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Suddenly Royal(3)

By:Nichole Chase

“You are Samantha Rousseau, wildlife biologist specializing in raptors? Graduate student, daughter of Martha Rousseau?”

“Uh, yeah, but—” I shook my head when he stepped a little closer to the window.

“I am very good at my job, Miss Rousseau. I was told to find Samantha Rousseau, and I have. The duchess’s reasons are her own.” He shrugged. “Of course, falconry is a large sport in our country. Perhaps it has something to do with that.”

“And what country is that?” I looked back at his card as if it might offer some answers.

“Lilaria.” He stepped away from the car and nodded to me. I looked at him for a moment in confusion. Eventually I threw the business card onto the pickup bench next to me and stuck my key in the ignition.

“Okay, Duvall. I might be there, but I’m a pretty busy person. Got to check the calendar first.” With that, I threw the truck into reverse and backed up.

“Of course.” He nodded at me as I switched to drive and pulled out of the parking lot. From the way he smirked at me, I was pretty sure he knew I was lying about being busy.

I watched him get into his black sedan, noticing for the first time the little flags on the hood. What on Earth would a duchess want with me? How had I ended up on some royal’s radar? I hit the switch for the radio and leaned back into the old driver’s seat. My mind worked through reasons that someone from a country I barely knew existed could possibly want to speak to me about. Maybe she was interested in the research center. But why would she come to me? Wouldn’t it make more sense for her to contact Dr. Geller? He would be the one to handle donations or any sort of involvement on her part. He was out of town; maybe he forgot to tell me this lady was coming.

The truck coughed as it switched gears and I entered the on-ramp for the highway. The clock on the dashboard said it was almost five thirty. Dr. Geller would still be in the field, so there was no point in calling him to find out what was going on. I’d just have to wing it. I snorted and sped the truck up. I didn’t have much time to change and make it back downtown.#p#分页标题#e#

It wasn’t like I had anything else to do and she might be able to help the research center. The staff was making do with half the supplies they really needed to rehabilitate the injured raptors in their care. The cages were much smaller than they needed to be and medical supplies were expensive. We’re always cutting out things from the budget to afford more medicines or training equipment.

When I pulled up to the little house I shared with Jess, I sighed and parked at the curb. Her boyfriend was parked in my spot again, not that it mattered since I was leaving soon. Yanking the key out of the ignition, I hopped out and grabbed my bag from the truck bed. When I opened the front door, the smell of fresh chili wafted to my nose and I groaned. It smelled delish. I dropped my bag and kicked off my boots before walking to the kitchen.

Bert was wearing a flowered apron and stirring the chili with a large wooden spoon while Jess sat on the counter next to him. He held up the spoon for her to taste and she laughed when some of it dropped onto her legs. The little TV was on and there was some type of news show playing, which surprised me. Jess liked to watch all the pregame shows.

“We made chili! Ready for the game?” When she saw me she smiled and waved me over.

“I forgot about the game.” I looked over Bert’s shoulder at the chili and my stomach growled. “I made plans.”

“Sam!” Jess groaned. “What could be more important than this game? It’s the most important game of the year.”

“Every game is the most important game of the year to you.” I rolled my eyes and looked back at the TV. “What are you watching?”

“Don’t,” Bert whispered. But it was too late.

“Some idiot prince and duchess are in town and all the news stations are acting like it’s some kind of big deal.” Jess glared at the old television set. “It’s not like they’re from an important country or anything. I mean, I’m missing the stats from the other games!”

“Oh.” I looked back at the TV, interested. There on the steps of the university’s new museum was the good-looking guy and an older, dignified woman. She used a gold pair of scissors to cut a red ribbon and waved at the people around her. The prince was speaking to a blond co-ed near the front door. He was definitely not a frumpy prince. Nope, not frumpy at all. Short blond hair, long legs, and broad shoulders. Even without the royal credentials, he would probably have snagged all the female’s attention. And from the cocky grin, it was obvious he knew it. I really hoped he wouldn’t be at dinner. Mainly because I didn’t want to stare at him like a dumbass. I was already nervous about meeting royalty.