by Julie Garwood


by Julie Garwood

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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From Julie Garwood, the undisputed queen of romance, comes her classic historical romance of princesses and noblemen!

Orphaned and besieged, Princess Alesandra knew that only a hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Cainewood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were kindled.

Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone...yet Alesandra's tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671744205
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 07/01/1993
Series: Crown's Spies Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 228,902
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Julie Garwood (1944—2023) was the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Fire and Ice, Shadow Music, Shadow Dance, Murder List, Killjoy, Mercy, Heartbreaker, Ransom, and Come the Spring. There are more than thirty-six million copies of her books in print.

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter Two

London, England, 1820

They'd called him the Dolphin. He'd called her the Brat. Princess Alesandra didn't know why her guardian's son Colin had been given the nickname of a sea mammal, but she was well aware of the reason behind his nickname for her. She'd earned it. She really had been a brat when she was a little girl, and the only time Colin and his older brother Caine, had been in her company, she'd misbehaved shamefully. Granted, she had been very young—spoiled, too a natural circumstance given the fact that she was an only child and was constantly being doted upon by relatives and servants alike. But her parents had both been gifted with patient natures, and they ignored her obnoxious behavior until she finally outgrew the temper tantrums and learned a little restraint.

Alesandra had been very young when her parents took her with them to England for a short visit. She had only a vague memory of the Duke and Duchess of Williamshire, didn't remember the daughters at all, and only had a hazy recollection of the two older sons. Caine and Colin. They were both giants in her mind, but then she had been very little and they had both been fully grown men. Her memory had probably exaggerated their size. She was certain she wouldn't be able to recognize either brother in a crowd today. She hoped Colin had forgotten her past behavior as well as the fact that he'd called her a brat. Getting along with Colin would make everything so much easier to endure. The two duties she was about to undertake were going to be difficult, and having a safe haven at the end of each day was really quite imperative.

She had arrived in England on a dreary Monday morning and had immediately been taken to the Duke of Williamshire's country estate. Alesandra hadn't been feeling well, but believed her queasy stomach was due to anxiety. She was quick to recover, for she was welcomed into the family with sincerity and affection. Both the duke and duchess treated her as one of their own. Her awkwardness soon dissipated. She wasn't given special consideration, and was even allowed to speak her own mind every now and again. There was only one argument of substance between Alesandra and her guardian. He and his wife were going to escort her to London and open their town house for the season. Alesandra made over fifteen appointments, but just a few days before they were scheduled to leave for the city, both the duke and duchess became quite ill.

Alesandra wanted to go alone. She insisted she didn't want to be a bother to anyone and suggested that she rent her own town house for the season. The duchess had palpitations over the mere thought, but Alesandra held her ground. She reminded her guardian she was an adult, after all, and she could certainly take care of herself. The duke wouldn't hear of such talk. The debate raged for days. In the end it was decided that Alesandra would take up residence with Caine and his wife, Jade, while she was in London.

Unfortunately, just the day before she was supposed to arrive, both Caine and Jade came down with the same mysterious ailment currently afflicting the duke and duchess and their four daughters.

The only choice left was Colin. If Alesandra hadn't already scheduled so many appointments with her father's associates, she would have stayed in the country until her guardian had recovered. She didn't want to inconvenience Colin, especially after hearing from his father about the terrible past two years he'd had. She imagined the last thing Colin needed now was chaos. Still the Duke of William shire had been most insistent that she avail herself of his hospitality, and it wouldn't have been polite for her to refuse her guardian's wishes. Besides, living with Colin for a few days might make the request she was going to have to make of him easier.

She arrived on Colin's doorstep a little past the dinner hour. He had already gone out for the evening. Alesandra, her new lady's maid, and two trusted guards crowded into the narrow black and white tiled foyer to present her note from the Duke of Williamshire to the butler, a handsome young man named Flannaghan. The servant couldn't have been more than twenty-five years of age. The surprise of her arrival obviously rattled him, for he kept bowing to her, blushing to the roots of his white-blond hair, and she wasn't at all certain how to ease his discomfort.

"It is such an honor to have a princess in our home," he stammered out. He swallowed hard, then repeated the very same announcement.

