American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Author:Stephanie Marie Thornton
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2019-03-12T04:00:00+00:00


* * *

• • •

The exuberant welcome Father received in New York’s harbor was enough to assuage all doubts regarding the upcoming Republican nomination; I’d have guessed at least one million people turned out to witness the return of their beloved colonel.

“Only conquering heroes the likes of Alexander and Caesar have been feted with this much pomp and circumstance,” I said to Father as the cutter Androscoggin docked at the Battery. The shout that went up filled the park and the nearby streets, possibly all of New York itself. “And you’re only returning from a hunting expedition.”

Father smiled at that as we stepped ashore. “Poor Taft won’t stand a chance when it comes time for the Republican primaries.”

Rainbow confetti clung to my hat, and my ears threatened to ring for days as Nick hugged me close. He’d come aboard at quarantine and taken my breath away in his dapper white linen suit before he’d swung me around and crushed me to him, making me realize how lucky I was to have him instead of a husband like Count Gizycki. Now we trailed after Father, who was grinning his trademark grin as hundreds of reporters, policemen, and citizens pressed close to grasp his hand. “Happy belated birthday, Bubbie,” Nick said. “There’s a present for you in the car. It’s a good one, if I say so myself.”

“Seeing you is enough for me,” I said, meaning every word.

“Then I should just return the gift?”

“Well, far be it from me to turn away a present.”

With Father already lost in the crowd, I hugged Mother one last time and promised to see them in two days for Ted’s wedding, then ducked into the car with Nick.

“Happy birthday.” He handed me an awkward sort of package tied together in muslin and cinched with a cheerful red bow.

I opened the gift and laughed aloud. “Roller skates!” I clapped my hands in glee. “It’s been ages since I’ve zipped around on skates.”

“It’s the latest craze,” Nick said. “I’ve a pair at home. We’ll put them on and go door to door to all of our friends and see who wants to join us before supper.”

“Perfect!” I planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek. “I love you, Nick Longworth. Promise me we’ll never be apart this long again.”

“Not this long,” Nick agreed. “But I have to head to Cincinnati soon.”

I did my best not to grimace as if he’d just shoveled mushy peas into my mouth, but didn’t quite succeed.

Cincin-nasty.

“Don’t worry.” Nick must have read my mind. “You can stay with your family in New York. It seems like you had a hanging good time together in London.” He glanced at me, his expression suddenly hooded as he navigated through the packed side streets. “I heard Willard Straight came to visit you as well.”

“He did indeed. In fact, he even proposed, but I told him you’d beat him to the punch and I was already married.”

Nick made some horrible choking sound, swiveling to look at me so fast that the car swerved and almost hit an electric light pole.



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