Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Seventy Four

“What are you looking at?”

“Jesus!” Mia gasped, her hand flying to her heart at Alex’s voice right behind her. “You scared the mess out of me!”

“Ha!” Alex smirked and shook head. Her eyes darted to the window that Mia had been gazing out of before turning back to her assistant. “You sure were concentrating hard on Harry and his physical therapy doctor out there.”

Mia’s eyes flashed wide. “I swear I wasn’t looking at Harry.”

Alex’s smile twitched higher. “What were you looking at then?”

“Nothing…” Mia shrugged, skirting around Alex as she left the window to head back down the hall to Alex’s office.

“Mia?” Alex called, laughter in her voice as she followed her down the hall. “Were you looking at Dr. Ben?”

“Of course not,” Mia huffed as she marched over to Alex’s desk. She sank into the chair behind it and her eyes turned up to Alex, who stood on the other side, her arms crossed over her chest with a knowing smile on her file. “Fine!” Mia sighed, rolling her eyes. “I was looking at Dr. Ben. I can’t help it though, Alex. He is...God. He is sexy.”

Alex laughed as she moved into the chair across from Mia. “You know that if you wanted to go out with him, it’s totally okay right?”

“Please,” Mia laughed and waved a hand in the air. “He’s a hot doctor. He’s probably got a girlfriend. Actually, he’s probably married.”

“He’s not,” Alex shook her head and smile. “Married that is. The girlfriend part I don’t know about, though in the six weeks he’s been working with Harry since his accident, I’ve never heard him mention anyone. I could find out though.”

“Ha!” Mia laughed, her head tipping back into the chair. “I’m a twenty five year old woman. I think I can find out for myself.”


“No,” Mia replied with a resigned sigh. “He makes me too nervous. I can’t.”

Alex giggled and leaned back in her chair. “What if I told you that Harry’s invited him to sit at our table at the Boodles Boxing Ball next week. Harry told him that he could bring a guest if he wanted to but he said he would be coming by himself. I’d think if he had a girlfriend he’d definitely want to bring her.”

“Really?” Mia perked up. “Well...that’s promising. Are you sure Harry wouldn’t mind if I…”

“Not at all,” Alex laughed. “In case you hadn’t noticed, my husband is a bit of a romantic.”

“Especially now that he’s mostly back to his old self,” Mia smiled, just as impressed with everyone else at how far Harry had come. He was doing great mentally and physically; all of his casts were off with the exception of the knee high boot he still wore on his left leg; but it wouldn’t be long before that was off either.

Alex grinned. “He really is. And I’m so glad to have him back. It’s been a crazy start to a marriage, that’s for sure. But I have to say, I’m really looking forward to things settling down.”


“Alright, Alex,” Anna smiled as she adjust the back of Alex’s dress just a bit and then stood, her eyes meeting her client and now friend’s in the mirror. “You’re ready to go.”

Alex’s smile pulled wide at her reflection. She was attending the Boodles Boxing Ball with Harry that evening and she was excited for a fun night out, dressed up in the beautiful floor length gown Anna had chosen for her. She had never attended Boodles while her and and Harry were dating; there had always been something else scheduled on the same dating, so she was looking forward to experiencing it all for the first time. “You’re such a genius, Anna. I love this dress. It’s stunning.”

Anna’s smile tipped a bit toward smug and Alex couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, you look phenomenal in it. Harry’s going to fall over when he sees you. Too bad it’ll be in public where he’ll be forced to keep his hands to himself. Why are you meeting him there again?”

Alex laughed and shook her head, long used to Anna’s direct and uncensored way of speaking to her. It might bother some; but she liked it. It made her feel less like she was being dressed by her stylist and more like she was having help getting ready from a friend. “He wanted to attend the cocktail hour, but I didn’t have enough time to come home and change from my engagement with Camilla this afternoon and make it to the cocktail hour. So he’s schmoozing right now then and I’ll join him before the weigh in and the main events start.”

