Saturday, March 19, 2011

A ROYAL ROMANCE

There's nothing like a royal wedding to get everyone excited.  Mills and Boon have issued a commemorative mug - you'll find it on their website; link opposite - and there are a load of "royal romance" books on the shelves.

I've only written one "royal romance" book. THE ORDINARY PRINCESS, and since it's just been released as an eBook, I thought it would be a great giveaway this month. 

Laura Varndell, my heroine, is a bit of a republican.  She's also in trouble with her career.  She has ambitions to be a great crusading reporter like her aunt, but she keeps getting sidetracked by her emotions and missing the big story.   Her boss has given her one last chance.  Bring home a headline or rewrite her career plan.

Her aunt suggests she interview Prince Alexander Orsino.  The most elusive royal in the world.   He looks down his long nose at her from a photograph taken at a charity gala and she is hooked. 

Breaking his niece's ankle is not a good start.

‘I left her just here,’ Laura insisted, pointing to the spot where they’d both crashed to the cobbles.

‘With a broken ankle?’ Prince Alexander did not sound convinced. He glanced up at the nearby drainpipe. ‘How far did she fall?’ he asked, without waiting for explanations. He evidently knew his niece very well indeed.

‘She didn’t fall,’ she began, then stopped.

She had no wish to dwell on what – or who -- had caused the injury. Besides there were more important things to worry about. Like, what had happened to the princess? Two minutes ago she’d been lying where they were standing. Injured, unable even to attempt to hobble to the front door. Now she’d vanished into thin air.

‘I left her just here,’ she said. ‘I put my jacket under her head and…’

‘It’s not here now,’ he said, cutting short her explanation.

‘I was just going to say that!’ Then, ‘Oh!’ She turned and stared up at the Prince in total horror as the reality of what must have happened sank in. ‘She’s been kidnapped hasn’t she? And it’s all my fault!’

‘I doubt that.’ Prince Alexander appeared totally unmoved by her dramatic declaration. Or the fate of his niece. Clearly he didn’t understand what she was telling him.

‘Yes, really!‘ she insisted. It was no good. She’d have to own up. ‘Look, I saw her climbing down the drainpipe and I thought she was a burglar, so I tackled her to the ground.’ His dark brows rose imperceptibly. Actually, putting it baldly like that, it did seem pretty unlikely she realised, but after the briefest pause, she pressed on with her confession. ‘That’s when she broke her ankle. As I said, my fault. I didn’t want to leave her –'

‘But she insisted?’ Then, without giving her an opportunity to reply, ‘I wasn’t actually referring to your culpability.  Merely to your reasoning.’

What?

‘Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Princess Katerina told me that she wasn’t supposed to be out. I get the picture, okay? You’re mad at her and she’s in trouble. But that scarcely matters under the circumstances. She’s disappeared and you have to do something. Now!’

‘I’m sorry, Miss …’ He paused offering her an opportunity to introduce herself.

‘Varndell,’ she completed quickly. She was beginning to suspect that this was a man who wouldn’t do anything until the social niceties had been satisfied. No matter what the emergency. ‘Laura Varndell. But I really don’t think-’

‘Alexander Orsino,’ he replied, offering his hand. ‘How d’you do?’

That was it. Enough.

‘This isn’t a cocktail party!’ she declared, furiously, ignoring his hand. ‘And I know who you are. All I want to know is what you’re going to do about finding your niece!’

‘Nothing while I’m standing in this alleyway,’ he informed her, his voice cool enough to freeze a whole pitcher of cocktails. ‘If you’ll come back into the house –'

Ice? Had she thought the man was made of something as warm as ice?

‘I don’t want to go back into the house!’

What was she saying!

Hadn’t she been standing on the pavement trying to come up with some plan to get herself invited inside? Her whole career depended upon it. Possibly. But right now Princess Katerina’s disappearance took precedence.

‘I want you to call the police - or Special Branch - or the Diplomatic Protection Squad. Right now!’ she demanded, when he didn’t leap to her command.

‘And how do you suggest I do that?’ he enquired, apparently unperturbed by the crisis.

That “serene” bit of his title wasn’t just for show, apparently. But this wasn’t a time for serenity. It was a time for panic.

‘Shout?’ he offered, when she didn’t help him out.

The air left her lungs with a little whoosh, deflating, along with the rest of her. ‘No … sorry - of course not,’ she muttered. Then she laughed – well it was more of a giggle really, but even so, quite unforgivable under the circumstances.

‘I don’t appear to be thinking very clearly.’ Which had to be the understatement of the year. ‘I’m not used to this kind of thing.’

‘You’ve had a shock, Miss Varndell, one for which my niece will, in due course, apologise. In the meantime I really do think you should come inside. Take a moment to recover.’

