Release day is fast approaching. 1st June. To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from Kissed by a Rose. Enjoy.
“Oh yeah. Come on. Harder. Do me harder.” Chloe had taken to offering Adam encouragement and he had to admit that he liked it. He was almost there. Almost.
The phone on the bedside table rang.
“Who…? Who could that be?” he asked between the efforts of thrusting up into Chloe. She liked to be on top.
“Alarm Call,” she said, panting.
“But it’s—” He turned his head to look at the clock. “—only half six.”
“Yeah. I ordered it yesterday. It’s going to be a long day. We won’t get to do this again until tonight. So come on. Fuck me for fuck’s sake.” She put her hands on his chest and ground her pelvis against him, mashing her clit and driving herself towards another orgasm.
By seven-thirty they were at the Oxford Street store of world renowned French designer, Jacques Surmont. Adam had no trouble choosing a suit, shirt and tie from Jacques' large selection, but Chloe took nearly an hour to find the right dress. It was partly Jacques' fault as he kept giving her a genuine appraisal of how she looked in each dress. Adam thought she looked fantastic in everything.
After the fitting, they were rushed to a private photo studio. Adam had no idea what to expect, but he had hoped it would be more fun than it turned out to be. Aside from having to change costumes four times, the constant smiling made his cheeks hurt. By the time they'd finished and were taken for lunch, Adam understood why Chloe hated doing publicity. After lunch, he understood even better. He had to wait around while Chloe was interviewed by a string of people from magazines and newspapers, and while a series of short interviews were taped for television and radio. It was after five when they got back to the hotel. They found a light meal waiting for them. Jacques’ clothes were laid out on the bed. They ate quickly and showered together before a make-up artist and hairdresser arrived to attend to Chloe. This was one aspect of Chloe's life that Adam liked. He'd had people fussing over his appearance all day—even during the afternoon, just in case one of the interviewers wanted to talk to him to.
He had a quick haircut while Chloe was having her make-up fixed, then dressed. On Jacques' advice, he'd chosen a single-breasted black suit. It was a classic cut, except that it didn't have lapels or a collar. He'd also picked out a white silk shirt, plain black tie and patent black leather shoes. He admired himself in the mirror.
"Someone looks handsome. I knew you'd scrub up well." Adam winked at Chloe through the mirror and adjusted his tie. She was still sitting in the make-up chair.
"I can't believe he's letting me keep the threads," said Adam.
"Oh, they always do. You should hear the stories about the big Hollywood stars. The designers send them a whole wardrobe of dresses to choose from for awards season, and never get any of them back. I wouldn't do that to Jacques though, no matter how big of a star I became. He's been far too good to me in the past."
Even though she'd taken nearly an hour and tried on about twenty dresses at Jacques' shop, Chloe had settled on the first one she'd tried on—the one that Jacques had first suggested. He'd said he'd designed it with Chloe in mind. The dress was made of black silk and hung gently from her curves, stopping just above her knee—although at the back a tail of silk almost reached the floor. There were three spaghetti straps on each shoulder and it plunged to a deep 'v' at the front, revealing ample cleavage. A large white flower was embroidered on the right breast and a line of increasingly smaller flowers snaked a 's' shape down to the hem. She climbed into the dress and asked Adam to zip her up from behind. He willingly obliged, running his hands back down her body when he was finished. She turned to face him and put her arms around his neck. "Sorry, but no kisses for you. My lippy's still wet—you'll just have to wait."
She sat on the bed to put on her strappy heels, then stood. “Well? What do you think? Do I look good enough to meet the Queen?”
"Stunning," he said. "You scrub up even better than me. I do believe I'm the luckiest bloke in Britain."
She put a finger underneath his chin. "You better believe it, buster." She nodded towards the door. "Come on, we'd better go or we'll be late."
A white limousine waited for them outside the hotel. The driver held the door open as they climbed in and shut it behind them. "Now this I could get used to," Adam said. "More champagne?"
"Yeah. Want some?"
Adam nodded and Chloe poured two glasses. "Shame Leicester Square isn’t that far away," she said as the oversize car pulled out into the slowly moving traffic. "There are tons of things I've always wanted to do in the back of a limo but never had anyone to do them with."
