Is He Prince Charming? excerpt
Chapter 1: A Royal Ball
THE PRINCE STOOD leaning against the doorframe of my room. “This is absurd, Anastasia.”
I leaned in closer to my mirror, carefully outlining my lips in red.
“I don’t quite see what is so absurd about it.”
I could see his reflection in the corner of my mirror, running a hand through his thick chestnut hair. “I can’t believe Father would do this to me. I can’t believe the whole blasted kingdom thinks this is so important.”
I laughed. “You are heir to the throne, Dmitriv.”
“But a ball!” He made what could have been an impolite and very un-princely gesture—I’d moved my focus back onto my face. “You know I abhor balls.”
I just raised an eyebrow and went on filling in my lips.
“Father’s probably expecting me to fall in love with the first girl I meet,” he went on disgustedly. “The whole Council probably has me married by the end of this week.”
“Balls have been the setting for many previous royal matches,” I said. I blinked my eyelashes and decided they did not look dark or thick enough yet.
“Oh, blast it, Anastasia.” He stepped in the room, yanking my door shut behind him with a thwack. “You can quit acting so cool and collected. I’m too young to marry.”
I turned and looked over at my younger brother. Dmitriv stood there, arms crossed and hair tousled—a true spoiled princeling. His lower lip jutted out in a look of stormy discontent.
I sighed and returned to my toilette. “I pity the poor girl who has to marry you.”
“You know I’m too young to marry.” His lower lip jutted out farther.
“You just don’t want to grow up and be responsible.” I stood up in front of the mirror and added the last touches of powder to my face. A sister did get tired of her brother’s irresponsibility quicker than others, but even the dullest in the country could see my brother had better quickly do more than grow up physically or risk driving the country into ruin as King.
Ah well, what could be done about that? I squinted into the mirror—I really must ensure my powder was applied evenly. That I had the ability to control.
“There’s no reason to think this ball was arranged especially because of you. Father knows you could marry yourself off within a day if you even gave it half a try.”
“He knows I don’t want to.” His arms crossed tighter. “He wants to make me fall in love with someone. He thinks falling in love will convince me.”
I rolled my eyes. My darling brother had girls falling over him at every step—princesses, rich and titled ladies, daughters of the court—and he certainly didn’t discourage their attentions. The only reason he had to fear marriage was that it required him to choose just one of them.
“I hope you do fall in love with someone,” I said. “Then you’ll know what those girls feel like when they fall all over you.”
He made a face. “I don’t like those girls.”
I patted my hair into place. “If you didn’t like them you’d tell them to go away.”
He turned away from me. “They only want my riches and my power,” he said.
“Of course,” I said. “But do you truly think you could never break any of their hearts?”
“And they giggle,” he put in.
I stepped back and admired the full-length of my ball gown in the mirror. My whole appearance seemed to me to be in perfect readiness. After readjusting the diamonds at my throat one last time, I went over to my younger brother and took his arm.
“Well, let’s go down to Father’s ball and find this future wife of yours, if you are so sure that is what will happen.”