A Royal Christmas Proposal (Harlequin Special Edition Series #2373)

A Royal Christmas Proposal (Harlequin Special Edition Series #2373)

by Leanne Banks

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Overview

A Royal Christmas Proposal (Harlequin Special Edition Series #2373) by Leanne Banks

A DADDY FOR HER LITTLE PRINCE? 

Fredericka Devereaux is no pushover princess. She's determined to provide the best life possible for her infant son, Leo. So when her brother, the ruler of Chantaine, insists that she and her hearing-disabled son need a protector, Ericka objects. But her new bodyguard, handsome Treat Walker, warms her heart as he cares for her baby…and proves himself deserving of his name… 

Treat keeps telling himself that he's not into Ericka and her little family. She's stuck-up and a royal—hardly his type! Despite his best efforts, the former football player finds himself charmed by the sexy single mom and her adorable infant. This Christmas, all Treat wants in his stocking is the royal twosome he's sworn to protect!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460343661
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 12/01/2014
Series: Royal Babies
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 363,224
File size: 243 KB

About the Author

Leanne Banks is a New York Times bestselling author with over sixty books to her credit. A book lover and romance fan from even before she learned to read, Leanne has always treasured the way that books allow us to go to new places and experience the lives of wonderful characters. Always ready for a trip to the beach, Leanne lives in Virginia with her family and her Pomeranian muse.

Read an Excerpt

Princess Fredericka hoped her brother wasn't going to be impossible.

She knew she had made more than her share of mistakes. She'd been a wild child when she'd been a teenager and terrified her family with her antics. Everyone had breathed a sigh of relief when she'd gotten married, because she'd appeared to calm down. In many ways she had, but she'd learned things didn't always turn out the way one expected. She'd managed to make the best of what life had dealt her. Ericka knew her brother Stefan, the ruling prince of Chantaine, however, would have a hard time seeing her as a competent single mother to her adorable son, Leo.

She resisted the urge to fidget as she waited to be invited into her brother's office. She nodded at staff members as they hung holiday greenery and put candles in the window. Ericka suspected the Christmas decorations had been ordered by Eve, her brother's wife. Ericka barely remembered seeing Christmas decorations when she had been growing up in the palace. With the exception of the huge Christmas tree in one of the formal rooms, one might not have known the holiday existed. Of course, the deep chill between her mother and father hadn't helped matters.

Her father, Prince Edward, had been a philanderer and an absentee father and husband. Her mother had felt trapped and bitter. Ericka remembered wishing only that she could run away. She'd done exactly that in more than one way, which was why she suspected this was going to be a messy discussion. Stefan was extremely protective.

The door to Stefan's office finally opened. "Your Highness, Princess Fredericka, please come in," Stefan's assistant said.

She nodded. "Thank you very much," she said, then entered her brother's office while the assistant left the room. "Stefan," she greeted, walking toward her brother. She noticed a wisp of a couple gray streaks on the sides of his dark hair. The burden of his position was obviously weighing on him.

She kissed his cheek and he kissed hers. "How are you?" she asked.

"I'm well," he said. "I'm more concerned about you and Leonardo."

Ericka smiled. "Leo and I are great. I'm happy to be back in Chantaine after spending the last year with Tina in Texas."

"You could have spent the last year here in Chan-taine," he said, and rounded his desk to sit in his chair.

Ericka sat in the chair across from her brother, watching him as he tented his fingers and studied her. "I think it was good to be with Tina in Texas during my pregnancy and delivery. She and her husband were supportive, and it was fun having their daughter, Katarina, around. She's quite the spitfire. Little ones put everything in perspective."

"True," Stefan said, giving a serious nod. "I think it would be best for you and Leo to live at the palace."

Ericka's stomach twisted and she bit the inside of her lip. She hated to go up against Stefan but knew it was necessary. "I think not," she said. "I've found a lovely gated cottage and a nanny. I think this will be best for Leo and me."

Stefan frowned. "But what about security? You and Leo need to be protected. That would be much easier within the palace walls."

Ericka shook her head. "The palace isn't the place for me. If you think about it, it's not the place for most of us. None of your siblings live here. I apologize for how this may sound, but the palace feels claustrophobic. I don't want that for Leo."

"He's a baby," Stefan said. "How will he know?"

"Babies sense more than you think. He would sense my tension. Leo and I need our own place. As I said, I have found a wonderful nanny and I've arranged for therapy for his hearing disability."

Stefan pressed his lips together. "Is there any chance you're wrong about his hearing? He's so young."

"No," she said, remembering the grief she'd suffered when she'd learned her perfect Leo couldn't hear. The doctors had tested Leo before she'd left the hospital with him, and many more tests had followed. "He has a hearing disability and I'm determined to make sure he gets the best treatment available."

