The Prince & His Royal Guard

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Chapter 10


Closing the bathroom door behind him, Logan leaned on it, and took in several deep breaths to calm his heart. He could not bring himself to regret kissing Leon. It felt right, like they belonged.

Leon had not pushed him away because he didn’t like it, but because he did. Logan smiled at that thought.

Shaking his head, he got his cellphone and dialed Commander Stevens, moving away from the bathroom door.

“Lt. Commander.”

“Sir, we are at the hotel for a few more hours. requesting a forensic team to sweep the forest near the stables at Castle Arguro. Have them look for bullets. A seasoned sharpshooter took the shot at long range. He wouldn’t have been able to visit the scene after the incident. If we can get the bullet, we’ll have somewhere to start.”

“I’ll send a team out,” Commander Stevens said. “How did you know this?”

“I saw the wound on Prince Leon. The graze is very deep. He was lucky.”

“I’ll keep you posted. Let me know when you are heading back.”

“Thank you.”

Logan ended the call and stared at the shirt Leon had removed. Folding it neatly, he stared at the bloodstain on the right arm. The wound on Leon’s arm would sting today. Yet, Leon made no indication that he was uncomfortable. He had kept his pain to himself, not even telling David.

Leon had truly changed.

The suite door opened and Dax came in carrying a black designer suit bag with no label. When he saw Logan holding the shirt, a deep frown creased his forehead.

“Where is His Highness?” Dax asked.

“In the bathroom, I helped him with the wound on his arm. He needed a few minutes alone after.”

Dax nodded, coming to take the dirty shirt from Logan. Logan frowned when Dax placed the shirt with the utmost care in a bag over his shoulders.

“Don’t you need to take it for laundry?”

“Not here,” Dax said, with no further explanation.

Dax went to the bathroom door and Logan frowned when he entered the bathroom soon after. Leon seemed to trust this attendant above all.

A bit too much, Logan thought, adding Dax to the list of people who needed a thorough check.

Leon touched his lips after Logan left, desire raging in his body. He remembered every second of being in Logan’s arms. Remembered how addictive it felt, how shattering their passion was and…he remembered what it was like to be without it. He knew what it was like to be without Logan.

Closing his eyes, he braced his arms on the sink counter and took in a deep breath. He had clawed his way back from that despair, to this. Whatever this existence was, he couldn’t afford to let himself start to want Logan again. Not with the possibility that Logan might want to hold on to his life out there, one that now included a thriving security business.

Leon opened his eyes and stared into the mirror. The gray eyes looking back at him were hard, the pain in their depths seasoned, a familiar companion.

A single knock came on the door, letting him know it was Dax.

“Come in,” he said, turning on the water at the sink.

Leon leaned over to splash water on his face when Dax slipped in, holding a garment bag.

“I brought you a fresh change of clothes for the event,” Dax said. “Your shirt is ruined with blood.”

Leon finished washing his face and picked up the face cloth on the counter.

“Princess Gia’s secretary called twice in the last hour,” Dax said, as he opened the garment bag and pulled out the clothes he brought. “I believe she’ll attend the after party, though there’s no confirmation yet.”

Leon sighed as he dabbed his face dry and dropped the face cloth on the counter.

“I wish she wouldn’t,” Leon said. “It’s getting harder to ignore her nagging about grandmother.”

“Your Highness,” Dax started, and then stopped, turning away from Leon when he undid his white trousers and let them drop to the floor.

“What has grandmother done that’s making Princess Gia so uneasy?” Leon asked, reaching for the new pair of slacks. He wore it over his boxer briefs then reached for the fresh shirt.

He could not help the hiss as he wore his shirt this time. The wound on his right arm felt too sore.

Dax turned then and helped him button his shirt.

“The news about your Uncle Isaak has the Royal Household officials reviewing the royal family laws. If Isaak is proven guilty by the authorities, he will no longer be eligible for the crown.”

Leon closed his eyes, already understanding that.

“Well, it’s fine, they have Constantin and Gia.”

Dax nodded, though his expression looked like he wanted to say more.

Leon did not want to listen. He knew that Dax kept in touch with his grandmother. Knew they discussed more than Leon dared to ask about. He tucked in his shirt when Dax finished buttoning it.