“Gotcha,” Anna nodded before she turned and began to look through her makeup case. “Well, I’ve heard it’s a fantastic event and...damn.” She turned back to Alex, holding a small, empty box in her hand. “I’m out of small plastic baggies to put touch up makeup in for you. Do you happen to have any?”

“Sure,” Alex laughed. “Down in the kitchen. I’ll go grab…”

“No, no,” Anna waved a hand. “I’ll go get it and get you situated so you can get going.”

“Thank you,” Alex smiled. “They’re in the drawer next to the refrigerator.”

Anna nodded and then zoomed from the room on her mission. Alex turned to the mirror for one last glance. Satisfied with the way everything looked, she reached for her phone and typed out a quick message to Harry, letting him know they would be leaving shortly.

She had just hit send and slid her phone into her clutch when she heard movement in the doorway. She looked up, surprised to see her P.O. standing there instead of Anna.

“Patrick,” she said, smiling wide in an effort to hide her surprise. “ everything alright?”

“Oh yes, ma’am,” Patrick sighed, his tone almost overly bright as he stepped into the room with a teacup in his hand. “I must say, you look very beautiful tonight.

Alex’s smile slipped a bit; something about the compliment not sitting well with her. “Well, thank you. I...I’m sorry,” she shook her head and took a breath. “Is there something you needed to run over with me?”

“Oh! No no,” Patrick smiled wider as he stepped further into the room. “I just thought you might want a cup of tea before you went to the benefit.”

Alex’s forehead creased in confusion as she looked down at the cup in his hand. “Um, no thank you, Patrick,” she said, her gaze lifting from the cup up to his once again. “But thank you for the offer.”

“Are you sure?” he pressed. He took another step forward and Alex had to swallow the urge to step back. “Because it’s this special brew that my grandmother created and…” He stepped forward again but tripped and before Alex had time to react, the cup went flying from his hand and it’s contents went flying right at her, landing in a dark pattern all down the front of her designer gown.

“Oh!” Alex cried, her hands flying to her mouth as she looked down at the front of her dress. “Oh my God!”

“Ma’am, I’m so sorry!” Patrick said in a rush, his eyes wide as he stepped toward her. He reached out for her and this time, Alex didn’t hold back her instinct to step back from him before he touched her.

“No, no….it’s fine I just...” She took a deep breath and tried to steady herself. “I just need to get Anna and dry to clean this or…”

“Here,” Patrick tried again, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket and reaching out to wipe at one of the spots.

“OH MY GOD!” Anna’s screech from the doorway filled the room, her eyes wide as she took in the destruction on Alex’s dress. “What the hell happened...what are you doing?!” She directed her attention to Patrick as she rushed forward and snatched the handkerchief from his hand. “Never rub a stain like that,” she shook her head and then bent to look at the dress. “What is this? Tea?” she huffed. When Alex nodded she cringed and then hurried off into the bathroom. “I’m going to get a damp cloth and see what I can do1”

“I’m so sorry...please, you have to know how sorry I am,” Patrick turned wide eyes to Alex. “What can I do to make you see…”

“Patrick, it’s fine,” Alex held a hand up. “I know it was an accident.”

“It was!” he nodded quickly. “I just tripped. I just wanted to give you the tea and…”

“I didn’t want the damn tea!” Alex’s voice rose before she could stop herself and she watched as something flickered in Patrick’s eyes, something that made her uncomfortable in a way that she couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Look, Patrick. I’m sorry. I know it was an accident. I’m not...I just need to take care of this. So can you please go pull the car around and let Anna fix me so that I’m not massively late?”

“Yes, of course,” Patrick nodded, seeming to recover a little bit. “Are you sure…”

“Yes,” Alex sighed. “I’m sure. Please pull the car around. I’ll be out shortly.”

He shuffled on his feet for a moment and then finally nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

Alex sighed in relief as he turned and strode from the room and Anna moved out of the bathroom, damp washcloth in hand. “What the hell was that?” Anna whispered, her eyes glancing towards the open doorway before she turned her attention to Alex’s tea-soaked dress.