"I can't believe you don't think living in the palace would make your life easier," Stefan said. "And your son's life safer."

Ericka shook her head. "Don't try to guilt me into doing things your way, Stefan. I have to follow my best inner guidance. I have to be my own expert. I'm counting on you to be supportive."

Stefan sighed. "This situation is going to put a lot of pressure on you. I hesitate to bring up the past, but—"

"You're talking about the time I spent in rehab in my teens," she said. Ericka couldn't blame any of her family for being concerned, but if she'd successfully survived her most recent humiliation, she could handle anything. "I'm lucky I learned to avoid chemicals early on. I haven't had a drink in nearly a decade. I learned to wake up every morning and make the decision that I'm not going to drink or use drugs that day."

Stefan nodded. "It's obvious you've come a long way, but I still don't want you to be overwhelmed."

"I'm going to be overwhelmed at times," she assured him. "I have a baby. Being a mother is new. But I'm a Devereaux and I'm not the weak link you may have once thought I was."

"I never said you were the weak link," he said with a dark frown.

"Well, maybe you just thought it," she said gently with a smile and lifted her hand when she could see he was going to protest. "It doesn't matter. You'll soon see there's more to me than you thought. I'll be very happy in my cozy cottage."

"Okay," he said reluctantly. "As you wish. However, I insist on providing you with security. You'll have a guard within the next couple of days."

Ericka made a face. "If you insist," she said. "Just make sure whoever you choose is low-profile or they'll get on my nerves. No one too pushy."

"I do insist, and I'll make sure you have the best security possible. You're working for the palace, so protection is more than appropriate. The new rules specify that if any of the Devereaux family is working for Chantaine, they shall be given security. You're taking over the coordination for the conference for The Royal Society for A Better World, although I don't know how you expect to do it with a baby and no husband," he said.

"Single mothers have been accomplishing great things for ages," she said. "I'll have a nanny and two sisters willing to help."

"Along with Eve," Stefan said of his wife. "She would kill me if I didn't offer her assistance."

Ericka smiled still amazed at the change Eve had wrought in her brother. The two were soul mates. Her happiness faded a little when she thought of her own future romantic prognosis. She wasn't sure her soul mate existed. Brushing the thought aside, she knew it was silly for her to waste one moment on any ideas about romance. She had no time or energy for a man in her life right now.

"You're always welcome at the palace if you should change your mind."

"Thank you, but I won't," she said. "Now shall we cover a few issues about the upcoming conference?"

Stefan shot her a smile that held a hint of approval. "Down to business already?"

"I've been ready," she said, and powered up her tablet.

Two days later, Stefan sent Ericka a text message informing her that one of his assistants would be bringing her security detail to her for introduction. Ericka frowned at her phone in response. This wasn't the best time. She was tired and hadn't even taken a shower yet. Leo hadn't slept well and had been fussy throughout the night. Even though Nanny Marley was more than able to care for Leo, Ericka had wanted to soothe him. Ericka was finding it more difficult than she'd planned to turn Leo's care over to someone else.

Silly. Ericka had never considered herself overly nurturing, but Leo had provoked powerful changes within her. Of course now that sunlight streamed through the windows of the cottage, Leo slept peacefully.

Yawning, she pulled her hair into a topknot and quickly changed clothes. She dashed to the bathroom to splash water on her face and brush her teeth. The introduction with her security detail shouldn't take any longer than five minutes. After that, she planned to sneak in a little nap before working. Before Leo, Ericka would never have considered meeting someone without being turned out to as close to perfection as possible. Having a baby had changed her priorities.

A knock sounded at the door and she rushed to answer it. Leo was already being treated for his hearing disability with infant hearing aids, and Ericka never knew what sounds might awaken him.

Spotting her brother's assistant through the glass window beside the door, she opened it. She immediately caught sight of a man standing just behind her brother's assistant. He stood at least as tall as her brother-in-law from Texas. Over six feet tall. How was this subtle? she wondered. He would stick out like a sore thumb in Chantaine. What had her brother been thinking?

"Hello, Your Highness. Rolf here," her brother's assistant said as he made a quick bow. "I'm here to introduce you to your primary security detail. Mr. Montreat Walker."

Ericka nodded toward Rolf then turned to Mr. Walker out of politeness. "Mr. Walker."

He gave a half-hearted dip of his head. "You can call me Treat," he said in a Texas twang.

"Oh, really," she said, thinking he was not a treat. With his stubborn chin and too-broad shoulders, he looked as if he would be a pain in her derriere. "Mr. Walker," she said then turned to Rolf, who appeared to be cowering from both her and Mr. Treat Walker. "Thank you so much for stopping by. I'll be in touch with Stefan."

"I'd like to check your home security system first," Mr. Walker said.

"Excuse me," she replied, unable to hide her disapproval.