“Do you want a painkiller?” Dax asked, picking up Leon’s white slacks from the floor and placing them in the garment bag.

Leon nodded, watching Dax take the bag he carried to the sink counter. Leon liked to think of it as Dax’s magic bag. Smiling, he buttoned his trousers and ran fingers through his hair.

Dax brought him a single pill from a bottle he found in his bag, and handed him a glass of water.

Leon tossed it back with a grateful nod.

“Do you like Logan?” Dax asked.

Leon choked on the water he was drinking. Dax handed him a fresh towel to wipe his mouth and took the glass away from him.

“So you do,” Dax smiled wide.

Leon frowned at him.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Leon asked.

Dax chuckled.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen you so curious about a man,” Dax said. “You couldn’t take your eyes off him at lunch. It’s nice to see. It made me remember that he held you tight the night you arrived from Seville, four years ago.”

Leon adjusted his sleeves and looked away from Dax.

“It’s been a while,” Leon said, his tone dismissive. “That’s history now.”

Dax came around him holding an ascot.

“Leon,” Dax said in a rare departure.

Leon frowned.

“It would be nice to see you dating someone,” Dax said, tying the ascot with expertise. “It’s been too long. You can’t be alone forever. Think about it.”

Leon came out of the bathroom in a neat white blazer over a light blue shirt and dark slacks. He wore black monogrammed loafers and a deep blue ascot tied under his collar. The only jewelry on him was his family ring on his right middle finger. He looked delicious.

Logan would have teased him about the shoes, but he dared not now.

Leon buttoned the blazer and started for the door.

Logan hurried to open it for him, and caught a small smile on Leon’s lips as they went out.

Back downstairs, Logan realized why Leon had needed to change his clothes. The press had increased. Photographers taking pictures of Leon, documenting everything he wore for the event. Even David had changed into a neat gray suit.

Leon, David and a pair of senior executives stood in the hotel lobby waiting to go outside to cut the ribbon, and officially open the hotel.

Logan stood behind Leon, his presence enough to intimidate any adventurous photographers. He watched Leon composing himself to face the mob. David touched Leon’s right upper arm with familiarity and Leon winced but said nothing.

Once again, Logan wondered why Leon had not told David about the attempts on his life.

“Alright, we’re ready.” Dax said, entering the hotel, walking toward them. “Logan, we’ll rely on you.”

Logan stopped Leon from moving as he waited on an all clear from Tom, Shirley and John. When they were in position outside, Logan gave Leon a nod.

Leon and David walked forward to the front doors. Leon kept up a smile as the Master of Ceremony started the short event.

Logan and his team kept a tight circle around Leon in the warm afternoon. The hotel staff had placed the ribbon right at the hotel entrance doors. Flower pillars on each side of the ribbon to hold it. The hotel staff guided both Leon and David to the correct spot ready for the ceremony.

There were videographers and photographers busy at work, an excited crowd filled the hotel’s front lawn and parking lot. Logan’s gaze moved over the excited crowd as the Master of Ceremony guided the event. The energy from the crowd felt enthusiastic with no sense of urgency. They waited with patience for Prince Leon and David to cut the ribbon.

Logan shadowed Leon when he moved to stand before the ribbon. It was too hot for gloves, so the staff decorated the scissors with red ribbons. Leon started to reach for his pair of scissors, but David brushed hard against his right arm making him hesitate.

Logan shifted to shield Leon’s wince from the cameras, forcing the woman holding Leon’s tray to move to David first. Leon gave Logan a grateful smile after he collected himself and reached for the scissors meant for David. They cut the ribbon with the Master of Ceremony’s guidance. When they finished, music, shouts of congratulations and applause filled the afternoon.

Executives surged forward to greet Leon.

Logan kept up with Leon who greeted everyone who approached him with a cordial smile. A commotion started at the hotel entrance doors drawing attention.

Logan’s team worked to contain the fuss.

Logan focused on Leon, staying alert as more people hurried to greet Leon.

Boss, David’s in trouble,’ Shirley’s voice came through his earpiece. ’We’ve pulled him into the hotel and are using the staff to cover the incident. There are blisters on his hands and he has passed out. It looks like poison. The secondary team has an ambulance on the way.’

Logan, knowing Leon would want to know, touched Leon’s left elbow drawing his attention.

