The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain

by Lucy Monroe

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Overview

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe

Principe Claudio Scorsolini's future wife must make a suitable figurehead for his people and provide him with an heir. Claudio's convenient union with Therese is hailed a success: his subjects have fallen in love with her and she's performed her duties in the bedroom — to Claudio's immense satisfaction.


However, Therese has secretly fallen in love with her husband. How can their marriage survive when she knows she can never give Claudio a child?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552544464
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 05/01/2006
Series: Royal Brides , #3
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 58,843
File size: 165 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

"SOME days, being a princess is right up there with long-term incarceration on Alcatraz." Therese muttered the words as she pulled up the zip on her favorite mint-green sheath dress while preparing for yet another formal dinner in the Palazzo di Scorsolini.

It wasn't the prospect of one more dinner eaten with King Vincente and the dignitaries who had come to visit him that made her cranky, though. It was frustration with a day spent in her own version of purgatory. She loved the king of Isole dei Re and was closer to him than her own father.

But there were still times she wished she and Claudio had their own home, not just a set of apartments in the royal palace of Lo Paradiso. No matter how beautiful, the suite afforded little privacy when she and Claudio were expected to eat most meals in the formal dining room. The fact that her duties as princess ruled even her personal time could be a major drawback. Especially tonight, when she was jittery with the need to share the news she'd received from her doctor in Miami. She'd gone to the States for this particular examination in order to guarantee absolute discretion.

She almost wished she hadn't now. Because if the press had gotten hold of the story, at least she would be saved from having to impart the news to Claudio.

It was a craven thought and she was no coward.

But even she, with years of training as a diplomat's daughter, could not look on the end of her marriage with equanimity. Unlike her parents, she did not see life as a series of political and social moves and countermoves. For her…real life hurt.

Claudio finished putting on his second cuff link and pulled both sleeves straight with precise, familiar movements that made her heart ache at the prospect of losing that familiarity. His lips twisted, giving his gorgeous face a cynical cast. "I will be sure and tell your mother you think so."

Therese stopped on her way to the table where she had left the jewelry she planned to wear tonight. "Don't you dare."

Claudio found her mother's social climbing tendencies a source of amusement, but Therese was not so sanguine. She, after all, was the ladder her mother expected to climb up on.

"I have no desire to listen to Lecture 101 from Mother on how lucky I am to be a princess, or how privileged my life is." Not to mention the bit about how amazing it was that Claudio had chosen Therese from amongst all of the eligible women in the world. She really didn't want to hear that particular treatise, right now.

"Perhaps she will be able to understand your apparent disenchantment with your lot in life better than I can." The edge in Claudio's voice said he was only partially kidding and his dark gaze was serious and probing.

"I'm not disenchanted with my lot." Merely devastated by it, but now was not the time to tell him so.

And she couldn't help feeling her charmed life had been cursed…probably from the beginning, but she'd been too blind to see it. She'd bought into the fairy tale only to discover that love on one side brought pain, not pleasure. The happily-ever-after was only for princesses in storybook land…or those who were loved for themselves, like the two women married to the other Scorsolini princes.

"Then what is this comparing being my wife to that of a convict incarcerated in prison?" Claudio towered over her with his six-foot-four-inch frame, his scent surrounding her and reminding her just how much she would miss the physical reality of his presence when it was gone.

He was every woman's dream, the kind of prince that fairy tales really were made of. She had woven enough fantasies around him to know. He had black hair, rich brown eyes and the dark skin tone of his Sicilian forefathers, but the height of a professional athlete. His body was muscular, without an ounce of fat anywhere and his face could have been that of an American film star…perhaps of a different era, though. No pretty boy looks, but rugged angles and a cleft chin that bespoke a strength of character that she had come to rely on completely.

She had to swallow twice before speaking. "I did not say being your wife was like that."

"You said the life of a princess, which you would not be if you were not married to me."

"True." She sighed. "But I didn't mean to offend you." He cupped her cheek in a move guaranteed to send her nerve endings rioting. He so rarely touched her when they were not in bed that when he did so, she didn't know how to handle it.

"I am not offended, merely concerned." She could hear that concern in his voice and it made her feel guilty.

He had done nothing wrong…except choose the incorrect woman to be his princess. "It has been a rough day, that's all."

His second hand joined the first and he tilted her face up so she could not hope to avoid his discerning gaze. "Why?"

She licked her lips, wishing again they were not going downstairs for dinner with his father. She wished even more that the twinges of pain in her pelvis were just the regular preperiod cramps she had believed them to be when she first went off the pill so they could try for a baby. "I spent the whole morning with representatives of Isole dei Re's foremost women's organization discussing the need for day care services and preschools on the islands."