“I don’t...I don’t know,” Alex shook her head, her voice wavering with her words.

“Hey,” Anna’s forehead scrunched up and she turned her gaze up to Alex. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” Alex nodded, trying to smile as she waved her hand in front of her eyes. “I’m fine. I’m just...going to be late and this dress is’re not going to be able to get to stains out and it cost like...three thousand pounds and…”

“Okay, okay,” Anna soothed and stood straight up, focusing on Alex. “Listen. I can get the stains out. I can get the stains out of anything. But for now, no…you can’t wear this dress. But we have the gown that you selected for the Sentebale Gala next month so we’ll just switch things up. It’ll work and you’ll look gorgeous in it. Let’s try it?”

“Absolutely,” Alex nodded, already pulling at the zipper on the dress she was wearing so she could get it off and step into the other dress quickly.

“Here, let me,” Anna said, moving around to tug at the zipper. “Seriously, I cannot believe he threw a cup of tea on a dress that costs three thousand pounds,” she muttered as she pulled the dress off Alex, slipping it onto a hanger before moving to the closet to pull out the replacement gown. “He should be sent to the damn Tower.”

“For ruining my dress?”

“No,” Anna shook her head as she helped Alex into the floor length, one shoulder fuschia number that really did look amazing on her. “For crimes against the Crown.”

And despite her frustration level and the fact that she was going to be late, Alex couldn’t help but laugh. “I’ll talk to Harry and see what we can do.”


After the dress change and the necessary accessory changes; shoes and jewelry, it took an extra half an hour for Alex to finally get out of the door of their cottage at Kensington. By the time she slid into the back of the waiting car, she was more than a little anxious about just how late she was running. She hated not being on time and she especially hate that she was late because of something that should be been completely unavoidable.

“Are you alright, ma’am?”

Alex looked up to find Patrick glancing at her in the rearview mirror as he pulled the car away from the cottage and towards the gates to exit the Palace grounds.

“Yes,” she answered simply, as she turned her attention down to her clutch, preferring not to elaborate and potentially encourage a dialogue between the two of them. She snapped open the clutch to pull out her phone, wanting to text Harry and let him know she was on her way finally. Surely he would be starting to wonder what was keeping her. “What the hell?” she whispered as she moved around the contents of her clutch, none of which appeared to be her phone.

“Is something the matter, ma’am?” Patrick called back.

“I don’t have my phone,” Alex sighed. “I swear I put in back in here. I hadn’t let my husband know I’m running late.”

“Not to worry,” Patrick smiled wide as he glanced back at her, as if he were extraordinarily pleased with himself. “I’ve contacted the Duke’s detail and informed them of the situation.”

“Oh, well alright. Thank you,” Alex nodded, though she still wasn’t completely comfortable or happy with the fact that she personally couldn’t contact her husband.

“Of course,” Patrick almost beamed. “And it’s a short drive. Just another ten minutes or so.”

Alex gave him a small smile and a nod in return before moving her gaze to the window, once again not wanting to encourage Patrick to keep a dialogue going with her. Night had fallen and the buildings passed in blurs of light as they made their way through central London.

Luckily, Patrick was right and it wasn’t long before they were pulling up in front of the Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane. She took a deep breath as she looked at the press waiting outside. She knew they would most certainly come after her in the papers for being late; painting her as rude for sure. But really, she wasn’t so much concerned with them as she was with getting inside and spending a fun evening with her husband and their friends as planned.

Still, in an effort not to give the press too much ammunition, she pulled a small smile; enough to not look stressed and not enough to make her look completely unaware that she was late. When Patrick stepped around the corner and opened her door, she quickly slid from the car and moved forward towards the doors, careful not to look at the camera and their bright, wild flashes as she moved by. She made it through the doors and after checking behind her to make sure Patrick was keeping the correct distance from her, she turned her attention forward and then smiled in slight surprise as she saw Mia standing there waiting for her.

“Why aren’t you at the table?” Alex murmured as she fell into step next to Mia. A few other attendees of the event were milling about in the hallway, most of them at the small bars stationed near the closed ballroom doors.