“David needs you,” Logan whispered to Leon.

Leon stayed calm, even as he let Logan lead him back inside the hotel. Leon smiled, thanked, and invited those who wanted to talk to him to the after party later. When he entered the lobby, Shirley and John closed the main doors keeping everyone out, and Leon turned to Logan.

“What’s wrong?”

“David is headed to the hospital.” Tom provided the information. “The hotel staff is very efficient. We managed to get him in the ambulance in a very short time. The paramedics are sure he can be saved.”

“Saved from what? What are we waiting for? Let’s follow him to the hospital,” Leon said, full of panic.

Leon started for the exit doors and Dax stepped in his way, blocking his progress.

Logan started to tell him off, but then Dax lowered his head in a short bow.

“Your Highness, you can’t leave,” Dax said, his tone pleading. “Master David has worked very hard for this day. If you leave, everyone will notice. The event will turn into a failure. Please, trust us to take care of Master David. You must see the evening through.”

Leon stared at Dax’s lowered head for a full minute, before he paced away from Dax, clearly unwilling.

“How the hell am I supposed to sit through a party while David is in hospital?”

“Please leave Master David to me. I will make sure he gets the best care. Her Royal Highness, Princess Gia, called while you were cutting the ribbon. She is set to arrive for the party tonight. Your Highness must keep up appearances. You cannot show them that something is wrong,” Dax said.

Leon closed his eyes and turned away from Dax. His fingers tightened into fists, squeezing in, holding in emotions.

Logan watched in silence. His thoughts on Dax’s choice of words ‘show them’. Did he mean Prince Isaak’s family?

Did they not get along? Would Princess Gia want to have Leon murdered?


Leon was not living in the palace. He had nothing Princess Gia wanted.

“David is my dear friend,” Leon gritted out when he opened his eyes. His voice shook with emotion. “Spare nothing in your service. Summon Dr. Joley to his side and take care of his family as well. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” Dax said, releasing his bow. “I will leave the Lt. Commander to take care of you. Pierre is driving Lisa over from the castle. She will handle my duties this evening.”

Leon nodded and started heading to the next part of the afternoon.

Logan started to follow him, but Dax grabbed on to his hand to stop him.

Shirley stepped in behind Leon following him in Logan’s place.

“What?” Logan asked Dax.

“I beg you, please, don’t leave him alone. He will try to be nice to the staff, and act normal, but—”

“I’ll take care of him,” Logan promised.

Dax studied him, his gaze skeptical.

Logan then realized he had been too wary of Dax. This man was devoted to Leon like a parent to a child. He read anxiety in Dax’s gaze.

“Bring him straight to the hospital when you can. It won’t be easy for him to stay away. David is like a brother to him.”

“I know,” Logan said, because he too worried for David. “Who is Dr. Joley?”

“His Highness’s personal physician,” Dax said, already running off.

Logan watched Dax leave, and then followed Leon.

He watched Leon interact with department heads, charming them and getting them to promise to work their hardest. Leon never showed any crack in his armor, covering for David when one of the executives asked where David had gone. The act was flawless.

If Logan didn’t know Leon, he might have believed that all was fine.

When Princess Gia arrived, a new layer of the armor Leon wore emerged. Leon closed off, to the point of asking Logan to defer to Princess Gia’s security detail. It reminded Logan of a tortoise hiding in its shell when it sensed danger. The party in the large hall was elegant, the music lively as the staff enjoyed dining with royalty.

“Your hotel is beautiful,” Princess Gia said, as she sat next to Leon at the table set aside for their use. “You always manage to own the most elegant of places. Where is David?”

“Handling a private matter,” Leon said. “He has worked hard to complete this hotel. I’m happy with the results. He deserves the time away.”

“Curious,” Princess Gia said, looking around the room. Her gaze stopped on Logan and she narrowed her gaze. “Do you have a new security detail? Is Pierre not enough anymore?”

Leon smiled at Princess Gia.

“Dax outsourced a new company for the event. You know how Castle Arguro works. I would never need such tight security as you do, Gia.”

Princess Gia nodded and picked up the glass of wine her attendant placed before her. She sipped it and sat back in her chair. She smiled when an executive met her gaze and waved at her, star struck.

“Your hotel is not the only thing that brought me here this evening,” Princess Gia said.

