Hacker Wedding (White Hat Security #9) - Linzi Baxter



My fist connected with the punching bag, a poor substitute for having a fight in the ring. Across the gym, I heard the sound of flesh connecting, and I grunted in frustration. Nobody in the gym would fight me, but not because they were scared to lose. Nope, I was engaged to the future queen, and they worried about hurting me. I feared I might explode if someone didn’t challenge me soon.

The bag gave me a good workout. I huffed with each punch, and perspiration slicked my body. Not wanting to stop, I used my sweatshirt sleeve to dry the moisture dripping in my eyes.

The men who worked for the royal family considered me royalty, not a hardened SEAL who spent hours boxing with his teammates and friends. I contemplated leaving the palace and finding a boxing gym, but the royal guards kept a close eye on me at all times. Only one of the guards knew the secrets I kept from Patty, and I needed to let my frustrations out soon, or I might explode.

Secrets from Patty were the last thing I wanted to have. It wouldn’t be long before she figured out what I was hiding. I needed my team in Shialia to help fix the issues. My brothers back in Fort Lauderdale weren’t my team anymore. I’d handed that company over to Brock a few months after Patty and I moved to Shialia. The men I’d hired for Shialia over the years were good, but not as good as the men and women back in Florida. The staff in Shialia were all members of the royal family and followed the old protocols. When Patty officially took over, I’d work with her to change a few of the policies—mostly ones put in place more than a hundred years before.

Brock or Antonio Ross wouldn’t care if I was royalty. Both would jump into the ring and probably lay my ass out. I hadn’t fought anyone in five years—not since I was at my gym in Fort Lauderdale. Patty and her missions in life were more important than me being in the ring.

My second-in-command walked over and handed me a bottle of water and a towel. I wasn’t the only one dripping with sweat. Wes Barley leaned against the wall, catching his breath, his knuckles gashed from a fight in the ring.

Wes was one of the first men I’d hired after moving to Shialia. He came recommended by Patty’s dad. At times, I wasn’t sure how much I trusted the king because he seemed to keep too much important information to himself. When we hired Wes, I’d been desperate, and he had a great résumé. He was a former SEAL injured in the line of duty. I was lucky to have him as part of the royal guard, but he wouldn’t get in the ring with me, either. I’d even tried bribing him with a large sum of money.

I unwrapped my hands and wished they had a few cuts or bruises—something to make me feel some pain because I deserved it.

“Looks like the workout did nothing to cool your mood.”

I pulled the damp sweatshirt over my head. “It would be better to actually fight someone.” I threw the wrap in the trash and sat down on the bench.

“You really need to read the policy guide for yourself. Nobody is going to subject themselves to imprisonment for fighting you.” Wes had spent hours learning every aspect of the policy. It came in handy because I hated reading through the old laws. His second-in-command wasn’t the only person to constantly remind him of the rules—Patty’s guards did it too. All new hires went through a two-month training on protocols and rules.

I shook my head. “Patty wouldn’t put someone in jail for joining me in the ring,” I laughed. This wasn’t the first time he’d heard the argument, but we had enough other issues to talk about.

“She wouldn’t have a choice,” he countered, running a towel over his face.

“Who would report someone to the court system for getting in the ring with me?” I let out a sigh.

“Someone wanting to get a leg up or a promotion,” he replied before twisting the cap off his water bottle and drinking half.

Rochelle walked into the gym area. I’d seen her around the palace a few times, but she seemed to come into the gym more often lately when I was working out. I had no clue what she did for the palace—I didn’t know what most