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When Daniela is hired to organize the belongings of the late Queen Aletta for a charity auction, she finds a locked closet, a suspicious king, and a handyman who looks strangely familiar. When she recognizes him as Royce Dekker, the man with whom she spent a romantic evening under the stars, she realizes there’s more to the job than she was told. But can she trust the sexy man standing guard over her?


“That was the last one.”

The familiar male voice came from behind her, so close she caught the lightest whiff of his cologne. Or maybe it was his laundry detergent. Whatever it was didn’t assault her senses the same way the mix of scents had while she’d danced in the club.

Slowly, she looked over her shoulder, then up. Her forehead was square with the center of his chest. He wore a casual yet well-fitted gray T-shirt. His face was clean shaven, but the highest part of his cheekbones appeared slightly darker than the rest of his face, as if he’d spent time in the sun sporting both a hat and light facial hair, and the sun had caught the exposed area. The color wasn’t edged in pink, as with most other guys prowling the bar area, which spoke to months spent outdoors rather than a few days.

“I don’t mean to be intrusive,” he said, raking a hand through his wavy, sun-kissed brown hair, “but I don’t want you stuck waiting for a bus that isn’t coming.”

“That’s kind of you, but I was looking at the stops, not the times.” And he was wrong. Her glance at the schedule indicated there were at least two more buses.

“Stops are every half-kilometer, but that won’t help you unless you’re going downtown, in which case you need to be on the other side of the road.”

“I’m not.”

“Good, because you’d have to run to catch that one.” His dark eyes went to the opposite side of the wide street, where a near-empty bus slowed to a stop. The only people on board appeared to be hotel employees and restaurant workers heading out of the tourist zone after a long day, most with headphones in their ears and half-asleep expressions on their faces. “If you want to split a taxi or ride share, I’ll call one. What kilometer is your hotel? I’m near the end, so it’s no problem to let you out at yours.”

She swallowed. He didn’t say anything, but she knew he’d seen the involuntary movement. “Thanks for the offer, but it feels so nice out, I think I’ll walk to the stop at kilometer eleven and catch a ride there.”

A ride on a bus.

The edge of his mouth quirked as if he’d read her mind. He held a slip of paper in his hand that looked like a charge receipt from the bar. He wadded it, looked at a garbage can three bench lengths away, then fired it into the top as if making the shot were no big deal.

“I’m Royce. Royce Dekker.”

He extended his now-empty hand. Large, masculine, and attached to what she now realized was an arm with a rather firm bicep, one that suited the athletic chest.

Royce Dekker was extremely fit. Smiling at her. And waiting.



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