An Excerpt from The Princess & The Pea
Her Highness the Crown Princess Cassandra Catherine Anna Marie von Lieberhaven turned away and closed her eyes. Oh, God, she thought, waves of relief and terror still washing through her with equal force. What am I going to do?
No more than three months earlier, she had been standing in St. Cyril’s Cathedral in Braz waiting to be married. Waiting to be crowned Queen of Moritania. The entire country had been there, cheering and waving and singing. The cathedral had shimmered in the afternoon sunlight and glittered with the trappings of ritual and wealth. It would have all been hers—if she’d only married Rudolph and assumed her duties by once again doing what everyone expected of her. Well, no one else had to face living with that pimply-faced mannequin or spending the rest of their days counting curtsies.
By now, Eric would be king. A more popular monarch than she, Cassandra knew in her heart. A more fitting one.
Now she would have to go back to face him…to face her grandmother. Fresh tears welled in her hazel eyes at the thought, but Cassandra squeezed them back. A princess did not show weakness. She did not allow herself the frailties which most humans assumed as their right. Cassandra tried her best to overcome the momentary lapse by concentrating on her rescuer instead.
For a moment, she toyed with the idea of taking a sidelong glance at him. More than just curiosity drew Cassandra. There was something about him that made her feel at once safe and unsure. He would catch her watching, though. He seemed to anticipate her with deadly accuracy.
Her first sight of him had terrified her. She’d thought he’d been one of the terrorists. He’d moved like a jungle cat, a black panther against the harsh illumination of the headlights. He was lean and quick, with thick, sable-brown hair. Long, she realized now as it began to dry, almost to his shoulders, and wild. It looked almost like a mane, giving him a slightly dangerous look. He hadn’t shaved in a day or two, and his eyes were tired.
His eyes. They were so soft, so sweetly blue like a lake in early spring. Cassandra had seen terrible wariness in them at first, then laughter and compassion. Those eyes seethed with life, with energy.
He wasn’t a handsome man. His angles and slightly off-plumb features made him look as if he’d taken his share of knocks—as if the wariness in those eyes had been well earned. All the same, Cassandra reacted to him more intensely than to any of the dandified, educated men she’d known all her life. Just sitting next to Paul in the confines of the small car set her skin humming.
A panther, Cassandra thought once again, finally succumbing to the urge to take just one look. What an appropriate image. What a dangerous one. He wore a black turtleneck and jeans, slung low over lean hips. Cassandra didn’t know whether to feel comfortable with him or at peril. She had only an instinct that this man wouldn’t put her in an even greater danger than the one she’d escaped. And truth be told, Cassandra and her instincts had not really been all that reliable.
One thing was sure. Even though there was no looking forward either, for now she was warm and dry and away from the nightmare she’d stumbled into. And more than anything, right now, she wanted to know about the man who’d rescued her.
Moritanian Crown Princess Cassandra leads a fairy-tale existence. Some consider her the most spoiled woman in Europe. Then she is kidnapped.
Retired spy Paul Phillips is a self-made man more at home with flying bullets and fast cars than champagne and caviar. Then he finds Crown Princess Cassandra.
Now speeding through Europe, the pair are ducking enemies and each other. But as sparks fly, they wonder if they might be driving toward a fairy tale ending.
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New York Times bestselling, RWA Hall of Fame author Eileen Dreyer has published 31 romance novels in most genres, 8 medicalforensic suspenses, and 10 short stories.
2015 sees Eileen enjoying critical acclaim for her foray into historical romance, the Drake’s Rakes series, which Eileen labels as Regency Romantic Adventure that follows a group of Regency aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe. She is also working on her first nonfiction book, TRAVELS WITH DAVE, about a journey she’s been taking with a friend’s ashes.
A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and
large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.