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Serving the Prince

Serving the Prince

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  • 71 Pages
  • 1-2 Hours
  • 22K Words
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She’s a waitress with no room for distractions. He’s a prince wishing for a simpler life. Is there any hope for a happily-ever-after?

Julie Winters’ life is simple: work and college. Her five-year life plan doesn’t allow for detours of any kind, and that includes no dating. With her family counting on the money she makes from her tips at the lodge, Julie is serious about her responsibilities. She definitely won’t let a man distract her, even when he looks like Max, a guest from Europe. But when Julie’s old car breaks down, the mysterious Max is the one to rescue her. And when she needs an archery tutor, Max volunteers for the job. Soon, they’re spending time together, and Julie likes it. Maybe a little too much.

Prince Maximilian Wolfe is in the U.S. to look for investors, not to find a girlfriend. His friend Prince Henry likes to go clubbing, but Max prefers the simple things. When he meets Julie at the restaurant where she works, he’s immediately intrigued by her beautiful brown eyes. Julie is different and genuine, and Max looks for ways to spend more time together. There’s only one problem—Julie doesn’t know Max is a prince.

If you love sweet stories with a Cinderella and prince trope, you'll love this fresh take with a royal twist! Meet the Somersets, heirs to the royal throne of Durham, as they find forever-after love in this contemporary royal romance series. Perfect for fans of Once Upon a Prince,A Christmas Prince, and The Prince & Me!

Main Tropes

  • Cinderella
  • royalty
  • reluctant prince

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Synopsis

She’s a waitress with no room for distractions. He’s a prince wishing for a simpler life. Is there any hope for a happily-ever-after?

Julie Winters’ life is simple: work and college. Her five-year life plan doesn’t allow for detours of any kind, and that includes no dating. With her family counting on the money she makes from her tips at the lodge, Julie is serious about her responsibilities. She definitely won’t let a man distract her, even when he looks like Max, a guest from Europe. But when Julie’s old car breaks down, the mysterious Max is the one to rescue her. And when she needs an archery tutor, Max volunteers for the job. Soon, they’re spending time together, and Julie likes it. Maybe a little too much.

Prince Maximilian Wolfe is in the U.S. to look for investors, not to find a girlfriend. His friend Prince Henry likes to go clubbing, but Max prefers the simple things. When he meets Julie at the restaurant where she works, he’s immediately intrigued by her beautiful brown eyes. Julie is different and genuine, and Max looks for ways to spend more time together. There’s only one problem—Julie doesn’t know Max is a prince.

If you love sweet stories with a Cinderella and prince trope, you'll love this fresh take with a royal twist! Meet the Somersets, heirs to the royal throne of Durham, as they find forever-after love in this contemporary royal romance series. Perfect for fans of Once Upon a Prince,A Christmas Prince, and The Prince & Me!