Logan who stood behind Leon stepped back when she glanced at him with a censoring gaze. She lowered her voice, as she continued.

“Grandmother is restless. She refused to meet any of us for breakfast this morning. I’m worried. Has she reached out to you?”

“You asked me not to respond to her summons. In any case, I’ve been too busy with the hotel opening. If she has sent summons, I’ve not seen them.”

“Blunt as ever,” Princess Gia said. She placed her glass on the table and shifted to study Leon. “Why don’t you want more? What is so great about Castle Arguro?”

“What’s not great about Castle Arguro?” Leon asked, directing a blank smile at her.

There was a glass of water before him. Leon moved the glass around, as though to drink it in the next minute, but he did not attempt to drink it

“Though the castle cannot compare to the Capital Palace, it remains home to me.”

“Hmm, must be nice.” Princess Gia reached for her glass again.

After that strange exchange, the two cousins talked about food for the rest of the night, quite literary. Princess Gia spoke of delicacies she thought would be perfect to serve at the hotel, to promote the Kingdom’s tourism and fame. Leon followed her example, keeping a calm facade, though his impatience remained on his tense shoulders.

At around nine o’clock, Princess Gia bid Leon goodbye.

Leon walked her out of the hotel to her car.

Logan watched Leon open the back passenger door for her, Leon smiled when Gia kissed his cheek. Leon closed her door and stepped back as the driver pulled away followed by her security detail. The moment her motorcade was out of sight, Logan’s team moved into place around Leon.

Leon wrung his fingers through the ride to the private hospital where they had admitted David. Worry filled him at the thought that the person trying to hurt him had now touched one of his people.

David did not deserve this. He worked too hard for Leon, for the hotel and the many businesses Leon placed under his care. Most of all, David was his best friend.

Anger rose as he rode the elevator to the top floor at Aceso Medical Center. Dax met them as the elevator doors opened.

“Master David is out of danger and is in a private room. Dr. Joley is looking after him. I’ll let her update you on his condition.”

“What about Sadie?” Leon asked.

He walked fast as Dax led him to David’s hospital room.

“She’s on her way. She was at David’s family farm in Eastways near the border. I got her on a flight and she should be arriving in the next few minutes. I called in a driver to pick her up at the airport,” Dax said. “She will be here soon.”

“Thank you,” Leon murmured when Dax opened the door to David’s room. Leon glanced at Logan who made to follow him into David’s room. “I want to do this alone.”

Logan held his gaze for a minute, and then stepped back.

Leon closed the door on Logan and turned to look at the large bed in the middle of the room. David settled right in the middle with the monitor mounted on the wall above his bed beeping steadily. Leon walked to the foot of the bed, his hands clenched tight.

Thin gauze covered David’s right hand protecting the wounds on his hand where he had held the scissors. Leon stared at that hand, guilt riding him hard.

There was no reason for anyone to want David dead. He was a loyal friend, a man of integrity and anyone who worked under David respected him. David loved with all his heart.

Sadie would attest to that love. David had even taken Leon under his wing, and given him a warm place to call home.

No, no one wanted David dead.

The poison on the scissors was meant for Leon. He was the reason why David was in this bed. He had brought this good man pain.

Tears filled his eyes, a sob escaping before he could stop it. Leon wiped away his tears with an angry fist, the wound on his right upper arm throbbed and he closed his eyes, making more tears slide down his cheeks.

Moving around the bed to David’s left side Leon knelt on the floor and took David’s left hand, pressing a kiss on David’s knuckles.

“I’m so sorry.” Leon cried, shaking, as he bowed his head over David’s hand. “I’m so sorry, David.”

Leon knelt on the floor for five minutes, could have been more, he couldn’t be sure.

A knock on the door had him sucking in air. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and pressed another kiss on David’s knuckles as he stood. Letting go of David’s hand, he took in a deep breath to keep his calm.

The knock on the door came again, and Leon sighed.

“Yes, come in,” Leon said, his voice as strong as he could get it.

To hide the state of his eyes, he walked to the darkened windows, hands in his pockets.

The door opened and he glanced back shortly to see Dr. Joley enter David’s room.

