* That scene in the shower
* An element of danger that will leave you guessing

Bundle the series and save!

  • Secret, lies, murder and sex fuel this divine story leaving you hungry for more.”

  • “Best forbidden bodyguard romance I've read to date!”

  • “Creed is everything you want in a book boyfriend. He's charming, respectful and a dirty talker.”

Read the first chapter

Royal Creed Chapter One

Home. 

It’s a word that usually conjures fond memories of love. Laughter. Belonging.

Coming home after a long time away is often an occasion to celebrate. Moms hug their daughters, telling them how much they missed them. Fathers embrace their sons, asking how they’re getting on in the world. Siblings make jabs, sometimes teasing each other about a new love interest. But through it all, one thing is constant.

Their love for each other.

Unfortunately, that’s not what it’s like for me. 

There are no warm greetings.

No hugs from family members.

No love.

There hasn’t been for years now.

After all, there’s no room for love in a monarchy.

Or so I’ve been told my whole life.

Instead, the second I step out of the SUV driven by my chief protection officer, my stomach grows heavy as my eyes focus on the looming walls of Lamberside Palace in the Nation of Belmont. Every inch of this place — from the guards standing at attention at their posts, to the uniform rows of shrubbery lining the driveway, to the grand arches marking the main entrance — drips with formality and custom.

“Your Highness,” a man in a dark suit greets me with a bow, as is expected.

I offer one of the palace butlers a cordial smile. “Good afternoon, Oliver.” 

“How were your travels?”

“Uneventful. It’s a short flight from Paris.”

“Lovely to hear. The Queen Mother has requested to see you upon your arrival.” He does a once-over of my attire. “Would you like a moment to…freshen up?” 

I’ve been around this life long enough to know this is his polite way of suggesting I change into something more in line with the unspoken dress code.

The jeans, white, off-the-shoulder top, and wedge sandals revealing my bright pink toenail polish certainly aren’t appropriate attire.

Especially the wedge sandals.

I give him a knowing smile. “That’s not necessary. My grandmother’s time is valuable. We can go there directly. It’s why Adam drove me here instead of my apartment at Gladwell.”

Oliver arches a brow, silently questioning if I’m certain. When I don’t respond, only holding my head higher, he nods, extending his arm toward the entrance.

As I cross the threshold into the lobby of the residential wing, a weight settles on my chest.

Or perhaps a noose wraps around my neck.

To the outside world, I live a fairy tale. I have the best clothes. Designer handbags. Expensive shoes. A vault containing priceless jewels.

But it’s all a façade. A show we put on to keep the public entertained. To stay relevant in a world that finds the concept of royalty less and less relevant with each passing day.

Nothing about this is real.

It makes me long to feel something that is real, even if it’s fleeting.

“Is my father in residence?” I ask as Oliver leads me through the familiar corridors, everything maintained with the precision and care of a museum. Crystal chandeliers float overhead. Portraits of past members of the royal family hang on the walls, reminding me of my place in a life I’d give anything to escape.

“He’s in London through the end of the week. If you’d like, I can reach out to his private secretary to schedule a meeting upon his return.”

I force a smile, acting as if going through my father’s private secretary in order to see him isn’t a big deal. Considering he’s been king for over fifteen years, I should be used to it.

But I miss when he was simply my dad with no ambition of ever ascending to the throne.

It’s amazing how quickly your life can change. 

One minute, we were living a relatively normal life, my father’s only claim to fame being that his father happened to be king.

The next, his older brother, the heir apparent, perished along with his wife and all their children in an avalanche during a skiing holiday. My uncle, aunt, and cousins may have died on that mountain. But a part of me died there, too.

My childhood.

My freedom.

My independence.

“That won’t be necessary. I’ll see him at some point.”

“Of course, ma’am.” 

Nearing my grandmother’s study, Oliver slows to a stop and gently knocks, the door immediately swinging open. My grandmother’s private secretary, Lieutenant Colonel Williams, receives me with the same stoicism I’ve come to expect from all members of the palace staff.

Particularly from our private secretaries, who are all former military.

“Your Highness,” he says, bowing. “This way, please.” Spinning, he leads me across the sitting room, pausing outside a pair of ornate double doors.

I smooth a hand down my hair, taming my long, blonde waves as best I can. At least I didn’t put on too much makeup this morning. I’ve never been one to wear an inordinate amount, preferring a touch of liner around my green eyes and gloss on my lips. 

After knocking, Lieutenant Colonel Williams opens the doors and steps into my grandmother’s study.

“Her Highness Princess Esme,” he announces, then moves to the side.

As he does, my grandmother turns her cold stare on me from behind an oversized desk, no hint of technology to be found. Her silver hair is styled in a pixie cut, petite body clad in a navy blue dress, lips downturned in obvious displeasure of my appearance.

“Your Majesty,” I greet with a curtsy, even though it’s not required. The obligation to do so ended when my grandfather passed away. Now it’s merely a gesture of respect for her years of service to the monarchy. Service she continues to this day as one of my father’s top advisors.

Once her private secretary leaves, closing the door behind him, she gestures to the chair opposite the desk. “Take a seat, Esme.”

I do as I’m told, crossing my feet at the ankles, angling my legs down. It’s about as comfortable as sitting with a stick shoved up my ass, but it’s protocol.

“How are you settling back in?” she inquires.

“I’ve only just arrived. Haven’t even been to Gladwell yet. But it appears everything around here is exactly as it’s always been.”

“Do I sense a hint of annoyance?”

“Merely an observation.”

