“Are you going out with that guy tonight?”

Not exactly what I was hoping for.

But he’s leaning down so close, my brain still short-circuits. “‘That guy’?”

“George Fulton. The mayor.”

“Uh . . . yeah. I met him today at tea. The Queen suggested we go . . . you know . . . as friends.”

I don’t know why I added the last part. It’s not as if Logan cares. Only when he clenches his jaw and drags his gaze off to the side, it kind of feels like he might.

“There’s no reason I shouldn’t go, is there?” The hope in my voice is pathetically loud.

“No,” he says softly. “No good reason at all.”

For a moment, neither of us moves or blinks.

“Hey, Lo!” another security guard calls from down the hall. “Katy’s tonight, yeah?”

Logan nods to him and my stomach withers.

“Katy’s?” I ask.

“It’s a pub. The upper-class tend to hang around at The Goat; me and the lads hang around Katy’s.”

“Oh. Well, I guess we both have plans tonight, then.”

“So it seems.” He touches my arm, squeezing just slightly, and that familiar, exhilarating zing races through me. He moves closer as he passes, almost whispering in my ear, “Have fun, Ellie.”

Then I’m watching him walk away, his strides long, his back straight—and his ass . . . mouthwatering.

And just like that, the appeal of going to the museum tonight, of going anywhere where Logan isn’t, fizzles like an Alka-Seltzer tablet.

The opening of the Monet exhibit at the Wessco National Museum is a big deal—think Met Gala, minus the space-age outfits. The stylist dressed me in a gorgeous royal-blue strapless cocktail dress, with silver platform heels. The short, snug cut hugs my small frame sexily, while the flare of the skirt makes it flirty, not trashy. With my blond hair down and wavy, I feel confident, beautiful—grown-up. A woman going to a sophisticated social event, not a girl going to a prom. That’s new for me.

There’s press at the entrance, photographers—they shout questions and jostle for prime positions, all of them wanting the scoop on the promising politician and the princess’s sister. It’ll make quite a headline. Ever since the wedding they’ve been interested in me—and my boobs—even though neither is really very substantial. It’s been fun, a trip, a wild ride—sharing a little slice of Nicholas and Olivia’s spotlight.

But in the bright, snapping flash of the cameras, I have an epiphany: this could be my life too.

I have connections now, to wealthy, known people—the kind who run cities, and make laws, and rule countries. That’s what the Queen meant all this time about my potential—I have the potential to have my sister’s life.

If I want it.

And that’s always the question, isn’t it? Where do you see yourself in five years? Who will you be? What do you want?

George Fulton is a dream date—he’s fun, charming, smart and attentive. We discuss the artwork and Monet’s life as we slowly wander from one painting to the next. I like George. He’s easy to like. I like him the way I like Tommy Sullivan or Marty or Henry.

A friend-like.

But the intensity in his eyes doesn’t make my insides melt. The sound of his voice doesn’t make my knees go shaky. The smell of his skin doesn’t make me think filthy, dirty, secret things.

There’s only one guy who does that.

Only one who ever has.

So like every other date I’ve been on since that early morning over five years ago, when I hopped down the steps into the coffee shop and came face to face with a breath-stealingly handsome bodyguard, wearing a killer tie—my thoughts drift away from my date . . . and straight back to Logan.

The painting in front of me is of a woman embroidering, with a little girl at her feet. On the wall beside it, there’s a quote—I think it’s from the Bible: “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things . . .”

I glance down at my ankle, where my little lemon tattoo is etched. And I feel the hug of the knife holster that’s wrapped around my thigh—that I wear like an engagement ring, religiously, every day.

It’s almost fucking poetic.

I’m a fraud. I haven’t been sucking the lemon of life—I’ve been hiding behind the rind. Playing it safe. Refusing to take the biggest chance of all.

I need to put away childish things. Like high school crushes and bodyguard dreams. I have to put them behind me.

But the only way I’ll ever do that is by confronting them—him. By laying it on the line, putting my bare, beating heart on the table for him to see. And if he smashes it with a sledgehammer, well . . . this analogy took a dark turn…but the point is: Logan either wants me like I want him or he doesn’t.

And it’s time to find out. To hear it straight from the hung-like-a-horse’s mouth. Then I can move forward. Move on, with or without him. But I really, really hope it’s with him. That I’m not the only one feeling this.

George and I have wandered over to a small alcove in the corner, and I put my hand on his arm. “I have something to tell you.”

He smiles. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

And then we speak at the same time.

“I can’t wait to see you again.”

“I have to go.”

When my words penetrate, he slides his hands into his pockets and his forehead crinkles. “Well . . . this is uncomfortable.”

“I’m sorry. You’re a great guy—an amazing guy . . . but . . . there’s someone else. There’s been someone else for a long time and I have no idea how he feels about me, but I need to find out. I have to give it a chance.”

George looks at me for a few moments. Then he leans over and kisses my cheek.

“Whoever he is, he’s a lucky man.”

I smile a thank-you.

“I’ll have the car drop you wherever you want to go.”

“No, that’s okay. I’ve got it covered.” I put my hand over his. “Good night, George.”

George’s two bodyguards, who shadowed us here tonight, stay with him while I walk out of the back door of the museum and hail a taxi. It’s time to seize my destiny, take the bull by the horns, grab the lemon with both hands and suck until my cheeks hollow out . . . and maybe, if things go well, I’ll get to swallow.

I’VE SEEN ENOUGH EIGHTIES MOVIES—Pretty in Pink, An Officer and a Gentleman, Sixteen Candles—to know how this should go. I’m supposed to step out of the cab, walk through the double doors of the bar with the breeze blowing my hair back, search the room until our eyes meet, then—boom—the romantic background music surges. I raise my hand and beckon him close, then Logan kisses the hell out of me and/or swings me up and carries me away. Roll the credits.

Reality is . . . not an eighties movie.

So, when I get out of the cab, my dress snags on the door, tearing a little. I step in a puddle on my way across the street, soaking my foot and creating my very own squishy, farty background music.

Jesus Christ on a candy cane.

I keep my head down and avoid eye contact with a loud group of guys smoking outside the tavern next door—and then I cup my hands around my face and peek in the window of Katy’s Pub.

There’s a small front room with a wooden bar and a few round tables and chairs. I see a hallway in the back that a man in a flannel shirt walks in from, carrying a pool stick. Logan sits at the bar, his brown hair falling over his forehead, a tall glass of dark beer in front of him. A pretty bartender with shoulder-length auburn hair leans his way on her elbow. And then Logan chuckles at something she says—flashing straight, white teeth, his eyes crinkling with laughter.

Jealousy—green and ugly—steams from my ears. And though I recoil at the sight, it’s as if my feet are cemented to the ground and my hands are super-glued to the glass.

And then it gets worse.

A little girl, with swinging blond pigtails and a pacifier in her mouth, comes rushing out from behind the bar. The female bartender chases after her, but Logan beats her to it, scooping the toddler up into his strong arms. He tilts his head, talking to the child and wagging his finger playfully, making her smile around her pacifier. And the woman comes around the bar and stands close to Logan, gazing up at them both.

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