“Your Highness,” she greeted. “I’ve pooled resources here and Master David is getting the best care possible. The poison used was pure nicotine delivered in a high-end designer cocktail. The contents are deadly. I would recommend following up on anyone else who might have touched those scissors. We administered first aid as fast as we could. He is out of danger, though we will need to keep him under observation for at least seventy-two hours.”

Leon wiped the last traces of his tears then turned away from the windows to watch Dr. Joley check on David’s vital signs. She made sure the IV line was secure, and read the information on the monitor.

“Are there any lasting effects from this?” Leon asked, his voice sounding raw.

“No.” Dr. Joley looked at him and offered him a faint smile. “This is not your fault, you know. Don’t beat yourself up. He wouldn’t want you to.”

“I’ve brought him here,” Leon said, shaking his head. “I—”

He didn’t get to finish as the door opened and a tall, elegant brown-skinned woman hurried in, frantic. Her long braids swung around her shoulders. She stared at David on the bed in shock: standing frozen at the door, her brown eyes wide, and her hands in tight fists.

“Sadie,” Leon said, his voice hoarse at her stricken face.

She dragged her gaze away from David to look at him. He took a step toward her, but stopped when she came at him, her fists pounding at his chest before he could stop her. Leon closed his eyes as Sadie erupted.

“You did this!” Sadie accused. “He’s here because of you. You did this. Why? Oh God, why? Why would you do this?”

Leon looked up to see Logan and his team hurrying into the room, alarmed. Logan looked ready to pull Sadie off Leon as she kept punching his chest.

“This is your fault,” Sadie cried, tears sliding down her cheeks. “Your fault!”

Leon glared at Logan when he started to reach for Sadie. Shaking his head, he held up a hand to stop Logan from interfering. Logan stopped, but he did not move away from arm’s reach as Leon wrapped his arms around Sadie to comfort her.

“I’m sorry. Sadie, I’m so sorry. He’s going to be okay. I’ll make sure of it.”

Sadie cried into his chest for a full minute, before she jerked away from him, pushing him away.

“You should leave,” Sadie said, her brown eyes filled with tears.

She brushed the tears away with the back of her hand and looked away from him when he started to reach for her.

“Please go, Your Highness. Leave us alone for a while. Give me time.”

Leon clenched his hands tight, staring at Sadie, heart full of pain at the sight of the fear in her eyes.

Dax started to protest her request, but Leon stopped him with a glare, and nodded in agreement with Sadie.

“You’re right,” Leon said, moving closer to Sadie.

Leon kissed her forehead, and wiped a tear away from her soft cheek with the back of his right hand.

“I’ll leave. You stay with him, don’t worry about anything else. I’ll handle everything he needs done, but promise to call me at least when he wakes up.”

Sadie stared at David, more tears filling her eyes. She was trembling, and he knew she wanted to cry some more. She needed time alone with David to let out her fear at the thought of her man almost dying.

Leon swallowed hard and moved to David’s bedside. He brushed soft blonde hair away from David’s forehead, leaned down to press a kiss on David’s forehead. When he straightened up, Sadie was looking away from him, tears sliding down her cheeks. He could not fault her for this. She was right.

This was his fault.

“Dr. Joley,” Leon murmured, drawing the doctor’s gaze. “I’ll leave David in your capable hands. Anything he needs, all you have to do is ask.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” Dr. Joley nodded.

Leon looked at Sadie for a full minute and when she wouldn’t look at him, he sighed and left David’s hospital room fast. He didn’t slow down until he reached near the elevator.

The weight of the day came down hard on his shoulders. The thought of David dead left him weak, knees trembling, Leon reached out a hand to the wall, fear gripping him as he acknowledged a truth he could no longer escape.

Someone wanted him dead.

Reaching up to his neck, he undid his ascot and pulled it off, stuffing it into his jacket pocket. Leaning on the wall, he stared at the floor, taking deep breaths hoping to regain his balance.

A pair of neat polished shoes appeared in his line of vision. His gaze traveled up the owner’s legs, to a toned chest covered by a perfect suit jacket, up still, until he was looking into Logan’s kind eyes.

“Shall we head to Castle Arguro?” Logan asked. “You’ll be safe there.”

“I don’t think there is any safe place,” Leon heard himself say. “Sadie is right. This is my fault.”

“Don’t blame yourself for someone else’s choice,” Logan said. “You survived today, Leon. You managed that much. We’ll sort out the rest as we go.”

