Loving The Prince
(The Jorda Trilogy Book 1)
by Nicole Murphy
eBook, 216 pages
Published August 1st 2014 by Escape Publishing - Harlequin Enterprises, Australia Pty Ltd
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From Escape’s fresh, exhilarating science fiction romance catalogue comes a story of corporate espionage, betrayal, sex, and bodyguards. Just another day in the colonies.
Cassandra Wiltmore is the heir to the throne of Rica, but it’s unlikely she’ll be stepping up any time soon. So she spends her days managing and building the Rican Balcite Mining Company. The company has made her family wealthy beyond imagination, but that kind of power needs careful control, and Cassandra is just the Wiltmore to control it.
When a new bid for the mining license is announced, Cassandra is determined to squash it. Then the thefts and threats begin, and every step she takes seems to be wrong. Taking on a new protector seems like an indulgence Cass can’t afford, but she equally cannot afford to be caught off-guard. If only the best man for the job wasn’t also the best-looking man she’s ever seen.
Kernan Radaton has ambition, and as protector to Cassandra Wiltmore, he’s well placed to reach all his long-held goals. If only his new all-business boss didn’t make him think of only pleasure. With the company, the heir and the family under attack, the last thing anyone needs is a distraction. But once everything is safe again, Kernan is developing new ambitions — ones that involve a lot of very personal time spent getting to know his boss on a very personal level.
Three hours after the meeting with Blerdon Cassandra was in her office, looking over the
report from the warehouse when Eorin came in. ‘You have a new protector.’
Cassandra slowly put down her reader, hoping her suddenly shaking hands weren’t
‘Kernan and Hera are no more. They’ve broken up. He’s free to become your
protector, no worries.’
Oh yes, worries. Major, terrible worries.
How was she going to hide her attraction from Kernan when they were mentally
connected? How could she work with him after he rejected her?
‘Great,’ Cassandra said with a bright smile.
Eorin left and she spent the rest of the day trying to come up with a reason to have
Kernan declared unfit to be her protector without confessing the truth.
She couldn’t and by the time she left work, the board had ratified Blerdon’s
appointment. Not unanimously — Hera had been dead against it, but she was outvoted.
Somehow, Cassandra was going to have to figure out how to work with Kernan
She walked into the house, intending to go straight to her bedroom, but Diana’s voice
‘Cassie? In here.’
Cassandra walked into the living room to find Diana on the sofa, cradling a sobbing
Hera who was lying down, her head on Diana’s lap.
Oh, the day got better and better.
‘Kernan dumped Hera in order to be your protector,’ Diana said. ‘When he realised
that he might lose the job over being with her, he decided he wanted the job more.’
Stupid man. Cassandra sat down on the couch, her hip by Hera’s, and stroked hair
from her cousin’s face.
‘I’m so sorry, Hera.’
Hera sniffed, blew her nose then looked at Cassandra. ‘He came over when I was
lunching with the ladies. It was after Diana and I went shopping. Oh, did Diana show you the
dress we found for you? It will be perfect. You really do need to start doing something about
the way you dress, Cassandra.’ She gestured to the staid business suit with a sniff.
Cassandra took a deep breath and concentrated on keeping her face straight.
‘Kernan came to see you…’
Hera nodded. ‘But he was so agitated, pacing up and down the room, so I asked him
what was wrong. And then — then he told me that if he stayed with me, he could never get
his dream job and so he had to end things.’ Her face crumpled and she started to sob again.
Cassandra looked at Diana, who smirked. ‘Apparently working with you is the dream
Cassandra mentally connected with her sister, something she hadn’t done for a
while. ‘Show her a bit of compassion.’
‘She’s cried all over my silk trousers. How much more compassion should I show her?’
‘Diana,’ Cassandra said aloud. ‘Why don’t you get us all a drink?’
Diana shrugged, eased Hera off her lap and strolled over to the bar. Cassandra had
to fight not to smile at the wet patches on Diana’s thighs.
She focussed back on Hera. ‘Maybe there’s some way to work it out. Father
suggested extra scans for him — if Kernan agrees to that, then you can stay together.’
Hera blinked and looked up at her. ‘Really? I didn’t know that.’
‘Really.’ Not that Cassandra really wanted Kernan working there at all, but if he were
with Hera then it would be easier to hide her attraction.
