The Prince's Convenient Bride [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Robyn Donald
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: When Prince Marco Considine sees model Jacoba Sinclair, he wants her... The supercool supermodel can never surrender to Marco. She fears he'll discover her secret...and a reason for a convenient marriage! When Jacoba's secret is uncovered, Marco seizes his opportunity. By announcing their engagement he can offer her royal protection--and royal passion!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2007
20 Reader Ratings:
IT WAS, Jacoba Sinclair decided, the perfect setting for an evening of high romance. A full moon sailed across the sky, burnishing the panorama of mountains with heartbreaking glamour and silhouetting their rounded, muscular shapes above a lake that shone with the glossy blackness of obsidian.
In stark contrast, the people inside the building drank champagne in the sort of clothes seen only at very formal balls. Light from the huge Venetian chandelier gleamed on bare shoulders adorned with jewels, their warm glow highlighting the seductive glimmer of satin and the elegant austerity of men's evening clothes. Candle flames bobbed from tables set with crystal and silver and festooned with white and gold flowers.
Jacoba smoothed a hand over her hip, her long fingers skimming the crimson silk that billowed out with subtle sensuality from a tiny waist into an extravagant skirt. The gems in her tiara caught fire from the chandelier, each diamond pulsing with cold, clear fire.
They were genuine, like the stones in the drop earrings and the necklace—and worth an obscene amount of money. The mountains and the lake, and the Southern Cross emblazoned across the clear New Zealand sky, were real too, their raw permanence mocking the transitory glitter of the room.
Because everything else inside was as fake as the furs that draped the wall behind her. By day the exotic pavilion led a workaday life as a restaurant at the top of a ski lift, and the elegantly dressed men and women sipping imitation champagne had been hired for their patrician faces and sleek bodies.
This was her life. She was being paid a vast amount to smile, to look haughty and seductive, as expensive and unattainable as the gems that blazed at her throat and hung from her ears.
'Perfect,' Zoltan said throatily. 'Yes, like that, looking down at the lake, then turn—and see your prince. I want a kind of stunned wonder, followed by just the beginnings of a smile, all your glossy confidence transmuted into a flash of wistful longing.' He paused before adding snidely, 'Think you can do that?'
Jacoba knew he'd been lured to direct the advertisement by huge money and the promise of a prestigious campaign—and that he'd wanted a Hollywood screen goddess to play her part. Tired of being addressed as though she were a five-year old, she decided to show him that models knew a thing or two about acting.
'I think I can manage that,' she drawled, her voice pitched low, and turned her head to fix him with the look he wanted.
Zoltan gave her a sharp glance. 'All right, let's see it for the camera,' he said curtly.
Ignoring his open scepticism she switched her attention to the magnificent view, pulling back an artificial taffeta curtain. She recalled how it had felt to look at other families when she'd been a kid, how she'd watched children play with their parents and wondered why she didn't have a father…
'Great,' the director said, not bothering to hide his surprise. 'OK, catch some movement on the other side of the room, look across, and see him. Slowly now…'
His voice rattled on, tearing at her concentration. Perhaps he'd heard that some photographers used a barrage of talk at fashion shoots to enthuse and inspire models. Irritated, Jacoba tuned him out.
The extras played their roles, chatting, flirting and laughing softly. Ignoring the camera, she let her gaze drift over the crowd, move on slowly towards the door at the back, find the one particular man who'd just walked in through the door…
Nobody should have been there. Sean Abbott, the actor who played her lover, was confined to the Lodge with a stomach bug. They'd decided to shoot around his absence, using a body double who'd dance with her.
But Jacoba's startled gaze met that of a man who strode through the door as though on cue. Mind spinning, she ignored the feverish shiver that ran the length of her spine as her fingers tightened on the curtain.
This wasn't the double!
Tall, effortlessly elegant in the stark black and white of his evening clothes, the newcomer moved with a leashed, vital energy that hooked into something hidden and vulnerable in Jacoba. The breath caught in her throat as her gaze roamed a Mediterranean face honed into formidable angularity, olive skin a startling contrast to pale eyes—eyes that locked on to her.
The noise faded until all she could hear was the rapid thunder of her heartbeat while Prince Marco Considine of Illyria walked towards her, his arrogant features taut and intent as though she were the only person in the room.
In a purely instinctive gesture, one gloved fist covered her heart, protecting it from the overpowering impact of a man she'd avoided for the past ten years.
'Brilliant,' the director said eagerly. 'Yeah, keep it like that—OK, cut!'
He turned, and his expression hardened. 'What the hell—?' he began explosively, only to rein in his aggression when he recognised the man coming towards them. An ingratiating note appeared in his voice, 'Ah, Prince Marco—I didn't expect you.'
The comment ended in an upward inflection that conveyed a question he dared not ask; it wouldn't be prudent to quiz one of the most powerful men in the world about his actions.
Especially not when he controlled the huge cosmetics conglomerate that was spending millions on publicity for their first perfume, Jacoba thought cynically.
By then she'd composed her face into a mask—proud, aloof, almost disdainful. She stood very still, letting her breath ease out between tense lips, trying to minimise the space she took up.
Copyright © 2007 by Robyn Donald.