For five long years, Kelly has been separated from her son, the Alp de Ciel heir, and has been fighting to get him back. But with her estranged husband's death, Kelly can finally reclaim little Matty. Prince Regent Rafael de Boutaine wants mother and son to be reunited, but insists Kelly must embrace royal life. Kelly will do anything for Matty, and returns to the palace. But as she gets to know Rafael, she starts to fall in love with the man behind the prince. Kelly is in danger of doing what she vowed to avoid at all costs: becoming a royal wife again.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 11, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Wanted by Marion Lennox
It was the end of a long day in the goldfields, and Kelly had personally found almost a teaspoon of gold. The slivers of precious metal were now dispersed into scores of glass vials, to be taken home as keepsakes of a journey back in time.
Her tourists were happy. She should be, too.
But she was wet. She was dressed in period costume and raincoats hadn't been invented in the eighteen-fifties. As the day had grown colder Kelly had directed her tour groups down the mines, but she'd been wet before she'd gone down and the cold had stayed with her. Now she emerged from underground, desperate to head to her little cottage on the hill, strip off her dungarees and leather boots and sink into a hot bath.
She might be a historian on what was the re-creation of a piece of the Australian goldfields but, when it came to the offer of a hot bath, Kelly was a thoroughly modern girl.
The park horses--a working team that tugged a coach round the diggings during the day--lumbered up the track towards the stables and she stood well back. Horses... Once she'd loved them, but even now, after all this time, she hated to go near them. She waited.
Once the horses passed she expected her way home to be clear, but there were always one or two tourists lagging behind, as eager to stay as she was eager to leave. She had to manoeuvre her way past a last couple. A man and a child. They seemed to have been waiting for the horses to pass so they could speak to her.
Who were they? She hadn't seen them on the tour and she'd surely have noticed. The guy was strikingly good-looking: tall, tanned, jet-black hair--aristocratic? It was an odd description, she thought, but it seemed strangely appropriate. He was lean and strongly boned. Almost...what was the word... aquiline?
The little boy--the man's son?--was similarly striking, with olive skin, glossy black curls and huge brown eyes. He looked about five years old, and the sight of him made Kelly's gut clench as it had clenched countless times over the past five years.
How many five-year-old boys were there in the world?
Could she ever move on?
Could this be her?
Rafael stared across the track at the slip of a girl waiting for the horses to pass. Princess Kellyn Marie de Boutaine of Alp de Ciel? The thought was laughable.
She was wet, bedraggled and smeared with mud. She was dressed like an eighteen-fifties gold-miner, only most eighteen-fifties gold-miners didn't have chestnut curls escaping from under their felt brimmed hats.
He'd read the report. This had to be her.
But this was harder than he'd thought.
Back home it had seemed relatively straightforward. He'd been appalled when he'd received the investigative report. Like the rest of the population of Alp de Ciel, he'd thought this woman was a...well, no fit mother for a prince. He'd thought she'd left of her own free will, as unwilling to commit to her new baby as her royal husband had been.
But what the report had told him...
He cast a glance down at the child at his side. If the report was true... If she'd been forced away...
He had to step forward. If he did only this one thing as Prince Regent, it had to be the righting of this huge injustice.
Mathieu was gripping his hand with a ferocity that betrayed his tension. They'd come all this way. The child couldn't be messed around.
The woman--Kellyn?--was about to leave. The park was about to close.
This had to be done now.
The horses were gone and yet they were still here. Man and child. Watching her.
'Can I help you?' Kelly managed, forcing forward her stock standard I'll-make-you-enjoy-your-experience-here-or-bust smile that most of the staff here practised eternally. 'Is there anything you need to know before we lock up for the night? I'm sorry, but we are closing.'
The rest of the group were moving away, making their way towards the exit. Pete, the elderly security guard, was leaning on the gates, waiting to close.
'I can give you a booklet with pictures of the diggings if you like,' she offered. She smiled down at the child, trying really hard not to think how like...how like...
No. That was the way of madness.
'I see you came late,' she said as the child didn't answer. 'If you like, we can stamp your tickets so you can come back tomorrow. It's not much extra.'
'I'd like to come back tomorrow,' the child said gravely, with the hint of a French accent in his voice. 'Can we, Uncle Rafael?'
'I'm not sure,' his uncle replied. 'I'm not actually sure this is who we're looking for. The guy on the gate...he said you were Kellyn Marie Fender.'
Her world stilled. There was something about this pair... There was something about the way this man was watching her...
'Y...yes,' she managed.
'Then we need to talk,' he said urgently and Kelly cast a frantic glance at Pete. She was suddenly terrified.
'I'm sorry,' she managed. 'The park's closing. Can you come back tomorrow?'
'This is a private matter.'
'What's a private matter?'
'Mathieu is a private matter,' he said softly, and he smiled ruefully down at the little boy by his side. 'Mathieu, this is the lady we've come to meet. I believe this lady is your mother.'
The world stopped. Just like that.
Death was the cessation of the heart beating and that was what it felt like. Nothing moved. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
She gazed at the man for a long moment, as if she were unable to break her gaze--as if she were unable to kick-start her heart. She felt frozen.
There'd been noises before--the cheerful clamour of tourists heading home. Now there was nothing. Her ears weren't hearing.
She put a hand out, fighting for balance in a world that had suddenly jerked at a crazy angle. She might fall. She had to get her heart to work if she wasn't to fall. She had to breathe.
The man's hands came out and caught her under the elbows, supporting her, holding her firm, forcing her to stay upright.
She fought to get her next breath.
Finally she found the strength to stand without support. She tugged away a little and he released her, watching her calmly as she took a couple of dazed steps back.
They were both watching her, man and boy. Both with that same calm, unjudging patience.
Could she see...could she see?
Maybe she could.
'Mathieu,' she breathed, and the child looked a question at the man and nodded gravely.
'Parlez-vous Anglais?' she asked for want of anything more sensible to ask, for she'd already had a demonstration that he did, and both man and boy nodded.