Writing Challenge: A Royal Proposal

The royal wedding is fast approaching, and some of us are gearing up for tea, scones and fascinators (and pyjamas if we’re in North America) to watch the festivities on May 19. So what better time than now for a royal romance challenge?

In 2-5 paragraphs, give us your most romantic royal proposal: contemporary or historical, English or Indian, princess or “commoner” –  you decide!

Need tips for writing your scene? Check out our post, Mastering the Art of Dialogue

And for inspiration, you can find lots of royal romances at Harlequin.com.

Post your royal proposal in the comments below any time before Sunday, May 13, 2018 and we’ll pick our Top 3 on Monday!

25 replies on “Writing Challenge: A Royal Proposal”

Not quite 2-5 paragraphs! I enjoyed myself WAY too much. So I think that’s a sign for me to make this one my next WIP.


“You can’t look,” the tiny girl repeated, her shy smile lifting her pudgy cheeks.

Iman chuckled softly, holding her palm flat and still for the five-year-old princess. She sat in awe at the little girl, disbelieving of how quickly she’d befriended not one, but three royals. The little girl’s mother and her greataunt had treated her like family this last month. This grand estate, a place she once found so opposing—an antithesis to who she was—had become her third home after Somalia and Canada.

The East African kingdom of Markab was a place she wouldn’t forget anytime soon. With a future ruler her heart wouldn’t completely relinquish either. Speaking of the obstinate handsome devil, he breezed into the room just as Princess Layla finished her henna masterpiece. Dropping the tube of henna on the table, she rushed to greet Hakeem at the sound of her name. Her much-older cousin swept her up from the floor and swung her around in his arms, their gusty laughter bringing a sad smile over Iman’s heart. She’d never hear these happy noises again.

Sending Layla off, Hakeem closed the door to their private chambers and turned on Iman. Her heart thudded for every step he took to close the distance between them until he stood in front of her. Iman touched her free, unadorned hand to her belly, as if to shield the baby in there from its father. From the man she tried and failed to claim as her husband. Nudging his head down at her other hand, the henna cooling her clammy palm, Hakeem murmured, “I didn’t want you to leave without another souvenir.”

Iman gasped, her eyes widening. No matter how many times she read it, the words on her palm, etched in crooked penmanship rearranged themselves in the same order. Layla had written a message for her in red henna. Hakeem spoke them now. “Will you marry me?” He dropped to his knees slowly, his palms poised on either side of her on the ottoman footrest.

Dark brown eyes stormier than usual, his hair mussed from thorough finger-combing, he bore his serious gaze through her. “Marry me, Iman. I mean for real. No contract, no ultimatums, no strings attached. Just you and me…” he trailed, one hand joining hers over her taut stomach, “and our baby,” he finished.

“You put Layla up to this?” Iman swallowed thickly around the burgeoning tears.

“I did,” Hakeem said, not missing a beat. His strong jaw tensed. “I didn’t want to lose you. What better way to proclaim my love than to gift my heart onto your hand.

“Anyways, I tend to resort to the dirtiest tricks when cornered, love. It’s not personal.”

Iman laughed then, a watery but happy sound. “Is that also part of the proposal?”

Hakeem smiled, the light reaching his eyes rapidly. “It can be, so long as it leads to the same road.”

“Yes,” Iman said, deciding to put the man out of his misery. Nodding, she gasped and laughed shortly when he hauled her into a tight embrace. “Yes,” she squeaked, breathing easier once Hakeem pulled back to touch his mouth with hers.

Stealing a line from her favorite movie, Kristoff used it to turn every request into a royal command instead of a simple desire. An extra napkin when she’d dribbled spaghetti sauce on her blouse. A second bottle of water after a workout on the treadmill. For him to wait outside as she met with her chancellor.

Angela wanted to be annoyed. Instead, she told her chancellor that she had become “completely charmed.”

“Then perhaps it is time,” the older woman had responded. “You are almost twenty-nine. You’ve known him half your life. He’s a dynamic man. A good match. An heir would be nice too.”

Angela snorted, most unqueenly. But on their next walk about the castle grounds, she slowly opened the door, questioning Kristoff about the current political climate, a bit of history. It was a familiar conversation, warm and insightful. She admired his wisdom and his strength. Toward the end, she cleared her throat. “Did you ever consider that we might, y’know, make a good match? Leading the country together?”

Kristoff smiled, stopped, and faced her. He pulled a small velvet box from his pants pocket and knelt in front of her. Angela gasped at the beauty of the jewel displayed there, then laughed as he said, once again, “As you wish.”

