The Royal Delivery

By: Melanie Summers
~ a crown jewels romance ~



DEDICATION





For first-time mums and dads everywhere,

Relax. You’re not going to fuck this up any worse than

any of the other parents out there.

I promise.

Melanie





AUTHOR’S NOTE





Dear Reader,

Disclaimer: If you haven't read The Royal Treatment and The Royal Wedding, you've missed the first two courses of the meal that is The Crown Jewels Series. Reading this now would be like eating dessert before having the appetizers and the main...which now that I think about it, sounds like an ab fab idea, so maybe I need to come up with a better analogy. Only I don't have time because this book comes out in exactly one week and I still have to finish editing it, get my final proofreaders to go over it, and format it.

So, for our purposes, lets pretend you're at a Michelin-starred restaurant with your bossy foodie friend who's telling you to sip the lobster bisque and let the fresh butter biscuit melt on your tongue (The Royal Treatment) before you savor the plate of butternut squash with truffle oil and king prawns (The Royal Wedding), then you'll be ready to experience the flavours of the molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream drizzled with warm raspberry sauce (this book).

Starting here would mean you really won't understand the ‘whys' and the ‘hows' and the ‘who are theys' of the series, and that does not sound like a lot of fun. And if this series is meant to be anything, it's fun.

Our happy couple, Tessa and Arthur, are not exactly going to approach parenthood the way you or I would—except for the freaking out (most of us do that, don’t we?). They'll definitely do that bit in a most spectacular way. So buckle up, my friends, because it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Oh, and before I get on with my book launch to-do list, please let me express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has stuck with Arthur and Tessa and their wonderfully crazy families. Thank you to all those who love them as much as I do. You make all the ‘four in the morning I can't go back to sleep without getting this scene onto the page' writing sessions worth it.

I must confess that I've been dragging my feet at finishing this story because I'm going to miss these characters when I don't get to spend my days with them anymore. Someday, if I ever find myself on the north shore of Belgium, I'll be a little bit gutted to see that Avonia isn't there, even though I do know it doesn't exist in the real world. Sort of.

But maybe that's the magic of writing and reading. New worlds can exist within our minds, and we can disappear there whenever we like. So, without further ado, please turn the page and escape to Valcourt. (Unless you haven't read books 1 and 2, then turn around, go back and read those first).

All the very best in life to you and yours,

Melanie





ONE


Vomitgate





Tessa - 6 Weeks

I am going to vomit.

I think. Maybe not. But if I do, it will prove rather inconvenient since my father-in-law, King Winston, is hosting a state dinner to celebrate four hundred years of peace between Avonia and our surrounding nations of Belgium, The Netherlands, and the UK. Vomiting isn’t exactly considered acceptable behaviour at these things, but I’m afraid there’s a very good chance it’s going to happen anyway. Unfortunately, I’m not only seated at the center of a table for one hundred twenty-two, I’m also dressed in a Dior gown that frankly is very restrictive and therefore will definitely not allow me to move quickly enough to get out of the dining hall.

I’m also seated next to the King of Belgium—an avid hunter, as luck would have it—who is currently regaling me with a most detailed account of how to properly clean a duck the Belgian way and with every word, I feel slightly more nauseous.

“...dig around in the chest cavity until you find the entrails. You do not want to leave it...”

Entrails? Oh, no. Please stop talking about entrails.

“...keep the heart and liver in a plastic bag...”

Burp. Maybe if I try that slow breathing technique, I’ll feel better. Yes, I’ll pretend to listen while I concentrate on breathing in calm, cleansing air, two, three – nope. Shit. There is absolutely no way I’ll be able to get up and scurry out of the room before—

Oh, there it is. I have vomited in my nearly empty soup bowl.

Four times.

Fuckity fuck.

I daintily dab at the corners of my mouth, then push my chair back. “If you’ll excuse me, Your Majesty,” I say to the king, who is now wiping recycled black truffle soup off his lapels. “My, that certainly splashed a lot more than I thought it would. My apologies.”

The entire room went silent sometime between my second and third heave, and now I can feel one hundred twenty-one sets of eyes on me as I hurry out of the room, burping and gagging. I wave a hand at the string quartet, who have stopped playing and are also staring at me, mouths agape.

“That was a lovely tune. Please continue.”

I give them a little nod and attempt a grin, but I’m sure with the green tint to my face, it’s coming off as creepy rather than warm. A hand on my elbow takes me by surprise. I look up to see Arthur, who truly is a prince of a husband.

“Nice aim. You almost got it all in the bowl this time.”

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