He frowned as if he couldn't understand what bothered her about that. She'd had many such meetings and they had all gone rather well. However, all he said was, "I thought Tomasso's wife was spearheading that."

"The helicopter flight between the islands exacerbates Maggie's morning sickness, but she didn't want to put the meeting off. I convinced her to let me take her place. Looking back, I should have had the delegates flown to Diamante to meet with her instead."

His hands dropped from her face and she felt an immediate chill from the withdrawal, though she was sure he hadn't meant it that way. "Why? You and Maggie share views on this subject. You have certainly discussed it enough to cover all the points adequately."

"Not according to the delegates." She grimaced. "They felt that a woman without children, moreover one who had never been forced to work for her living, could not comprehend the challenges faced by working mothers. They believe that Maggie is ideal for this endeavor and that I should keep right out of it."

"They said this to you?" He didn't sound offended on her behalf, merely curious. He could have no idea how much the other women's disapproval had hurt.

She felt both exhausted and savaged, especially after the phone call from her doctor in Miami. "Yes."

"It is a good thing that you grew up learning political diplomacy then."

"Meaning it might have upset you if I had told them all to take a flying leap?"

Claudio gave a masculine chuckle as if he could not imagine such a thing. "As if you would."

"Maybe I did."

But he just shook his head. "I know you. No chance."

"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do." In fact, she knew he didn't. After all, he'd never once latched on to the fact that she'd married him because she loved him. The marriage of convenience aspect had been a plan hatched in his and her mother's more mercenary brains.

"Did you?" he asked with a sardonic brow raised.

She wanted to say yes just to prove him wrong, but told the truth instead. "No, but I wanted to."

"What we want and what we allow ourselves to do are rarely the same thing. And it is a testament to your suitability to your position that you live by this stricture."

She turned away from him and started putting on her jewelry. "And you wonder why I compared being a princess to being a prisoner?"

"Are you unhappy, Therese?"

"No more than most people," she admitted. She'd been raised from the time she was a tiny child to hide her true emotion, but she was so tired of pretending. "You are unhappy?" Claudio demanded in a voice laced with unmistakable shock.

The man so well-known in diplomatic circles for his perspicacity was thick as a brick where she was concerned.

"Two of the delegates were less than subtle in expressing their belief it was past time I gave you an heir," she said instead of answering.

"And this upset you?" Again the shocked surprise.

"A little."

"But it should not. Soon you will be able to share happy news on that score."

She winced as his words sprinkled salt into wounds left open and bleeding by the doctor's phone call.

"And if I can't?" she asked, testing waters she was not ready to tread into.

His big, warm hands landed on her shoulders and he turned her to face him with inexorable movements. "You are bothered that you have not yet conceived? You should not be. We have only been trying for a few months. The doctor said that women who have been on the pill for a prolonged time can take longer to get pregnant, but it will happen soon enough. After all, we know everything is in working order."

Worse than salt on wounds, those words were like the lashing of a cruelly wielded whip. Prior to marrying three years ago, he had required they go through several tests including blood type and the compatibility of his sperm with the mucus on her cervix. He had also requested she have her fertility cycles tested, just to be sure.

Knowing that a big part of why he was marrying her was so that she could provide heirs for the Scorsolini throne, she had agreed without argument. Everything had come back normal. They were compatible for pregnancy and she was as fertile as any other woman her age.

The biggest surprise for her had been his desire to wait to have children for a while. She hadn't understood it, still wasn't sure why he had requested they wait, but now she knew that whatever chance they had of making babies together was over.

Unable to stand any level of intimacy in the face of what she knew was to come, even such a simple touch, she turned away from him.

Helpless anger filled Claudio as Therese moved from him, her womanly curves taunting a libido that ached for her night and day. He wanted to grab her back and demand to know why after three years his touch was no longer acceptable, but that would be the act of a primitive man and the crown prince of Isole dei Re was in no way primitive.

Besides, physical rejection from her was not a new thing. It had been happening for months now, but each time she turned away from a physical connection, it still shocked him. After two years of receiving an incredibly passionate response on every occasion when he touched her, he could be forgiven for finding it nearly impossible to reconcile to her sudden change of heart.

Prior to the last few months, he would have sworn that Therese loved him. She'd never said so, but for the first two years of their marriage, she had shown in many subtle and not so subtle ways that she felt more for him than the mercenary satisfaction of a woman for a marriage well contracted. Her love had not been one of his requirements, so he had not dwelt on it too much…until it was gone.

