A handsome spy falls for the princess he was sent to protect in this second book of the Gentleman Rogues trilogy by a USA Today bestselling author.
Andrew Battencourt, Earl of Shefford, is looking forward to spending some quiet time in the country after a gruelling yearâlong mission for the Home Office. But before Drew can begin his holiday, he is sent to secretly investigate a breakâin, and meets the beautiful Princess Caroline. Caro is in London to find a suitable husband to ensure she will not be the last of her royal line. The last thing she needs is a tempting man underfoot, asking questions and watching her with an intensity that sets her senses on fire. But as strange incidents escalate into violent episodes, Caro knows she'll need Drew's protection...and much, much more.
"So, where've you stashed that princess ofyours? You can't just keep her to yourself, oldman."
"You know how bloody careless Drew is, Ross. He'sprobably gone and lost her."
"Sorry to disappoint you, Jared," Drew said, wishingonce again that his meddling friends hadn't come tothe duke's ball tonight. "But I have yet to meet the littlevirago."
"Andrew Chase, behave yourself!" Kate had beenstanding peaceably near her starry-eyed husband, butmanaged to look away from Jared long enough to giveDrew one of her chiding scowls. "Princess Caroline ishardly a virago. I've met her myself; she's lovely."
"Begging your pardon, Kate," Drew said as he ad-justed his neck cloth, "but I've never met a royal whowasn't a pain in the ... trousers."
Ross laughed and whispered overloud, "Wordaround town is that she's stunning."
"Great." Drew snorted, not at all pleased to hearthis. "Royal and beautiful."
Not to mention vain, arrogant, demanding. Bred inthe bone.
"Husband, dear," Kate said, grinning up at Jaredin that bountiful way of hers, hooking her finger intohis lapel and drawing him closer, "if you and Rosshad been paying the least attention, you'd know thatthe princess hasn't arrived yet."
Jared got that goofy look on his face again as hegazed down at his wife, lovesick and lusty. "My sweet,howcan I possibly pay attention to anything else in theroom with you wearing that smile, that gown, withthat necklace dangling between your luscious ..."
Fortunately, Drew didn't have to listen to the restof Jared's sugary cooing because the man had buriedhis words against his wife's ear. Though Kate's sultrygiggle left little to the imagination.
He turned away from the pair and Ross moved into stand beside him as they overlooked the swirl of thedance floor. "Gad, Ross, how the mighty have fallen."
"And damned if he doesn't look happier than abloody clam at high tide, lucky bastard." Ross liftedtwo glasses off a nearby serving table and handedone to Drew. "And you assigned to princess duty."
"My favorite kind of assignment, as you know."Putting his life on the line for another arrogant, illtemperedroyal. "But it's my fault this time. Stumblinginto a hornet's nest."
"Punishment for doing your job too well, Drew."
"On time and under budget." It's what he did,without questioning. "I couldn't really refuse to finishwhat I began, could I? After all, the princess is acousin to the queen."
Ross laughed and clapped him on the shoulder."Ah, but who among them isn't, Drew?"
Indeed. Drew only grunted, deciding to revealnothing more on the subject of the princess's familyties, at least for the moment.
"If the woman is any kind of a princess, Drew, shewon't arrive until well after midnight."
And it was one minute till. Hours yet to go.
Time didn't seem to matter a whit to a royal. Keepingas many people waiting as long as possibleseemed a heady pastime for most of them.
He should expect no less from Princess Caroline ofBoratania.
Impatient to begin, he scanned the perimeter of thedancing below, assessing every move and gesture.He was on duty now, fully absorbed, carefully readingthe room as he waited for this princess, who wasindeed keeping everyone cooling their heels whileshe took her own sweet ti --
"Is that ... ?" Drew heard from the crowd below asthe music faded.
"So beautiful ... !"
"So regal ..."
The idling crowd that had formed on the landingabove the dance floor suddenly closed ranks aroundthe great arching doorway.
"Well, I'll be damned," Drew heard himself say to no one in particular. Could it possibly be? Apunctual royal?
Rumblings of "Look! She's here!" and "Oooo, letme see" tumbled off the landing...