"Yes," the overly tall, overly muscular, overly American man, said. "I've been hired to protect you. I need to make sure your home is adequately secure."

"I have a security system," she told him.

"Then you won't mind me checking it," he said.

Actually, she would, but she couldn't say that. She shrugged and opened her door widely. "Don't wake my baby."

He lifted his eyebrows for a half-beat then stepped forward. "I'll do the best I can, but I will need to test your alarm system."

Ericka stared at Rolf. "Please tell my brother I'll be in touch," she said.

"Yes, Your Highness," he said before he dipped his head and walked away.

"I'm a done deal," Mr. Walker said to her. "Your brother has made his decision."

Ericka tried to look down her nose at him, but he was too darn tall. "Nothing is a done deal."

Mr. Walker shrugged. "Good luck. I'll check your system."

Ericka frowned at him as he swaggered through the hallway. "I told you not to wake my baby."

Mr. Walker paused and turned to look at her. "How strong is his hearing disorder?"

Ericka could have cried at his question. If only she knew how extensive his hearing loss was. Even the doctors had told her the measurement for his hearing disorder could change. "Profound. He's been awake most of the night."

Mr. Walker nodded. "I'll check the house. I'll have to test the alarm system some time. You let me know when I can do that without startling him."

If only he could startle Leo, Ericka thought. If only she could make a sound that would startle him. Ericka stared after Mr. Walker, hating him and liking him at the same time. What could he possibly know about having a child with special needs? Nothing, she suspected. His life had probably been perfect. No troubles. No trials.

Leo's future was full of trials. She stiffened her back. She needed to cushion her child in his infancy and make him strong for his future years. Her job was to provide the perfect amount of support and hope. Whatever that was.

A flash of fur passed between them.

Mr. Walker frowned. "Was that a cat?"

"Yes. The doctor said Leo would benefit from a pet."

He frowned in confusion. "A cat? Don't they sleep twenty-three out of twenty-four hours a day?"

"Sam is awake much more than that, plus he watches after Leo."

"You mean, he stalks your baby," Mr. Walker said.

She blinked. "He does no such thing. Sam protects Leo. He's probably studying you right now to make sure you won't hurt the baby."

Mr. Walker lifted a dark eyebrow. "This is one more challenge for implementing a sound security system."

