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The Princess and the Outlaw : Harlequin Special Edition Series #2198
The shy, studious one among the royal Devereaux family of Chantaine, Pippa wasn't known for controversy.
So her brief romance with Texas tycoon Nic Lafitte--of the detested-by-the-Devereaux Lafittes--had to end. Too bad Pippa couldn't get the darkly handsome, modern-day outlaw out of her mind!
Given their generations-long family feud, Nic was stunned when the sweet princess secretly defied the Devereaux clan to fulfill a Lafitte's dying wish. But if Nic gave in to his attraction to Pippa, he'd break her heart--again. He tried to resist her...until a night of passion led to a little Devereaux-Lafitte! Now the royal and the Texan have to somehow bring two worlds, and two families, together.
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Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
July 01, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Princess and the Outlaw by Leanne Banks
She'd started running for exercise. That was what Pippa told her security detail anyway. She knew the truth. She was running from memories. Memories and the possibility that there was only one man for her and he was the one man she couldn't have.
"Stop it," she told herself, staring at the empty beach in front of her. Azure waves dappled onto white sands. By noon, there would be quite a few more bodies enjoying the beach. At six in the morning, however, she was the only one around. She debated turning on some music via her smartphone. She usually welcomed the noise, hoping it would drown out some of her thoughts. Today, she was searching for a little peace. Maybe the sound of the waves would help, she thought, and started out.
One foot in front of the other, she ran for two minutes, then walked for three. It was called interval training and the different paces suited her. Pippa had never been athletic. From the time she'd learned to read, she'd always been happiest with her nose stuck in a book. Her nanny had been relieved because her brothers and most of her sisters had been more demanding in one way or another.
Running again, she inhaled the scent of the salt air. The humidity was low today and she could feel the moisture on her skin begin to evaporate. Slowing after three minutes of running, she took a swig of her water and trudged onward.
Along the shore, in the distance, she spotted a long figure walking. She would wave and be friendly. Pippa was a royal and Chantaine royals were not allowed to be snooty. Other runners might be able to put their blinders and zip past everyone in their path, but not a Devereaux.
As she drew closer, she saw that the figure was that of a woman. Short white hair crowned her head, and a sundress that resembled a nightgown covered her petite frame.
Pippa nodded. "Good morning," she said.
The woman looked away and stumbled.
Curious, Pippa vacillated as to whether to approach her. Perhaps she was longing for solitude just as Pippa was. The woman stumbled again and Pippa felt a twist of concern. She walked toward the woman. "Pardon me, may I help you?"
The woman shook her head. "No, no. I'm fine. It's so beautiful here," she said in a lilting voice that contrasted with the lines on her face and the frailness of her frame.
Something about her seemed familiar, but Pippa couldn't quite identify it. The woman stumbled again, and Pippa's concern grew. Was she ill?
"Yes, the beach is lovely. Are you sure I can't help you? I could walk you back to where you started," she said. "Or perhaps you would like some water."
The woman's face crumpled. "No, no. Please don't make me go back. Please don't--" She broke off and collapsed right in front of Pippa.
Alarm shot through her. "Oh, my God!" she exclaimed and bent over the woman. This was one time when she would have loved to have had her security detail close by. Pippa put her arms around the woman and lifted her, surprised by her light weight. Glancing around, she pulled her toward a small stand of palm trees.
Frantic, she held the woman and gently shook her. "Please. Miss. Please." She spilled water from her bottle onto one of her hands and gently patted the woman's face. "Please wake up. Please."
Terrified that the woman was dying, she reached for her cell phone. The woman clearly needed emergency medical attention. Just as she put her finger over the speed dial for her security, the woman blinked her eyes. Huge and full of emotion, her eyes captivated Pippa.
She held her breath. "Are you all right? Please take a few sips of my water. It's clearly too hot out here for you. I'll call for help and--"
"No," the woman said with a strength that surprised Pippa. "Please don't do that." Then the woman closed her amazing, mesermizing eyes and began to sob.
The sound wrenched at Pippa. "You must let me help you."
"There's only one thing I want," she said and met Pippa's gaze again. "I just want to die in Chantaine."
Pippa gasped. Then a lightning flash of realization rocked through her. She looked at the woman and saw the resemblance of Nic in her eyes. His bone structure was a stronger, more masculine version, but his eyes were all Amelie. "Amelie," she whispered. "You're Amelie Lafitte."
The woman reluctantly nodded. "How do you know?"
"I know your son Nic." Pippa also knew that Amelie was in the final stages of cancer. Her time was drawing painfully close.
Amelie looked away. "I just wanted a little walk on the beach. I bet he's quite peeved that I left the yacht."
Peeved wasn't the word that came to Pippa's mind. "I'll call him for you," she said.
"Then all my fun will be over," she said with a cute pout. "He's such a worrywart."
Stunned at how quickly Amelie's spirit had returned, she hesitated a half beat, then dialed his cell. Despite the fact that she'd deleted it from her phone records months ago, every digit was engraved on her brain.
Five minutes later, a black Mercedes came to screeching halt on the curb of the road above the beach. Pippa immediately identified the dark figure exiting the driver's side of the vehicle. Nic. As he strode swiftly toward her and Amelie, she could see the tension in his frame. Seeing him after all these months set off a visceral response inside her. Her stomach clenched. Her heart beat unevenly.
"Hi, darling," Amelie said, remaining seated on the sand under the tree as she sipped Pippa's water. Pippa was still surprised at how quickly the woman had recovered after fainting. "Sorry to be a bother, but I woke up early and I just couldn't resist the chance to go for a walk on the beach."