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New Release | In Lieu of a Princess by Meredith Bond #historicalromance #regency #bookboost
Title: In Lieu of a Princess
Author: Meredith Bond
Genre: Regency romance
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
“This isn’t her Royal Highness,” the headmistress told the man and the woman who were staring at Lucinda with their mouths hanging open.
“But it could be.”
These words turn the life of Lucinda North upside down. Within hours, she agrees—against her better judgement—to impersonate the missing Princess Louisa of Aachen-Düren. Within a week, she meets the queen and the handsome and charming Lord Melfield. Within the month, she is living at Buckingham Palace, lying about her true identity not only to Queen Charlotte, but to all of Regency society, while someone is trying to kill her. Within her lifetime, she will never regret a moment of it.
Anthony Melfield would rather not waste his time helping a spoiled princess learn how to conduct herself. He would certainly rather not have to return to society after a heartbreak. And he most definitely would rather not have feelings for the princess, no matter how sweet, funny, and beautiful she is. To top it all, he would much rather not have to use his skills to save her life and figure out who wants her dead.
Hidden identities, a princess on the run, and three lives at stake… despite this, these royals and rebels must learn to trust and open themselves to a lifetime of love.
“Sophia,” Lou whispered, trying not to sound too exasperated.
“What? I wasn’t even pretending to buy anything. I know we don’t have the funds.” Her sister was all sweetness and innocence, but Lou knew the truth. That girl could coax honey from a bee and have the insect give it up happily.
Sophia gave a little skip and turned around, so she was walking backwards to face Lou as she walked down the street. “So? How was the interview? Did you get the position?”
“Oh, no.” Sophia turned to walk by Lou’s side once again, taking hold of her arm. “It’s all right, Lou. You’ll find something else. We’ll… we’ll be all right.”
“Well, I didn’t exactly not get the job, either. Come, I’ll explain everything to you, but first I need to find when the next mail coach will be leaving from the posting house.”
They turned down the road to the inn from where all the coaches left and watched as a large, overladen mail coach lumbered away.
“Oh,” Lou said, pausing as she watched it go. “I do hope there will be another soon.”
“We don’t even know where that one was going,” Sophia pointed out.
“No, but it doesn’t matter where the next one is headed. We need to be on it,” Lou said, moving forward once again.
Sophia pulled her to a halt and frowned at her. “Why? What happened? You didn’t do or say anything… No! I know you. You wouldn’t be rude or, or—”
“I didn’t say anything. It was them! We need to get out of this town before they come looking for us,” Lou told her. She took Sophia’s arm this time and continued toward the inn with a more determined step. They needed to leave—quickly.
But Sophia was not going to make this easy. She pulled Lou to a stop once more. “What happened? Come on, Lou, you want to tell me. I can see it bubbling up inside of you. You’re like a pot ready to overflow.”
That was the most accurate description of how Lou was feeling just now. Her shoulders dropped as she accepted her sister’s truth. “I do want to tell you everything, and I am going to—just as soon as we get a ticket on the next mail coach. Come along.”
Lou didn’t even give her sister a chance to argue with her any further but stormed ahead and into the posting house. She strode straight up to the counter where a kind-looking older gentleman was counting out coins.
“I beg your pardon, when is the next mail coach?” she asked.
“Where ya goin’, little lady?” he asked without even looking up.
“I don’t care. I simply need two tickets on the very next coach leaving today,” Lou told the man.
He looked up at that, giving her a frown. He paused when he saw who he was speaking to, then took in her sister. “You wouldn’t happen to be running away from school, now, would you? I admit, it’s a pretty good costume you’ve got there, miss, but if Mrs. Carter were to hear that I abetted two of her students…”
“No! No. We’re not students at the school. We just need to leave, and we’re in a bit of a hurry,” Lou said.
He raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “Well, you’re going to be waitin’ a while…”
“Thank you very much,” Sophia interrupted. “We’ll be back.”
“If you do want a ticket on that coach, you shouldn’t wait too long. There aren’t many seats to be had,” he warned.
“Thank you, yes, we will,” Sophia said as she pulled Lou away from the counter and back out the door.
She didn’t stop walking until they were well away from the bustle of the inn. “All right, Lucinda, now you are going to tell me why it is so imperative that we get on the very next coach no matter where it is going. If I agree, I will march right back in there with you and convince that man to sell us tickets to anywhere, but if I don’t…”
“All right, all right!” Lou finally gave in. She took a few steps away, wringing her hands, considering her words. “It was the most ridiculous thing ever, Sophia. You simply wouldn’t believe it.”
“Well, I won’t if you don’t tell me what it is! What happened?”
“They mistook me for a princess!”
“What?” Sophia started to giggle. “A princess?”
“Not just any princess, obviously. The Princess of Aachen-Düren is a student at the school, and she’s…” Lou moved closer and whispered, “She’s missing! She’s been gone for nearly two days, and her bodyguard and companion are nearly beside themselves with worry.”
Sophia lost her smile. “Wait, you’re serious?”
“Yes! Apparently, I look just like her, only my eyes are brown and hers are blue.”
“Really?” Sophia took a half step back to get a better look at Lou’s eyes since she’d been standing so close.
“While I was there and they were explaining all this to me, a summons came from the queen. She expects the princess at court this Friday.”
Lou nodded again.
“Yes! I told you we need to get out of here!” Lou could feel her heart begin to beat wildly in her chest just at the thought of the queen and going to court.
But Sophia grabbed her arm. “What does this have to do with you?”
“Oh, they wanted me to impersonate the princess until they can find her. They assured me it would just be a few days, a week at most, but—”
“They want you—” Sophia screeched, but Lou slapped her hand across her sister’s mouth before dragging her even farther away from the inn.
“Shhhh! No one should know of this!” Lou whispered furiously.
Sophia’s eyes bulged from her head. Lou took away her hand.
“They want you to be the princess?” she whispered.
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Meredith Bond's books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won't soon forget.
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