This is a fun alternate beginning to Alexander & Rebecca’s love story (Royals #1)! I wrote it AGES ago, and thought about expanding it into a fuller short story or novella (I had a lot more about the other characters and royal family members in early drafts and notes for the book). I may still do that in the future, but here’s a glimpse of it now! Thank you again for giving me feedback on Crowned!

THIS STORY IS COPYRIGHT © MARIANNE KNIGHTLY. You may not share, save, forward, sell, distribute, copy, paste, or do anything with this story other than read it. This story is for your own personal enjoyment only. Please note this story is the DRAFT, UNEDITED version and may contain typos or other issues, and may change in the future.


Prince Alexander slowly undid the buttons on his crisp white shirt, his eyes locked with Rebecca’s. His tie already lay forgotten on the floor with his shoes, socks, and suit jacket, all of which were mixed with her clothes.

Rebecca was on the bed in only her lacy underthings, propped up on elbows and she watched as he stripped for her.

Another button and she sighed.

Two more and her hands gripped the sheets tighter.

Even more and her breathing sped up.

He undid the final button and shrugged off the shirt, then reached for his belt.

She gasped and shifted on the bed, her long legs pressing together.

By the time his pants were off, he couldn’t wait anymore and lithely climbed on the bed and over her.

“Rebecca,” he murmured into the quiet room. Inside his private apartments, there was no one to bother them, no one to hear them, no one but them and their love for each other.

She reached up, her hand sliding to the nape of his neck, then up into his inky black hair. “Alex,” she sighed and pulled him down. He happily went, his lips claiming hers, his body covering hers, pinning her to the bed.

He’d never get enough of her.

His hand slid to her back and began to reach for her bra clasp when the phone rang.


He ignored it and freed her breasts, tossing the bra on the floor.


He slid his hand down to her hip, then slid his fingers between her legs. He pushed aside her panties and slid two fingers over her, then inside her.


Her mouth broke free on a moan. With heavy-lidded eyes, she said, “Alex.”

“Becca.” He kissed her again.


Someone banged on his apartment doors.

Rebecca spoke again, but it didn’t seem like her voice. “Alex, open up! Or answer your damn phone at least.”



* * *


Alex sprang up in bed. “Fuck!” He was breathing heavy, disoriented, and his cock was rock hard. Most importantly, he was alone.

He glanced at the opposite – and empty – side of the bed. He sighed and rubbed a hand over his face.

“Alex!” Marcello yelled from outside his bedroom.

“For fucks sake, shut it! I’m up! I’ll be out in a minute.” Brothers. Who fucking needed them?

He took a few deep breaths and checked the time – barely four in the morning – and groaned. At this point in his life, he’d accepted his role as the future king. That didn’t mean he wanted to be woken up from a very good dream about the woman he loved to handle something potentially serious.

He walked to the bathroom and took a quick, cold shower. If he was being summoned so early, something must have happened, but it didn’t seem urgent. If it had, Marcello would have broken down the door to get in. So, he’d take the time he needed to wake up for the day, and to also wash away thoughts of Rebecca.

He loved her, he’d accepted that many months ago. The only problem was that she didn’t know, probably didn’t even love him back, probably wouldn’t even love him back. While some women would jump at the chance to be future queen and would scheme to get it, his Rebecca wasn’t one of them, which made him want her all the more.

She’s not your Rebecca. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

He stepped out of the shower and flicked a towel off the warmer, then absently wiped his body as he walked into his closet. He settled for sweatpants, no shirt until he knew better what the day would entail.

When he unlocked his bedroom door, Marcello wasn’t waiting outside but he heard sounds from the small kitchen down the hall. Most royal apartments in the palace were laid out similarly – sitting rooms, an office, kitchen, guest rooms, workout room, a massive master suite, and more. Besides the main entrance, there was a secret one connected to the hidden passageways that snaked throughout the entire palace, though access to those was carefully controlled and their existence was speculated about by the public but wasn’t confirmed.

Alex stepped into the kitchen doorway and saw Marcello pouring two coffees. He was already in a suit without the tie, which didn’t bode well, his dark blond hair carefully coiffed, and even his mustache trimmed and ready for the day.