“I didn’t want you to have to try and find it once you got here. It’s a bit dark in the room - well, everywhere except the boxing ring,” Mia answered. She turned a small, sympathetic smile to Alex as she pulled open the ballroom door and Alex sighed.

“He’s mad, isn’t he?”

Mia shrugged. “He’s not mad. Just…”

“Irritated,” Alex finished for her as she spotted her husband. He was sitting at their table alone, facing the boxing ring in the center. There was a match going on and it looked to be in full swing and she guessed that their friends were up among the crowd gathered around the ring, cheering the boxers on. She was thankful that no one really noticed her slip in; the attention of everyone in the room was focused on the ring.

Well, everyone except for Harry.

She saw him glance down at his watch and shake his head. “Damn it,” she sighed again, unhappy that was was supposed to be a fun night out together had taken this turn.

He looked up then, spotting her as her and Mia moved the last ten feet towards their table. His face flashed relief but she could still see the tense set of his shoulders as he stood to greet her.

“Alexandra,” he murmured as he bent to kiss her hello.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered back, offering him a soft smile. “It was such a mess and…”

“You look beautiful,” he cut her off, making an effort to take a deep breath and smile down at her. “But you would have looked beautiful without spending an extra hour deciding what to wear. I’m certain the dress you originally picked was fine.

Alex’s eyes flashed wide as she looked up at him, completely taken but surprise at his words and the irritation that he still clearly felt. “What? I didn’t…”

But her words were interrupted by the end of the fight, by cheers and shouts of disappointment filling the air around them in the huge ballroom. People immediately started to file back from the ring, including those that were sitting at their table. Before she could press Harry as to why he said what he said, she found herself smiling and greeting her brother and Charlotte, Dr. Ben, and Eugenie and Jack with hugs and kisses. Everyone was in a good mood, the favorite among the group having won the fight that just ended, and no one seemed to mind that she had been late.

No one, that is, except for Harry.


It was another hour before Alex had a chance to pull Harry to the side. But once the boxing matches ended and the drinking and dancing began for real, she saw her chance and took it, pulling him away from the table and over to a hidden corner as everyone else headed out to the dance floor.

“What is with the attitude?” she turned to him and whispered, searching his eyes as she looked up at him. “Honestly Harry, I didn’t expect you to be upset with me over this.

His eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Who else would I be upset with, Alex?”


“Patrick...your P.O.?” Harry responded, his face twisting in confusion. “Why would I be upset with him because you couldn’t decide what dress to wear?”

“I’m sorry,” Alex held up a hand and her eyes flashed wide. “But what in the hell are you talking about? I knew perfectly well what I wanted to wear and Anna had just finished me up when Patrick showed up in our room…”

“But my detail said your P.O. radioed that...wait. What in the hell was he doing up in our bedroom?” Harry interrupted, his eyes narrowing as he crossed his arms over his chest.

“I have no idea!” Alex shook her head. “He had this cup of tea in his hand and he kept trying to give it to me and it odd, Harry. And when I kept saying no he kept trying to hand it to me and then he tripped and threw the cup of tea all over my damn dress!”

“So you weren’t just being picky about your dress?” Harry asked slowly.

“Come on, Harry,” Alex rolled her eyes. “When have I ever been overly picky about what I’m wearing. I had that dress picked out for weeks.”

Harry sighed and a ran a hand over the back of his neck. “Shit, Alex. I’m so sorry. They told me that…”

“Because that’s what Patrick told them to tell you. Apparently, he lied. And I couldn’t find my phone to text or call you.”

“I don’t like this at all, baby,” Harry murmured, his eyes full of concern as he stepped closer. I don’t like that he can’t seem to understand boundaries and I don’t like that he seems to want to build some kind of...personal relationship with you. And I sure as fuck don’t like that he showed up in our bedroom while you were alone in there. He should never be in our room unless you or I call for security assistance in there.”

“I know,” Alex nodded. “I don’t like it either, Harry. At all. But…”

“But?” Harry brows lifted. “But what?”

