His Royal Love-Child

His Royal Love-Child

by Lucy Monroe

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552544457
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 05/01/2006
Series: Royal Brides , #2
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 100,445
File size: 162 KB

About the Author

USA Today Bestseller Lucy Monroe finds inspiration for her stories everywhere as she is an avid people-watcher. She has published more than fifty books in several subgenres of romance and when she's not writing, Lucy likes to read.  She's an unashamed book geek, but loves movies and the theatre too. She adores her family and truly enjoys hearing from her readers! Visit her website at: http://lucymonroe.com

Read an Excerpt

DANETTE MICHAELS closed the tabloid and put it down on the coffee table with careful precision.

Her hands were steady. It amazed her. A hurricane of pain was shaking her insides. She made no sound, though she wanted to scream. She wanted to rip the offending magazine to shreds, too. But she couldn't do either. If she so much as touched the tabloid again...if she gave vent to even a tiny bit of the storm tearing apart her soul, she was going to lose it completely.

She refused to do that. She'd spent years controlling her emotions, hiding both physical and mental pain while denying her tears. Ray's betrayal had made her cry and she'd sworn she wasn't going to let another man do that again. Not even Principe Marcello Scorsolini.

"He's just delish, isn't he?" Lizzy breathed, oblivious to the devastation her visit had wrought in Danette. She leaned forward and flipped the magazine open again, and pointed to the picture that was the source of Danette's current mental agony. "Can you imagine being that woman?"

Danette looked down at the picture. She didn't want to. It hurt, but she couldn't help herself. Her eyes were drawn by an emotion as powerful as the love that lay bleeding at the bottom of her heart. The need to know, and a desperate hope that her vision had deceived her the first time.

It had not.

The picture was exactly what she thought it was. It showed the drop-dead gorgeous president of the Italian arm of Scorsolini Shipping dancing with an equally attractive woman at his father's birthday bash on Scorsolini Island. They were practically molded to one another's bodies. Prince Marcello was smiling and the woman looked like a beautiful, sleek cat who had just copped a whole bowl of the richest cream.

How could Danette have been so stupid that she'd allowed herself to get involved with this man...to actually believe that they had enough in common where it counted?

She'd fallen into his arms with about as much self-preservation as a lemming following the pack leader off the side of a cliff. She'd given him her virginity and asked for nothing in return but his overwhelming passion. He'd offered her his fidelity, but that picture made her doubt the sincerity of the gift.

Contrary to what he had told her, her prince was the king of the playboys. Was she terminally stupid where men were concerned, or simply unlucky?

"Earth to Danette. Hello, is anyone in there?" Lizzy's voice penetrated Danette's crushing thoughts.

"What?"

"Where were you at, chica? Don't tell me you were thinking about work."

"Something like that," Danette said in a strained voice. In her mind, her job and her lover were inexorably linked. "I said, can you imagine being her?"

Only too well, except when Marcello held Danette close like that, she was never wearing a designer original ball gown. Most of the time, she wasn't wearing anything at all. "Yes."

Lizzy laughed. "You've got a better imagination than me then."

"Not really."

"Are you okay?" Lizzy asked, her face creased with concern. "You seem out of it, and more than just your normal preoccupation with being the original Wonder Woman at work."

Danette forced herself to look away from the picture and at her small, blond friend. They were both Americans, but that was where the similarity ended. Lizzy was five feet even with the body of a pocket Venus and short blond hair that fell in wild ringlets around her heart-shaped face. She also had an infectious smile that had drawn Danette to her immediately.

Danette, on the other hand, had slight curves, a very slender build, a neck that Marcello said looked like a graceful swan's, but which she felt was too long, average looks he called refreshingly natural, and average height that felt very tiny beside his six-foot-two-inch frame. Her chin-length mouse-brown hair was straight and even when she tried to curl it, it never held. So she'd given up trying.

Marcello said it felt like silk against his fingertips and he loved the fact she didn't starch it with lots of product, but the blonde he was holding so closely in the picture certainly looked made up to the nines. So much for Marcello's evinced preference for the unadorned lily. It was obvious he liked hothouse orchids just fine.

That picture made her wonder if she hadn't fooled herself about Marcello just as badly as she had with Ray.

She tried for a smile, but failed. She settled for a sigh. "I'm fine. Just tired. I've been working hard on the Cordoba project."

"With the hours you put in, it's no wonder you don't have a social life."

But Danette did have a social life...a secret one that gave her more pleasure than she'd ever dreamed was possible. At least it had until this moment.

She managed to force the smile this time, though she wasn't sure it was a very convincing one. "You know how it is."

Lizzy's smile was genuine, if tinged with worry. "What I know is that you work too hard."

"Not really. I love my job."

"I love my job, too, chica, but you don't see me spending every waking moment dedicated to it." Lizzy winked. "I've got better things to do with my off hours. Speaking of, I've got to get going...you sure you don't want to come down to the taverna with the rest of us?"

Danette shook her head. "Sorry, but I think I'll go for an early night."

Lizzy sighed and shook her head, her blond curls bouncing. "You need to get out more."

"I do get out." With Marcello, and nowhere anyone from Scorsolini Shipping was likely to run into her.

Lizzy just snorted, then her expression turned calculating. "If you aren't there, Ramon from sales is going to be disappointed."

"I doubt it."

"The guy has the hots for you, he's good-looking, great at his job, and he's single. Why not come down, spend some time with him? See where it goes."