Customer Reviews

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A Royal Christmas Proposal 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
DyanC More than 1 year ago
I always love visiting Chantaine, even more so at Christmas! I enjoyed reading this latest edition of Leanne Banks Special Edition series. I think my favorite part were when funny little lines popped up and made me smile. How can you go wrong with quotes like this in your story? “You gave me the Texas version of the Jolly Green Giant.” “He gave several burps and let air out of his backside…” “”…but we have a bad diaper situation,”
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Princess Fredericka “Ericka” Devereaux has made some mistakes in the past from wild child teen to marrying a cheating film director.  But when she got pregnant she divorced the fool and grew up.  Now she has moved back home to Chantaine but refuses to be a burden on anyone.  Her new independence is important to her and all she wants to do is raise her baby.  Being a royal means she needs a bodyguard.  Enter Treat an American security expert who is trying to enter the European market.   This bodyguard romance is as sweet as they come.  Baby Leo steals the show.  Ericka’s story could have gone either way when she discovered that Leo was deaf.  She could have left him to others to raise or she could do as she has and thrown herself into making life as full as possible and focusing on giving him the tools he needs to succeed. I like that this story shows how much work is involved when dealing with a special needs child and acknowledges that moms need love too. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
In A Royal Christmas Proposal, the latest installment of her Royal’s series, Leanne Banks takes on the very serious subject of infant disabilities.  Princess Fredericka Deveraux is the newly minted single mother to Leo, her profoundly hearing impaired son.  Ericka thinks moving home to Chantaine will help provide moral and family support; what she doesn’t realize is the stubbornness of her older brother who will also provide daily security.  Treat Walker is said security.  Though Ericka doesn’t want to like Treat, they slowly begin to form a bond.  Treat’s gentle treatment of her son certainly helps warm her heart.  While Treat and Ericka are fun to watch, Leo steals the show.  Banks provides glimpses into life with a profoundly deaf child and the strength it takes to ensure a normal life.  Banks infuses the story with heart and Christmas spirit.  A must read for anyone who loves kids and Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiles. "Whao babes"
amara05 More than 1 year ago
This story was charming - took me back to my teenaged years. The story line was down to earth and realistic. The romantic parts could have been more.... A quick read.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful story. Ericka has her whole world turned upside down when she discovers that her newborn son is deaf. Add to that the fact that she is now a single mom because her husband has moved on with someone else. Feeling as if she is to blame for her son's predicament, she returns home. Her brother hires Treat to be her bodyguard and sparks fly.
gromine49 More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful and  sweet story set on an island called Chantaine, an island in the Mediterranean. Princess Fredericka(or Ericka) is back home on the island with her son, where her brother is now the ruler of the kingdom. She wants to live in a cottage and not the palace and her brother disagrees so he hires a bodyguard. This is a really cute and funny story too, but also deals with a child with special needs and being a single mom and trying to do what's best for the child.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love these royals. Great story
TinaR19 More than 1 year ago
Leanne Banks gives us a sentimental romance of a man who thinks he has nothing left in this world except his security business, and a woman who is not only a princess, but a single parent of an infant with disabilities who is the most important person in her life. She is not happy when she is forced to have a bodyguard to protect her, but she never expected to find out her heart is big enough for two people? I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
ReadingOverTV More than 1 year ago
A Royal Christmas Proposal by Leanne Banks He has found that she is not a "snooty princess" and he wants her. But should he cross that professional line? He is her bodyguard. She doesn't initially like this tall dark American but as he starts helping with the baby she's charmed by his comments and care. The next in the charming Royal baby books. A mother dealing with a baby's handicap and a surprising helping hand. Plus a few interesting facts thrown in about famous artists and inventors who were deaf. Several editing errors that should have been caught before printing.  I won a copy of this book from an author contest.
Sheilag2367 More than 1 year ago
This is the type of book that makes you feel so good that you put it aside so you always have it available for a "pick me up"! Erika and Treat are characters that are able to humble themselves for love. Erika's willingness to be a mother her son deserves instead of letting her nanny shoulder all the responsibility and Treat who is masculine enough to hold and diaper a child make this story a true Christmas delight. The family interaction makes me want to purchase each story of the Royal Deveraux's because the strength Erika exhibits is a part of a family dynamic that is definitely worth reading. A strong handsome bodyguard and a "Princess" worth loving and baby who steals your heart is a definite book to hold on to!
judyrudy More than 1 year ago
A Royal Christmas Proposal is the next installment in Leanne Banks Royal Babies series. Princess Fredericka (Ericka) Deverereaux has just returned from the United States to Chantaine after giving birth to her son Leo. She is divorced and trying to make it on her own with a special needs child. Montreat (Treat) Walker is an ex-NFL star who was forced into retirement due to an injury. He is part owner in a security firm and has been assigned to protect Ericka and Leo. Treat along with nanny Marley help her settle into life with a cranky sleep challenged baby. While providing her security, Treat also helps teach her how to introduce stimuli into Leo’s life that helps him to sleep. Ericka slowly begins to trust Treat. She opens her arms and lets him into her life. Treat tries to keep his feelings for Ericka from interfering with his job. Enter Ericka’s ex-husband plus one slip-up with her security and Treat begins to question his effectiveness. Christmas is a magical time of year and love is always in the air. I highly recommend A Royal Christmas Proposal. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. Ms. Banks knows how to weave a tale and she did a fantastic job with this story. I loved Leo’s journey and both Ericka and Treat’s desires to provide him with a normal life away from the media. I’d like to disclose that I received an advanced copy of A Royal Christmas Proposal in exchange for a fair and honest review.
mrsboone4 More than 1 year ago
Another fabulous read from Leanne Banks. The Royal Babies series always entertains. Come to Chantaine & experience life with the Royals!
Bookworm2Bookworm More than 1 year ago
Princess Fredericka Devereaux is part of the royal family living on Chantaine, an island in the Mediterranean.  Her brother, Prince Stefan, is the head of the family now and she has other sisters.  Preferring to be called Ericka, she is the single mother of baby Leo.  Her ex-husband left her before she even realized she was pregnant and has not been a part of Leo’s life.   Ericka lives in a well-secured cottage on the island with Leo’s nanny.  She has official family duties that she must carry out each day as do the other royals.  However, she spends every minute with Leo that she can.  The sad thing is that Leo was born profoundly deaf.  Even at his very young age, Ericka works with him each day trying to teach him sign language. For added security, there is a small apartment attached to the cottage which houses Ericka and Leo’s body guard, Treat Walker.  A former football player from Texas, Treat has been in this business for quite awhile ever since he sustained some injuries earlier in his football career. Treat is very careful to ensure that the gates and fencing around the area are secure and accompanies Ericka and Leo when they leave the home.  Although Ericka doesn’t always feel it’s necessary, Treat insists as their safety is key. Ericka worries a lot about Leo.  There is a special type of surgery he can receive when he’s a little older that may reverse the hearing loss.  But, that’s still up in the air right now. Although Treat and Ericka try to keep their relationship professional, their constant togetherness soon results in an attraction between them.  Since Treat is a body guard and Ericka is a Princess, where can this relationship lead? This was a sweet novel that touched on how hard royal families work.  A big part of the book is about the extra love and care required of parents of special needs children.