The problem was, she could no longer remember why she’d felt like crying. One sizzling glance from those lazy dark eyes and her mind had been wiped.
Shrinking with embarrassment, but at the same time relieved to have a moment to compose herself, Holly took the tissue and blew her nose. Despair mixed with fatalistic acceptance as she realised that she’d just given herself a whole new problem.
He was going to complain. And who could blame him? She should have smiled more. She should have paid attention when the bored-looking blonde seated to his right had asked her whether the goat’s cheese was organic.
He was going to have her fired .
‘Thank you, Your Highness,’ she mumbled, pushing the tissue into her pocket. ‘I’ll be fine. Just don’t give me sympathy.’
‘There’s absolutely no chance of that. Sympathy isn’t my thing.’ His gorgeous eyes shimmered with sardonic humour. ‘Unless it’s sympathy sex.’
Too busy holding back tears to be shocked, Holly took another deep breath, but her white shirt couldn’t stand the pressure and two of her buttons popped open. With a whimper of disbelief, she froze. As if she hadn’t already embarrassed herself enough in front of royalty, she was about to spill out of her lacy bra. Now what? Did she draw attention to herself and do up the buttons, or did she just hope he hadn’t noticed…?
‘I’m going to have to complain about you.’ His tone was gently apologetic and she felt her knees weaken.
‘Yes, Your Highness.’
‘A sexy waitress in sheer black stockings and lacy underwear is extremely distracting.’ His bold, confident gaze dropped to her full cleavage and lingered. ‘You make it impossible for me to concentrate on the boring blonde next to me.’
Braced for an entirely different accusation, Holly gave a choked laugh. ‘You’re joking?’
‘I never joke about fantasies,’ he drawled. ‘Especially sexual ones.’
He thought the blonde was boring?
‘You’re having sexual fantasies?’
‘Do you blame me?’ The frank appraisal in his eyes was so at odds with her own plummeting opinion of herself, that for a moment Holly just stared up at him. Then she realised that he had to be making fun of her because she knew she wasn’t remotely sexy.
‘It isn’t fair to tease me, Your Highness.’
‘You only have to call me Your Highness the first time. After that, it’s “sir”.’ Amused dark eyes slid from her breasts to her mouth. ‘And I rather think you’re the one teasing me.’ He was looking at her with the type of unapologetic masculine appreciation that men reserved for exceptionally beautiful women.
And that wasn’t her. She knew it wasn’t. ‘You haven’t eaten your dessert, sir.’
He gave a slow, dangerous smile. ‘I think I’m looking at it.’
Oh God, he was actually flirting with her.
Holly’s legs started to shake because he was so, so attractive, and the way he was looking at her made her feel like a supermodel. Her shrivelled self-esteem bloomed like a parched flower given new life by a shower of rain. This stunningly attractive, handsome guy—this gorgeous, mega-wealthy prince who could have had any woman in the world—found her so attractive that he wanted to flirt with her.
‘Cas.’ A spoiled female voice came from behind them. ‘Come and sit down.’
But he didn’t turn.
The fact that he didn’t appear willing or able to drag his gaze from her raised Holly’s confidence another few notches. She felt her colour mount under his intense, speculative gaze, and suddenly there was a dangerous shift in the atmosphere. Trying to work out how she’d progressed from tears to tension in such a short space of time, Holly swallowed.
It was him, she thought helplessly.
He was just gorgeous.
And way out of her league.
Flirting was one thing, but he had guests hanging on his every word—glamorous women vying for his attention.
Suddenly remembering where she was and who he was, Holly gave him an embarrassed glance. ‘They’re waiting for you, sir.’
The smooth lift of one eyebrow suggested that he didn’t understand why that was a problem, and Holly gave a weak smile. He was the ruling prince. People stood in line. They waited for his whim and his pleasure.
But surely his pleasure was one of those super-groomed, elegant women glaring impatiently at his broad back?
Her cheeks burning, she cleared her throat. ‘They’ll be wondering what you’re doing.’
‘And that matters because…?’
Envious of his indifference, she laughed. ‘Well—because generally people care what other people think.’