Leon stared at Logan, mulling over that statement. He looked to his right, to the end of the corridor where Sadie was probably crying her eyes out by David’s bedside: her pain, his grief. Leon let out another sigh and pushed off the wall.

“I’m so tired,” Leon murmured.

“Then we’ll take you home where you can rest,” Logan said, his steady voice enough to calm Leon.

Leon nodded and started a slow walk to the elevator. He once again wondered what he could have done to get someone to hate him so much. Hate him enough to want him dead.

“Day one sucked,” Shirley said, settling on a couch in the huge security office at Castle Arguro. They were on the ground floor near the kitchen. She removed her shoes and socks, rolling the dirty socks into a neat ball. “I didn’t think Prince Leon’s schedule would be so intensive.”

“He is busier than expected,” Tom said, typing up a report on a laptop at the main workstation. “I was expecting parties on yachts and clubbing. It’s nothing like Prince Constantin. Now, he parties.”

“Maybe, it was a one day thing,” John said, handing a cold beer to Tom, Shirley, and finally to Logan, who sat behind the main desk combing through the Anastasia Grand Hotel’s security footage. He replayed the ceremony, looking for anything they had missed.

“Dax forwarded tomorrow’s schedule an hour after we got home,” Shirley said, picking up the tablet on the cushion beside her. It was almost eleven- thirty. “Prince Leon has another full schedule that includes a trip to a vineyard in Archaeon. That’s a two-hour trip.”

“The vineyard is his mother’s original home,” Logan said. “I believe the vineyard now provides wine to all the hotels under Leon’s care.”

“That’s enterprising,” Tom noted, finishing with his report. “Boss, the main office got the scissors David used for the ceremony. The woman holding David’s tray, touched them too and is getting treatment. The woman who helped prepare the ceremony is dead. The secondary team is analyzing the scissors for prints we can use. They’re also tracking the two women’s movements. One of them has to have met the culprit.”

Logan nodded, rerunning the footage at the opening ceremony. He slowed down the video where he moved in to hide Leon’s wince from cameras, when David brushed against Leon’s arm. That simple motion had saved Leon, and placed David in danger.

It was eating Leon up.

“Where’s the Prince now?” Shirley asked.

“In the master suite on the second floor,” Tom replied, checking the cameras. “Dax is going in and out of there, probably prepping for the night. Prince Leon seems too subdued to me.”

“This is not his first time,” Shirley pointed out. She got off the couch, her bare feet silent on the carpet as she moved to join Tom at the workstation.

She brought up the feed outside Leon’s master suite. The camera gave them a view of the living area when the door was open, and spanned down the hallway. They watched Dax leave the suite, carrying a tray of food, the covers still over plates.

“Still, it has been a hard few hours,” Shirley said. “Prince Leon and David seem very close; it can’t be easy for him.”

“True. Well, I’m going to call it a night. I’ll take the last shift,” John said, drinking the last of his beer. “Boss, don’t stay up too late.”

“Goodnight John,” Logan said, nodding when John waved at him with a grin.

Their sleeping quarters were on the first floor of the castle. Their rooms well stocked and elegantly furnished, they could have booked a room at a five-star hotel. It was a different experience from their usual bunking in standard military accommodation. Logan narrowed his gaze. It was too bad that the luxury came with the worst kind of danger, the kind of danger that was unafraid of terrorizing someone like Leon.

Not finding anything new in the footage from the hotel, Logan closed the window and brought up the Castle’s camera feed on his screen, as well as the castle’s blueprints. After the events of day one, he needed to familiarize himself with every inch of the castle. Their culprit had invested time. They needed to invest even more.

Logan was busy mapping the second floor, when a knock came on the door. He looked up to find Dax waiting at the door.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Dax said, with a strained smile for Tom and Shirley. “Logan, can I talk to you?”

Logan got up and followed Dax into the hallway, where Logan noted a coffee carafe with two mugs on a tray.

“What’s up?” Logan asked, scratching his jaw.

“I know it’s late,” Dax said, glancing at his watch. It was just after midnight. “I need your help with something. Um, will you take this up to Prince Leon?”

Logan’s brow rose as Dax took the tray and pushed it into his hands.