"Ramon has had four different girlfriends in the last six months...he's a bad risk." But she had to swallow a burble of hysterical laughter as she realized what she'd just said.

No worse risk existed in the relationship stakes than Marcello Scorsolini.

"All of life is a gamble, or haven't you learned that yet?" Lizzy asked as she got up to go.

"Some chances are more worth taking than others."

"And you don't think Ramon is one of them?" Danette sighed. "I don't know, but not tonight. I'm sure about that much, all right?"

"Okay." Lizzy smiled again and reached out to hug her. "Get some sleep. I'll see you at work tomorrow."

Danette hugged her back.As she stepped away, she remembered all the times she'd encouraged her friend, Tara, to go for it with Angelo Gordon, but this was different. No one could compete with Marcello...not even the sexy, charming Ramon from sales. "Have fun tonight."

"We will." Lizzy turned to leave.

"You forgot your magazine."

"Keep it," Lizzy tossed over her shoulder on her way out the door. "It'll give you something to read before bed."

The door shut behind the other woman before Danette could respond.

She didn't want to read the tabloid. She didn't want to look at it. She didn't want it in her apartment, but when she picked it up to throw away, she found herself rereading every single word of the article about King Vincente's birthday party. It was a four-page spread with tons of pictures, a few quotes and enough innuendo to sink an oil tanker.

She was staring at the picture of Tomasso and the woman dancing when a peremptory knock sounded on her door.

She lived in what had once been the groundskeeper's cottage on a large estate on the outskirts of Palermo. The family still occupied the main house and the security system was top-notch. Angelo and Tara had helped her find the place and she was really grateful. Even though Angelo had arranged for her job, she'd wanted to make it on her own in Italy from that point forward. So, she had refused her parents' offer to help her buy another condo like the one she'd had in Portland, or in procuring what they considered an acceptable place of habitat for their one and only child.

The groundskeeper's cottage with security services provided by the main house had been a compromise they could live with.

Because her home was far from the main road and the security was so good, she didn't worry about getting unwanted guests. However, Marcello had drilled into her enough times never to open the door without checking first to be sure she knew her visitor, that she automatically did so now.

It was him.

She didn't know why that should shock her, but it did. After seeing the article, her mind had told her he no longer belonged to her...if he ever had. Therefore, why would he bother showing up on her doorstep?

Yet, there he stood on the other side of her door looking like the epitome of Sicilian male perfection. From his golden-brown hair styled casually to enhance his sculpted features, to the tips of his Gucci leather shoes, he exuded delectable masculine appeal. He also looked tired, the skin around his cobalt-blue eyes lined with fatigue.

He'd probably been too busy partying to sleep. Even as the unpleasant thought surfaced, she was forced to dismiss it. She knew better.

He'd been gone on a business trip for more than a week before his father's birthday party. They'd spoken on the phone every night and he'd made it clear he was pushing himself and everyone around him to finish.

Only seeing the picture had made her think that he wouldn't come straight to her from the airport. Why would he when he had beautiful, sophisticated women like the one in the photo to spend his time with?

Perhaps it was an irrational line of reasoning, but she wasn't at her logical best at the moment. He knocked a second time, the staccato rap and his scowl communicating his impatience at being kept on the doorstep.

She opened the door and then stood staring mutely at his large frame as it filled her doorway.

His sensual lips transformed from a frown to an enticing smile. "Good evening, tesoro mio. Are you going to let me in?"

"What are you doing here?"

His eyes narrowed, the smile disappearing as quickly as it had come. "What kind of question is that? I have not seen you for more than a week. My plane landed not an hour ago...where else would I be?"

Six months ago, when they'd begun their affair, the question would have been ludicrous. He had made it a point of seeing her only a couple of nights a week, but as the weeks progressed the number of nights they spent together increased until they were practically living together...albeit in secret. "Maybe spending time with your new girlfriend?" He stepped into the small cottage, forcing her to move backward if she didn't want him touching her. And she didn't. Not right now. Maybe never again.

She tripped backward with speed, not stopping until she was several feet away.

"What other girlfriend?" he asked, enunciating each word with quiet precision as he pushed the door shut behind him and then followed her across the room.

She lifted the gossip rag toward him. "This one." He stared down at the magazine and then took it from her hand to look more closely. His eyes skimmed the pages, his expression turning to one of disdain before he tossed it to the coffee table behind her. "That is nothing more than a scandal sheet. Why were you reading it?"

"Lizzy brought it over. She thought it was a hoot to read an article about the big boss. What difference does it make how it came into my possession? Dismissing it as a low form of journalism isn't going to make the pictures go away or the behavior that got caught in the camera lens for that matter."

"Nothing untoward was caught on film."

"You don't think so?"

"I danced with a few women at my father's birthday party, smiled at some, talked. There is no crime in that."

"Not if you weren't attached, no."

His frown intensified, eyes that usually looked on her with indulgent affection going wintry. "You know I will not tolerate a possessive scene, Danette."

She almost laughed. He sounded so darn arrogant it wasn't hard to believe he was a prince, only that he was the youngest son. That kind of egotism should be reserved for the heir to the throne.

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His Royal Love-Child 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
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Love reading about royals
DanieDS More than 1 year ago
I love Lucy Monroe and she has another great story in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointed i was thinking there would b more to this story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a WASTE OF MONEY!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It ok an ok read but boreing at the end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really emjoyed this book! A must buy! Sexy hero
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