Her Highness, My Wife (Effington Family & Friends Series)

Her Highness, My Wife (Effington Family & Friends Series)

by Victoria Alexander

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060001445
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/30/2002
Series: Effington Family & Friends Series , #5
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 276,036
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

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Her Highness, My Wife

Chapter One

Summer 1819

"Did you miss me?"

The lilting tone with its subtle accent drifted into the stables he'd rented for a workshop on the outskirts of London, and for the span of a pulse beat, Lord Matthew Weston froze.

He'd never thought to hear that voice again save perhaps in his dreams, late at night when his mind was free to remember what he refused to consider in the light of day.

It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to look up from the work before him on the rough-hewn table. After all, hadn't he rehearsed this scene in his head a hundred times? A thousand? He'd practiced the right words, the proper manner. He'd be cold, aloof, indifferent. And why not? Her reappearance in his life was of no consequence.

He hadn't counted on the blood rushing in his ears or the thud of his heart in his chest.

"I scarce noticed you were gone." His voice sounded light, disinterested. Perfect. As if she'd been gone no more than an hour or so. As if he were far too busy to notice her absence.

For a long moment she was silent. His muscles ached with the effort of not acknowledging the significance of her presence and the strain of waiting for her response.

At last her laugh echoed through the stable and rippled through his blood. "I see you are still tinkering. It's most comforting to know some things in this world do not change."

"The world is constantly changing." Matt picked up the mechanism he'd been working on and studied it, as if it were much more important to him than she was. As if he didn't care enough to so much as glance at her. But he did care. More than he'd expected. He drew a breath to steady his nerves. "Constantly evolving. Nothing stays the same."

He straightened and glanced toward the wideopen doors. She was little more than a silhouette against the bright afternoon sun. Not that he needed to see her. He knew her face as well as he knew her laugh or her touch. In spite of his best efforts, everything about her was engraved in his memory as it had once been on his heart. "Nothing at all."

She laughed again and his jaw clenched. "Come now, that is far too philosophical and entirely too serious for a summer's day. Philosophy should be reserved for long, cold winter nights when there is little more to do than comment on the state of the world around us."

"Should it?"

"Indeed it should," she said firmly and stepped farther into the stables. "Odd ... I don't remember you as being at all serious."

A teasing note rang in her voice and he was at once grateful she was not at all serious. Regardless of the countless times he'd gone over this very conversation in his head, right now he wasn't prepared to discuss serious matters. In truth, he wasn't prepared for her.

He placed the apparatus back on the table, picked up a rag and wiped the grease and grime from his hands. "I am surprised you remember me at all."

"Oh, I remember you quite well. How could I not?" She moved closer, away from the glare of the sun, and he could see her clearly now: the delicate shape of her face, the tilt of her nose and, even in the shadowed stables, the vivid green of her eyes. "Why, it has scarce been a year since we -- "

"Fifteen months, three weeks and four days," he said without thinking, surprised to realize he knew exactly how long it had been since he'd last seen her. Last kissed her.

"Yes, well, time passes far too swiftly." She trailed her fingers along the edge of his worktable and glanced at the assorted bolts and screws, odds and ends strewn across the surface. All part of his attempt to refine a device of his own design to effectively heat the air required to lift a balloon without blowing himself up in the process. "Are you still sailing the heavens?"

The phrase caught at him. Sailing the heavens was the whimsical term she'd first called his efforts at ballooning and then what they'd shared between them. It had seemed so fitting once. Not just for his work but for the way she, and she alone, had made him feel. Sailing the heavens. He pushed aside the sentiment.

"I am indeed. Even now, I am preparing for a competition of sorts. A design contest, really. I have some innovations that may prove quite profitable."

"It's dangerous, you know." She glanced up at him. "This business of flying."

"That's what makes it exciting. The risk. The gamble. It's the best part of living, knowing your very existence is at stake." Or your heart. He ignored the unbidden thought and shrugged. "The most interesting things in life have an element of danger to them."

She shook her head; her voice was somber. "A woman in Paris died just last month. Her balloon caught fire and she plunged to her death."

"Madame Blanchard. Yes, I had heard of it." He had met the lady while in Paris last year. She was the widow of a balloonist and had taken up where her husband had left off. "A pity but not surprising. She was given to aerial fireworks and furthermore employed hydrogen for her balloon. Given the flammable nature of the gas, her demise was inevitable."

"Inevitable?" Her gaze met his and concern showed in her eyes. "As is yours?"

"Are you worried about me?" He raised a skeptical brow. "It's a bit late, don't you think?"

"I would hate to see you meet the same fate."


"It would be a shame. A waste." She looked away. "I do dislike waste."

He leaned toward her, the intensity in his voice belying his slow smile. "And would you grieve for me?"

Her gaze snapped back to his and her brows pulled together indignantly. "Of course."

He laughed and straightened. "How gracious of you, considering how little regard you had for me a year ago."

"Fifteen months, three weeks and four days," she said under her breath.

Her Highness, My Wife. Copyright © by Victoria Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Her Highness, My Wife 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1819, Princess Tatiana Pruzinsky must find the Heavens of Avalonia, jewels that will legitimize her claim to the throne of the Kingdom of Greater Avalonia. In 1767, her great-aunt Sophia smuggled the jewels to England during dangerous times. Tatiana plans to visit the homes of the descendants of the three ladies (Hutchins, Helmsley, and Cranston) who graciously helped Sophia upon her arrival in England. Tatiana pretends she is writing a biography of her great-aunt. To further disguise her mission, Sophia asks the lord she deserted after only one week of marriage, Matthew Weston to pretend to be her spouse.

Matt remains angry with his wife. After she left, he learned about her royal blood. Still, needing money, Matt accepts Tatiana¿s offer to pay him to be her husband though his hidden motive for agreeing is to know why she left. As they pretend to be what they really are, both want to forget the other, but love flourishes making regret the end state.

The story line is exciting and the lead male character is a likable individual trying to recover from love lost. However, Tatiana is an unpleasant person as she is a phobic liar who fabricates even when there is no reason to do so. This makes it very difficult for readers to empathize with her plight leading to the question of whether she has the moral fortitude to ascend to the throne. Still the tale furnishes readers with an engaging historical tale, as fans will wonder if Matt will stick around long enough to learn the truth.

Harriet Klausner

dianaleez on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This an uneven book. I found it entertaining and enjoyable; I liked both the major characters and had no trouble following the plot line. That said, the characters are static and the plot is superficial. HOWEVER, the dialogue and tension between the major characters is delightful - reminiscent of Hepburn and Tracy. So whether or not you like it, will depend on what you're looking for. It's a light, entertaining read - but not well crafted.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Matthew and Tatiana were a great couple, very interesting, and obviously in love. The story was clever and held my interest til the end. Lord Matthew was one of those handsome, quiet heros you won't soon forget. Tatiana, the princess, was lovely and a joy to read about.