“Listen, Harry...something needs to be done. But it’s not going to get done standing in this corner. Send him home for the night. Both of your detail are here; that’s up to protocol for us.”


“Let’s have fun tonight. Let’s dance and drink and laugh with our friends,” Alex insisted, smiling wide up at him as she leaned into him, her hands coming to rest on his chest. “And in the morning, we’ll take care of figuring out what to do about Patrick.”

Though his gut reaction was to want to do exactly the opposite of what his wife asked, after a moment he relented, wanting more than anything to see her happy and smiling and laughing. “Alright, we will deal with it in the morning,” he conceded, his smile soft and indulgent as he looked down at her. “I’ll have my detail relieve him for the night.”

“Thank you,” Alex smiled, leaning up to kiss his lips. “Besides, I’ve got you. You’re my protection.”

“Damn right I am,” Harry smirked. “Even hobbling around with a boot on my foot.”

Alex laughed and nodded. “Even then.”

“How about I let me detail know that they can release yours and then you can let me hobble you around the dance floor?”

Alex grinned. “I say that sounds like a fantastic plan.”


“I think that something may be brewing between Mia and Dr. Ben,” Harry said with a sly smile, nodding his head to the dance floor behind Alex. She twisted in her chair to look, finding Mia and Ben laughing and dancing very close together.

A giggle left her lips just before she turned back to him, smiling wide. “I knew it!”

Harry laughed. “You knew it?”

Her smile pulled smug and she nodded. “She told me that she had a bit of a crush the other day. So, I let her know he wasn’t bringing a date tonight…”

“You sneaky little matchmaker,” Harry chuckled.

“I was not being sneaky!” Alex protested. “Besides, I think they’d be cute together. Don’t you?”

Harry smirked. “I’m a guy. I don’t think people look ‘cute’ together.”

Alex’s lips twitched and she tilted her head to the side playfully. “You don’t think we look cute together?”

“Cute is not the word I would use, no,” Harry replied, his voice growing lower as he leaned closer.

“And what word would you use?”


Alex’s lips turned up slowly at the corners. “You think we’re sexy together?”

“Absolutely,” he nodded slowly, his eyes dancing playfully. “In fact, I think it’s been too long since we together.”

Alex felt a tug in her gut at his words; a tug that had been ignored for much too long. She could feel her cheeks flush and she bit her bottom lip as her eyes met his. “I didn’t want to hurt you…” she whispered. “I didn’t want it to hurt for you for us to…”

“It won’t hurt,” Harry murmured, leaning in closer so his lips were next to her ear. “Everything’s completely healed except for my leg. And we can work around that. Please...I want you, Alex.”

“Do you think that everyone that can see you two doesn’t know exactly what you’re whispering about?”

Harry groaned and Alex giggled as Charlotte’s voice broke through their moment. They both turned their heads to the other side of the table, finding her with a smug smile on her face and Matt sitting beside her, looking as amused and in love with her as ever.

“You know what? Bite me,” Harry shot back, narrowing his eyes at Charlotte.

She snickered and nudged Matt in the ribs. “I’m fairly certain that’s what he was trying to talk Alex into doing just now.”

“Jesus Charlotte,” Matt sputtered, his hand moving to the back of his mouth to keep in his sip of beer.

“What?” she shrugged her shoulders. “They obviously want to go home know…”

“Have sex?” Alex supplied, laughing as Matt and Harry’s eyes both widened at her candor. “What? That is what we were talking about.”

“And there’s absolutely no shame in that,” Charlotte offered. “I mean, I’m about five minutes from dragging Matt out of here so we can go home and…”

“Okay, okay,” Harry laughed, holding up his hands in surrender. “You can stop now.”

“What?” Charlotte feigned innocence. “Mike and Donna have our three month old son for the night. You don’t think I’m going to take advantage of that?”

Alex couldn’t help the laughter that fell from her lips at the looks on the faces of her brother and Harry; both caught in this weird place where they didn’t know whether to be turned on by their wives or uncomfortable by the topic at hand.

