Always a Princess
Princess Syeira of the royal Romany House of Brishen is bound by a promise that feels more like a shackle. As the eldest daughter of the Romany King, she carries the title of Princess as proudly as she does her finely-honed distrust of Englishmen. When the Romany Prince faces the surest shot in the country and loses, Syeira is determined to see to it that her brother heals fully. Reluctantly accepting Captain Clifton’s help, Syeira finds that, while the English may not conduct family matters the same way as her Romany, some at least are capable of affection, passion – even love. As a Romany, she trusts her heart – but what if her heart loves an Englishman?
Captain Warwick ‘Wil’ Clifton has never considered marriage – why stop the fun of bed-hopping among the English aristocracy? – until he sees Syeira working her herbal remedies on her fallen brother. When Clifton offers to assist the Romany family, he’s unprepared for the warmth of Romany camaraderie. Neither is he remotely ready for the force of nature that is their Princess. Keeping a lid on his desire for the Romany Princess takes all his self-control. This rake is well out of practise at showing restraint but soon, the Captain has a new decision to make: What is he willing to risk for love?
A fresh take on the Regency period, Always a Princess shows how the English and the Romany share the wild countryside. The two cultures, with very different value systems, find myriad ways to coexist – and to clash.
Taster . . .
She shrank back with a gasp. The Captain wore nothing but his linen, breeches and boots. His red coat was slung casually over his arm with the rest of his attire. Clifton appeared to be arguing heatedly with her brother and his voice carried in the crisp air. Deep and powerful, the sound was currently overlaid with harsh, angry tones.
“. . . damned coward, where the hell is he? Granted that sister of his isn’t worth the trouble, but why in thunder the cad had to drag you into it, I can’t say. I’ve no wish to injure you, Prince Brishen, but the Code Duello is absolute and if I had to leave a warm, favoured bed to duel on time then that blasted Haversham can bloody well . . .,” and there followed further vigorous expletives. Syeira placed her hands over Janfri’s ears, who repeatedly and determinedly tried to push them away. She smiled. A passionate man, then. Immoderate too. She liked his fire. She shook her head; what was she thinking of? None of that that mattered when he was about to duel her brother.
Clifton was shouting something, signalling with his hands for Valkin to remain stationary while he ‘set up’ a shot. Her brother shook his head. The Prince’s pride would have none of a dumb shooting as he turned his back to the Captain, taking his place on the duelling field.
Janfri’s hand suddenly squeezed hers. Syeira held her breath, heart in her throat, praying she would not need the herbal poultices she had already prepared. She tensed as the duellists stood back to back. The two men paced out, her brother standing proud. Clifton moved as though his head hurt him. The terrible thought came to her that Valkin might kill him – she pushed it away. She could not bear it. She did not think why.
Clifton’s second dropped the white kerchief. Syeira froze, not daring to breathe. Both men turned and fired.