I read The Wild Princess last fall...in about a day. Could not put it down, it was so good. Which means I'm very excited to spread the word on release day about the next book from this talented author who happens to be my chapter mate in the Washington Romance Writers (although I highly recommend grabbing The Wild Princess and reading it first!)
Seducing the Princess by Kathryn Johnson writing as Mary Hart Perry
Mary Hart Perry’s acclaimed series of romantic Victorian thrillers (The Wild Princess) continues with Seducing the Princess, inspired by the life of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Beatrice. Painfully shy and lonely, convinced she is unattractive and unloved, the dutiful Princess Beatrice finally accepts that she will never marry and vows to devote herself to the queen in Victoria's waning years. In fact, her mother has secretly discouraged suitors for Beatrice’s hand. Just when Beatrice has all but given up on love and happiness, she meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who matches wits with the aging Victoria and risks his life and liberty to woo Bea.
But Henry isn't the only man interested in being welcomed into Beatrice's bed. The timid princess has become the target of a cruel plot hatched by her nephew, the madman destined to become the last Emperor of Germany. Wilhelm II sends a ruthless agent, a charming Scot, to seduce the naive princess and spy on the queen. How can the sheltered princess hope to fend off a man capable of murder, and perhaps worse, to get what he wants? But Beatrice is not without her own allies--her older sister Louise and Louise's American soldier-of-fortune and lover, Stephen Byrne. Will Beatrice discover which of the two men pursuing her she can trust, before it's too late? Drama, romance and peril chase the royal family from Buckingham Palace to a storm besieged castle on the Isle of Wight.
Here's a peek inside the pages:
Gregory watched the queen’s daughter weave down the alley of the dim barn and out into the sunshine. He laughed to himself. Girl didn’t know it but she was his.
He had seen it in her eyes. They had dilated nearly all-black at his touch. She’d trembled and reacted to him with unmistakable sensual awareness. He’d waited patiently for such signs these months as they’d ridden together, as he’d gently urged her to open up to him.
At first he’d worried that she might cling to her hope of Battenberg coming for her, but the missing letters did the trick. She no longer seemed to believe the Prussian loved her. He just hoped his agent had destroyed their correspondence as they’d discussed. Without the princess’s letters ever leaving London, and Battenberg’s missives intercepted before they could reach Beatrice, communication had been completely severed between the two. Moreover, his spies assured him that, whatever had transpired between the pair in Darmstadt, or later in London, their relationship hadn’t yet progressed to the bedchamber. Kisses and hand holding maybe, but Beatrice was still a virgin.
Which meant she knew almost nothing about sex.
Which meant he could use her naiveté to his advantage.
And now? He’d wait and let today’s little encounter sink in. Let Beatrice think about touching hands, about how much she missed Henry’s kisses and how nice it would be to be kissed again—by someone conveniently close by, someone she’d learned to feel safe with, and who knew how to please a woman.
In the meantime, there was this bloody job in the mews to get rid of. He needed to move up in the world, and fast, if he was to woo a princess, the task set for him by Wilhelm. That’s where he needed the help of the queen.
Mary Hart Perry (aka Kathryn Johnson) lives in Washington DC with her husband and two feline writing partners, Tempest and Miranda. The author of over 40 novels, she's written under her own name and a variety of pen names, including Kathryn Jensen, KM Kimball and Nicole Davidson. She teaches fiction-writing workshops for the renowned Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2008, she founded Write by You, to coach other writers interested in reaching publication. She has been nominated for the prestigious Agatha Christy Award, and won the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller's Best Awards (sponsored by the Romance Writers of America) in 2011.