“Come on, Sussex,” Alex finally said, shaking her head as she leaned in and patted his cheek. “Let’s go home. Our house is child free for the night too.”


“God, you look sexy in this dress,” Harry groaned, his hands running over his wife’s curves as they moved into the foyer of the cottage. They’d barely been able to keep their hands from each other on the ride home, and now that they were behind the closed door of their home, there was no hope of keeping his hands anywhere but on her.

“You should have seen the first one,” Alex giggled. She fisted her hands in his shirt and pulled him backwards towards the stairs.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry muttered, willing to let her lead him wherever she wanted to go. “If it’s sexier than this one, it’s probably better you ended up in this one. I may not have been able to wait until we got home.”

Alex giggled against his roving hands as they hit the stairs and she turned, flipping on the light on the wall there so they could find their way up; especially since Harry still had the boot on his leg. He followed her up, his eyes roving her and settling right on her ass as it swung right in front of him and once they made it to the top, he reached for her, pulling her around and up tight against him.

“I fucking missed you,” he grinned, his fingers hot as they searched for her zipper. “I can’t wait to be inside of you.”

“Oh God,” Alex moaned, her head tipping back as his lips dipped to her throat. She had missed him too; so much that they ache inside of her was overwhelming her. In truth, she was just about to beg him to take her into the bedroom and take her in only the way that he could when a faint ringing sound drifted into her consciousness. “Wait...Harry. My phone…”

“Get it later,” he chuckled, shaking his head as he walked her towards the bedroom.

“No wait,” she giggled, holding him to a stop and pulling a frustrated groan from his lips. “It could be mom and dad...they don’t know I don’t have my phone and they have Emma…”

“Okay,” Harry sighed, pulling back and shaking his head. “Answer it. But then straight to bed. I mean it.” He grinned as she laughed and then looked around them. “Where the hell is it coming from anyway?”

“Sounds like my office,” she said, her nose scrunching up. “I swear I didn’t go in there but...whatever,” she waved her hand. “I’ll get my phone. You go get naked. I’ll be there in one minute.”

“You better,” he growled. “Or I’m coming after you.”

“Okay, but what if I want that?” she replied, her smile turning slightly naughty.


“I’m going!” she laughed, turning from him to her office door, reaching out to turn the handle.

“One minute!” he called out as he opened the door to their room and she laughed as she pushed the door open into her dark office. Her phone had stopped ringing by then, but started up again just as she flipped on the light to try and find it.

“How did you end up in here?” she mused, walking over and plucking it from her desk. She frowned down at the display when she saw ‘Unknown” flash across it. As a security precaution, they never answered calls from unknown numbers; never knowing who could be on the other end. Though Alex had never had an unknown number call her since she’d married Harry.

“Alexandra Mae!” Harry’s shouted from the bedroom.

“Coming!” She laughed, shaking her head as she sent the unknown caller to voicemail and then moved to step from the room.

And that’s when she caught it.

“What the hell…” She whispered as her eyes fell on the vase full of red roses sitting on the desk Mia usually occupied. She walked closer, her eyes squinting to focus on the envelope propped up against the bottom of the vase. And then, with a gasp she stopped in her tracks. Her name was scrawled across the front, and she recognized immediately that the handwriting wasn't her husband's.

It was Patrick’s.

And her reaction was immediate.


It wasn’t even a full second before she heard him coming, his boot thumping against the wood floor on his way to her office.

“Alex?!” His voice was full of fear as he rounded the corner, her scream having made the hair on the back of his neck stand straight up. His eyes were wide as he moved into the room and straight to her. “What is it?”

“The flowers,” she whispered, her voice shaky as she pointed to the other side of the room. “The’s from Patrick.”

“What the FUCK?!” Harry’s voice boomed into the room, making her jump as he stormed over to the vase of flowers. He snatched up the envelope and tore it open, pulling out the notecard inside. His cheeks grew redder and redder as his eyes moved quickly across the words.

“What does it say?” Alex asked shakily.