Thomas closed his eyes listening to the ceremonial drums and taking note that his heart beat at a much faster pace. Broken Arrow sat crossed legged across the fire, his stare burning hotter against his skin than the flames.
“I still do not know how to feel about Blue Eyes taking my daughter, Dove Song as a bride,” he admitted, his tone slightly defeated. “She is s princess, and I expected differently.”
Thomas sat up straighter, offering the chief no reason to doubt him. “I will care and protect her. I will provide well for her. I will do my best to follow in your footsteps and see that she is equally as loved.”
Broken Arrow nodded, his eyes gleaming moisture, reflecting the fire and exposing his love for his daughter. “I will allow this,” he relented.
The holy man entered the lodge with Dove Song in tow. She was dressed in fringed buckskin with her hair long at her sides. Thomas stood, and the holy man placed her hand into his. “Say now what’s in your heart,” he instructed.
Thomas held her hand and marveled at its beauty. It was small, delicate and gentle. He imagined the babies it would someday hold. When he braved to look into her dark eyes, rich and deep with emotion, he knew he’d give his life for this woman.
“Dove Song,” he began. His throat tightening, “I have come a long way to find you. I will go to the end of this Earth to keep you, and I will hold my spirit for you all the days of my life. Will you honor me and become my wife?”
The drums grew louder as he held his breath for her reply.

Anna looked through the French doors leading out into the gardens as the last strains of a waltz played behind her. A flash of red caught her eye as Prince Nathaniel’s figure disappeared beyond the shrubbery. Her heart ached at the sight of him; he had announced the end of his engagement to Lady Elizabeth.
She followed him to the gazebo near the summer house. She let one look ask the question of what happened for her.
“I did not love her, Anna. Not in the way she wanted me to. I love Lizzy, but I don’t Love her.”
“Now what will you do?” Anna asked. “Orlacia needs a princess; soon you will be king and will need a legitimate heir.”
Nathaniel rose from the bench and knelt in front of her. Anna’s heart raced. “Anna, will you do it? I know we’re only friends, but we can make each other comfortable, can’t we? Oh, please say yes. I need you.”

She looked into his pleading blue eyes. She did love Nat more than anything else in the whole world. He loved her like a little sister and, unlike Lady Elizabeth, she could learn to live with that. So with that solace and the promise of keeping the kingdom and Nat happy she said: “Yes, I will marry you.”

“I’m sorry about my father, Rhiannon.” He sat beside her in the gazebo by the pond.
“I’m okay. I expected it. I’m not of royal blood.” She said sadly, watching the birds in the warmth Spring sunshine splashing about in the water.
“This doesn’t change how I feel about you.” He gently cupped her face and turned it towards towards his. He sought her lips and kissed them with such a tenderness. She responded. After a few moments they parted and she returned her gaze to the pond.
“Rhiannon, I was going to do this at the Spring ball tonight, I wanted everyone to celebrate with us. I know this might be bad timing.” He got down on his left knee and took her left hand.
“Wait. What are you doing?” Rhiannon had been taken by surprise.
“Rhiannon. You have captured my heart from the moment we met. You have ruled my thoughts ever since. I’m not about to give up on us, not now. I know that it isn’t going to be easy, but I figure if you are with me none of that matters. I love you. Will you be the queen of my heart forever and marry me?” He reached into his trouser pocket and retrieved a small box he had been carrying for the last two days. “So, will you?” He stood up and held out the box for her. She accepted the box and looked at the diamonds all sparkly.
“Antonio, are you certain this is what you want?” Rhiannon wanted to be sure he was serious. Antonio nodded. He was becoming nervous.
“Yes!” She said throwing her arms around his neck and kissed him fervently. “I will marry you Antonio!” …..