“His Highness is not asleep. Well, you’ll see. He needs to drink at least two cups of that if he’s to make it in the morning. Thanks, Logan. Goodnight.”

Dax walked away before Logan could ask any question. Left alone holding the tray, Logan sighed and gave the door to the security offices a wistful glance.

Five minutes later, he stood outside Leon’s doors staring at the intricate door handles. Glancing up at the camera mounted a few feet away, he hoped Tom and Shirley weren’t studying him too closely. Cursing under his breath, he knocked on the door, and turned the handle before he got an answer.

He entered the master suite and paused when he realized all the lights were on. Leon had not gone to sleep yet. It was late.

Leon had an appointment at six-thirty in the morning.

Logan had committed the schedule to memory, timing his own sleep needs.

He looked around the impressive sitting area, and let out a sigh when he saw Leon sitting on the floor by a coffee table set near floor-to-ceiling windows. A bottle of expensive brandy sat on the table, Leon holding a glass that he tipped to his lips. No wonder Dax had handed him a tray with coffee.

Logan closed the door with a little slam drawing Leon’s attention. Gray eyes slid over him, and then returned to staring out the window. Logan placed the tray with coffee on a side table. Leon needed sleep right now and not coffee.

Walking up to Leon, Logan smiled. He took the bottle, and read the label letting a low impressed whistle escape, as he moved away to place it on the side table with the coffee tray.

“If you were going to break out the expensive stuff, you should have called me.”

“Give it back,” Leon said, not moving. He placed his glass on the coffee table, and leveled an annoyed gaze on Logan. “You shouldn’t be here. don’t have to see each other until morning.”

“You need to sleep,” Logan stated, coming back to Leon without the bottle.

Leon was already dressed for bed in pajama pants and a white t-shirt. It was nice seeing him this way. Logan had finally found his Leon, even though he was drunk. He crouched down to study Leon for a minute. He wrapped an arm around Leon’s shoulders, needing to hold him if only for a second.

“You have an important meeting with people I’m told manufacture fabric,” Logan said, his tone teasing, as Leon leaned against him. “Dax insists it’s important for the sake of the sheets used at the hotel. I’ve never thought about it, but hotel owners must worry about such things, huh? Hotel sheets?”

“Go away,” Leon pushed him only managing to dislodge Logan an inch, his words slurred. “Leave me alone, Logan.”

“I can’t, I have to do my part to make sure people sleep on good cotton. I need to get you to your bed, Leon, so that you’ll be at your best when you negotiate costs.”

Logan was careful not to take Leon’s right arm, concentrating on Leon’s left arm, as he lifted Leon to his feet.

“Okay.” Logan said when Leon was up. “Now we’re going to walk to the bedroom. Why did you drink so much when you need sleep, handsome Aeras Prince?”

“You’re so annoying,” Leon scowled, trying to push Logan away again, and staggering in the process.

Logan tightened his hold around Leon to make sure they didn’t fall. It felt good to hold Leon. It felt so good. He led Leon to the bedroom wishing this could last but knowing it couldn’t.

Leon sighed and mumbled out.

“Have I told you that you’re annoying?”

“Am I?” Logan asked, entering Leon’s bedroom. “How annoying?”

“Very,” Leon said, nodding his head. “So annoying.”

The covers were already pulled back on the huge bed in the middle of the room.

“Your bed is very inviting, Leon. Look at that. I bet you fall asleep in seconds once you get on it. I bet you don’t have to worry about comfortable sheets on this—”

“I worry about you,” Leon mumbled, as he sat on the bed with a sigh.

Leon closed his eyes, and fell back on the comfortable mattress. His next words were slurred, but Logan heard them clear enough.

“Why did you refuse to stay with me? Why don’t you want me?”

Logan stood staring at Leon at a loss. Leon breathed in and rolled to his left side, across the bed. He was asleep. Logan knew he could not leave him this way. Sliding his arms under Leon, he lifted him up and shifted to make sure Leon’s head would rest on his comfortable pillows. Which left Logan half-kneeling on the large bed. He started to move away.

Then, Leon clutched his shirt tight, holding him in place.

Logan looked down to find sad gray eyes watching him.

“Do you know how much I’ve missed you?” Leon asked. “I’m suffocating from being alone, Logan. Did you ever miss me, at all?”

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