“You may find it dull that nothing’s changed much over the years. Our customs and traditions are important. They’re what make us…us. Without them, our monarchy would be nothing. Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.” 

Her voice brightening, she attempts something resembling a smile, but it looks foreign on her face. 

“Now that you’re finished with your studies—”

“Actually, there’s something I’d like to discuss with you,” I interject. “I’d hoped to—” 

“It’s time to start thinking of your duty to the crown,” she continues, as if anything I say is of little consequence.

“I’ve been fulfilling my duty to the crown, even when out of the country. I’ve continued supporting various charities, regardless of the time constraint on my studies. The reason I’d like to talk to you and my father face-to-face is—”

“And that means getting married.”

Her statement steals my breath, and I snap my mouth shut, swallowing hard. 

“E… Excuse me?”

“It’s pardon, Esme. How many bad habits have you picked up while away? Have those French friends of yours undone all of your etiquette training? You don’t excuse yourself. You pardon yourself.”

“Okay. Then pardon me,” I say somewhat dramatically, “but it sounded like you mentioned me getting married.”

“I did.”

I blink, lips parting, but no words come.

“I’d prefer to announce an engagement by the end of the summer. Then a wedding in late spring. I do think that’s the best time of year for a wedding, don’t you? All the flowers in full bloom.”

She doesn’t look up from her notepad, prattling on as if discussing which place settings to use at the next state dinner. Not the fact she wants me to get married. And who does she think I should marry? I’m not even dating anyone.

Then again, I fear she has an answer to that, as well.

She always does.

“I’ve had our public relations team do some polling of possible matches. We believe the best match for you is Jameson Gates. He’s purported to be named one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, if you believe some of those publications. His father is Henry Gates, head of Gates Enterprises, the largest private military company in all of Europe and arguably the world. In addition to that, they’ve spearheaded several non-profit organizations to help combat human rights violations they’ve witnessed in war-torn countries. Extremely charitable and successful family. Plus, the public recalls seeing photos of you and Jameson dancing together at a gala last year and thought you made a great couple. I’ve set up—”

“I’m sorry, but what fresh hell have I walked into?” I blurt out, finally finding my voice after listening to her drone on about Jameson Gates’ finer qualities. 

Or, more accurately, the finer qualities of his bank account.

“Have I just stepped onto the set of some regency romance where females have lost all say over their own future? You do realize how absurd this sounds, right? Tell me you haven’t lost your goddamn mind.”

Pinning me with a glare that would make most people run for cover, she forms her lips into a tight line and squares her shoulders.

“I’ll ignore your rather…colorful language for the time being, as it appears some etiquette refreshers are in order. But I assure you, this is no ‘fresh hell,’” she responds, using air quotes. “This is your reality, Esme. You’re the Princess Royal. Second in line to the crown. As such, you have a duty to marry, and marry well. Lord forbid anything happens to your brother. In that case, you’d be heir apparent, which is why it’s so important you have a…masculine presence supporting you.” 

Every feminist bone in my body is on the verge of rioting, ready to burn bras and dismantle the patriarchal system that’s still alive and well, even in the twenty-first century.

Especially in a monarchy.

“Now, I trust you haven’t been sexually active?” She lowers her glasses over her eyes, pen in hand, ready to jot down my response.

“Excuse me?” 

She scowls, but doesn’t correct me.

For once.

“It’s important to know, Esme.”

“I…” I shake my head, still in disbelief. Then I avert my gaze. “No.”

I don’t know what’s worse. Her question about my sexual history, or my admission that, at nearly twenty-five years old, I don’t have a sexual history. 

When you’re a royal, it’s not as easy. Especially when you’re female. The last thing I need is for the tabloids to report on my sexual escapades, painting me as a slut, all while my brother is cheered for sticking his dick into anything with a pulse.

The double standards are exhausting, especially in upper-class society.

“And your monthly cycle… It’s regular? No issues?”

“Why does that matter? Is there an application I don’t know about?”

She heaves a frustrated sigh, removing her glasses. “It’s imperative we’re aware of any potential reproductive problems beforehand. Regardless, I’ll schedule an appointment with the palace physician so he can do a thorough check. Make sure everything’s in working order.”

“Working order?” With every word she speaks, I feel less like a person and more like a piece of property. “Are you shitting me right now?” 

“Esme! This behavior is incredibly unbecoming of a woman with your breeding and status. I’d caution against using language like that in front of Jameson and his father. Otherwise, I’m not sure how you’ll be received.”

Unable to tolerate another word of this discussion, I jump to my feet. “I’m not one of your goddamn horses that you parade around and put out to stud. I’m a bloody human being. And I’d appreciate it if I’m treated as such.”

I storm out of her study, needing to get as far away from her and her ridiculous plan as possible. My blood boils, anger blinding me to my surroundings. I’ve been in this place for less than an hour and I wish I’d never come back.

Wish I’d escaped when I still had the chance.

Wrapping my arms around my stomach, I keep my head lowered, not looking where I’m going until I run into something incredibly hard and firm, the force of the impact causing me to lose my balance. 

I teeter on my feet, but before I fall, a pair of hands clutch my hips, keeping me upright. Electricity jolts through me, and I dart my head up, a pair of deep, dark eyes peering back at me.

Want even more royal romance?

Get more bang for your buck by grabbing the entire collection of royal romances by T.K. Leigh! This includes the Broken Crown Trilogy as well as Royal Games and Tangled Games, which is an interconnected duology to the Broken Crown Trilogy. Get your royal binge on today!