This is from my Sheikh’s Faux bride

She stepped out of the room, not in a silky, sexy nighty, but in his favourite purple dress, without the shoes. Pausing, she looked down the dimly lit corridor that was feathered with red and white rose petals. ‘Follow the trail,’ he had said to do so, her feet touching the soft, silky, Rose petals. She paused at the entrance to the main room, taking a deep breath and stepped in, finding the room alight with low, lit lanterns of glass, sending out different shades of colour of light.
Soft reds, yellows, green, blue and purple that danced under the flickering candles. She took another breath, looking down at the rose petals that led towards the glass floor to ceiling windows and followed as ordered. She always followed her prince’s orders, well, most of the time, she smiled to herself.
She never expected anything like this. Then again, why not? It was so Karif. He was wonderful, amazing, and this was exactly who he was. She stopped at the window, staring out into the night. The river reflecting lights of the city buildings on the South Yarra bank as far as the eye could see. Then the glass began to move under her touch, stepping back dazed as two panels of glass parted, exposing a balcony. She stepped out in a daze onto the balcony. Having no idea one could actually enter from here.
She stepped out into the cool night air. Flicking candles lined the edging, giving off a low glow of yellow. The deck scattered with more rose petals. A table set off towards the side that she walked towards it, where two long, slender, flute glasses, filled with liquid bubbly, gold in colour, stood. She stopped, looking around. A figure came out of the darkness to smile.
“Karif,” she breathed.
He held out a red rose to be taken as he stepped closer, closing the distance. “You look so beautiful,” he said softly, his voice hoarse. Unable to take his eyes off her. He reached out, brushing hair behind her ear as he stepped closer still, dipping his dark head and brushed her lips with his in the softest way. Her fingers curled around his loose shirt, tilting her head, opening to him. She had been looking forward to this all day.
“You do spoil me,” she whispered against his lips. “It’s so perfect like you.”
“So glad you think so,” he eased back and began to lower.
“Karif, what are you doing?” She gasped as he lowered onto bended knee, holding her hand. Her heart raced, and began to tremble, never expecting this. Not this.
“I’m asking you, Julia Sommers, to be my wife. Not betrothed or engaged. To be my wife. I have never asked a woman to marry me, not through promise, or arrangement, this is from my heart. Would you be my beloved wife, to be a part of my life? Always at my side to share a future together, no matter what unfolds.”
Wordless she just stared at him, never expecting this in a million years, reaching out with a trembling hand, touching his cheek. “Are you sure Karif? I mean, who am I compared to you?”
“I have never been more serious in my life, habibti.”
Taking a shaking breath, she nodded, tears welling and falling. “Yes. Yes Karif. I do love you so much,” she answered to be swept up into his arms as he stood and kissed her with all his heart and soul. Her arms crashed around his neck as she returned the kiss, tears of joy, touching their lips.
“As I love you,” he whispered against her soften lips, then kissed away her tears.

“My father says it’s time I take a bride.” Prince Ronald paused for dramatic effect. “I’ve decided it will be you.” He beamed at Abbi like a gameshow host announcing the grand prize of a “brand new car!”
Abbi’s heart pounded in her chest. She inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly, and responded, “Thank you, but no.”
Ronald’s eyes widened and he shook his head. Abbi suspected he had never heard the word “no” in his entire life.
“Every girl dreams of being a princess! You would live a life of luxury — have everything you could ever want.”
“Except love,” she said quietly.
The prince would give her a life other women dream of. She’d have a castle by the sea, a yaht, penthouse apartments in all the major cities of the world. But she’d be happier living in a cardboard box with Alec — and as soon as Prince Ronald found out that he’d been rejected for his gardener, that wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

A warm breeze ruffled Alex’s dark hair as he moved his wine glass yet again on the linen table cloth.

‘Is the fish ok?’

Zoe laughed, ‘Alex, the fish is delicious , this meal is delightful, the venue is wonderful and the view is spectacular!’ Zoe breathed deeply, the warm herb smell of the surrounding Mediterranean hills a sensory seduction. Taking another mouthful of the grilled fish drizzled in olive oil and lemon, she couldn’t remember being so happy. The view from the terrace of their luxury villa stretched out in a panorama overlooking Spilia Harbour, the main waterway of the Greek island Meganisi. The sunset washed the sky and water violet and pink, with the lights of the village hugging the coastline, just beginning to shine.

‘And the company?’ Alex was holding his wine glass, his plate hardly touched.

Zoe smiled, ‘If you are looking for compliments, the company is fantastic…as always.’

He smiled back and Zoe groaned inwardly, her pleasure dimmed. Oh if this was real, if Alex was just a ordinary very handsome man and this romantic dinner were because of something special between them. But he was Prince Alexander of Sweden, fifth in line to the throne and she was his personal assistant of five years, a commoner from Hackney, a nobody. How useless to be love with your royal boss? How unlikely was a romantic relationship between them? How stupid she was. The fish tasted of ash and the breeze felt chill.

‘Zoe, why are we here?’ Alex’s expression was serious, his gaze intense.

Zoe tried to laugh, ‘So you could have a small break before your next business trip. You have been working too hard Alex.’ She looked down at the table, avoiding his eyes.

He reached across and gently lifted her chin, a shiver of sensation spread from the touch of his fingers and she longed to turn her cheek towards his palm.

‘No I mean, why are we here? You and I, no one else from the team, just the two of us?’ His voice had deepened and his hand slipped from her face to hold hers, running his thumb across the back of her hand.

Zoe’s breath caught in her throat, her pulse pounded in her veins. ‘I don’t know, you invited me, to work I suppose.’

He pushed their meals out of the way and leaned towards her, he was close, so close. Her gaze drifted to his firm lips.

‘Zoe.’ He breathed her name like a prayer.
‘Yes?’ She could barely hear her response.

‘Zoe, I love you, I have done for years, marry me.’

Zoe shot backwards, her chair almost overbalancing, her wine glass toppled, ‘What?’