Intro into Chapter One

Julie Winters set the platter of fries in front of the two women. “Enjoy!”
Across the common entrance and into the restaurant, the new guys were back, the ones who’d first showed up last week. They trailed the hostess who sat them at one of the VIP tables. As with everyone else who frequented the restaurant of the Blue Mountain Country Club and Lodge in Silver Springs, Colorado, they were most likely celebrities of some kind, but she didn’t recognize them. The rumor mill said they were from Europe, and, according to Ashlyn, their accents sounded like it.
She retrieved an order of beer from Peter and had it sitting on the counter when Ashlyn approached to pick up the glasses.
“They’re back. Without entourage,” Ashlyn said as she filled her tray, keeping her eyes on the drinks.
“Who’s back?” Julie pulled out a lemon and cut it in wedges. Ashlyn would call her bluff, but Julie didn’t want to admit she’d noticed the men had come alone today.
Ashlyn raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment. “They’re asking for two Manhattans.”
“On it,” Julie replied. She got Peter’s attention and relayed the order to him.
Julie served late dinners and snacks at the bar, and didn’t have the license to serve cocktails. Ashlyn worked at the restaurant waitressing the tables. They’d met two years prior and had become friends before deciding to share an apartment. Most of the time, their schedules at the lodge restaurant didn’t coincide.
Wednesday nights were not as busy as the weekend, but tonight was more crowded than the usual midweek day. As Julie didn’t have the time to spend on the internet keeping up with current events, she briefly wondered if there was a reason that had attracted more guests on this night.
“I knew they wouldn’t stay by themselves for too long,” Ashlyn said, settling the round tray on the polished counter.
Julie raised her head and glanced at the table. True enough, three model-looking women had joined the European men.
Julie pulled out clean glasses. “Not surprised,” she said, under her breath.
Ashlyn leaned against the bar while she waited for the next round of cocktails. “I’d say. One of them looks like the actor who plays Tarzan and the other one like the new Superman.”
The comparison was spot-on—both tall, in their mid-twenties, one blond and the other one dark haired with a cleft chin, dressed as if they’d just stepped off an Italian fashion runway. She couldn’t tell the color of their eyes from this far. The dark-haired guy had the kind of smile that could make a woman forget her name, but the blond one’s expression seemed more genuine. What was his name?
The thought stopped her and Julie purposefully turned to the shelves behind the bar. How many times had she looked their way tonight? Pathetic. She was doing the same as all the other women who fawned over good-looking men. These men would never notice her anyway—they were surrounded by beauty-queens, the kind with perfectly manicured hands, salon-paid highlights, and plastic-surgery curves.
Julie was the regular girl-next-door, the one nobody gave a second look. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. She actually didn’t mind the lack of attention. It helped her concentrate on what was important in her life right now, like graduating in one year. Until then, she was grateful this job helped her pay the bills, even if sometimes the distractions of the male variety proved hard to ignore.
Ten minutes later, when Julie had a moment to look up, the dark-haired guy sat with two girls, but there was no sign of the blond one. She straightened and glanced at the table again, a slower gaze this time since Mr. Tarzan wasn’t there to catch her watching him. A little twinge of something she didn’t want to think about pricked in her chest, and she quickly dismissed it. Why was she even thinking about a man who didn’t know she existed? She hadn’t served him and he hadn’t looked her way. End of story.
“Julie,” Peter said with a nod towards the end of the bar.
She’d been so distracted, she’d hardly noticed the man sitting there.
He wore a light salmon shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, with his arms leaning effortlessly on the polished wood, and an empty glass sitting on the round ceramic coaster. She hesitated a moment as she recognized the blond man from the table. It was too late to ask someone else to take his order.
She ran her palms down the side of her black slacks. “What can I do for you?” She gave him the professional smile, the one she used with the guests at the lodge.
He straightened in his seat which brought him to eye level with her. His eyes were gray, the pupil ringed with light flecks of gold and blue, lending a warm tone to what should have been a cold color. For a moment, she stared at him, unable to draw away from the pull of his gaze.
Slowly, his eyes crinkled at the corners and a smile lit his face. “It’s Julie, right?”
She frowned. “How do—?”
He gestured to the name tag pinned to her shirt. “I saw you earlier.”
He’d noticed her? Her cheeks flamed. Maybe all the covert looks she’d sent his way hadn’t been as stealthy as she’d thought. Add a new one to her file of embarrassing situations.
She nodded. “Can I get a refill on your Manhattan?”
“Do you always remember everyone’s drinks?” The corner of his mouth pulled up in a teasing manner.
He had a subtle European accent. Not from Durham, and definitely not from Galia or Aragonia. She filed her curious thought away. It really didn’t matter where he was from. He was only a guest who’d read her name tag.
Julie shrugged. “It comes with the job.”
As she reached for the empty glass, he picked it up at the same time. His fingers brushed lightly against hers and she stilled at the unexpected contact, a current of static quickening her pulse. The glass lay suspended between them.
After an instant, he released it. “Henry’s the one who likes Manhattans. Do you have any Krone beer?”
“We do,” she replied. “I’ll be right back.”
