Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.
Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.
But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.
Reese stopped. She was still angry with him. Just when he made up his mind to leave her alone, she started down the beach toward him.
“Hi,” she said, staring up at him. The golden specks in her eyes were like stardust glinting in the low-lying sun.
“What are you doing here?”
“Leah invited Jan, and he brought me along.”
“Well, I didn’t put up a struggle. I have to admit, I was hoping to see you.” He held out the aster. “This is for you. A peace offering. One simple flower can mean so much more than a bunch, don’t you agree?”
A shocked expression crossed her face, and Reese thought he had blown it. But then she gave him a sweet smile and took the flower from him. “Stolen ones are even better.”
“Well, in all honesty, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. A gentleman doesn’t court a lady without bringing a gift.”
“So you’re courting me?” She tried unsuccessfully not to smile. It was rather fetching, her pink glossed lips twitching at the effort. “You don’t even know anything about me.”
“Well, that is the point of dating, isn’t it? To get to know each other?”
“I’m not sure.”
When the silence between them got uncomfortable, she lowered her head and picked at the stem of the flower.
“Not sure, huh?” This girl was a hard nut to crack. Reese got an idea. “How about we play a game?”
She looked back up at him. “What kind of game?”
“One where I tell you something about me, then you tell me something about yourself.”
“Sure, why not?” She twirled around and padded across the beach, lifting up sand with her toes and flicking it into the air in front of her. “You go first.”
“All right, then,” he said, keeping pace with her. “My family lives in a castle just outside of Amsterdam, complete with towers and turrets. It’s been in the family for generations. We only live in a few rooms. The rest of the place is open for tours. It helps pay for the upkeep and taxes.”
“Really?” She knotted her fingers behind her back. “Does that mean you’re royal?”
“No. But my father is a count.” He hated talking about his lineage. “It’s just a title,” he said, as if it wasn’t a big deal, which it wasn’t, at least to him.
“That’s pretty awesome,” she said.
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