David cleared his throat and sucked in a deep breath, shoulders squared, and then he leaned forward on the rail overlooking the sea far below. Sandy white beaches swept by waves caressing the shores. He turned his head to the side and stared at the woman he’d fallen so deeply in love with in only a short few months.
He couldn’t wait a moment longer.

“You know that little thing I keep meaning to tell you about me?”

Sarah giggled. “Sure. You mean the little secret you don’t want to mention?”

“I’ve tried to tell you about me. You’ve shared everything about your not-so-common life growing up here in California, surfing and running around in bikinis all year round.”

“That’s not all I do. I create magic for couples.”

He gathered her into his arms and enjoyed the scent of lavender that hovered about her like an aura. “Then why don’t you start planning a wedding for a prince?”

“I could do that, if there was a prince around who wanted to get married.”

“I can arrange that.”

“Don’t tease me, David.” She wiggled in his arms and he released her, taking ahold of her hands instead. “I’m a wedding planner of the highest quality. But to plan a royal wedding? I’d totally love that job.”

David dropped to one knee. He’d been practicing this for weeks now, getting up the courage to make the only woman he’d ever loved his alone. “Then I’m asking you to begin planning our wedding. Sarah, my love, my true friend, if I promise to take care of you and love you completely, giving you my heart and soul, would you consider becoming the next Princess of San Marino?”

It’s early in the morning in London, England a bit misty but there is a little bit of sun poking through the clouds. A couple steps out of there apartment going for an early morning walk to the park just down the street. They walk arm in arm cuddled close against the chill morning air, he smiles his right hand in his pocket holding the ring box, hoping beyond everything he holds dear that she will be happy and say yes. She looks at him and says, “Harry why are you smiling? Do you have a secret?” He turns to look at her still smiling as they cross the street into the park. He leads them to an arbor protected from view asks her to sit. He kneels at her feet and says, “Of course I always have secrets, but you know I love you so much. You have become everything to me, we are the perfect match. You even support me when I am conflicted about decisions I need to make. I want to be everything to you. I want us to have children, to bring them up together. Meghan will you do me the great honor of becoming my wife?” Meghan is smiling as she places her hands on his face and gently kisses him pulls back slightly then puts her forehead against his then pulls back slightly and looks into his eyes and says, “Oh Harry, yes I will marry you, I love you so much, I think since the very first time I met you, I knew I would love you.” As a ray of sun broke through the clouds and shone done on her Harry rose to his feet with her picked her up and spun around, “Meghan you’ve made me the happiest man on earth in this moment. He took the ring out of his pocket opened it, she smiles as he places it on her finger then seals it with a kiss.

This is from one of my WIPs –
“I need you to do me a favor.” Prince Ezeudo took Nadeleine’s hand. “Come somewhere with me.”

“As much as I would love to spend more time with you, Prince Ezeudo, neither your mother or your sister will be happy if I shirked my duty to go galivanting with you. That has already gotten me into greater trouble than you know or than I care to speak of.”
He laced one hand with hers. “This is important. And it cannot wait.”

“Your highness…” She shut her eyes briefly with a sigh. When she looked at him again, the corners of her mouth where turned up in a slight smile. “I cannot neglect…”

“Shh.” he placed a finger over her lips, resisting the urge to kiss her while they stood in the palace kitchen. “In this moment, I am not interested in how you would serve me as the Prince and future King of Ashor Atheze.” Ezeudo led her to the gardens just steps from the kitchen. Memories flooded his mind of the times he’d seen her sitting there reading, watching her study the flowers, listening to her differentiate the different specimens for his nieces, Celeste and Elisa. “Please sit.” he pointed to the bench where they had sat and talked while watching his nieces and cousins running through the topiary mazes.

“There is still much to do to prepare for the christening.”

“Yes. But I request you give me a moment.” he sat towards the edge, his body angled towards hers, “I think this is where I began to fall in love with you.” Warmth spread across his chest and he slid down, so their knees were touching, he grabbed her hand. “I have never met another woman who was so willing to challenge me in everything I do and so unafraid to speak her mind. That’s another thing I love about you. I will need someone who is strong and kind and beautiful and nurturing. Someone who knows my faults and will put up with me anyway. Someone who will make me laugh, hold me when I cry and not think me a weaker man for showing my emotion.” Ezeudo kissed the palm of Nadeleine’s hand and smiled as a deep pink spread across her cheeks. “I want you to be my wife. I want you to marry me. Give me my forever, give me my peace of mind and grant solace to my heart and soul. Marry me, Nadeleine Adele Celeste Toussaint.”

“I..” her eyes watered. “I cannot promise that I can give you an heir. I am not of royal blood or heritage. Your mother hates me.”

He kissed her gently on the lips. “An heir does not need to be biological to ascend to the throne.” he paused, “We can adopt. And we have world class medical facilities here.” he pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, “My mother does not hate you. If she hated you, she would not have spoken to you. But she saw is a tough sell. But she also knows that I love you.” he shook his head. “No. She knows that I am in love with you Naddie.” He looked deep into her eyes, “I am in love with you.”