It was hysterics, of course. The desperate urge to giggle. In some small rational part of her brain she recognised that. This man’s niece had been kidnapped and all he was concerned about was that a total stranger might have suffered a little shock.

Noblesse oblige was safe in the hands of His Serene Highness Prince Alexander Michael George Orsino.

And why would she be complaining, exactly?

She’d got her wish. The Prince was inviting her into his home and handing her a scoop on a plate. The inside story on a royal kidnapping was just what she needed to get back into Trevor McCarthy’s good books. The very least she could do was to say “thank you” very nicely and let His High Serenity take her inside so that she could do her research in comfort.

While she was recovering.

Slowly.

So that she could watch the story unfold around her.

‘Thank you,’ she said, as nicely - if somewhat breathlessly - as she knew how. ‘I do seem to be feeling a little bit shaky.’

One moment it was an act, the next it was nothing but the truth as the Prince took her elbow in his palm and directed her firmly towards his front door. His manner suggested that, thoughtful though his invitation had appeared, he’d had no intention of letting her go anywhere until he’d grilled her about her involvement in his niece’s disappearance.

She swallowed.

It would make great copy, she reminded herself.

Once she’d got bail.

For a chance to win a paper copy of THE ORDINARY PRINCESS, tell me what you thoughts are on the royal wedding.  What you hope for Will and Kate.  What you'll be doing to celebrate on the day.  Or not.  A memory of some other royal wedding.  I'll draw a prize-winner from all the comments on Sunday March 27th (which was my parents wedding day).

Meantime, if you want one for your Kindle, you'll find it here on Amazon

22 comments:

Harper Alibeck said...

I remember watching Will's parents when they were married. I was only 11 and it was summer. We woke up very early (I lived in the midwest in the U.S.) to watch the wedding; my mother set the alarm so we could all get up at 5am our time and watch the pre-wedding coverage, then the wedding. We'll do the same with our kids when Kate and Wills get married.

sheandeen said...

It's hard not to get sucked into the vortex of a royal wedding--even if you live in the USA. What isn't seductive of a beautiful young woman commoner or royal and a royal prince?

Like many other young women, I was glued to the TV on Charles and Di's wedding day. I became a Di watcher from afar.

I was saddened by her loss.

I pray that William and Catherine have a wonderful wedding day, but even more, I pray their marriage helps them both find lasting love and fulfillment.

Since W&K's wedding day is the day after my middle daughter's 24th birthday I will be distracted by our own family events.

Liz Fielding said...

My daughter's sister-in-law is getting married on the same day as Will and Kate despite the fact that it's a Bank Holiday and you can't get married on a Bank Holiday in Guernsey. They'd already booked the wedding before the royal date was fixed and the Registrar is honoring the booking because the bride's mother used to work for her.

The dd is getting some very wide-eyed looks, though, when she tells people she's being a bridesmaid to her sister-in-law on that day! She is loving it!

Maria said...

I'm very excited about the upcoming royal wedding. I have high hopes that William and Kate will have a happy life and a happy marriage. I think the fact that they've known each other for so long is a good sign for them because Kate sort of knows what to expect and I hope that William and Kate both know to turn to each other instead of outsiders(even if they are related) when issues crop up.

I remember Charles and Diana's wedding and though it didn't turn out the way that many hoped, it was a beautiful wedding and I'm sure that William and Kates will be lovely too.

Sue said...

I'll probably catch some of the wedding on the day, but I'm just hoping that the marriage is left alone by the press. They have managed to have a discrete, scandal free relationship, so please paparazzi back off so they can have the same afterwards.
I think Wills parents marriage opened our eyes to the dynastic elements of royalty, whereas Will and Kate do seem to have a good stable relationship built on sounder foundations.
I wish them luck, and hope it all works out well.

CrystalGB said...

I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding. It was magical. I wish Will and Kate the best.

Kaelee said...

I will be watching. I'm so tired of the reporters getting into everyone's private business be they royal or just celebrity. Hopefully William and Katherine will have a happy life together and show them all that it can be done. I'm really happy that Katherine comes from Canada.

Sunnymay said...

I remember past wedding ceremonies and hope they can keep the joy in their hearts from the first time they met and caught each other's eyes.

Nas Dean said...

I watched Lady Di's wedding to Prince Charles and admired the beautiful Lady Diana very much. Her loss was mourned here in our country very deeply by all.

I hope all the best for Prince William and Katherine.

Just watched Prince William on NZ One News when he addressed the memorial at Christchurch. He spoke so beautifully and said Grief is the price we pay for love. He is so humble and met everyone so nicely.

Brenda said...

