SPOTLIGHT! - The Exiled Prince
The Exiled Prince
(Royal Secrets #1)
By Jeana E. Mann
Publication date: June 18th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A secret masquerade hookup leads to complications with Rourke’s new boss.
Rourke: As a celebrity personal assistant, I pride myself on professionalism. When a mysterious stranger offers to show me the wonders of a clandestine sex club at the masked ball, I jump at the chance. Because no one will know me, right? One night. No names. No faces. It should have ended there. I had no idea that the handsome, enigmatic man would turn out to be my new employer.
Roman: After the masquerade, I searched for the girl who’d crashed my party, only to find her in my office a few months later. I can’t fire her because she’s the best assistant I’ve ever had, but I can’t stop wanting her in my bed either.
If you like tension, angst, and a good dose of sexy, then this book is for you.
***This book was formerly released as Sex, Lies, & Lipstick in the Bad Boy Billionaire Bachelors Boxset and can be read as a standalone.
Somehow, in the space of our conversation, we’d drifted toward one of the curtained alcoves along the perimeter of the room. When the curtain closed behind us with a whisper of velvet, and the bright colors of the ballroom dimmed into candlelit darkness, I realized I was alone with a man I didn’t know. A very tall, ominous man, whose broad shoulders and penetrating stare dwarfed the room. Nicky’s words echoed back to me. He’s not the kind of man to be trifled with. I swallowed a frisson of fear, as intoxicating as it was disturbing. No need to freak out. The party continued outside the alcove. Help was only a few feet away.
“I thought we were going for a walk.” My gaze flicked to the heavy drapes, judging the distance in case I should need a hasty escape.
“Later. First, I want to know more about you.” His hooded gaze traveled over my face, lingering for two heartbeats on my lips. How many nights had I dreamed of a man like this—one who’d thrill and frighten me? He braced a hand on the wall by my head, hemming me in. Up close, he smelled of leather, expensive cologne, and fine, rare things.
“There isn’t much to tell really,” I said, my knees weakening. Although his nearness set my senses on high alert, I didn’t feel threatened, just aroused.
“You’re an American?”
“Yes, a New Yorker.” I bit my lower lip to keep from giving away more than I wanted.
“Why did you come to this party?” He leaned closer, edging me backward until the hard paneling chilled my backside.
“Why does anyone come to these parties?” I asked, feeling lightheaded at his closeness.
“To enjoy anonymity in a safe and nonjudgmental atmosphere. To experience decadence without the threat of discovery.”
“You sound like a travel magazine.” I pressed my palms against the wall at my sides and reveled in the escalation of my pulse.
“People come from all over the world for this experience. There are places here—secret places—with access given to only a select few. I can take you there. We can explore those mysteries together.” He drew in a deep breath, angling his head and scenting me. The primitive gesture caused an immediate pulse in my sex. “You haven’t answered my question.”
“Yes,” I said, feeling weak-kneed, excited, and frightened in rapid succession. “To all those things. I want to experience all of that.”
“Let me show you everything your heart desires.” The low, seductive music of his voice and an excess of champagne dulled my common sense. I had the distinct feeling I was being seduced by Satan, and the safety of my soul hovered in the balance. “Well, Cinderella, will you join me?”
“Okay.” For a second, I thought he was going to kiss me. When he increased the distance between us, lowering his hand from the wall, disappointment washed over me.
“Before we begin, may I see your invitation?”
His request sent my stomach plummeting to the floor. “No, you may not.” I lifted my chin, trying to pull together my faculties. “I don’t have it on me. It’s with my friend.”
“You’re not a very good liar. And you’re not Barbara.” Each of his words raised my temperature another degree until I thought my insides would combust. How would he know Barbara unless he was Menshikov?
“I never said I was Barbara.” If I was caught, I had nothing to lose by bluffing. Meeting his gaze, I conjured a playful smile. So many sins could be hidden with a smile. “I came here under the assurance that no one would question my identity. If anyone found out that I was here, it could be very—damaging—to my reputation and my career.” This was total bullshit, but I kept going, even though my heart jackhammered against my ribs. “Are you threatening my privacy? Because I’m pretty certain that’s a direct violation of the rules.”
“Rules were made to be broken.” Full lips rolled together. I couldn’t help staring at the gesture and wondering how those lips tasted, how they kissed. Would he be forceful? Gentle? Would his hand fist in my hair while his knee parted my thighs?
“I’d bet my life that you don’t have an invitation.” His eyelids lowered to slits. “I know everyone at this party. Everyone but you.”
“Are you sure? I’m sure we’ve met before. In Rome? Or maybe Paris?” I met his gaze, refusing to blink. “I think we’re done here,” I said, calling his bluff. “If you’ll excuse me.”
“God, a woman with balls. I love it.” He threw back his head and laughed. The deep sound shimmered over me, easing the tension in my shoulders. “I’m one hundred percent certain we’ve never met. I couldn’t forget someone as lovely as you.” The weight of his gaze crawled over my face, lips, breasts and hips, scraping over my nerve endings, alighting my body with a new and intriguing kind of fire. He rested a fingertip under my chin, tilting my eyes up to his, the tip of his thumb grazing my skin. “Very well, Cinderella. You win. I’ll give you a pass this time.”
“I’ll stay, but only if you behave.” God, he was handsome. The silk mask and thick but well-groomed beard couldn’t hide the sharp lines of his square jaw, the chiseled planes of high cheekbones, and the knife-blade edge of his nose.
“I realize I’m out of line, but you’ve piqued my curiosity.” If only I could see his eyes. Were they blue or brown? Under the shelter of his mask, I couldn’t tell.
“Are you Menshikov?” How else could he know that I entered the party under the guise of Barbara Ellis?
He studied my eyes for a long second. “No, I’m not. But I know him very well.”
“Are you going to tell him?”
“That you’re here without an invitation?”
Too late, I realized my mistake. “No, I mean—”
He silenced my words with a fingertip to my lips. “Hush. Your secret is safe with me.” His gaze dipped to my mouth again. I slid my tongue across my bottom lip, suddenly famished and thirsty, dying for relief from a hunger I never knew I possessed. “For a price.”
Jeana Mann is the award winning author of steamy adult contemporary romance. She's done lots of interesting things in her life, most of which will remain locked in the vault, but serve as inspiration for her stories. She lives to write with an occasional break to hike through the woods with her dogs. Jeana is an active member of the Crossroads Romance Writers and Indiana Romance Writers chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Connect with Jeana on her website http://jeanaemann.net. To receive text alerts for new releases and special offers, text the word Jeana to 21000.
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