Seduced by the Spare Heir (Harlequin Desire Series #2384)

Seduced by the Spare Heir (Harlequin Desire Series #2384)

by Andrea Laurence

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Overview

Seduced by the Spare Heir (Harlequin Desire Series #2384) by Andrea Laurence

Going from black sheep to king, with the help of one very special woman…

Gabriel Montoro's worst nightmares are realized when his older brother abdicates the throne of Alma, leaving fun-loving playboy Gabe next in line. Now he needs to shape up—fast. That's where Serafia Espina fits in.

The exquisite ex-supermodel can school him in the social niceties. But as they get into the royal routine, Gabe begins to see this old family friend in a very different light. Soon the protocols are out the window, and Serafia is sharing his bed. But is this angel hiding something that could threaten what they've begun?

Be sure to read the other sizzling and scandalous stories in the Dynasties: The Montoros series, only from Harlequin® Desire! MINDING HER BOSS'S BUSINESS by USA TODAY bestseller Janice Maynard
CARRYING A KING'S CHILD by USA TODAY Katherine Garbera
THE PRINCESS AND THE PLAYER by Kat Cantrell
MAID FOR A MAGNATE by Jules Bennett
A ROYAL TEMPTATION by USA TODAY bestseller Charlene Sands

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373733972
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Series: Harlequin Desire Series , #2384
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Andrea Laurence is an award-winning contemporary author who has been a lover of books and writing stories since she learned to read. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s constantly trying to develop a taste for sweet tea and grits while caring for her collection of animals that includes a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business. You can contact Andrea at her website: http://www.andrealaurence.com.

Read an Excerpt

This party was lame. And it was his party. How could his own party be lame?

Normally parties were Gabriel Montoro's thing. Much to the chagrin of his family, he'd earned quite the reputation as "Good Time Gabriel." Music, alcohol, dim lighting, superficial conversation… He was the king of the party domain. But now that Gabriel had been tapped as the new king of Alma, everything had changed.

Gabriel gripped his flute of champagne and looked around the ballroom at his family's Coral Gables estate. Their tropical retreat seemed incredibly stuffy tonight. There wasn't a single flip-flop in the room, much less one of the feral parrots that lived on their property and flew in the occasional open door. His family had always had money, but they hadn't been pretentious.

But things had changed for the Montoro family since the tiny European island nation of Alma decided to restore their monarchy. Suddenly he was Prince Gabriel, third in line to the throne. And before he could adjust to the idea of that, his father and his older brother were taken out of the running. His parents had divorced without an annulment, making his father ineligible. Then, his ever-responsible brother abdicated and ran off with a bartender. Suddenly he was on the verge of being King Gabriel, and everyone expected him to change with the title.

This suffocating soiree was just the beginning and he knew it. Next, he'd have to trade in his South Beach penthouse for a foreign palace and his one-night stands for a queen with a pedigree. Everything from his clothes to his speech would be up for public critique by "his people." People he'd never seen, living on an island he'd only visited once. But his coronation was only a month or two away. He left for Alma in a week.

That was why they were having this party, if you could even call it that. The music was classical, the drinks were elegant and the women were wearing far too much clothing. He got a sinking feeling in his stomach when he realized this was how it was going to be from now on. Boring parties with boring people he didn't even know kissing his ass.

There were two hundred people in the room, but there were more strangers than anything else. He found that terribly ironic. People had come out of the woodwork since his brother, Rafe, abdicated and Gabriel was thrust into the spotlight. Suddenly he wasn't just the vice president of South American Operations, cast into the Southern Hemisphere where he couldn't embarrass the family; he was the hot ticket in town.

Him! Gabriel—the middle child whom no one paid any attention to, the one dismissed by his family's society friends as the bad boy, the spare heir and nothing more. Now that he was about to be king, he had strangers at every turn fighting to be his new best friends.

He hated to break it to them, but Gabriel didn't have friends. Not real ones. That required a level of trust in other people that he just didn't have. He'd learned far too young that you can't trust anyone. Even family could let you down when you need them the most.

Speak of the devil.

From across the room, his cousin Juan Carlos spied him and started in his direction. He was frowning. Nothing new there. Ever serious, Juan Carlos never seemed to have any fun. He was always having business discussions, working, being responsible. He was the kind of man who should be the king of Alma—not Gabriel. After hundreds of years, why hadn't people figured out that bloodlines were not the best indicator of leadership potential?