It was not that he needed the emotion from her, but he could not help wondering where it had gone and why she no longer seemed to want him with the latent passion that had drawn him to her in the first place.

Her physical rejections had started a month or so after she went off the pill so they could try for a baby. At first, he had thought that maybe her hormones had been at fault. After all, he'd read about that sort of thing happening, but in the intervening months it had gotten worse, not better.

Then sometimes she would make love with him the way she used to and all his concerns on that score would disappear. Only to reappear when she turned him down again. He was not a man who had suffered much rejection in his life, particularly from a woman he desired physically. For it to come from his own wife was totally unacceptable.

And it had been happening more and more lately. He'd begun to wonder if deep down, she did not want to get pregnant. "Do you not want my baby? Are you frightened of what will happen?"

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The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Therese married Principe Claudio Scorsolini, she did as a duty to the country. When Principe Claudio married Therese he did it because she was perfect to fulfill the role of a princess and provide him with a heir to the throne. But as always fate intervenes and even though Therese falls in love with her ¿convenient¿ husband she has been keeping a secret from him that can cost them their marriage, and her happiness. When she discovers she cant bear any children she wants to end their marriage and save him the humiliation his brother suffered. Principe Claudio doesn¿t know what had he done to make his dutiful lovely bride reject him constantly, then he learns of her secret and decides to teach her that they belong together against all odds. In this Royal family loyalty, love and passion are important. Lucy Monroe once again writes an emotional tear jerking wonderful story based on real life situations that can doom a relationship to end. She gives her characters the strength to fight tooth and nail and achieve the understanding that leads where true love shines to give us the happily ever after! Another great read you don¿t want to miss!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain is brilliant! Passion, Pride, Pain and Persistence all rolled into one making the ending bittersweet to this spectacular ¿Royal Brides' series. I cried and cried......it was just wonderful¿.incredible, really. My favorite of the series, because of Claudio Scorsolini and how he discovered what was always in his heart. What is it about crown princes or sheikhs that attract the reader? These men are powerful, dynamic, handsome as sin and sexy but can't show their true feelings? Well this future heir to the throne learns a very valuable lesson in finally discovering his love, feelings and expressing them to his lovely Therese. Again, Lucy Monroe addresses an issue that must be painful for some women, the medication condition endometriosis. I think it's wonderful how this author has the courage to tackle subjects like these in her books. She not only entertains her readers with stories of passion and promise but educates them as well. Therese Scorsolini is not without fault in the making their marriage rocky. She has a secret and is not willing to share it properly with her husband. She married the heir to the throne knowing that she was in love with him. She finds out that she might not be able to give him the heirs due to having endometriosis. Instead of coming clean, she asks for a divorce. Their marriage suffers and all communication shuts down. Lots of pain and suffering for this royal couple Their journey into finding love and happiness is one you won¿t want to miss. However, I strongly suggest you read the other two books in the series The Prince¿s Virgin Wife and His Royal Love-Child as you will definitely fall in love the Scorsolini men and the women they choose to have in their lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain concludes Lucy Monroe¿s breathtaking Royal Brides Trilogy. _____________ Prince Claudio and Princess Therese appear from the outside to lead a fairy tale life. Their marriage of convenience seems to be everything on can ask for but Princess Therese is hiding a terrible secret that she is convinced will turn Claudio away from her. _____________________ Claudio is taken aback that Therese asks for a divorce. Before he can get to the truth his father the King has a heart attack. They both decide to table the divorce for now. __________________ When Claudio realizes his wife has a serious illness that affects her ability to conceive he is determined not to let her go. His tender loving care gives Therese hope that all might not be lost in their marriage. ____________________ Watching two characters that have married for duty fall in love is a pleasure for every romance reader to cherish. Claudio and Therese have their courtship in reverse. You cannot help to care about each joy and sorrow. ____________ Lucy Monroe is a major talent in any genre she writes. Her books should be on every to buy list and keep shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the last novel of the trilogy I have read . It was the best one! Best characters, best plot, best chemistry!
aurora256 More than 1 year ago
Best in the trilogy! Emotional and realistic. totally worth the money and time to read it. Highly reccomended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was truly the best in the series. Having dealt with secrets, mistrust, miscomunication and on top of all of that endomitriosis and the fear of not being able to concieve an heir. This was truly a great read. I would love hear more from this family. (Grandkids)
DanieDS More than 1 year ago
Great
MarilynS on LibraryThing 18 hours ago
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