“Stop overthinking and answer the question. What does your heart say?” he put a hand over her heart. “What does your head?” his voice dropped to a whisper. “What is your soul aching to cry out?”

“Yes.” she clutched his hand in hers. “Yes. I will marry you.”

“Leave us.”
For a few heartbeats, Aislinn thought her mother would refuse the quiet authority in his voice. Wearing a fraudulent smile, Lady Chichester executed a fawningly deep bow and exited, pulling the solid oak door securely into its frame after she passed through. Aislinn waited for the corresponding sound – the heavy slide of the iron bolt. This time, it did not come.
Not caring that it might mar the silk gunna in which they’d dressed her for the occasion, Aislinn slid a sweaty palm over her hip and slowly turned to the other occupant of the solar. He was watching her. Unwilling to meet his eyes initially, she dropped her gaze and let it drift over his tall, muscular form. He wasn’t what she’d feared. Although some years older than her, he was still young. Pleasant looking. Aislinn forced a swallow as she took in the well-formed limbs and chiseled features; the casual term didn’t do him justice. Handsome would be more accurate. Much more accurate.
Aware of her scrutiny, one corner of his lips hooked up. “Did they threaten you with only bread and water if you didn’t agree?”
It wasn’t his smile that made her offer a hint of one in return. Many lies were told through smiling lips. It was the smile in his dark blue eyes, ones couched in sincerity and gentleness, which made Aislinn’s lips curve up for the first time since she’d heard the name of Geoffrey of Wessex, and what he was to become to her.
“No bread was offered.” If she hadn’t been watching him so closely, Aislinn would have missed the quick tightening of his lips before his features instantaneously returned to a compassionate smile. She inhaled deeply as he crossed the space that separated them to stand before her. Lifting her slender hand, he rested it on his broad chest and covered it with his own. Through his tunic Aislinn could feel the prince’s beating heart under the tips of her fingers. Strong. Steady.
“I know not what the future brings, my lady, but I pledge that you will have no cause to fear me in this union. For any reason.”
She searched his eyes for lies and found none. For the first time since the betrothal was announced, Aislinn began to rethink her plans to escape.

Gabby stood inside the Bedouin tent seething at the treatment she had received from her prison guards. Her blue eyes, now ice cold stared at the men in the room. How dare they kidnap her from the bazaar! Abducted and forced to ride all through the night, taken to god only knows where. Glancing around the tent Gabby noted with a passing interest the lushness of the interior, with its luxurious Persian carpets, purple velvet drapery edged with gold braid and enormous soft pillows of such rich colours and topped with the crest of the Royal family. The crest depicted a lion with a woman beside and her hand resting on the lions head.
“Miss Prentiss, please do not agitate your-self so”, pleaded Ashim, Prince Rashid’s man of affairs. “All will be explained shortly”. Ashim’s brow was furrowed, his deep brown eyes unsure and his posture full of uncertainty as to how the woman would respond to his plea.
“I demand to know what is happening here! “I have been dragged from the bazaar in the middle of the afternoon at knife point, thrown on a horse then deposited in this tent and nobody is telling me anything”. Gabby advanced on the little man who was trying valiantly to stand his ground. Oh, the things he did for his Prince. “Miss ….. Miss”, he stammered backing up to the centre pole as Gabby advanced. Where was the blasted Prince he thought! Ashim didn’t think he could deal with this she devil much longer. The trip from the bazaar to the Bedouin camp site in Gardovia had been filled with blistering words. Her tongue could flay a man alive.
Outside cheering and rapid gunfire suddenly erupted. The sharp trill of the Bedouin victory call filled the air. The camp was filled with noise and excitement as a newcomer halted at the edge of the camp. Prince Rashid reined in his horse and slid from the saddle to the soft sand below. The tribal elders gathered around him patting him on the back, shoulders, anywhere they could touch him. He stood beside his mount and accepted the welcome as his due. The Bedouin tribes were after all, his people. When he wished anonymity he rode with his brothers in arms. When the pressures of palace life became too much he had the ability to walk as only a man with them, and not one concerned with rank or privilege. Striding purposefully toward his tent Prince Rashid became aware of several pairs of eyes watching intently as he entered the tent, and he could see why. Poor Ashim was cornered against the pole looking nervous, sweat beading upon his brow. His eyes searching the tent, looking for a way out that precluded passing the ferocious woman bearing down on him.
Ashim turned his head and saw the Prince standing in the tent’s doorway. Immediately he fell to his knees and bowed his head in respect. Gabby turned and stared into the black eyes of her captor. She straightened her shoulders, threw back her long blonde hair and stared with defiance at the man who had orchestrated this whole charade. A slow smile crossed his face as his eyes registered the fire and challenge in woman’s stance. “Gabby … we meet again”. Gabby glared at the man before her. “You, I might have known, she snapped back. “This kidnapping smelt of you! I’m an American citizen you know. Kidnapping is an offence.” “Still the same old Gabby I see. All fire and challenge,” he drawled back. “If you had but answered my repeated calls for a meeting this would not have been necessary.” “That’s according to you,” she flung back with contempt. Dominic Rashid had been the sun and the moon to Gabby the only man she’d ever loved and when things had ended badly, they’d ended very badly. Dominic looked down at her from his lofty height. “I don’t have time to waste on the past Gabby, what happened cannot be altered. I have one question for you, please think carefully before you reply as there is much at stake.” He took a deep breath, his eyes staring intently at her as he said, “…Will you marry me?” An audible gasp was the only sound inside the tent.

