Some Enchanted Evening (Lost Princess Series #1)

Some Enchanted Evening (Lost Princess Series #1)

by Christina Dodd

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Overview

Once upon a time . . .

in a kingdom high in the Pyrenees, three young princesses were forced to flee the chaos in their land—vanishing without a trace and lost to their people . . . until the day a courageous prince can bring the princesses home.

One of Scotland's most dangerous men, Robert MacKenzie is dazzled by the enchanting beauty who rides into the town he is sworn to defend. Though he is wary of the exquisite stranger, Clarice stirs emotions within him that Robert buried deeply years before. And now he must have her at any cost, vowing to gain her trust through the powers of his sensuous seduction.

Torn between her need to protect her secrets and her aching desire for the dark, tormented earl of Hepburn, Clarice is pulled into Robert's glamorous world . . . and into his perilous plan for justice and revenge. And with the winds of treachery swirling around them, a runaway princess must draw Robert's heart from the shadows and make him believe in happily-ever-after.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060560980
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/26/2005
Series: Lost Princess Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 351,196
Product dimensions: 6.54(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author CHRISTINA DODD builds worlds filled with suspense, romance, and adventure, and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty novels have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and RITA Awards, and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.

Read an Excerpt

Some Enchanted Evening

Chapter One

Never call attention to yourself. A princess's reason for existence is to
fulfill her duty as a representative of the royal family. Nothing more.

-- The Dowager Queen of Beaumontagne

Scotland, 1808

The valley was his, the village was his, yet the woman rode into the town square of Freya Crags as if she owned it.

Robert MacKenzie, earl of Hepburn, frowned at the stranger who cantered over the stone bridge and into the bustling crowd. It was market day, and booths of brown canvas were set up along the perimeter of the town square. The place rang with the sound of a hundred voices calling out their wares, but the stranger dominated the crowd, towering above them on a fractious two-yearold colt. The chestnut stepped high, as if proud to carry her, and the quality of the horse alone would have turned heads.

The lady in the saddle attracted even more attention -- first fleeting looks, then open stares.

Robert glanced around at the small circle of old men gathered in the sunshine in front of the alehouse. Their wrinkled mouths sagged open as they gawked, the table and checkerboard before them forgotten. Around them the sounds of shoppers and merchants haggling turned into a buzz of speculation as every eye turned to view the stranger.

Her riding costume swathed her from neck to toe with black wool, preserving the illusion of propriety yet outlining every curve of her trim figure. Her black hat was tall, with a broad brim, and black veiling floated behind. The red trim on her sleeves matched the red scarf at her neck, and those small bits of vivid color shocked and pleasured the eye. Her bosom was generous, her waist narrow, her black boots shiny, and her face ...

Good God, her face.

Robert couldn't look away. If she'd been born in the Renaissance, painters would have flocked to her door, begging that she pose for them. They would have painted her as an angel, for her wavy, golden hair glowed with a light of its own, giving her a nimbus like a halo. Copper glints in the curls seemed to possess a power to warm the hands, and Robert's fingers itched to sink into the waves and discover the heat and the texture. Her softly rounded cheeks and large amber eyes under darkened brows made a man think of heaven, yet the stubborn set of her chin saved her face from a cloying sweetness. Her nose was slight, her chin too broad to be truly attractive, but her lips were wide, lush, and red. Too red. She rouged them, he was sure of it. She looked like an Englishwoman of good quality -- except, of course, no woman of good quality ever rouged her lips, and certainly never traveled alone.

She smiled, giving him a glimpse of straight white teeth -- and that mouth he planned to explore.

Robert straightened away from the wall of the alehouse.

Where in blazes had that thought come from?

Hamish MacQueen was boisterous and amusing, his one arm gone in a long-ago accident in His Majesty's Royal Navy. "Who do ye suppose she is?"

A good question, and Robert intended to get an answer.

"I dunna know, but I'd like t' part her beard," said Gilbert Wilson, his sly wit taking a wicked turn.

"I'd like t' give her a live sausage fer supper." Tomas MacTavish slapped his skinny knee and cackled.

Henry MacCulloch joined in the pastime. "I'd like t' play dog in the doublet wi' her."

All the old men cackled, remembering the days when they would have had a chance to woo a beautiful visitor. Now they were content to sit in the sun in front of the alehouse, comment on the doings of the town, and play checkers -- or they had been, until she rode into town.

Robert's gaze narrowed on the female. He was smart enough, and in his travels had seen enough, to recognize trouble when he saw it. On the surface he appeared to be mildly interested in the doings in the square, but his every sense was alert for a trick. Indeed, he anticipated a trick. After all, the world was not so secure a place as anyone in this small village imagined. The world was full of liars and cheats, murderers, and worse. It was men like him, like Robert, who kept this place safe, and through his vigilance he would continue to do so.

"Ye damned auld fools." The alewife, Hughina Gray, stood with her apron wrapped around her hands and glanced between Robert and the stranger. "Canna ye see she's na guid?"

"I'd wager she's verra guid," said Tomas's brother Benneit, and the old men laughed until they wheezed.

"Ye shouldn't talk so in front o' the laird," Hughina reproved with a sideways peep at Robert. Hughina was Robert's age, attractive, and a widow, and she'd made it clear she had room in her bed for him.

He hadn't accepted the invitation. When the laird slept with the women of his lands, trouble was sure to follow, so when the urge was on him, he traveled over the hills into Trevor and visited with Lady Edmundson. She enjoyed his body and his driving sexuality without caring a crumb whether he loved her, and that made a very satisfactory arrangement for them both.

Lately he hadn't suffered from the urge.

His hand crinkled the much-read letter in his pocket. He'd been too busy making plans, desperate plans, vengeful plans, and now those schemes had been set to naught because one woman failed to fulfill her promise. Damn her. Damn her to hell.

But for the moment he was distracted as the exotic stranger circled the booths, giving everyone a chance to see her, and Robert watched his people watch her. Their expressions were suspicious or inquisitive, but she beamed them a friendly smile as if she had not a speck of intelligence ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Some Enchanted Evening by Dodd, Christina Excerpted by permission.
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