I'm very happy to have an exclusive excerpt from Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, the first book in the Renegade Royals series by Vanessa Kelly. Enjoy, and don't forget to check out the giveaway as well!
Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard (The Renegade Royals #1)
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Release Date: 7 January 2014
IN MATTERS OF DESIRE, HE’S THE PERFECT TEACHER…
Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…
Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…
Her rescuer came to his feet with smooth, economical grace. He reached out and placed his cup on the edge of Sir Dominic’s desk, never taking his eyes from her face. It amazed her that so big a man could move with such precision and quiet elegance. That grace, combined with his handsome features and his hard-edged masculinity, left her blushing like an inexperienced chit. Without the press of immediate danger to distract her, she felt tongue-tied before him.
Don’t be a fool, Vivien.
She’d been courted by men so handsome they were prettier than she was, but they’d never caused her to feel the slightest bit discomforted. It was only her fatigue and stress that had her reacting in such a silly fashion now. And despite the foolish way she’d clutched at him earlier, Vivien had no intention of developing a schoolgirl crush on St. George. Despite his impeccable background, he was no idle bachelor. She had developed some sharp instincts at the card tables and those instincts were shrieking that he was dangerous. For one, she found it very difficult to lie to him. For another, she sensed he would break her heart if she were foolish enough to develop feelings for him.
“Lady Vivien.” With a warm smile, Sir Dominic rose from behind his desk and crossed to meet her. “You’re looking rather more the thing, my dear,” he said as he drew her to the chair St. George had just vacated. “Come have a cup of coffee.”
St. George stepped back as she passed him, but her shoulder brushed his chest. Their brief contact shivered through her body with surprising force. She forced herself not to look at him to gauge his reaction to that simple touch.
“I would adore a cup of coffee, sir,” she replied, affecting a brightness she didn’t feel. “But is it not time to return to Blake House?” She cast a nervous glance toward the window. It approached full daylight, and the costermongers and everyone else who rose at first light would now be out on the streets.
“There’s no rush,” Sir Dominic replied. “We’ll be having breakfast in just a few minutes. You need proper nourishment, or you’ll fall ill. We mustn’t allow that to happen, now that we’ve finally got you back safely.”
“But I’ve been gone two days!” She cast a worried glance at St. George. “I have to get home before anyone sees me, don’t I? That’s what you said last night.”
St. George moved closer and gently pressed her shoulder, apparently seeking to reassure her. “You needn’t worry, Vivien. Sir Dominic has everything in hand.”
She blinked at the use of her Christian name, but everyone else seemed to ignore his slip. In that case, she supposed she’d better do the same.
“I don’t understand,” she said to Sir Dominic. “Are we not risking exposure by acting in so cavalier a fashion?” Vivien never paid much attention to what gossips prattled about her, but she had no desire to be ruined, either.
“St. George was correct,” Sir Dominic replied with a smile. “We have a plan already in place to explain your disappearance.”
Vivien shook her head, unable to rid herself of the knot in her stomach—the one that told her she wouldn’t be safe until she returned home. On top of that, she needed to speak with Kit, and very soon. Her suspicions about her little brother’s role in this affair had mushroomed into horrible certainty, and she could barely restrain herself from shrieking with impatience.
Sir Dominic cocked his head, studying her. “You trust me, don’t you?”
A flash of guilt stabbed through her. Of course she trusted him. He’d been one of her father’s oldest friends, and after Papa had died Sir Dominic had often stepped in to support Mamma and Cyrus in any way he could.
Not that they’d ever expressed any real gratitude to him, but their negligence had never prevented Sir Dominic from treating Vivien and Kit with a great deal of kindness. It hadn’t surprised her to learn he had organized her rescue, especially with his political connections and the resources available to him through the Home Office.
And she supposed it made sense that Mamma had gone to him for help instead of Cyrus, who was always useless in a crisis, but . . .
She frowned at Sir Dominic, silently taking a coffee cup as questions swarmed in her mind. Why had she been brought here and not to Blake House? And why was Cyrus seemingly not involved in this? As her older brother and head of the family, he should have led the effort to find her. So far, no one had even mentioned his name.
About the Author
Vanessa Kelly is an 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 sensual, 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 next series, The Renegade Royals, is due to hit the shelves in November with an introductory novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss. Book One in the series, Secrets For Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, will release in January, 2014, and Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom will be out in April, 2014.When not dreaming of plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. She's also a member of Rock*It Reads, a group of bestselling traditional authors who are self-publishing, and of The Jaunty Quills.
Vanessa is also hosting a giveaway on her website for a reproduction of the original art for SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD, and original sketches of the heroines from LOST in a ROYAL KISS (#0.5) and SECRETS for SEDUCING a ROYAL BODYGUARD (#1).
Link to contest on Vanessa’s website: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/contest/