"You're not talking to anyone," Juan Carlos noted with a disapproving scowl as he loomed over his cousin. At several inches over six feet, he had a bad habit of hovering over people. Gabriel was never quite sure if his cousin deliberately tried to intimidate with his size or if he was unaware how much it bothered people when he did that.

Gabriel wasn't about to let his cousin's posture or his frown get to him. He tended not to worry too much about what his cousin thought, or what anyone thought, really. When it came down to it, Juan Carlos was serious enough for them both. "No one is talking to me," he corrected.

"That's because you're hiding in the corner sulking."

Gabriel scoffed at his blunt observation. "I am not sulking."

His cousin sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Then what would you call it?"

"Surveying my domain. That sounds kingly, right?"

Juan Carlos groaned and rolled his eyes. "Quit it. Don't even pretend you care about any of this, because I know you don't. You and I both know you'd much rather be in South Beach tonight chasing tail. Pretending otherwise is insulting to your family and insulting to your country."

Gabriel would be lying if he said the neon lights weren't beckoning him. There was nothing like the surge of alcohol through his veins and the thumping bass of music as he pressed against a woman on the dance floor. It was the only thing that could help him forget what a mess he was in, but after the drama with Rafe, he'd been on a short leash. The family couldn't take another scandal.

That didn't mean he felt like apologizing for who he was. He wasn't raised to be king. The Alman dictatorship had held strong for nearly seventy years. Who would've thought that when democracy was restored, they'd want their old royal family back? They hadn't anticipated this summons and he certainly hadn't anticipated his brother, the rightful king, would run off with a Key West bartender and send Gabriel's life into a tailspin. "I'm sorry if that offends your sensibilities, J.C., but I didn't ask to be king."

"I know you didn't ask to be king. It is plainly obvious to every person in this room that you don't want the honor. But guess what? The crown has landed in your lap and you've got to step up and grow up." Juan Carlos sipped his wine and glared at Gabriel over the rim. "And what have I told you about calling me that?" he added.

That made Gabriel smile. Annoying his cousin was one of his favorite pastimes since childhood. The smile was short-lived, though.

It wasn't the first time he'd been told to grow up. What his family failed to realize was that Gabriel had grown up a long time ago. They all liked to pretend it didn't happen, but in a dark room with thick rope cutting into his wrists, he'd left his childhood and innocence behind with his captors. If his family had wanted him to act responsibly, they should've done more to rescue him. He'd survived because of his own quick thinking and his first choice as an adult was to live the life he wanted and not care what anyone else thought about it.

Grow up, indeed. Gabriel took a large swallow of his champagne and sighed. The days of living his life as he chose were numbered. He could feel it. Soon it wouldn't just be his father and cousin trying to tell him what to do.

"Always good talking with you, cuz. Don't you have someone to schmooze?"

Juan Carlos didn't respond. Instead he turned on his heel and walked over to the dessert table. Within seconds, he was chatting with someone influential, whose name Gabriel had forgotten, over silver platters of chocolate truffles and cream puffs.

Gabriel turned away, noticing the side door that led out to the patio and garden pavilion. Hopefully he could make it out there before someone noticed.

Glancing around quickly, he spied his father with his back to him. His sister was chatting with a group of ladies in the corner. This was his chance. He moved toward the door and surged through it as fast as he could.

Gabriel was immediately rewarded with the oppressive wave of heat that July in Miami was known for. The humid blast hit him like a tsunami after the air-conditioned comfort of the ballroom, but he didn't care. He moved away from the door and out into the dark recesses of the patio.

There were some tables and chairs set up outside in case guests wanted to come out. They were draped with linens and topped with centerpieces of candles and roses. All the seats were empty. Gabriel was certain none of the ladies were interested in getting overheated in their fancy clothes with their meticulously styled hair and makeup.

Glancing over at the far end of the semicircular patio, he spied someone looking out into the gardens. The figure was tall, but slender, with the moonlight casting a silver silhouette that highlighted the bare shoulders and silk-hugging curves. She turned her head to watch a bird fly through the trees and he was rewarded with a glimpse of the cheekbones that had made her famous.

Serafia.

The realization sent a hot spike of need down his spine and the blood sped through his veins as his heart beat double-time. Serafia Espina was his childhood crush and the fantasy woman of every red-blooded man who had ever achieved puberty. Eight years ago, Serafia had been one of the biggest supermodels in the industry. Like all the greats, she'd been known by only her first name, strutting down catwalks in Paris, New York and Milan wearing all the finest designers' clothes.

