I began this novel as a novella for an Australian publisher of erotic romance, but she didn’t like the fact that the hero was a prince, didn’t think that people would be able to relate to him. I decided to put his part of the story into first POV, and it no longer an erotic romance but a contemporary romance–only the second of which I’ve ever written because most of my heroes are paranormal (vampire, angels, trans-dimensional).
Royal Secrets – a snippet
Prince Abelard Alexander Leandres swung his beautiful Ingrid into a waltz to the immortal The Blue Danube. Around the opulent ballroom of whites and golds, they spun on the gleaming oak floor. Gazing into each other’s eyes, they smiled as if the world were theirs to command…and it was, to their way of thinking. Newspapers and television across the globe speculated that the pale blonde Scandinavian miss would soon be a princess of Desjardins. Their relationship had long been viral on the social media.
My dark blue eyes still fixed on her ice-blue ones, I lost focus for a moment. Something inside me, some restlessness or deeper need, ate at me late at night, and sometimes, like now, in the midst of my duties, reared its anonymous face to torment me. Ingrid’s expensive perfume, the gift I’d bought her in Paris on impulse, seemed to wrap around me and suffocate me. I resisted the urge to gasp for breath.
The golden music from the band in Leandres livery switched to another classic. Ingrid’s hand slid to my elbow, and she offered me a flirty wink as I escorted her from the dance floor. She wasn’t a woman to be ignored. Her beauty alone turned heads, even without the fact that her exquisite countenance was on every tabloid with a prince.
“This is our second anniversary, Zander.” She squeezed my arm. “I bet you’d forgotten.”
I winced, stiffening slightly at the reference. I had forgotten the occasion. It was hard to believe that Ingrid and I had been lovers for two years. The media already had us engaged, but I wasn’t of that inclination yet. She was intelligent, beautiful, and good in bed, but there was just that something missing. Surely, a man my age shouldn’t believe in romance. My father constantly reminded me that at twenty-eight, he’d had a wife and an heir. Me. Therefore, I should have a wife and children by now. He tossed nubile young maidens in my path, but I had Ingrid, and no one else appealed to me the way she did.
At each island of people, we stopped for a brief conversation, constantly moving in the direction of a quiet alcove I’d seen across the room. I was far from reclusive or introverted, but tonight I simply wished I could ditch my duties and seek solitude. I’d much have preferred to be finalizing the American ambassadorship. This evening breathed a premonition down my neck, and a chill slithered over me. In my custom-tailored formalwear, I suffered a shiver that went unnoticed.
Ingrid tugged me to a halt. “Are you ill? You’re very quiet.”
I gave her a quick one-armed hug. “Nothing is amiss, dear Ingrid. Perhaps, I’m merely in a pensive mood.”
My elderly but sarcastic aunt lifted her silvery head and beckoned with a slight nod. Inwardly, I flinched. Aunt Heloise had a penchant for asking embarrassing questions and making innuendos about matrimony. Like a good swordsman, I fended the questions, but the hints were encouragement for Ingrid, and, in the midst of a crowded ballroom, I’d realized I wasn’t in love with the blonde beauty who counted on becoming queen.
“Good evening, madam.” Ingrid dropped a little curtsey. “You look lovely this evening. I hope your trip to America went well.”
Aunt Heloise glanced from Ingrid to me with a look of mild surprise—that I hadn’t spoken first as was customary? Annoyed at Ingrid, I offered my kinswoman a brief greeting and a forced smile. I didn’t dislike my aunt, far from it. I merely knew that she’d silently chide me for Ingrid’s impertinence.
She returned her attention to Ingrid. “Very well, thank you. In fact, it appears Desjardins will soon acquire an ambassador from the United States. That wasn’t the purpose of my visit, mind you. Negotiations with my brother have been proceeding for some time.”
A wide, enchanting smile lit Ingrid’s face and fired her eyes to a sapphire sparkle. “Why that’s absolutely marvelous.”
“What do you think, Alexander?” My aunt pinned me in her notorious, direct, and demanding gaze, not using my family nickname. “Surely, you have an opinion.”
That accusation took me aback. Blast and damn it, I’d be quite as formal as she. “My father and I have discussed this possibility, my dear Duchess. Point of fact, I worked with him in these negotiations.”