New Release | A Prince Among Men by @MooreKate0 #free #freebie #historicalromance #newrelease
Title: A Prince Among Men
Author: Kate Moore
Genre: Historical Romance
Duke's daughter Lady Ophelia Brinsby resists her parents' plans to marry her to a dull man of rank. Her happy place is with her kind, witty best friends who have no rank at all. When her father orders her new groom Alexander to keep her confined to daily rides in the park, away from those dear friends, rebellious Ophelia must find a way to outwit the one man clever and charming enough to stir her heart. Runaway prince Alexander masquerades as a lowly groom in a duke's stable while he plots to save his tiny country from British domination. The last thing he expects to find is a spirited woman who makes him forget duty in the face of desire.
Once the girl strode off, Alexander could think. He had misinterpreted what little talk there’d been in the stable about the duke’s daughter. Clagg had told him his duty was to accompany the young lady and keep their ride to the park. He remembered Clagg’s words. “She has a good seat and never abuses her animal.” He had added, with a shrug, “She’s spoiled some.” It was Alexander, who’d interpreted these remarks to mean he would be escorting a rebellious hoyden of twelve or thirteen. Her habit of riding at sunrise had also suggested a young person, not a lady of fashion who could go from the opera to a ball to a midnight supper in an evening.
The truth was something else. The girl was probably twenty, and though she wasn’t a beauty in the common way, the size and brilliance of her dark eyes had already interfered with the measured beat of his pulse.
He hadn’t fooled her, exactly. Her eyes were shrewd and clever rather than sweet, and she’d seen through his accent quick enough. He figured she didn’t have enough information to unmask him. And she’d been preoccupied with trying to shake his company. Her grip on the riding crop was firm, and he suspected she had little experience in having her will crossed. He didn’t know where his own boldness had come from, but challenging her had seemed instinctive.
She stood at the water’s edge, looking down, idly stirring the reeds with her riding crop. Her riding habit was the blue of deep ocean when you were nowhere near home. The jacket nipped in at the waist and buttoned up to the lace at her chin, and the slimness of that waist made her vulnerable somehow, in spite of her haughty manner. But he shouldn’t be thinking that. He was the lady’s groom and he wasn’t going to get himself sacked, as his predecessor had been.
The job had given him the perfect hiding place. A week before, he’d been running like a fox from his particular hounds and found this stable a handy covert. He wouldn’t be flushed out of it because the duke’s daughter was confined to the park.
Of all the pleasures of his former life, he’d missed horses most in the weeks he’d spent at his desk in the room above the tailor’s shop. Then, when his plans seemed to come to nothing and his choices disappeared, he’d wandered the long rows of stables behind the great houses of the West End. There he’d come across Raj, blindfolded and held down by four grooms, idiots with neither sense nor kindness. Enraged at the indignity of the stallion’s treatment, Alexander had interfered. His success with Raj earned him a job offer on the spot, and in a moment of madness he’d taken it.
Since then, he’d been talking to the stallion, stroking him, teaching the skittish horse the sound of his voice and feel of his hand. Raj didn’t like the city, and he didn’t like the clatter of wheels, the surprise of traffic coming from every direction at once. It was plain that the tender-mouthed, high-strung stallion had been abused.
Raj he understood; the girl was a puzzle. Spoiled, yes, but something more. When she’d not been looking, he’d caught a glimpse of a face bleak with disappointment. It was not the look of a spoiled child denied her way. He stole another glance at her.
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Kate Moore is a former English teacher and three-time RITA finalist, Golden Heart, Readers Crown, and Book Buyers Best Award winner. She writes Austen-inspired fiction set in 19th Century England or contemporary California. Her heroes are men of courage, competence, and unmistakable virility, with determination so strong it keeps their sensuality in check until they meet the right woman. Her heroines take on the world with practical good sense and kindness to bring those heroes into a circle of love and family. Sometimes there's even a dog. Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves. Her children are her best works, and her husband is her favorite hero. Visit Kate at Facebook.com/KateMooreAuthor or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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