Marcello glanced at his attire or lack of it. “A little underdressed, aren’t you?”

Alex stepped forward and grabbed one of the mugs. “I’ll change. I wanted to wait until I heard what you had to share.”

Marcello nodded. “Let’s head to your office.”

They made their way over, Alex slipping into his chair behind the desk while Marcello slid into one in front of it. Alex still had piles of work and papers he needed to sort through, but he’d been too distracted by thoughts of her to get much done last night. He moved some of it out of the way as he took a sip of the dark brew, the scalding, bitter liquid burning his tongue and warming his throat.

“We’ve got a problem.”

“I didn’t think you’d wake me up at four AM during our two-week national holiday if it wasn’t. Who’s in trouble?”


Alex sighed. Lorenzo was one of their brothers and was often called a ‘playboy prince’ or worse by the press. “What happened?”

Marcello pulled out his phone, brought something up, then flipped the phone so Alex could see. They were photos of Lorenzo, perhaps at a club, about to punch someone. “Did he have a good reason?”

“It doesn’t matter if he did. The press is eating this shit up. It’s going to be making the rounds on the morning news shows in an hour.”

“It does matter, even if the press twists it. What’s the real story? What does he say?”

Marcello took the phone back and brought up something else. “That he was defending a woman being groped on the dance floor. When the man didn’t like a prince getting in his business, the man swung, and Lorenzo defended himself. My people in Masillia checked it out and the woman corroborated it, along with five others who witnessed it. The night club leaked the still photo for around a million, according to my sources.”

“Then Lorenzo’s in the right. You know him – he has a strong sense of honour and doesn’t usually punch people for no reason.”

“He’s been getting into trouble more and more recently.”

Their brother had had a rough time in the army, and was still dealing with post-traumatic stress. “I know, and he knows it too. Trust me; Papa and I have had several conversations with him.”

“It might be time for you to have another one.”

“Hmm.” He had to play this cool. He’d been trying to think of a reason to go to Masillia today, and fate had dealt him a good hand. His blood thrummed in anticipation. “I’ll have Tavin put out a statement with what really happened. We need it to come to light as soon as possible.”

“What about the others involved in this mess? That man could press charges.”

“And the woman could press charges against that man for groping her too.”

Marcello rubbed a finger over his mustache. “I see where you’re going with this. I can send some people over to smooth things over.”

Alex nodded. “Yes, have your people manage the others but perhaps you’re right about Lorenzo. Maybe a personal conversation will go over better. I’ll head down to Masillia myself, and try to convince Lorenzo to extend his holiday and spend time on Ilva with Nonna.”

Marcello snorted. “You think he’ll go for that?”

“I think he will if we say it’s either Ilva or here.”

“Our grandmother could keep him in line. Though you’ll draw too much attention going to Masillia right now. They’ll know why you’re there.”

Alex, very smoothly, as if he were speaking to a reporter, said, “Actually, I’m going to surprise my sister Catharine who returns from holiday today. There’s a tea shop she’s been wanting to try so I’m arranging a little royal visit with just us. You won’t announce it and ruin the surprise, will you?”

Alex didn’t add that Rebecca was also returning, since she’d been traveling with Cat, and that was who he was most anxious to see.

“I haven’t heard about a royal visit to a tea shop.”

“I’ll have Tavin and Rebecca arrange it.”

Marcello was half-distracted by his phone again so he must have missed the way Alex’s voice softened at Rebecca’s name. He had to be more careful or else he’d be found out.

“I’ll stay at a hotel instead of the castle and Lorenzo can meet with me there. It wouldn’t be hard to pretend I was there anyway. Most won’t hear about this for a few hours yet, until the morning news cycle. I’ll get dressed and head out discreetly, and should make it there before then.”

Marcello nodded. “I’ll alert your security team. You’ll be back tonight?”

“That’s the plan.”

It was going to be a long day, but he’d see Rebecca. After two weeks without a glimpse, he’d see her, maybe even talk to her.

Fuck, he was desperate for her. He only hoped she might become desperate for him too.

* * *

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