“He’s apologizing for ruining your dress,” Harry’s voice was tight as he looked up at her. “And hoping you can forgive him and that you still have a place in your heart for him. He’s fucking in love with you, Alex.”

“What?!” Alex gasped, her eyes flying wide as her legs started to shake. “Harry, I swear I didn’t...I would never...”

Harry’s eyes immediately softened and he moved to her. He gathered her face in his hands, his eyes wide and his voice low as he spoke, “I know that, Alex. Please don’t...I know that. Okay?”

“Okay,” she nodded slowly, her eyes filling with tears as she looked up at him. She was still shaking; she couldn’t believe that this was happening, that someone like that had found their way into the protected bubble that was their lives.

“Come on, love” he murmured, his thumbs stroking her cheeks for a moment before his hands left her face and reached for hers. “Come with me.”

She blinked, startled, but already moving to follow him. “What? Where?”

Then, with a determination and protectiveness more fierce than she’d ever seen on his face he replied, “I’m going to wake up the chief of Scotland Yard and I’m going to get this motherfucker fired and arrested. Tonight.”


“They still haven’t arrested him?”

Harry sighed as he looked over at his wife and shook his head. “Not yet. They took all the evidence from here last night and are processing it all. It shouldn’t be long, but for now he’s definitely off your detail and suspended indefinitely. I’m sorry, love.”

“It’s not your fault,” Alex shook her head. She’d hardly slept the night before; security and detectives had been at the house for most of the night getting evidence and taking pictures. When they’d finally left it was almost dawn and they’d both only managed an hour or so of sleep after that. She was exhausted and still a bit nervous. “It just bothers me that no one has actually seen him. That no one has him in sight just in case he...skips town or something. Though I’d rather him be out of London than anywhere near me.”

“He won’t get anywhere near you,” Harry assured, pulling his favorite blue sweater over his head and then running a hand through his hair. “You’re the safest you could possibly be here. And Emma will get here while I’m over at Buckingham talking to the head of Royal Security with my father.”

“That will make me feel better,” Alex smiled, sitting up in the bed and pulling her knees into her chest. “Emma being here with us.”

“Me too,” Harry smiled back. He stepped over to the bed and leaned over her, his hands resting on the best on either side of her. “Are you sure you’re okay with me going? I can have my father get the report and give me all the details.”

“No,” she shook her head. “You go. You need to be the one to jump all over them for this. I’ll be alright here.”


“Mhmm,” she nodded. “I’m going to take a shower and get dressed and try to work a bit while I wait for Emma.”

“Okay,” Harry murmured. “I love you. This will all be over before you know it.”

“I love you too,” she replied, tilting up to kiss his lips. “Now go. And then come back and hang out with your girls.”

He grinned. “Deal.”


“He was charged with stalking?!” Harry’s voice was tight as he looked over the report laid out in front of him and his father. “How the hell did you miss this, Pryce?”

The Head of Royal Security was honest and direct as he answered, knowing trying to make excuses would get him nowhere. “To be quite honest, I don’t know yet. We’re still coming up with that. What I can tell you is that the files were sealed...”

“Don’t tell me that you don’t check sealed files,” Charles interrupted, his eyebrows lifting and his gaze pointed as he looked across the table at Pryce.

“We absolutely do,” Pryce nodded. “I don’t know why this one was missed; though I can tell you that it was a private security job he held and the records were sealed at the request of the victim; both the charges and the outcome. When it’s not part of his official job record and the victim requests the sealed files it can make those things almost disappear.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry huffed, his eyes scanning the report. “It says the agreement that was sealed ordered a lifetime restraining order again Patrick Smith and also ordered him to complete a year of psychological counseling. That wasn’t on his medical records?”

“He didn’t fulfill that requirement,” Pryce said carefully. “And the victim’s lawyers never followed up.”

“All this trouble to get the records sealed and they didn’t follow up?” Charles said, his forehead scrunching up in confusion. “That makes no sense. Why would they do that?”

“Because she died.”

Harry felt the blood drain from his face. “What?”