‘It’s just…’ Hera’s voice trailed off. She looked over her shoulder to look at Diana,
then leant forward and whispered, ‘He knows I lied about working at the RBMC. Don’t tell
And now the truth comes out. ‘That’s really why he ended things, isn’t it?’
‘He said he wanted the whole marriage catastrophe,’ Hera said. ‘The whole fantasy:
family, children. His own childhood was quite miserable, you know.’
‘I didn’t know.’ A mental picture of Kernan lying on the floor and playing with a
young child came to her mind and she had to think hard to ensure her face remained blank.
It was such a gorgeous, interesting picture.
‘His mother died when she gave birth to his sister. And his father was so overcome
with grief that he abandoned his children. Rather romantic, don’t you think?’
It was that type of thinking that had put Hera in this mess. ‘What happened to
Kernan and his sister?’
‘They were taken in by relatives who also had children. Kernan says he was always
aware of not really belonging. That’s why he’s desperate to have a family now. Why he
really wants this job with you — it will give him the stability he needs to support his family.’
And so the secret he hadn’t wanted to tell her was revealed. Cassandra wasn’t sure
she’d ever met a guy who was so hooked on the idea of settling down and having a family.
And what did it say about her that she really liked that?
‘That’s it!’ Hera sat bolt upright, all the tears gone, her eyes shining. ‘That’s it. I’ll tell
him I’m pregnant. And then I’ll tell him if he agrees to the three scans a week, we can stay
together, settle down, raise a family and be blissfully happy.’
‘Oh, Peace save us,’ Cassandra muttered. Diana came back with the drinks and
Cassandra took hers and downed it in one gulp. Something about being with her cousin
created a craving for alcohol.
‘Don’t do it,’ Diana said, sitting down. ‘Pretending you’re pregnant always backfires.
What will you do when you don’t start showing in a few months?’
‘I’ll make sure I get pregnant now, and say the baby is small,’ Hera said.
‘I need another drink.’ Cassandra went over to the bar.
‘Won’t work,’ Diana said. ‘How will you explain how late the baby is?’
‘Then I’ll say I’ve lost the baby. Kernan and I will be inconsolable, but it will draw us
‘That will only work if you’re prepared to do it properly,’ Diana advised. ‘You can’t
afford one slip-up. You have to be really ill, and take a long time to get better.’
‘Don’t encourage her,’ Cassandra said as she returned. ‘She can’t base the
relationship on a lie.’
Diana shrugged. ‘If Kernan doesn’t find out, then it will be fine.’
Cassandra looked at Hera, who had the good grace to blush. ‘He won’t, I promise.’
‘Maybe you should let it go,’ Cassandra said.
‘I can’t,’ Hera said. ‘Really, if you had any idea how amazing really good sex was,
you’d understand the lengths I’ll go to to keep him in my bed.’
‘I’ve had sex,’ Cassandra said.
‘Sure, but not sex like this. Sex like this is addictive. Amazing. You can’t stop thinking
about it. It’s like a drug, and you’ll do anything you can to keep it.’
The last thing Cassandra’s heated imagination needed was confirmation that Kernan
was good in bed.
‘Well, sounds like you have a plan,’ she managed to choke out. A stupid plan that
was doomed to failure.
‘I do. Thanks to you, soon to be Aunty Cassandra.’ Hera kissed Cassandra’s cheek and
skipped out of the room.
‘Well now,’ said Diana, lounging against the arm of the sofa. ‘That was a new high for
me. Listening to you try to support your cousin in her desire for the man you want.’
Cassandra shook her head as she stood. ‘I don’t want Kernan.’
‘Right. And I’m the Queen of Angonia.’
‘Then you won’t mind me going after him. After he tells Hera she’s crazy and dumps
her again, of course.’
‘Fine,’ Cassandra said. She managed to stay upright until she reached her bedroom.
Then she slumped on her bed with a moan.
Ridiculous. Stupid. This had to end, and it had to end soon.
About the Author:
Nicole Murphy is the author of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy, and a couple of dozen speculative fiction shorts. As Elizabeth Dunk she’s published contemporary romance with Escape Publishing and in June will be releasing a collection of paranormal erotic novellas, also with Escape. http://nicolermurphy.com/
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this sounds very interesting :) thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
A great storyline. I'm sure I'll be LOVING THE PRINCE too.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed the excerpt and I think Loving the Prince sounds like a wonderful story. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens.ReplyDelete