It was all Parker could do to remember he shouldn’t be kissing Tess Kendrick at all.
He’d never intended to act on the pull he’d felt toward the woman playing utter havoc on his nervous system. When he’d reached for her, he honestly hadn’t been thinking of how badly he’d wanted to do exactly what he was doing now. Yet one touch of her lips to his, one taste of her and his thoughts had moved straight from offering comfort to how incredible she felt beneath his hands.
She would feel even more amazing in his bed.
The thought made him groan. Or maybe it was the feel of her perfectly molded to the length of him that pulled the sound from his chest. All he knew for certain was that wanting her threatened to overtake his common sense. His job was to protect her.
From himself if necessary.
Have you ever wished you were rich and famous? Have you ever wished you were a celebrity? Or royalty? Have you ever considered how you would handle being followed by paparazzi, or having everything you say and do scrutinized by the public? I’ve been fascinated by royalty for as long as I can remember; by their sense of duty, their intrigues, their lives of privilege. (When I was ten, I desperately wanted to be a princess. After all, no princess I’d read about then ever had to do housework.) I’d just never truly considered the invasion of privacy certain people must deal with until I started writing about the Kendricks. I’d still like to be rich. I’d like us all to be. But I think there’s a lot to be said for being anonymous enough that our mistakes don’t make the evening news.
Here’s to your wishes!
Falling for the Heiress
admits to being interested in just about everything, which is why she considers herself fortunate to have turned her interest in writing into a career. She feels that a writer gets to explore it all and, to her, exploring relationships—especially the intense, bittersweet or even lighthearted relationships between men and women—is fascinating.
For Tracy Horowitz,
my ever-so-organized cousin, with thanks for a fabulous family reunion! Just remember, what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas…
Tess Kendrick balanced her three-year-old son on her hip and descended the steps from her grandmother’s private jet. A hot summer breeze whipped the whine of aircraft engines around her, causing little Mikey to bury his head against her shoulder at the noise.
At the base of the stairs, a member of her grandmother’s elite security service gave her a deferential nod while a uniformed steward quickly moved her luggage from the cargo bay to the trunk of a waiting black Lincoln SUV.
It had been over a year since the bottom had fallen from her world, a year since the scandal of her divorce had forced her into exile. Granted, that exile had been in a royal palace on the Mediterranean and her maternal grandmother, the queen of the tiny jewel-like kingdom of Luzandria, had been most gracious offering Tess and Mikey accommodation, but Tess couldn’t continue to live in those gilded confines.
Isolation, homesickness and a desperate need to get on with her life had finally brought her back to Camelot, Virginia. The family estate outside the picturesque little town was where she had been born and raised. It was where her parents still lived, for part of the year, anyway. But most important of all, it was home.
“Do you require help with the child, ma’am?”
“Thank you, but I have him.” She hoisted the towheaded boy clinging to her neck a little higher, adjusted the oversize bag hanging over her other shoulder. A massive case of nerves remained hidden by her soft smile. “And thank you for the escort. You’ve all been most kind.”
The solemn soldier with the heavy French accent dipped his head in a deferential bow. “It was our pleasure to be of service, madam.” He motioned her ahead of him. “I will see you to the car.”
He hadn’t smiled back. It was almost as if it were against the rules, the code or whatever it was the men trained to serve Her Majesty followed. Even as a child on summer visits to her grandmother with her siblings, it had seemed to Tess that smiles were allowed only by personnel in closest service to the royal family and their guests. Even then, any expression of friendliness had seemed subdued.
As much as she loved her grandmother, the formality of the palace was one of the reasons she’d become so restless to return. Though her basic nature yearned for less structure, she’d learned to live with propriety. Her energetic and endlessly curious little boy didn’t need to suffer such constraints, though. His enthusiasm had been suppressed enough before they’d more or less been forced to leave the country. His father—her now ex-husband—had not only preferred that the child not be heard, most of the time he hadn’t wanted him in his sight.
She hugged her precious son more tightly, her narrow heels clicking on the tarmac as she moved quickly toward the waiting vehicle. Her prince had turned into a frog, her charmed life into a nightmare and her personal reputation had been totally destroyed in the process, but there wasn’t a thing she could do to change that harrowing bit of history. She could only remind herself of the phoenix that rose from the ashes and hope that her singed wings would be strong enough to lift her back up. All she wanted was to forget the past few years, to buy a house and to go back to work on her project for the Kendrick Foundation.
If she’d had any idea how to restore her reputation, that would have been on her to-do list, too, but she couldn’t figure out how to counter all the lies told about her without causing greater problems. The best she could do on that score was hope that people would remember her as they had known her, not as her ex and her silence had portrayed her to be, and that time would have healed the worst of the damage.
Certain time would never heal some wounds, she picked up her pace.
What people didn’t know was that her marriage to Bradley Michael Ashworth III had disintegrated within the first year and that the fairy-tale life she’d appeared to be living had been a sham. Because she’d been raised to never say anything to anyone that might get passed on and wind up in print, she hadn’t confided the difficulties in her marriage to any of her friends. Even her family didn’t know how abusive the relationship had been. They knew only that Brad had promised a protracted and embarrassingly public divorce if she didn’t take full blame for the demise of their marriage.
The divorce had been humiliatingly public anyway. But her family had no idea that had she not complied with Brad’s wishes, he would have gone to the press with photographs he’d taken of her father with another woman. He’d even shown her some of the photos that would have sent the media into a frenzy scavenging for more dirt and completely broken her mother’s heart.
The breeze loosened strands of her hair from the clip at her nape and blew them across her face. Smiling at her son as he pushed them back for her,