The Dragon Prince's Crush - Lorelei M Hart



“When I was little, I used to think you had the most glamorous job,” I confessed to my father, who just so happened to be the king of Montipan.

We’d spent the past three hours reading through the proposed revisions to the building codes. There was zero fun in that. It was necessary, and I got that, but if I never saw another form, I’d be a happy dragon.

“I hate to tell you this, but 90 percent of your future career will be boring if you do it correctly.” He stood up and stretched.

We were alone—as alone as we ever got while working, anyway. The guards were perched outside this room, my father’s private office. I enjoyed these times best, even when it was doing something boring. It was some of the only time my father could be himself—could relax a little. The guards were just a holler or press of a button away, but still the sense of being alone was there, and I embraced it.

“I’m getting more tea. Do you want some?” He picked up his mug. “I think there are some muffins too.”

Because of course there were. My brothers—my dear, sweet, meddling, pain-in-the-ass brothers—assumed my support of the bakery was focused on the young owner.

They were wrong.

Sure, I found the bakery owner attractive, but that wasn’t why I started to purchase their treats, letting it be known by key people on the gossip train that I was quite fond of their goods. Their deliciousness was just a bonus.

My reasons were a secret I hadn’t divulged to anyone.

I’d been wandering through the village on a rainy Tuesday a few years back, trying to be just a normal guy… not a prince or a king-to-be… just Aiden, the omega. Shortly after lunchtime, I’d gotten a hankering for a cookie and stepped into the bakery to see if they had anything left for the day. Instead of finding cookies and muffins and danishes, I found the place empty, the sounds of tears from behind the counter. A man on the phone with his doctor, pleading with him. This is Phelan M… from the b-bakery... No, that diagnosis has to be wrong. I can’t die. My kids still need me. They have no one else. Dr. Wyland, please.

I tiptoed out, the moment too private for a stranger’s ears, no matter how royal those ears were, my own heart breaking. I vowed to help them in any way I could. Dr. Wyland was the best the island had to offer. I couldn’t help there. He was who my own family trusted. But finances… that I could help with.

At first, it was just having the palace purchase large quantities of their products. It didn’t take long for that to leak and for people to flock to the bakery to rediscover just how amazing their goods were. And from there, Brenton decided I had a crush on the young baker, Phelan’s son, that was the catalyst for my newfound interest in muffins. Brothers. Whenever he or Chance teased me about the baker, I’d go red. Not because I was interested in the guy—we’d never met—but because I didn’t want any extravagant praise over my helping out the family after the dad died.

Gabriel, my father’s advisor, would call me weak… not a true leader if he discovered why I was so bakery-focused. He’d be wrong. Leaders do what their people need, even if it goes unseen—unrecognized.

“Aiden.” My father’s stern voice pulled me back to the present. “Tea? Muffin?”

“That sounds like break time to me.” I closed the folder I was working on and joined my father at the little tea station he’d had installed for my dad. He could have anything he wanted delivered with one word, and more people at his call than I could keep straight in my head, but tea was something he insisted on doing himself, something that I’d noticed annoyed Gabriel on more than one occasion.

So many things flustered that man.

“Break time, indeed.” He poured some water into the kettle and plugged it in, while I grabbed a couple of plates for our muffins.

“I feel like I wouldn’t even know if something in the codes was a bad idea.” I let out a long sigh. They were important, an error could be the difference between people being safe or not. It was a lot to put on my shoulders, which was probably why I was assigned to it. Father often said that shouldering a nation’s burdens was the most challenging part of