Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly
Book #1 in the Renegade Royals series
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…
“Aye, that tears it, Cap’n,” barked Tom. “They’re onto us.”
Vivien froze, awkwardly poised on the carriage step. She craned her neck to see around St. George’s broad shoulders. Unfortunately, the thick, obscuring clouds chose that moment to inconveniently part, and a half moon cast its rays across the shorn field they had crossed only a few minutes ago. Four horsemen broke free from the trees and pounded toward them, crouched low over their animals and bearing down on her party with reckless speed.
St. George’s hand tightened on hers. “Get into the carriage,” he said in a voice of icy calm.
Her body gripped with a strange paralysis, Vivien could only stare at the horrifying vision of her captors closing in on them. One of them raised his arm, pointing right at them. The sound of a pistol shot rang out, and a second later the branch above her head cracked, raining bark down onto the roof of the coach.
St. George let out a low curse. He yanked his hand free from her clutching fingers, seized her about the waist, and dumped her onto the floor of the carriage. She went down in a heap, tangled up in her frothing skirts and her velvet cloak.
“Stay down,” he snapped.
Flailing, Vivien struggled to right herself, fighting the material twisting about her legs. She finally managed to get up on her knees, gaping up at St. George. Braced against the door frame, his body shielded her from the danger racing toward them with a thundering beat.
Heart thudding painfully in her chest, she peeked around his legs, straining to see something—anything. But the vision of her kidnappers bearing down on them made her want to scramble into the corner of the coach, cover her ears, close her eyes, and pray for deliverance with every shred of piety in her soul.
The villains were already halfway across the field and closing fast. Vivien made a silent, desperate vow that she would go to church every Sunday without fail, even if their pastor gave the most boring sermons in London. It would be a small price to pay if she could escape this unending nightmare.
Pistol fire exploded once more, dangerously close and spooking the horses. The carriage jerked forward, slamming her into the seat. St. George slipped one foot off the step as he struggled to keep his balance. The coachman yelled, obviously attempting to wrestle his horses under control, but the carriage continued to lurch as the animals tried to bolt.
Righting herself, Vivien wrapped her arms around St. George’s knees and pulled back with all her might. He steadied himself then snapped instructions to the coachman who finally managed to bring his charges under control. Tom, now mounted on St. George’s horse, flashed by the door of the carriage and sailed over the low hedge separating the laneway from the field. He headed directly toward the advancing horsemen.
St. George spared her a quick glance. “Thank you for your assistance, Lady Vivien. You can let go now.”
Stunned, she ignored him. She gazed in horror after Tom, who was charging in a foolhardy manner across the open field.
Vivien yanked on the hem of St. George’s coat. “Why are you letting him do that? He’ll be killed!”
“He’ll be fine,” he replied in a maddeningly calm voice. “Now, let go of me, Vivien. And this time you will stay down on the floor.”
Startled by the use of her name, she did as he ordered. He produced a large pistol from somewhere inside his coat, took swift aim, and discharged it. At almost the same time another shot from somewhere just above her head roared out. The coachman, obviously as well armed as his master.
Vivien crouched on the floor, covering her ears against the deafening reports and silently commanding her stomach to stay put. The laudanum had already made her feel queasy, and finding herself in the middle of a pitched battle didn’t help.
St. George gave a satisfied grunt. “Two down, two to go.” He pounded his fist on the top of the carriage. “Spring them, John. It’s time to go.”
He pivoted as the carriage lurched forward, pulling himself in and slamming the door shut in one swift, economical motion. Somehow he managed to avoid stepping on her although his booted legs crowded her against the rise of the seat. He reached for her, lifting her up and depositing her gently on the opposite seat, where she collapsed against the cushions.
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.
You can find her on the web at her website - blog - Facebook - Twitter
There are TWO giveaways:
One ARC of Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, book two of The Renegade Royals series, and one copy of His Mistletoe Bride per the total number of stops. (US/Ca only)
To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
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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).