And she'd looked damn good in them, too.

Gabriel didn't know much about what had happened, but for health reasons, Serafia had suddenly given up modeling and started her own business of some kind. But judging by the way that red dress clung to her curves, the years hadn't dulled her appeal. She could walk the catwalk right now and not miss a beat.

He hadn't spoken to Serafia in years. When his family was overthrown by the Tantaberras, they had fled to the United States and the Espinas moved to Switzerland. In the 1980s, they'd moved to Spain and their families renewed their friendship. When Gabriel and Serafia were children, their families vacationed together on the Spanish Riviera. Back then, he'd been a shy, quiet little boy of ten or eleven and she was the beautiful, unobtainable older woman. She was sixteen and he was invisible.

This was a fortunate encounter. They weren't children anymore and as the future king of their home country, he was anything but invisible. As Mel Brooks famously said, "It's good to be the king."

Serafia felt the familiar, niggling sensation of someone's eyes on her. It was something she'd become keenly attuned to working in the modeling business. Like a sixth sense, she could feel a gaze like a touch raking over her skin. Judging. Critiquing.

She turned to look behind her and found the man of the evening standing a few feet away. Gabriel had certainly grown up a lot since she saw him last. He was looking at her the way most men did—with unmasked desire. She supposed she should be flattered to catch the eye of the future king, but he was in his twenties, just a baby. He didn't need to get involved with an older, has-been model with enough baggage to pack for a long vacation.

"Your Majesty," she replied with a polite bow of her head.

Gabriel narrowed his gaze at her. "Are you being sarcastic?" he asked.

Serafia's mouth dropped open with surprise, her response momentarily stolen. That wasn't what she was expecting him to say. "Not at all. Did it come out that way? If it did, I sincerely apologize."

Gabriel shook his head dismissively and walked toward her. He didn't look like any king she'd ever seen before. He exuded a combination of beauty and danger, like a great white shark, gliding gracefully across the stone patio in a tailored black suit and dress shirt. His tie was bloodred and his gaze was fixed on her as if she were prey.

She felt her chest tighten as he came closer and she breathed in the scent of his cologne mingling with the warm smell of the garden's exotic flowers. Her fightor-flight instincts were at the ready, even as she felt herself get drawn closer to him.

He didn't pounce. Instead he leaned down, rested his elbows on the concrete railing and looked out into the dark recesses of the tropical foliage. "It's not you, it's me," he said. "I still haven't quite adjusted to the idea of all this royalty nonsense."

Royalty nonsense. Wow. Serafia's libido was doused with cold water at his thoughtless words. That wasn't exactly what the people of Alma wanted to hear from their new king. After the collapse of the dictatorship, restoring the monarchy seemed like the best way to stabilize the country. The wealthy Alma elite would get a little more than they bargained for with Gabriel Montoro wearing the crown. He didn't really seem to care about Alma or the monarchy. He hadn't grown up there, but neither had she. Her parents had raised her to value her heritage and her homeland, regardless.

Perhaps it was just his youth. Serafia knew how hard it was to have the spotlight on you at such a young age. She'd been discovered by a modeling agency when she was only sixteen. Whisked away from her family, she was making six figures a year when most teenagers were just getting their driver's licenses. By the time she was old enough to drink, she was a household name. The pressure was suffocating, pushing her to her personal limits and very nearly destroying her. She couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be the ruler of a country and have over a million people depending on her.

"I think you'll get used to it pretty quickly," she said, leaning her hip against the stone railing. She picked up her glass of wine and took a sip. "All that power will go to your head in no time."

Gabriel's bitter laugh was unexpected. "I doubt that. While I may be king, my family will ensure that I'm not an embarrassment to them."

"I thought a king can do what he likes."

"If that was true, my father or my brother would still be in line for the crown. In the end, even a king has a mama to answer to." Gabriel looked at her with a charming smile, running his fingers through his too-long light brown hair.

It was shaggy and unkempt, a style popular with men his age, but decidedly unkingly. The moonlight highlighted the streaks of blond that he'd probably earned on the beach. She couldn't tell here in the dark, but from the pictures she'd seen of him in the papers and online, he had the tanned skin to match. Even in his immaculate and well-tailored suit, he looked more like a famous soccer player than a king.

"And I know your mama," she noted. Señora Adela was a beautiful and fierce woman who lived and loved with passion. She'd also been one to give the lecture of a lifetime while she pulled you down the hallway by your ear. "I'd behave if I were you."

