Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date, #4)

Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date, #4)

Jasmine Guillory


About the Book




When Vivian Forest gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a member of the royal family, she can’t refuse. She's excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn't expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has never given a personal, private tour in his time with the royals – until now. Intrigued by Vivian, he finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. Soon, flirtatious banter, results in a kiss under the mistletoe sure to keep the frostiest winter chill at bay.

With Vivian’s return to the US fast approaching, she and Malcolm will have to decide if this is simply a holiday romance or a love affair to change their lives.





To my grandmother,

Joyce York-Brown.

Thank you for everything.





Acknowledgments


Every book only comes to be because of hard work and help from many people, and that’s especially the case for this book.

I’m so grateful for my incredible agent, Holly Root, and my fantastic editor, Cindy Hwang, for their enthusiasm and support when I came to them with this idea. I’m thrilled and relieved every day that I’m going through this publishing journey with the two of you to guide me.

To everyone at Berkley, thank you for your hard work, energy, and ambition for me and my books, especially Jessica Brock, Fareeda Bullert, Angela Kim, Craig Burke, Erin Galloway, Kristine Swartz, Jin Yu, Megha Jain, and Vikki Chu. Thank you to Lauren Monaco, Jen Trzaska, and everyone on the incredible Penguin Random House sales team. And huge thanks to Kate Byrne and the entire Headline Eternal team for their guidance and enthusiasm.

I could never have done any of this without all the encouragement, support, and advice I’ve gotten from so many other writers. Amy Spalding and Akilah Brown, you’ve been there for me since the very beginning; I owe so much to both of you. Ruby Lang, thank you for everything. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, you are two of the most delightful, inspiring, and helpful writers out there, and I’ve learned so much from both of you. Sarah Mackey, thank you so much for both your enthusiastic cheerleading and your American to British translations. Lauren Kiehna, thank you for the incredible website TheCourtJeweller.com—it’s helped me more than you can know. Jami Attenberg, Melissa Baumgart, Robin Benway, Austin Channing Brown, Kayla Cagan, Alexis Coe, Nicole Chung, Roxane Gay, Tayari Jones, Lyz Lenz, Caille Millner, Daniel Ortberg, Doree Shafrir, Kate Spencer, Laura Turner, Esmé Weijun Wang, Sarah Weinman, and Sara Zarr, I am so grateful to have you all in my life.

Thank you so much to all of my friends who put up with me when I fell off the face of the earth to write this book, especially Jill Vizas, Nicole Clouse, Simi Patnaik, Janet Goode, Melissa Sladden, Jina Kim, Lisa McIntire, Ryan Gallagher, Sarah Tiedeman, Kyle Wong, Julian Davis Mortenson, Nanita Cranford, Joy Alferness, Alicia Harris, Toby Rugger, Rachel Fershleiser, Maret Orliss, Maggie Levine, Sara Kate Wilkinson, Kate Leos, and Lyette Mercier. And special thanks to Lindsey Kistler for literally putting me up in London while I did research, and for all of our discussions about the U.K. and the U.S.—this book is better because of you.

To my family, especially my parents and my sister, I love you so much. Thank you for always being in my corner and by my side.

Nicole Cliffe and Samantha Powell, our royals group chat has brought me so much joy in the past few years, and I’m not sure this book would have happened without the two of you.

Thanks to Meghan and Harry, just because.

And finally, Margaret H. Willison: You’re the real MVP. Thank you for giving me the idea for this book, for your all-caps enthusiasm when you found out I was actually going to write it, and for being the incredible person you are.





Chapter One




Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport.

“Um, Maddie? Do you think Ms. M. Forest and Ms. V. Forest are us?”

Vivian gestured at the man in the suit, holding the sign with their names on it.

Maddie turned in the direction Vivian was looking and grinned at her mother.

“Let’s do this, Mom.”

Vivian looked around and laughed to herself before she grinned back at Maddie.

She still didn’t exactly know how she’d gotten here. It had all started with a call from Maddie a few weeks ago.

“Hey, Mom, I need an answer fast—do you want to spend Christmas with me in England?”

Vivian had laughed. What else was there to do when your thirty-four-year-old daughter asked something so ridiculous?

“Sure, I do. I also want to spend Thanksgiving with you in Hawaii, New Year’s Eve with you in Paris, and Easter with you in Rome.”

But Maddie didn’t laugh at that.

“No, really. I’m serious. You remember my old mentor, Amelia Samuels?”

Vivian looked away from her computer screen.

“The one who’s now the stylist for the princess?”

“Duchess, but yes. Well, Amelia was supposed to go to England at Christmas to help prepare the Duchess for all of the royal Christmas festivities—apparently, there are lots of them—but Amelia is pregnant with twins and just had to go on bed rest. Her doctor says she’s under too much stress and can’t work at all.”

“Oh no, really? Poor Amelia; I didn’t know she was pregnant! Please tell her I’m thinking about her.”

Vivian had only met Amelia once, that time she’d gone down to visit Maddie when she’d been living in L.A., but she’d really liked her. And Amelia had done a lot for Maddie and her own stylist career.

“I will, Mom, but let me finish. Since Amelia can’t fly to England for Christmas, she wants me to fill in for her, because both she and the Duchess want someone she trusts.”

Vivian dropped her pen on the floor.

“Maddie! Oh my God! Are you serious? My daughter is going to be so famous! You’re going to England to work with a princess? You’ll be all over People magazine! Oh my God, I can’t wait to tell everybody!”

Maddie laughed.

“You can’t tell everybody yet, but I know, I’m blown away. But wait, we can be excited in a second—I want you to come with me.”

Vivian got up and closed her office door.

“Come with you . . . to England?”

Maddie started talking faster.

“It means I’ll be there for Christmas, and I don’t want to be alone with a bunch of strangers at Christmas. I already asked if you could join me, and they said yes. So . . . can you?”

Vivian looked around at the piles of work on her desk, and in the direction of her boss’s office, with their last conversation about his future—and hers—ringing in her ears.

“Maddie, I don’t know about this—I have a ton of work at this time of year, and today is especially wild around here. What about Theo, did you already talk to him?”

Vivian already adored Maddie’s boyfriend, Theo, even though they’d only officially been together for a few months.

“I told Theo about the offer, yes, and he’s thrilled for me. But if you mean did I invite Theo to come to England with me already, absolutely not. I love Theo, and I can’t wait to spend New Year’s Eve with him, but I’ve never spent a Christmas without my mother, and I don’t intend to start now. So, are you coming?”

Vivian grinned to herself. She couldn’t deny it warmed her heart to know her daughter still wanted her mom with her for Christmas.

But to go all the way to England for Christmas? That far away from work, the rest of the family, and everything?

“I’d love to come, but I can’t make a decision like this right now,” she said to Maddie. “Let me think about it and we can talk about this in a few days.”

Maddie’s voice got louder.

“There’s no ‘a few days.’ I have to make this decision now, and I’m going to decide for both of us. You need this. You haven’t gone on a real vacation in years.”

How had she managed to have a daughter who thought she could boss her around like this?

“Oh, you have to go. Life is too short not to take incredible opportunities like this! But I don’t think I can—”

“I’m definitely going, and you’re definitely coming with me. You never take enough time for yourself; you know I always tell you that. You spend all your time working or helping me or helping out with Aunt Jo. I know you don’t want to leave Aunt Jo, but you need a break.”

“Maddie . . .”

“Great, it’s settled. Talk to you later!”

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