"We could ask the driver to take the long way."
"I wish, but we don't really have the time. Besides, I can't go messing up my hair before I meet royalty."
They sat back and sipped champagne as the limo trudged through the congestion. Even at the lowly speeds they achieved, it still only took a short time to reach Leicester Square. The car stopped by the red carpet and the driver held the door open for them. A blinding flurry of flash bulbs went off as they stood by the car. There were cries of "Over here, Chloe!" from the press pack. Chloe held Adam's arm and through a smile she whispered, "Try and relax. Smile for the cameras, but don't wave. We're going to move over there and pose for a bit. Then I'll have to go and work the crowd."
"I hope you know what you're doing," Adam said out of the side of his mouth.
"Trust me. I've done this once or twice before."
It wasn't as bad as Adam expected. His cheeks hurt again after all the smiling, but when they crossed to the other side of the red carpet to meet some of the people in crowd, he quite enjoyed himself.
“Here mate, you’re a lucky bastard,” cried a voice in the crowd.
“I know,” Adam called back.
“Ditch him, Chloe,” said another voice. “I’ll make you happier.”
“Yeah,” said another voice, “and I’ve got a bigger cock.”
“I very much doubt that,” said Chloe. The crowd laughed.
“Chloe, your boyfriend’s a hunk.” This came from a pretty girl at the front of crowd. Adam guessed she was in her early teens. He was glad it was dark—hunks didn’t blush. “Can I get a photo of you two with me?” She held out her mobile phone to take the photo while Chloe and Adam stood either side of her.
An older girl further up the line called out, “Can I borrow you’re boyfriend sometime. He’s lush!”
Chloe held on tight to Adam’s arm, laughed and called back, “Not a chance in hell. He’s all mine, and I’m not about to share him.”
More people took photos and Chloe signed more autographs than Adam could count before a security guard ushered them into the picture house. They were directed to their seats by a man in an official looking uniform.
"Now," the official said. "When the royal party arrives, there will be a fanfare and you'll have to stand. They'll be in the Royal Box, up there. Do not sit down again until Her Majesty and His Highness are both seated."
"I do know," said Chloe. "I've been to one of these before."
"Yes, but I assume your gentleman friend hasn't.” He gave Adam a rather disdainful look. Adam guessed he’d seen the pictures in the Daily Echo and knew who he thought was to blame for leading England’s Rose astray. “After the feature ends, everyone will stand as Her Majesty leaves the room. You two and the others in the line-up will have to hurry to get to the foyer before they do. They'll be held back until you're all ready, but it doesn't do to keep Her Majesty waiting. When she reaches you, smile, shake her hand and answer her questions. A simple nod of the head will suffice for a bow. Refer to her as Your Majesty or Ma'am. Nothing else. The prince should be referred to as Your Highness or Sir. Do try not to detain them any longer than you have to. Is that clear? Can you remember all that?" His speech was directed squarely at Adam.
"I'm in the line-up?"
"His Royal Highness Prince Harold requested it. It seems he wants to meet the young man who stole Miss Goodman's heart from him."
Chloe leaned over and whispered, "The Prince has a crush on me. Has had for ages. It's a bit embarrassing, actually."
Adam was so nervous that the pomp of the Queen's entrance washed over him and the movie had started before he'd realised what had happened. He relaxed and enjoyed the show once the titles rolled, although Chloe appeared tense whenever she was on screen. She was in the film for the first three quarters of an hour—playing the part of teenage Kelly. She squeezed Adam's hand tightly throughout. When Tom Walker, playing the part of teenage Matt, waved goodbye before heading off to university, Adam sensed Chloe relax. She loosened her grip on his hand, leaned over and said, "I'm only in it once more. A flashback scene—unless they've cut it."
In Adam's opinion, Chloe's flashback scene was the best part of the whole film. Chloe's character was involved in a car accident while heavily pregnant and suffered a dramatic miscarriage. The scene ended on an emotional note, with Chloe's performance causing a tear to trickle down Adam's cheek.