"I'll try. So, how have you been?" he asked, shifting the conversation away from his situation. "I haven't seen you since you became a famous supermodel and forgot about all of us little people."

Serafia smiled, looking for the right answer. She knew people didn't really want to know how she was doing; they were just being polite. "I've been well. I started my own consulting business since I left modeling and the work has kept me fairly busy."

"What kind of consulting?"

"Image and etiquette, mostly. I traveled so extensively as a model that I found I could help companies branch out into unfamiliar foreign markets by teaching them the customs and societal norms of the new country. Other times I help wealthy families groom their daughters into elegant ladies."

Although families mostly paid her to teach etiquette and poise and give makeovers, she also spent a lot of time trying to teach those same girls that being pretty wasn't all they had to offer the world. It was an uphill battle and one that had earned her the label "hypocrite" more than a time or two. Sure, it was easy for a supermodel to say that beauty wasn't everything.

"Do me a favor and don't mention your consulting business around my father or Juan Carlos," Gabriel said.

Serafia's dark eyebrows knit together in confusion. "Why is that? Do they have daughters in need of a makeover?" Bella certainly didn't need any help from her. The youngest Montoro was looking lovely tonight in a beaded blue gown with her golden hair in elegantly twisted curls.

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Seduced by the Spare Heir (Harlequin Desire Series #2384) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recommend
HollyJenae More than 1 year ago
140 pages, can (sort of) be read as a stand-alone, a couple of sleamy scenes. I feel like the story was rushed and although you got your HEA promise, it still feels like it ended a little too soon. The writing was good, the editing was good, the story was rushed and the set-ups for the other books leave you feeling like a lot was left out and all the relationships other than the main one are left unresolved.
Peachey04 More than 1 year ago
Once I started this book I could not put it down. The storyline is adorable and well written with remarkable characters. There are mysteries and lies as well as understanding, loyalty and love. This was and enjoyable read! Received copy as gift for an honest review.
MelodyMay More than 1 year ago
I basically spent most of the early morning (before the sun had the decency to grace us with its presence) reading Andrea Laurence's Seduced by the Spare Heir. I have to say that I enjoyed the story immensely, and it has me wanting to go back and read the other stories from the other authors that are part of this dynasty collection. Anyway, in Seduced by the Spare Heir we meet Gabriel Montoro (Gabe) who is about to have his world turn upside down. He is now forced to be come the King of Alma after his father is no longer in line, because he didn't followed the correct procedure in a divorce and his brother abdicated the throne. Lucky him. Now he has change his playboy ways and he's going to need help. Fortunately, he knows someone who can help him, Serafia Espina. Now Serafia use to be a model, but her career was cut short due to health issues. Now she's teaches young ladies or whoever in need of help in decorum. Yes, Gabe is selfish, but he's the second son and normally they live a life whatever goes. However, we learn that he used to follow the rules until an incident that happen which changed his attitude. I can't fault the guy for being a bit selfish and willing to do whatever he wants to get his way. Then we have Serafia who was working her way to the top of modeling when her heart gave out. She actually had to learn how live again. I liked how she helps Gabe to become the man his country needs. I liked the story. I actually, like how Andrea incorporated Serafia health problems to be anorexia. It's something you hear about, but we kind of gloss over because the thing that is talked about is obesity. Anorexia can be just as scary. I knew a guy who actually died of health complications due to anorexia when he was younger. I liked that Andrea was able to work issues into Gabe and Serafia. I did like that they weren't perfect, but looked on the outside. Looks can be deceiving. Overall, Seduced by the Spare Heir is a pretty good story. I did enjoy how Gabe decided he needed to fix things with Serafia and make everything right. Like I said it makes me want to read the previous books in the series, and the future stories. Copy provided by author Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
judyrudy More than 1 year ago
Seduced by the Spare Heir is Andrea Laurence’s contribution to Harlequin Desire’s Dynasties: The Montoros series. I love this series and Ms. Laurence’s contribution was a fantastic addition. Gabriel Montoro is forced to take the throne of Alma after his brother Rafe abdicates. Rafe not only doesn’t want the throne, he’s still dealing with some emotional baggage after being kidnapped, beaten and held for ransom. This ordeal led him to his playboy ways as he wanted to live life to its fullest. Serafia Espina has known Gabriel since childhood. She became a model and was cast onto the fashion scene which had lifelong consequences. When Serafia and Gabriel catch up at a party prior to his leaving for Alma, he requests that she help him make himself over—to become the face of a king his country would respect. An instant attraction is felt by both Serafia and Gabriel. As she aides with his makeover, he discovers a past that caused Serafia’s life as a model to end. Can Serafia change Gabriel into the man that is heading towards coronation and can Gabriel help Serafia deal with the past that changed the course of her life. I highly recommend Seduced by the Spare Heir. It is a standalone book but the reader would benefit from reading the other books in the series. I’d like to disclose that I received an advance copy of Seduced by the Spare Heir in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Love_Books50 More than 1 year ago
