How to Catch the Boss is coming in less than a week.
I'm so excited for this book. Luca and Ryan were so easy to write, and I loved showing a little bit of Lydovia.
For those of you who've read How to Catch a Bodyguard you will have met Ryan briefly, so here's the first chapter of How to Catch the Boss for you from Luca's point of view.
Chapter 1 – Luca
Six months into my job as a Royal Special Guard, and arriving at the palace of the Lydovian royal family still hadn't gotten old.
In fact, with the change of the seasons, pulling up to the guarded gate always felt magical. It seemed no one celebrated the passing of time with as much effort as the Lydovians.
From summer to autumn and then winter, the country dressed their streets accordingly. Even the weather seemed to cooperate.
Maybe it was because this was a special year with Prince Kristoff's wedding happening two weeks before Christmas. Even though he was second in line to the throne, after his recently crowned sister, Queen Aleksandra, the streets were decorated as if every single person in the country lived at the palace. Everyone was part of the celebration.
Lights, colourful decorations, traditional window displays, you name it. Even the weather seemed to have been ordered especially for the occasion.
I pulled up to the gate and showed my ID before the guard let me through.
Driving under the big stone arch adorned by the seal of the royal family always made my spine tingle.
I parked in my usual spot. Ryan's car was already there. He was always the first one in and the last one out. Always on call. The Lieutenant of the Royal Guard always did everything right.
"Morning, guys," I said, walking inside our shared office and dropping the boxes I was carrying onto an empty desk.
"Oh, what have we got here?" Zeke asked, going straight for the top box and opening it.
The scent of the apple-and-cinnamon-filled doughnuts made my mouth water. I'd been addicted to the Lydovian speciality ever since I tried them on my second day in the country.
There wasn't a single dessert that matched my mom's apple-cinnamon pie. But after spending the best part of the last six years deployed away from home, these doughnuts were the closest I could get to walking into my parents' kitchen and seeing my mom chopping apples, listening to the radio, and singing out of tune.
They were also a reminder that I was way overdue a trip home to see my family.
"I figured since you put up with me for the last six months, it was the least I could do," I said.
"Damn, I'm gonna need to hit the gym again later," Zeke said, looking like he had zero regrets as he stuffed his face with one doughnut while grabbing a second one to take to his desk. The other three guys on the team followed suit, fist-bumping me on the way back to their desks.
"Where's the boss?" I asked.
"Meeting with the Prime Minister to go over the final security details for the royal wedding."
I turned my computer on and scrolled through the news websites to check if there was anything that could hint at a security threat. Particularly any indication of a leak of our plans.
Every TV channel, newspaper, and radio station had a team stationed around the palace, reporting any information they could get their hands on. It seemed not even the cold December temperatures did much to keep the press, or the fans, away.
I went onto the main Lydovian news channel website to catch the livestream. Their royal correspondent was an excitable young reporter who seemed to have struck a note with the public. I put my earbuds in and turned the volume up.
“Everyone in Lydovia is getting ready for the wedding of the year. For many fans of the royal couple, this celebration is the kickstart to the season of goodwill, peace, blessings, and family. I'm here at the royal palace, speaking to fans of Prince Kristoff and his American groom, Charlie Williams. Good morning, sir. I'm Libby Verkov from LBC. How long have you been out here?"
"I got here yesterday. I'm really hoping I can see Prince Kristoff and Charlie."
"How do you feel about the couple choosing this season for their wedding?"
"I think it couldn't be more perfect. It's the reminder that family is important, getting together and loving each other no matter who you love."
"Thank you, sir, and season’s greetings to you and yours."
The reporter turned back to the camera.
"This isn't just a celebration of two people who are in love. As you can see around us, there are a number of rainbow flags. Both the prince and Charlie have been advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, so it's not surprising to see support for the couple here at the palace.”
The reporter moved on to speak to a teenager waving a pride flag.
"Hi there. What brings you here today?" She asked.
"I'm here for Prince Kristoff. I think it's great that we have a gay prince. It shows my generation that we can be seen and accepted. It was because of Prince Kristoff that I got the courage to come out to my family, and they were all great about it."
"And what do you think of Charlie Williams? The prince's groom?" the reporter asked.
The kid blushed. He was clearly a bigger fan of Charlie than he was of the prince.
“He’s...um...I think he’s really nice.”
“We certainly hope you get to see them today.”
The reporter interviewed other people, but it was the shots of the crowd that I was interested in. We had CCTV around the palace that screened for anything or anyone suspicious, but often we were able to complement that with close-up shots from the press footage.
"Did you catch anything out of the ordinary?" Zeke asked when I took the earbuds out.
"Other than the millions of pride flags? Nothing at all."
"I know, right? My little rainbow heart gets all giddy when I see the support for the LGBTQ+ community. Did you see all the Bi flags too?"
I nodded. "Should we be worried about any anti-LGBTQ+ groups? The support for Kris and Charlie has been overwhelming, and from what I've seen, Lydovia is an extremely safe country for the community. But also, in my experience, there's always a hater lurking in the shadows."
"That's why you're spending all that time watching newsfeeds and analyzing footage with the facial recognition software."
I turned around at the sound of the deep voice that made my heart race, the voice I'd had dreams about, and the voice that had made my dick hard every single time I’d heard it since I was twelve.
"Ryan, hi. How did the meeting with the prime minister go?"
His eyes rested on me as he considered how to express his frustration. It had been like this ever since the first day my brother brought his new best friend home after school. Ryan always thought first and spoke last.
"The prime minister trusts our team to carry out our duty," he said, and then walked over to the office he shared with the queen's head of security, Sergei Kamen.
I exchanged a look with Zeke. He shook his head as if he were saying “don't go there, man.” But I was a sucker for punishment where Ryan was concerned.
Taking a deep breath, I went over to the table, picked up a doughnut, filled a cup with fresh coffee, and made my way to Ryan's office.
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