I remember the day I watched the last royal wedding. I hope that the paparazzi do not push them to run and hide like they did to Diana. I hope that they have a wonderful long marriage. I'll be home watching them wed on their wedding day.

dancealert at aol dot com

J.L. Campbell said...

I might not qualify for the prize as I live outside of the States, however, I do remember when Prince Charles got married. I was in my teen and got up very early on the day they married. It was televised and I remember being blown away by all the 'pomp and ceremony'. I was sad that their marriage didn't last.

catslady said...

I watched Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding. It seemed like a fairy tale but of course now we know it wasn't. I really believe Will and Kate have a much better chance at making a go of it. So although I would like to believe in fairy tales, it seems like those who don't have stars in their eyes have a much better chance of it. Of course being in a fish bowl has to be hard. I wish them the best!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for all the lovely memories. keep them coming in.

And for the record, unless I specify otherwise, my prizes go worldwide, JL.

Kate and Will have known one another a long time, even had a little break up. The fact that they got back together then says a lot about how they feel I think. I hope they have longer than Will's grandmother to enjoy a private marriage.

Lacey Devlin said...

Wills has just been to visit our small town :-) My mother was lucky enough to get to speak with him and said he's a real people person just like Diana. I'm really looking forward to wedding and I can't wait to see Kate's dress. I'll be glued to the television.

I love that your dd is able to tell people that she's a bridesmaid on that day. The expressions must be priceless!

Kate said...

I'll be waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the Royal Wedding, the same way I watched his parents wedding and his grandmother's Golden Jubilee.

Ginette said...

I am not doing anything special but I hope to watch it on tv. With a glass of wine and some nimble. So I can pretend I am there too. I' will also being the tv times when it comes out. Because you know they do one. I can wait to see the dress.

Angela Kane said...

I'm so looking forward to watching their wedding. I was only a toddler when Charles and Diana got married but there are lots of photos of me running round the garden waving a little union jack flag. I can just about remember Andrew and Sarah's wedding day and watched it with my mum and my aunt and was swept up by the romance and glamour of the royal wedding.
I shall be watching Kate and William's wedding at my parents house. Mum wants to throw a small buffet party on the day to celebrate. We will be watching with great interest as just under 5 months after their big day will be my own, and while I very much doubt we'd be able to achieve anything on the same scale, we may be able to pick up a few hints and tips!

Jenny Haddon said...

Oh Liz, I just love that extract. I am going to get that book NOW. I want to know what wicked Princess Katerina was up to, quite apart from wanting to see more of His Serenity.

For me weddings always have that element of danger -- bride and groom step through the door from one way of living to another. I really feel for Prince William and Kate, having to do it in front of the whole world. On the other hand, it must help that pretty much the whole world wishes them well Including me.

Katie Saxon said...

Personally I find it quite weird that there's still so much tabloid/paparazzi attention on Kate Middleton now her and Will are engaged. She's our future queen, isn't it a little disrespectful (or treasonous - if that's a word?) to comment on her weight, catch her pulling silly faces etc?

I hope that post-wedding Kate finally gets a little privacy and time to enjoy married life!

Stephanie_C said...

My parents aren't great royalists, and on the day of the last royal wedding, my family went to the beach. It was deserted! I wonder whether the effect will be the same now that everyone has videos or hard disk recorders - maybe more people will record the coverage rather than staying in to watch it, if the weather is fine. It amuses me how many people complain about the paparazzi's intrusion, but still lap up the press coverage... at least the wedding is being covered with their agreement, but I'm still not quite sure what I think about it. Seems to me that in this day and age we should be able to separate love and marriage from state business, but maybe that's too idealistic.

Pat said...

I got up early and watched Diana and Charles get married and it was a story book wedding. I have watched the boys grow up and very happy to see Will and Kate get married.
I hope they have a long and wonderful marriage .They have grown up togther and they have the right to have their own life. I can see Diana watching from above and happy with Will's and Kate's marriage.
horseunicornkey@aol.com

Liz Fielding said...

Hi everyone - thanks for all your memories of royal weddings. I'm sorry I haven't been around much to respond to your posts, but revisions arrived on Friday evening and I've been pretty much head down on those all week.

I spend all day glued to the television for Charles and Diana's wedding. Managed just a glimpse of Andrew and Sarah's. I was working and had slipped out at lunchtime and they had a television set up in the bank.

We've having a public holiday here for William and Catherine so I'm sure to find some time to watch. I do love seeing the guests from all over the world and the fabulous clothes.

Okay - I've used a random number generator to pick the prize and it came up with number eleven, which is J L Campbell!

Send me an email JL- liz at lizfielding dot com - with your snail mail addy and I'll get the book in the post to you.