This is a new scene from the storyline I submitted to Dare, a WIP undergoing renovations.

“Alexandra. What is going on? Why aren’t you on the plane to Changi?”
Allie’s heart pounded in her ears as she listened to the voicemail on her cell. Rick, again. He was giving obsessed a whole new name now, along with his supposed newfound identity. Allie had fallen hard for the CEO of I.Q., the company she had just left for her dream job in Denver, marketing for a prestigious design firm. She had gotten the offer just 3 days ago, and I.Q. didn’t make a habit of allowing “abandonees” to work out their two weeks, ever. Could the company be that desperate to keep her that Enrique Long would make up such a far-fetched story? He had always gone by Rick, just Rick Long, from Day One. Related to a Singaporean King of old? The former Monarchy? Pure lunacy.
Allie shook her head and laughed out loud after pressing the red phone icon. Her old condo was completely empty now, only the windowsills left with residual dust, but that would have to be dealt with by the owners. Allie was due to start at the Wink Wink design firm on Denver’s Capitol Hill in less than 48 hours. One more trip to the storage unit next to the freeway, and on to Denver to meet the new roomie and get the key he had made for her. The exhaution was real – she had to get to the futon in the new house soon.
She grabbed the last of her things – the rolling Jansport with essentials for tonight – and locked the condo one last time. The magnet where the plane ticket had been mounted to the door was missing. The new tenants would have to get another one. Not her problem. Silly to think of, stupid tiny detail. Focus.
As Allie headed toward her white SUV, a black Continental had just pulled up. This jerk better move his car and quick. Instead, the driver’s door swung open and an older man stepped out.
“Alexandria Bounder?”
“Yes…” Oops. Her mother’s words rang in her head…”Never say yes to a stranger until you know who they are and what they want!”
Allie shuddered inside. “I’ve got to go, please move your vehicle. It’s…an emergency.” Random, but effective.
“You’re to come with me. My boss is on Skype for you, inside the car.”
Ha! Fat chance I’m getting in there. This must be Rick’s doing.
“Let me see the phone first.” Allie needed to shut this down once and for all.
“Sweetheart.” A dark-haired, dark-eyed, intensely handsome but pained face filled the screen.
Oh, God, this CAN’T be happening.
“Listen to me.” Allie held the phone back from her face and squinted at the small screen. Sure enough, it was Rick, surrounded by what looked like flowering bushes. Singapore?
“You missed your plane and I have such an important question for you. Alexandra, I’m in love with you. I can’t get you out of my mind and I need you here with me.”
Jesus. Her life was finally wrapping up in a neat bow, with her job offer, dream job, no less. Now was NOT the time. Too little, too late.
Allie squirmed in her designer Guess boots, dropped the phone to her side, and regarded the driver. “I’m done with this conversation. I have to go right now.” She handed the phone to the driver and grabbed her bag handle.
“Allie! Please take the phone!” Rick’s voice sounded broken. Was he on the verge of tears? Impossible. Not Enrique, Mr. Cucumber-cool. Hell no.
A warmth drew up through her chest as Allie swung around to grab the cell once again from the khaki-and-white-clad chauffer. She held it up and turned out of the sun. Rick’s dark brown eyes were, sure enough, shining with emotion.
His voice really broke this time as he eeked out the words.
“Alexandra Leigh Bounder, in the name of all of my ancestors in the Long line, I ask you to be my Queen. I am madly, passionately, and forever in love with you. Marry me.” The phone screen suddenly flashed scenes of sky, bushes, pants. Then the view was stilled and the cell screen was filled with the image of a huge blue stone, set between diamonds, in a gorgeous gold ring, nestled in the fold of an open box.

She was shy and not much built for this intimate moment. But here she was waiting, wondering, would he? Would he ask her? The whole monarchy rested upon this decision, and the weight of the world rested upon her. Maranda looked up and saw the garden around her. The garden she remembered so well from her youth but now, now it just made her sad. She closed her eyes.