Seduced by the Spare Heir is another winner for Andrea. Gabriel and Serafia are two people who are a little broken but together the pieces fall into place. Gabriel is a reluctant King to be with some issues from his past and Serafia is a former supermodel struggling everyday with anorexia. They come together with a little drama and alot of heat. You have to read this one for yourself. Thanks Andrea for keeping all of your books unique and interesting.
onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: I enjoyed the first book in the Dynasties: The Montoros series, Minding Her Boss's Business. So when the chance came to read another book in the series by one of my favorites, Andrea Laurence, of course I jumped for it. Gabriel needs help changing his image, and Serafia, an old friend, is just the person to help him. She steps in to get his life to where it needs to be for the sake of his family. It doesn't take long before their attraction grows stronger, and how much they care about each other becomes a defining thing in each of their lives. It leads them to a kiss, which takes them down a new road. Gabriel needs to start making some serious decisions, and figure out where Serafia fits into his new life--if she wants to remain in it. Seduced by the Spare Heir was an alluring and sweet story. I loved how there was more below the surface for Gabe with an event that happened years before, and the same with Serafia's past. It drew them closer, and the romance that bloomed from it felt so much more real. I can't wait to see what else is in store in this series! My Rating: Very Good
caitlinallycesmum More than 1 year ago
Seduced by the Spare Heir by Andrea Laurence starts when the dynasty that forcibly took over the Alma country and knocked of the Montoro's off their thrown has now ended and this story is about the spare heir to the throne, who because his brother abdicates to be with the woman he loves then becomes the next in line to be King of Alma when the Montoro's are finally set to reclaim their family throne once again. However Gabriel is not what the people may want - he is a playboy - who loves the bars and woman, so he asks the help of a childhood friend Serifia to help do a makeover on him because that is what she does for her living now since she left the model industry where she was a very famous model. Gabriel had a crush on Serifia when he was a child but because she was 10 years older than him, nothing happened. However on meeting her again the instant attraction is still their for him so he hopes that Serifia will agree to help him. When Gabriel makes it known that he would like more than a business relationship - Serifia tells him no as she does not feel she could be his queen because she does not want to be in the spotlight again. The story continues with the makeover off Gabriel and how he tries to win Serifia over. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, its characters where realistic and you could feel the pain and love coming out of the pages. Congrats Andrea Laurence on a lovely romantic story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pure_Jonel More than 1 year ago
Combine I series I’m loving with an author I avidly watch for and what do you get? A novel I simply couldn’t resist. Laurence returns with her readers to Alma, giving us a sneak peek at the lives of the royalty. She combines realistic, real life characters with situations that many of us would never live. I loved the combination of everyday with the foray into royalty, the romance combined with family. The plot itself was original and kept me hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed Laurence’s character development. These individuals were so lifelike, yet at the same time larger than life. The way that they grew as individuals throughout, combined with the choices that they made were things that were easy to relate to while also making them stand out. Their atypical responses to situations were at times comical, creating a bond between character and reader. Not only is this novel a fantastic addition to the Montoros series but it’s also a great idea in and of itself.
Nicolerko More than 1 year ago
I found this book interesting because the hero Gabriel who set to be the next King is in need of a makeover. Plus both Gabriel and Serafia both feel damaged on the inside that no one can see. The Montoros are set to reclaim the throne with Gabriel's brother out of running he is next in line, but this play boy prince is anything but ready for the new role. Thank god for Serafia her life's work is being a consultant and Gabriel thinks hiring her will be the perfect solution, she can help him and he can be closer to temptation. Serafia hates the spotlight. She has spent years keeping on the down low, but helping her people making Gabriel into the best King overrides her anxiety. Challenges are sure to come with jealous potential candidates for the Queen. Gabriel did come off sort of jerky to me at first, but that soon was remedied. Can Gabriel handle the pressure of being King? Will he let fears rule him and let the best thing to happen to him slip through his fingers?