"Are you crying?" Chloe whispered.
Adam shook his head. "Something in my eye."
"Isn't it funny how men get something in their eye at times like this? There must be a name for such a condition."
"It's called testosterone," he whispered before someone behind shushed them into silence for the rest of the film.
The movie ended on a high note and received a standing ovation. Someone at the front of the theatre called for 'three cheers for Her Majesty' before the Queen left the auditorium along with her grandson and the rest of her party. Adam, Chloe, the other actors, the director and the producers were escorted to the foyer where they would meet the monarch. Adam and Chloe were at the end of the line and it seemed to take the Queen hours to reach them.
The director, Bobby Everett, was conducting the introductions. "Chloe Goodman, your Majesty."
"Ah, yes. We've met before, haven't we?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Chloe gently shook the Queen's hand and curtsied.
"Although, you were much shorter then, as I recall."
"Well, it was nearly seven years ago, Your Majesty. I was twelve."
The Queen nodded. "Has it really been that long? My, how time does fly. You played a young witch at a magical school, didn't you?"
"That's right, Your Majesty. Sally Trotter."
"I remember thinking that you were destined for great things. How right I was. I thought yours was the best performance in this film. Very emotional. I very much enjoyed it."
"Thank you, your Majesty."
The Queen smiled and leaned in closer. "You know, Miss Goodman, my grandson does rather like you. Young Harold. I know it would make his evening if he could get a little kiss."
"Certainly, Your Majesty."
The Queen turned to Adam and before the director could introduce him, she said, "You must be the young man in the newspapers with Miss Goodman. I don't normally take much notice of the tabloids, but that edition somehow passed across my desk. I do feel sorry for you, to be thrust into the limelight like that. Still, it is a pleasure to meet you." She turned to her aide before Adam could reply, and was led out to the waiting car.
"Bloody hell," Adam whispered. "I can't believe she saw those pictures. Have I gone all red?"
"Just a bit," said Chloe. "Shush, here comes the prince."
"My dear, dear, Chloe," said Prince Harold, holding out his hand. "It's so good to see you again. It was a shame you couldn't come to my birthday party. Do I get a kiss?"
"Of course, Your Highness." She leant forward and kissed the young prince on the cheek. A barrage of flashes went off as the pressmen saw a bundle of money in their not too distant future.
"How many times do I have to tell you to call me Hal? All my friends do."
"A great many more, your Highness. If I were to call you that, I'd get severely told off and I think I've been in enough trouble the past few months."
"Yes, quite. They are bastards, aren't they, the press? I can't count the number of times that Daddy has had to stop some rag from printing an embarrassing photograph of me. I do wish they would just butt out. Still, it's all good fun." He turned to Adam. "And this must be the lucky chap. Good show, old boy. I must say, I wished I were in your shoes when I saw that paper. Tell me, is she as good as I dream that she is? As a girlfriend I mean, nothing unseemly, obviously." The prince winked as he shook Adam's hand.
"Your Highness, I can safely say that Chloe is the very best girlfriend I've ever had. Or could wish to have."
The prince laughed heartily. "That's what I thought. Well, you hang on to her and treat her well. You're a lucky chap." He addressed Chloe again. "And if it doesn't work out between you two, remember, my shoulder to cry on is just a telephone call away. Call the palace, they have a standing instruction to put you straight through. Enjoy the rest of your evening." He winked again and then joined his grandmother in the car. He was the last member of the party to leave and everyone in the line-up breathed a sigh of relief.
"My god," said Adam. "He's a dirty perv. I don't believe it."
"Oh, he was tame tonight," said Chloe. "He's normally a lot worse. That thing he said about his father stopping the photos—he's shown me some of them. Some of the stuff he gets up to would curl your hair. The public only know a small fraction of it. I guess it's the privilege that comes with being second in line to the throne."
“So what now?” Adam asked.
“We hang about outside for a while and sign some autographs and then the limo will take us to the party. You’ll get to meet a ton of stars—all of whom will be boring as anything, so we won’t stay long—and then it’s back to the hotel so you can fuck me silly.”