“Princess, princess Maranda,” he said gently touching her shoulder and her elegant gown. She opened her eyes and her betrothed was standing there in his finest military attire looking every bit as dashing as she remembered. But she didn’t know him well, they barely knew each other deeply. Such was the life of a royal.

“Robert, hello I didn’t see you come out. I’m glad you’re here. The whole world is waiting for us aren’t they?”

“They can wait. I’ve something I wanted to ask you,” he said with a smile that was both young and mature, speaking about the life they had separately and the promise of tomorrow.

“Yes, well we must do our duty mustn’t we,” she said resigned.
He suddenly took her petite worried face in his hands.

“No you don’t understand.” He said it so softly she wasn’t sure she heard right. “I love you. They are not making me marry you. I’ve loved you since the moment we met, since we would play together on rare times when your parents would visit mine. I’ve always loved you.” He brushed an errant piece of hair out of her face. Such a caring act. Small, yet so perfect. It calmed her soul.

“But I thought…” Her emotion stopped her. She shook her head.

“No, Maranda it’s you. It’s always been you.” He kissed her forehead and looked into her eyes. “So Princess Maranda would you make me the happiest man this kingdom has ever seen and say you will marry me?” He looked for her response. A gentle smile was building on her face like a new sunrise. “You aren’t alone anymore. I will spend my entire life helping you know that. Please be my bride, and one day I hope our children will be the ones enjoying this marvellous garden. We can make a new life and be together. What do you say?” Now it was Robert’s turn to be worried. He put it all on the line because his life would change too. He would have to leave his country, his home.

“Yes Robert, yes. I love you too! I just didn’t know you loved me.” His heart lept at the news. They deeply embraced binding her heart back up again, giving her hope.

He took her hand and said, softly like a little boy with a secret, “Let’s go tell everybody shall we?” They made their way back into the palace. Past the attendants and staff and royal members of the household and made it up to the balcony. They opened the curtain to the screaming crowds below. Robert held up the paper sign he had made earlier. It read simply,
She said yes and that has changed everything.

Closing scene – “The Common Touch”
Zara and Wilkes walked across the dance floor toward Sandhurst. She saw admiration and love in his eyes as they approached.
Sandhurst’s eyes mirrored the only reflection that matters, she thought.
Zara hoped her face reflected her emotions as clearly too and she also hoped she could predict where this evening was going.
Sandhurst was fine-looking in his uniform, the same one he’d worn all those weeks ago, at Rideau Hall, when they first met. Why he chose to wear it confused her, but the package was nothing to complain about.
“Zara, you look so beautiful.”
“So do you.”
Wilkes transferred his charge to the prince. “I trust you will take care of her.”
“Of course,” Sandhurst took Zara’s hand.
She smiled her thanks up at her friend. Wilkes merely nodded and strolled to the orchestra leader to have a word.
“Zara, may I have this dance?” His eyes sparkled with amusement.
“Absolutely,” she smiled up at him. His words were close to the same ones he’d spoken to her back at the ball.
Sandhurst gave Wilkes a nod and the opening notes of the same song they danced to before, on that night, filled the room.
The strength of his arms wrapped around her. Gently and gracefully, he moved them through the steps. Slowly at first, to ensure she was fit to keep up and then he increased their movement to the match the song’s tempo. As they made a turn, to sweep around the room one more time, she caught their reflections in a wall mirror. A lady and her prince.
Her lips parted as she looked up into his please expression. “This is why you reserved the ballroom for us.”
He smiled broadly and Zara relaxed in his arms as he swept her away on a cloud of music.
As the song drew to a close, she tipped her head back to see him gazing down at her as they came to a halt in front of the open French doors. The dark, late October night waited.
“Care to step outside for a moment?” he asked.
“Yes, please.” The night air was heavy with the scent of late fall roses. But then, Vancouver Island possessed a magic for stretching summer well into fall.
The moon was full and reflected clearly on the still waters of the bay across from the hotel. “What an amazing evening.” Zara breathed in deep.
“It is,” he agreed as he led her onto the stone terrace. “This whole two weeks has been amazing.”
“Too bad it’s all coming to an end tomorrow.” Zara squeezed his hand. “I’m going back to Ottawa, you’re going home.”
He nodded. “About that,” Sandhurst dropped to one knee in front of her and looked up into her eyes as he clasped her hands in his.
It didn’t matter Zara had been half hoping, half expecting him to take this step. Prince James, her Sandhurst, still stole her breath away.
“Zara Dare, will you do me the pleasure of becoming my wife?”
Her lips parted as tears sprang up into her eyes and she squeezed his hands for dear life.
“I will, if you will do me the pleasure of becoming my husband.” She said and he grinned as he returned to his feet.
“I will.”
“I will too,” she whispered and his lips claimed hers.