"I hope your employer feels the way you do, sir," she replied. "I don't wish to be an inconvenience."

"No, no," Flannaghan blurted out, obviously appalled by the very idea. "You could never be an inconvenience."

"It's good of you to say so, sir."

Flannaghan swallowed hard again. In a worried tone he said, "But Princess Alesandra, I don't believe there's room for all of your staff." The butler's face was burning with embarrassment.

"We'll make do," she assured him with a smile, trying to put him at ease. The poor young man looked ill. "The Duke of Williamshire did insist I bring along my guards, and I couldn't travel anywhere without my new lady's maid. Her name's Valena. The duchess personally chose her for me. Valena has been living in London, you see, but she was born and raised in my father's homeland. Isn't it a wonderful coincidence she applied for the position? Yes, of course it is," she answered before Flannaghan could get a word in.

"Because she's only just been hired, I can't let her go. It wouldn't be at all polite, would it? You do understand. I can see you do."

Flannaghan had lost track of what was being explained to him, but he nodded agreement anyway just to please her. He was finally able to tear his gaze away from the beautiful princess. He bowed to her lady's maid, then ruined his first show of dignified behavior by blurting out, "She's just a child."

"Valena's a year older than I am," Alesandra explained. She turned to the fair-haired woman and spoke to her in a language Flannaghan had never heard before. It sounded a little like French to him, yet he knew it wasn't.

"Do any of your servants speak English?" he asked.

"When they wish to," she answered. She untied the cord at the top of her white fur-lined burgundy cloak. A tall, muscled guard with black hair and a menacing look about him stepped forward to take the garment from her. She thanked the man before turning back to Flannaghan. "I would like to get settled in for the night. The journey here took most of the day, sir, because of the rain, and I'm chilled to the bone. It was horrid outside," she added with a nod. "The rain felt like sleet, didn't it, Raymond?"

"Aye, it did, Princess," the guard agreed in a voice surprisingly gentle.

"We're all really quite exhausted," she told Flannaghan then.

"Of course you're exhausted," Flannaghan agreed. "If you'll follow me, please," he requested. He started up the stairs with the Princess at his side. "There are four chambers on the second level, Princess Alesandra, and three rooms on the floor above for the servants. If your guards will double up..."

"Raymond and Stefan will be happy to share quarters," she told him when he didn't continue. "Sir, this is really just a temporary arrangement until Colin's brother and his wife recover from their illness. I'll move in with them as soon as possible."

Flannaghan took hold of Alesandra's elbow to assist her up the rest of the stairs. He seemed so eager to help that she didn't have the heart to tell him she didn't require his assistance. If it made him happy to treat her like an old woman, she would let him.

They had reached the landing before the servant noticed the guards weren't following. The two men had disappeared toward the back of the house. Alesandra explained that they were looking around the lower level to familiarize themselves with all of the entrances to the house and would come upstairs when they were finished.

"But why would they be interested—"

She didn't let him finish. "To make it safe for us, sir."

Flannaghan nodded, though in truth he still didn't have any idea what she was talking about.

"Would you mind taking over my employer's room tonight? The linens were freshly changed this morning and the other chambers aren't ready for company. There's only Cook and me on staff, you see, because of the difficult financial time my employer is suffering through, and I didn't see the need to put linens on the other beds because I didn't know we would . . ."

"You mustn't worry so," she interrupted. "We'll make do, I promise."

"It's good of you to be so understanding. I'll move your things into the larger guest room tomorrow."

"Aren't you forgetting Colin?" she asked. "I would think he'll be irritated to find me in his bed."

Flannaghan imagined just the opposite, and immediately blushed over his own shameful thoughts. He was still a bit shaken, he realized, and surely that was the reason he was acting like a dolt. The surprise of his guests' arrival was not the true cause of his sorry condition, however. No, it was Princess Alesandra. She was the most wonderful woman he'd ever met. Every time he looked at her, he forgot his own thoughts. Her eyes were such a wondrous shade of blue. She had the longest, and surely the darkest, eyelashes he'd ever noticed, too, and her complexion was exquisitely pure. Only a sprinkle of freckles across the bridge of her nose marred her skin, but Flannaghan found that flaw absolutely wonderful.

Copyright © 1993 by Julie Garwood

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