She walked to the refrigerated section, glad for the extra seconds to compose herself from her surprise reaction to his touch. What was wrong with her tonight? He was just a man. An attractive one with a foreign accent, but a man just the same. She should be used to it by now, after working here for two years. The lodge catered to the exclusive crowd, and she’d seen plenty of rich and famous guys who dressed like GQ models and elegant businessmen, among the actors, singers, and athletes who made the guest list. They knew they could come here without being followed by paparazzi or fans sneaking pictures. That’s what their money paid for.
Then why was she reacting to this one man? What made him special that her heart skipped a beat when he turned that smile on her? She didn’t even particularly like blond guys, not after dating Jared the Jerk. But the guy at the end of the bar had the warmest gray eyes, kind eyes, which apparently she was partial to.
“Here you go.” She placed a tall glass and the bottle of imported beer in front of him, careful to remove her fingers before he reached for it.
“Max.” He extended his hand to her. “My name is Max.”
Julie took his strong hand, the warmth of his fingers enveloping hers. Even as her mind told her to keep it brief, her heart squelched the common sense immediately.
“Nice to meet you, Max,” she said.
“The pleasure is all mine, Julie.” Was it her imagination or did his deep voice slow down when he said her name?
He squeezed her hand, and she returned the gesture before letting go.
“Do you mind if I stay over at this end for a while?” he asked.
Something in his expression and tone made her take notice. “No, of course not.”
He glanced over his shoulder. “My friend found… better company.”
She followed his eyes, to the place where his friend laughed easily with the two model girls. “Stay as long as you want,” Julie told him, putting on a calm expression that contradicted her fast pulse.
If she’d been working the tables like she sometimes did, she never would have had the chance to talk to Max. Waitresses kept too busy to chat with the guests. Julie brushed the thought aside. She was not sitting at the bar with him, but across from him. She had work to do, and would do well to remember it.
After filling orders for five minutes, she gravitated toward the end of the bar, wiping the wood counter as she went, more to give her hands something to do and less to keep the polished wood unmarked.
Max was still sitting in the same spot, slowly sipping his beer, and didn’t seem in any hurry to go anywhere else.
“Can I get you a refill?” she asked Max.
He shook his head. “No, thanks. We drove separately, but I might have to take Henry back to his cabin.”
“You’re a good friend, sacrificing your night so he can have fun.” She chanced the comment, hoping he wouldn’t find it too personal.
His expression relaxed. “Henry and I have been friends for quite a while. We grew up taking turns being responsible. Old habits are hard to break, especially when we’re so far from home.”
Did that mean sometimes Max was the one drinking too much with girls at his side? Whether it happened or not, it was none of her business.
“Is this your first time in the United States?”
“For me, yes. We started in Los Angeles, and now we’re making our way back to New York through several states before going home.”
“And home is where?”
A muscle in his jaw twitched. “In Europe.”
He didn’t want to tell her more details. Maybe she’d overstepped her position with too many questions, however friendly she sounded.
“And you?” he asked.
“Me?” Julie tried to buy some time. “What about me?”
“What is your story, Julie?”
He watched her with unmistakable interest as if he could find out who she really was without any words between them. How did he do it? How did he hold her so mesmerized with only his gray eyes and his half smile? She wanted to tell him everything—her dreams and ambitions, her fears and worries—and hoped he wouldn’t judge her for what she lacked.
“Excuse me,” a man’s voice interrupted.
Julie stepped away from her spot in front of Max, feeling her cheeks flame again. She served the new guest, wishing Max would linger a little longer, but knowing it would probably be best if he left. She couldn’t have this kind of distraction, wouldn’t give in to a pair of eyes who watched her with the kind of attention she hadn’t had in a long time, if ever. How could he be interested in her? For sure, she’d imagined it.
When the other man walked away, Max stood and handed her a bill. “Keep the change.”
The tip was substantial, but she’d been trained to never question a guest over the matter of a gratuity. It wasn’t good manners, and the owners of Blue Mountain wouldn’t abide such behavior.
Once again, he made eye contact with her.
Addressing him by his name would be too intimate, but using the customary sir would mark the difference between them even more. So she left them both out. “Thank you.” She added a genuine smile to emphasize her words.
Something passed in his eyes, but quickly left. “Thank you, Julie,” he said before walking away.
Julie rang up his bill, forcing her eyes away from his retreating form.
Ashlyn approached with an order. “You have to tell me everything,” Ashlyn said with a wink while she waited for more drinks and cocktails.
“Tell you what?”
“What did you and Mr. Tarzan talk about?” Ashlyn asked.
“There really isn’t much to tell.”
Ashlyn filled her tray. “Right. I could see the chemistry between you two from across the room, and you have nothing to say about it.”
“You’re imagining things,” Julie replied. The chemistry was one-sided, borne from Julie’s pathetic lack of a love life. Her lonely heart had latched on to the first guy who’d said her name in a long time. She’d always been attracted to guys with deep voices, and his did something to her. Something too delicious.
Ashlyn gave her a pointed look as she left to deliver the drinks.
Julie blew out a breath, steeling herself for Ashlyn’s insistence that would come later. Her friend was curious, and sometimes too optimistic.
When a boisterous group came in, Julie looked their way.
Her heart skipped a beat —Max stood by the open door, his gaze fixed on her.
Out of nowhere, his friend popped back inside, the two blonde girls in too-short dresses hanging from each of his arms. He clapped Max on the shoulder and laughed. Max trailed after the trio, but not before casting one last look her way.
Was it reluctance she’d seen in his posture, or something completely different?

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