The Highlander's Princess Bride
Improper Princesses Book 3
by Vanessa Kelly
Genre: Historical Romance
In Vanessa Kelly’s enchanting series, three young women descended from royalty overcome their scandalous beginnings to win the hearts of the ton’s most eligible men . . .
The illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent might be expected to pursue various dubious professions. Actress, perhaps, or artist’s model. Even courtesan. Victoria Knight, however, has become a governess—a respectable choice, until she travels to Scotland to meet her new charges. The younger brothers of Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior, aren’t children at all. They’re brawny, wild Highland men. As for the Earl, he’s handsome, guarded, and far too compelling . . . especially for a woman hiding a dark secret.
Nick needs a proper teacher to transform his unmarriageable brothers—and a sensible,
straight-laced wife for himself. Miss Knight seems to fit the bill on both counts. But he soon discovers there is more to Victoria than he thought. It’s not just her notorious origins, or the danger that’s followed her all the way to Scotland. It’s the fiery loyalty beneath that sedate façade. This, the real Victoria, is the woman Nick is starting to desire so desperately. And what an earl wants, he’ll use every seductive means to get . . .
**Easily read as a standalone!**
New Year’s Eve in Scotland:
“Bloody hell, you two,” Royal said. “It’s almost time. Best get a move on or we’ll miss it.”
“Miss what?” Victoria asked.
Nick pulled out his pocket watch. Only a minute or so until midnight.
“First Foot,” he said, escorting her up the wide stone steps to the front door.
“I’ve heard of it,” she said. “It’s an old Scottish tradition.”
“The first person to enter the home traditionally brings good luck for the rest of the year—if the appropriate conditions are met.”
“Appropriate conditions?” she asked.
“That it be a dark-haired male,” Royal said. “Nick usually does it, when he’s home.”
“And I’ll be doing it from now on,” Nick said. “You have the coal?”
Royal held up a small lump.
“Good heavens,” Victoria said with a laugh.
“Another tradition,” Royal said. “Angus would kill us if we didn’t carry in a piece of coal.”
When the bells of midnight began to chime all over the city, Nick pulled out the small purse of gold sovereigns he’d stowed in his greatcoat pocket before leaving the house. Then he rapped on the door. It swung open, revealing his family and most of the servants, lined up awaiting their arrival.
He stepped over the threshold. “A Happy New Year and Good Tidings to you and yours.”
Representing the household, Angus bustled forward. “Happy New Year, lad,” he said gruffly, giving him a quick hug.
“Happy New Year, Grandda.” Nick handed over the purse. “Make sure all the servants get one.”
Angus nodded. “And Good New Year to ye both,” he said to Victoria and Royal. He took a glass of whisky from one of the footmen and handed it to Nick. Another footman distributed small glasses to everyone else crowded in the hall.
Nick held up his glass. “Slainte, and Happy New Year.”
They cheered and toasted him back.
After the glasses were drained, they all began hugging and slapping one another on the back. When Kade tried to sneak an extra dram from the footman, Nick plucked the glass from his hand.
“That’s enough for you, laddie boy,” he said with mock severity.
“Spoilsport,” Kade said, then he threw his arms around Nick’s waist and gave him a fierce hug. “Happy New Year, Nick. I’m so glad we’re all here together.”
“Except for the twins,” said Braden, also coming up to give Nick a hug. “I suppose they had better things to do.”
“Such as flirt with pretty girls and enjoy themselves?” Victoria replied with a smile. “What shocking activities for young men.”
Braden rolled his eyes. “I know you think I’m an old stick-in-the mud, but I truly would rather be with my family.”
“I think you’re splendid,” Victoria said, giving him a hug. “But I also think you work too hard.”
Since coming to Glasgow, she’d been on a campaign to get the lad to ease up on his studies. But Braden was determined to gain admittance to medical school as soon as possible. He was the most disciplined, serious person Nick had ever known.
“Someone in this household has to earn his keep,” Royal said. “God knows the rest of us spend our days lazing about.”
“Speak for yourself,” Kade said, poking him in the arm. “I work very hard, as does Miss Knight.”
“True,” Royal said, ruffling his little brother’s hair.
Nick didn’t miss the bitter twist to his brother’s smile. Royal still hadn’t a clue what to do with his life.
“How about another wee dram in the drawing room?” Angus said.
“Yes, please,” said Kade. “I want to hear all about the party.”
Nick frowned. “It’s getting late, and you must be tired.”
When Kade started to protest, Victoria smoothly intervened. “I think we can make an exception. After all, it’s New Year’s.”
“So there.” Kade stuck his tongue out at Nick.
They all laughed and the family followed Angus into the drawing room. Nick held Victoria back. “Are you sure the boy’s not wearing himself out? He’s looking a little peaked to me.”
“He’s looking no such thing,” she said firmly. “The doctor said just yesterday how pleased he is with Kade’s progress. Stop worrying so much. I’m sure it’s not good for you.”
“Do you fear for my health, Madam Governess? If I fall ill and take to my bed, you’ll have to join me there. To personally attend to all my needs, of course.”
“Sir, I cannot imagine what you’re talking about.”
“Lass, you know exactly what I’m talking about,” he murmured, leaning in close. She smelled delicious, like peppermints and sweet tea.
Her lips twitched. “You are incorrigible,” she said before marching past him.
ALSO IN THE IMPROPER PRINCESSES SERIES!
Named by Booklist as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance,” USA Today bestselling author
Vanessa Kelly’s books have been nominated for awards in a number of contests. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Medallion for historical romance. With a Master’s Degree in English Literature, Vanessa is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers. You can visit her on the web at
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