“Drug overdose,” Pryce nodded, pointing to the file. “She was a pop star and had a known history of drug use. Though she had been thought to be clean. Her parents had pressed for further investigation but it appeared like a clear overdose. I’m guessing that might be revisited.”

“I don’t like this,” Harry shook his head, a sick, sinking feeling settling in his gut. “I don’t like this at all. I want this guy arrested, Pryce. This is enough right here. It should have been done already.”

“Scotland Yard is on their way to his residence right now. I’ll be notified as soon as they’ve got him in custody,” Pryce said, sending a wave of relief through both Harry and Charles. As if on cue, the Head of Security’s phone rang out into the room and he immediately reached for it, his finger swiping across the screen before he pulled it to his ear. “Pryce.”

In truth, the feeling in Harry’s gut told him something was wrong long before the color drained from Pryce’s face, long before the Head of Security sat straight up in his chair and his eyes flashed to Harry and Charles. Before Pryce even hung up the phone, Harry felt ill - like something was coming and he couldn’t stop it even if he tried. His mouth went dry and every nerve in his body stood on end, watching almost helplessly as Pryce hung up the phone and turned directly to him.

“They found...a wall full of pictures, among other things.”

“Pictures?” Harry whispered, shaking his head.

“Of your wife. Thousands and thousands. Taped and pinned to his living room wall,” Pryce nodded, rising from his chair. “And Smith wasn’t in his residence. They’re putting out an all points bulletin on him now and…”

“Oh my God!” Harry choked out, bile rising in his throat as he jumped from his chair. “Fuck! I know where he’s going.”

“What? Harry…” Charles’ eyes went wide as he followed Harry to his feet.

“He’s going after her. I know he is. Pryce, call my daughter’s protection team and tell them not to go to KP,” Harry yelled, directing his attention at Pryce. “And then call Kensington Palace security and get them to my residence and get my wife out right now!”


Alex felt a little more awake after her shower; at least as awake as she could be after only having slept an hour. She dried off quickly, towel dried her hair and pulled it up into a messy bun, and then dressed in a pair of comfortable jeans and a t-shirt.

She still felt a bit uneasy as she moved about her and Harry’s room. She really couldn’t believe she had let it get this far with Patrick. She had known something was off with him for awhile; since their honeymoon when he questioned Harry’s decision to take her out on the motorcycle if she was honest. But she hadn’t wanted to make a big deal over nothing and there had been so much going on with Philip’s death and Harry’s accident…

“No...Stop beating yourself up over it, Alex” she said to herself as she closed her eyes for a moment and took several deep breaths. When she opened her eyes she turned and looked at the clock on her bedside table and a small smile pulled at her lips. Emma would be home within half an hour wand Harry should be back at anytime. She would feel better with both of them home; with her family back with her.

“I’ll just have to keep myself busy until then,” she murmured to herself, trying the best she could to shake off the unease she felt. She grabbed her laptop from the dresser and turned to Gus, laying on his bed in the corner as he watched her. “Come on, Gus Gus,” she called to him. “Come hang out with me while we wait for Emma and Daddy.”

Gus jumped up at Emma’s name, his tail wagging and his tongue flopping from his mouth in excitement. Alex laughed and reached down to scratch behind his ears as he passed her and then trotted from the room ahead of her. She flipped off the light behind her and made her way to the stairs. She was about three steps from the bottom when she noticed Gus in the foyer below her; his ears back and a whining sort of growl coming from him.

“Gus?” she called out as she hit the bottom step. “Buddy...?”

“He’s not very happy I’m here I don’t think.”

Alex gasped as she spun around, all the breath sucking from her lungs and her laptop sliding from her hands and going crashing to the ground as she saw him standing on the other side of her foyer. He was dirty and disheveled and looked nothing like the same man who had thrown tea on her dress not even eighteen hours before.

“Oh my God…Patrick” she choked out, shaking her head as she began to walk backwards. “Please…”

His smile was pure evil as he stepped forward toward her. And then, he raised his arm and pointed his pistol right at her.

“Hello, Alexandra.”