Three Weeks with a Princess
The Improper Princesses #2
By: Vanessa Kelly
Releasing June 27, 2017
In Vanessa Kelly s captivating series, three young women are descended from royalty in the most improper way. But that doesn’t stop them from pursuing lives rich in adventure. . .
Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new Marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector . . . if he weren t too honorable to take her to bed.
It s bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride. But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the ton s greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can t deny. . .
They heard a quick footfall out in the hall. A moment later the door opened and Lia rushed in.
“Oh, confound it, Jack,” she said. “I had no idea you were here. I ran down from the big house as soon as Merton told me he’d seen you cutting through the gardens.” She rested a hand on his arm and stretched up on her toes to give him a soft kiss on the cheek. “It’s shocking that I wasn’t here to greet you. Please forgive me.”
Jack stared down at her, slightly disoriented, as if someone had given him a knock on the brainbox.
He hadn’t seen her since his uncle’s funeral, when grief and worry had left her pretty face pinched and wan. Enveloped in mourning clothes and heavy shawls to keep out the chill spring rains, Lia had seemed almost like a sad child, sorely in need of a mother’s love and comfort.
Today, though, there was nothing childlike about her, and she was more than merely pretty. His Lia was now full-grown and simply beautiful.
She gazed up at him with peacock-blue eyes alight with affection. Her skin glowed with the warmth of the summer sun and the flush of her exertions. Her enchanting face, with its tip-tilted nose and lush pink mouth, was framed by silky dark hair, some of it falling haphazardly from the simple knot on top of her head. As for her figure, her faded green riding habit with its trim bodice showcased a graceful body that held more than its share of pleasing curves.
When the hell had Lia developed breasts that he actually noticed?
His visits to Stonefell had been rare these last three years, given the fact that he’d spent much of that time on the Continent with the army. In the meantime, his little friend had matured into a woman, with results that were rather astonishing.
Her brow creased and her smile slid into one of perplexity. “Jack, you look as if you don’t know me,” she said with a self-conscious laugh. Then her smile snuffed out completely. “Oh, am I being too familiar?”
She took a quick step back and dipped into a curtsy. “Forgive me, my lord. I let my enthusiasm run away with me.”
Her anxious response jolted him back to himself. He pulled her into a bear hug, all too conscious of how delightful her soft breasts felt against his body.
“Goose, of course not,” he said, planting a brief kiss on the top of her head before letting go. “I was just a bit surprised to see you, that’s all. You’re looking very well, I must say.”
She wrinkled her nose. “That’s a complete plumper. I look a wreck, but I didn’t want to take the time to change and risk missing you.”
Rebecca ran a critical eye over her granddaughter. “You do look rather disheveled, my love. I wasn’t aware you were planning on shoeing the mare yourself, but the soot on the hem of your habit would suggest you were.”
Lia burst into laughter, and the light, clear sound of it loosened the tangled knot in Jack’s chest that had moved in some weeks ago. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed her laughter.
“I know,” she said. “But poor Markwith is so busy these days. I thought I’d help him by taking Dorcas down to the blacksmith and saving him the trouble of the trip.”
Jack mentally grimaced. In the last year his head groom had been forced to let go two stableboys. That Lia was now acting as a stable hand had the knot in his chest twisting tight again.
“I’m sorry, Lia,” he said. “You shouldn’t have had to do that.”
“You know I don’t mind,” she said as she folded herself onto the footstool at her grandmother’s feet. Rebecca reached out to stroke Lia’s thick hair. They were so close. With the death of Jack’s uncle, the two women truly now had only each other.
“Next time you need something, just tell me,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”
Her eyebrows arched up. “I will when you’re in residence. But that’s not very often.”
Rebecca gave her an admonishing tap on the shoulder. “That’s no way to speak to his lordship, my love.”
Lia’s eyes rounded with mock horror. “Oh, I do hope I haven’t offended him.” She gave him a comical bow, her nose almost touching the floor. “Forgive my impertinence, Lord Lendale, I beg of you.”
He shook his head. “Brat.”
She grinned. “Sorry, but I can’t help teasing. It’s just so good to see you.” She glanced over her shoulder at Rebecca. “We missed him greatly, did we not, Granny?”
If you could sit and write in a different country where would it be?
England, probably the Lake District or the Cotswolds. My fantasies generally do not involve sexy guys—they involve peaceful little cottages on a hillside overlooking a beautiful lake. Oh, and tea, scones, and a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. LOL!
Co-writing: have you done it with another author, if not, would you?
I co-write with my husband as VK Sykes. We’ve written a number of books, including contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Hubby is also my critique partner for my historical romances. I enjoy the process and we work very well together—likely because we know each other’s weak spots and how to deal with them. It’s really fun to work creatively with him; plus, it keeps us busy so we don’t kill each other from boredom! I don’t know if I could actually co-write a book with another author, although I’ve worked on interconnected anthologies with other writers. I enjoyed that process, too.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is the second book in The Improper Princesses Series, which is a spin-off from my previous series, The Renegade Royals. That series featured the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes, who fought for their rightful places in the world—falling madly in love with some pretty swell gals along the way, of course. In this new series, the illegitimate daughters of royal dukes take their turn, surmounting all the obstacles that society put in their way in that time period, and winning the hearts of their own heroes. There’s love, laughter, adventure, and just a little bit of danger to spice things up!
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
Aside from the fact that it’s a spin-off, THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is based on the famous movie musical, Gigi. My heroine, Lia Kincaid, is the daughter and granddaughter of notorious courtesans and is expected to follow in their footsteps. There are a few problems with that plan, however—she has no desire to become a courtesan and she’s madly in love with her childhood friend, Jack Easton, Marquess of Lendale. But events conspire to push Lia in the direction she doesn’t want to go, and Jack is pretty much losing his mind trying to stop her. Jack, unfortunately, also has big problems, which include a mother who hates Lia’s guts and a debt-ridden estate all but falling down around his ears. Needless to say, Lia and Jack have more than a few obstacles to a happily ever after!
What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
I just read a great book called BITTER SPIRITS, a paranormal romance set in San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties. The hero is a bootlegger and the heroine is a spirit medium, and they meet under very unusual circumstances: the hero is under a curse. They have tremendous chemistry and I loved the atmospheric setting. I’m halfway through the second book in the series by Jenn Bennett, and I’m enjoying it, too. I’m kind of a sucker for unusual historical settings for romance, and this one really fit the bill.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
The best part for me is writing The End. I relish having a finished book in my hands, and it’s still a thrill to know I created a new story with characters I’ve invariably come to love. The most challenging part is actually sitting down every day and getting words on the page. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not. There are days when I feel like being lazy or reading a book, but deadlines mean butt has to get into chair, regardless of inspiration striking or not.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
The theme I most frequently come back to, whether I realize it or not at the time, is family and finding home. It’s just the one that sticks with me. I do have a number of characters I’d like to return to at some point, mostly secondary characters from my Renegade Royals Series. There are a pair of children in my recently released short story, THREE RENEGADES AND A BABY, who I think are demanding their own story when they grow up. So, stay tuned for that!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My next book is called THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and it’ll be out in November. It’s Improper Princesses 3, and it moves the action to a remote castle in Scotland. My heroine finds herself trying to teach a very rambunctious family of Highlanders how to be proper gentlemen, a la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This book segues into my next series, which will feature the Kendrick brothers—a wild group of Highland rogues! I’m really excited to be moving in that direction.
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.
Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a spin-off series called The Improper Princesses. My Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month. Vanessa also writes USA TodayBestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.
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