“I could show you a thing or two about having fun, Lancaster.”
It occurred to him he did not know anything about her parents, beyond what was in his file on Sophie. Married for twenty-five years, settled in Mountain Bend. Were they not happy? Now was the wrong time to show interest in that, particularly since he knew she could indeed show him a thing or two about having fun. Again, he thanked years of discipline for not letting anything show in his face.
He noted she had dropped the Major, just as he had inadvertently dropped the Miss. Small things, but indicators he was in a tricky situation.
When she got no reaction, she gave a short laugh.
“But you’re out of luck this time. I’m officially heartbroken. I won’t be coming after you,” she continued, her tone deliberately light. “Reigniting the old flame. It’s not in the cards. Sorry, it’s probably a disappointment to you. Every man loves to have someone shamelessly besotted with him.”
There was no way to respond to that without getting in trouble, particularly since she had hinted her ex might be that kind of man, so he maintained his silence. He pulled up in front of the castle and saw her reach for her door handle.
“If you’ll just wait a moment, I’ll come around—”
He got out of the car, but Sophie was not waiting for him to open her door for her. She flipped her hair one more time and slid quickly out of the car, as if it were a race. She opened the back door, grabbed her own bag and threw it over her shoulder.
“Miss Kettle,” he said.
She waved a hand over her shoulder at him. “Don’t trouble yourself. I’ve been here before. I know my way.”
The stilettos were making it harder to make that getaway than she had probably thought it would be, and he could have easily caught up with her. She even glanced over her shoulder, daring him to come after her.
He folded his arms over his chest, and narrowed his eyes, but resisted the temptation to follow her, and escort her to the prince and princess’s quarters within the castle.
Despite the fact she he had been here before, a guest traipsing through the palace unaccompanied and unannounced was not the norm. He was not at all happy she was thwarting protocol, but he had a feeling he’d better get used to it, because she was not really under his authority and he needed to get over any illusion that she was!
“Pick your battles wisely,” Lancaster reminded himself firmly. He watched until she was safely inside the palace doors, and then got back in the car and drove away.