The setting sun was leaving shadows on the trail to the gazebo so the solar lights along the way became illuminated. The scent of honeysuckle was enticing but mixed with the knowledge that she would be meeting Aidan, she felt the butterflies taking flight in her belly.
Reaching the softly cushioned bench inside Cara looked around in amazement. There was soft light from various flickering candles placed around various arrangements of flowers and soft music playing in the background. She was so engrossed in the beauty that she neglected to hear the footsteps approaching from the path.
A warmth came over her and she knew she was no longer alone. He had come, she had known he would since he had asked her to meet him there, the place they had first met at his cousin’s wedding.
Arms came around her from either side, pulling her back against his strong powerful chest. Her hands covered his as they encircled her, he twined his fingers with hers.
“Cara,” she felt the rumble of his strong masculine voice against her back as he spoke into her ear. His lips touched her neck and Cara caught her breath. The feel of his lips gently tugging her earlobe was instantly arousing. Turning in his arms her hands sliding through his hair so the kiss was certain.
He broke the kiss and stepped back half a step as if catching his breath. Trying to pull him back he slowly shook his head. Her heart thumped, she knew they had never spoken of emotion but she knew he was her one true love.
Seeing the despair in her eyes he raised a hand to cradle her cheek, “I need to say this.”
She could only nod, no words would come forth.
“I realized today that we have never talked about a future.” Again her heart skipped a beat. “I can’t see a future without you and am wishing you can see yourself with me for the rest of our lives.”
Still unable to utter a word Cara covered her lips with her fingers and nodded.
Aidan retained hold of her other hand and fell to a knee. Reaching into his pocket she had a tear in her eye as she saw the flash of a prism of shine on a ring.
“Marry me” falling back to the bench she sank to her knees in front of him, her arms wrapped tightly about his neck.
“Yes!” she managed to get out, tears fell as she nodded. Their lips met again and neither pulled away from this kiss.

Madeleine hesitated as Nathanial Harkness stepped into the corridor from the security office. It had been three months and her heart still gave that little hiccup when she met his steely gaze.
He stopped with innate courtesy, but the tension radiating from his muscular torso screamed reluctance. His face showed nothing, as steely as his grey eyes.
She cleared her too dry throat. “Nathanial.”
His head dipped in acknowledgement.
Madeleine resisted the temptation to scream. “Are you still not speaking to me? It seems rather childish.”
“I have nothing to say.” The corner of his mouth quirked and the tightness in her chest eased a fraction.
“I hadn’t realised you were back from leave. How are your family?”
He folded his arms across his broad chest. “All well. I didn’t realise you cared.”
“I have met them, Nate.” Only the once. Back when she and Nate had been an item. “You know I care. About them, and about you.”
His arms dropped as he straightened. “There is no point revisiting the past.”
“Why not. I haven’t changed. My feelings haven’t changed. Have yours?”
“It makes no difference what my feelings are. The circumstances have changed.”
“My brother died. Surely that means I need you more, not less?”
For the first time, his face registered emotion. “I’m sorry.”
“But you won’t love me.”
“You can have any man you want.”
She stepped to one side to go around him. “Apparently not.”
His hand gripped her elbow, sending static along her skin and heating her blood. “Madeleine. You were a princess, that was hard enough. Now you will be Queen when your father dies. You can’t marry your security chief.”
“Then I will not marry at all.”
He leaned closer, stirring her senses with his heat and scent. “You must, for the sake of the kingdom.”
“Elizabeth the first of England managed. I have cousins to inherit.”
“How can I persuade you?”
She cupped his jaw, her palm sensitive to the faint rasp of stubble. “You told me years ago to marry for love. You said I deserved to be loved. Who else can I trust but you?”
He tilted his face into her hand. “It will be frowned upon.”
“My father wishes it. I wish it. I am the future Queen.”
The grey of his eyes darkened. “Are you pulling the royal command card?”
“Will it work?”
“I am at your service, your highness.”
She watched the curve of his mouth soften into a smile. “For the rest of my life?”
“Until death.”
She tilted her face up, heart beating hard and fast. “Sealed with a kiss?”
“Sealed with a kiss.”
His mouth lowered, capturing hers.

Wow, these were so fun to read, everyone! We had a very tough time picking 3 favourites, but…here they are!
Hana – We thought your scene was charming and original – a creative proposal delivered with warmth and authenticity!
Ashley – All of us loved your twist on the romantic proposal!
Fiona – We loved the reversal on expectation, with the heroine as “royal”. And the emotion was so sweet!
Congrats to our top three, and thanks and well done to everyone who participated. Have a great week! – The SYTYCW team

This was a fun prompt — and my first time entering one of the challenges! Thanks!

Aw, thank you for the opportunity to write these small, fun challenges. Gives me a break from the WIP. 😀

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