Sunday, October 01, 2017

His Majesty's Temporary Bride - Annie West
Have you ever dreamed of another life, different from your own? Have you imagined what it would be to act as someone else, someone free of the complications of your own world and history? Would it be exciting to take on another persona, at least temporarily? Or would it be terrifying?

Today marks the official release of HIS MAJESTY'S TEMPORARY BRIDE. My first ever masquerade story and hands down one of the most engaging, exciting and passionate stories I've written.

Cat (Catherine) Dubois doesn't want to play stand in for her royal half sister, Princess Amelie. Shunned by their father, her parentage is a secret that's haunted her all her life, especially because of her physical similarity to her royal sister. Cat turned her back on her homeland years ago but finds herself drawn back when Amelie goes missing under mysterious circumstances and Cat agrees to a royal masquerade for her sister's sake.

The complication is sexy Alex, a stranger who turns out to be King Alexander of Bengaria, visiting the palace as a possible suitor for Cat's sister. And despite everything Cat tells herself about resisting the allure of this compelling man, she finds herself hovering on the brink of surrender. Here's a taste:

‘Tell me you understand.’ His breath warmed her lips. His thumb stroked back and forth across her cheek.
Cat nodded. ‘You don’t want to marry.’
‘I’ve got too much to do. There’s still so much work to get Bengaria back on track. I haven’t got time for a wife. I’m not ready to be a father.’
Yet Alex didn’t draw back. If anything he seemed closer.
‘If I wanted a bride it would be different.’ His voice was husky.
Cat didn’t trust herself to speak. His expression held her spellbound, though logic screamed that she needed to put distance between them.
‘If I wanted a bride I couldn’t go past those big green eyes. Or those lips. I’d be suggesting we got to know each other much better.’ His thumb dipped from her cheek to her mouth, pressing her lower lip and dragging it down. Cat exhaled, lungs tight, nipples budding against the constraint of her bra as his thumb stroked her lip, once, twice, till she couldn’t resist and tasted him with the tip of her tongue. He was salt and spice and frighteningly addictive.
His eyes dilated, his breath warm on her face, he crowded closer, long legs bracketing hers. His other arm stretched out to the tree trunk behind her as if Alex too felt the sudden need for safe anchor as the ground seemed to ripple and swell.
‘And as for this body…’ To her dismay his hand dropped but before she could frame a protest she felt his touch, tantalising and soft, brush her collarbone, then trace the wide neckline of her T shirt, before sliding down.
Cat’s breath stalled as his knuckles brushed the outer swell of her breast, slowing then tracing down her ribs then splaying at her waist. Those long, hard fingers made her aware of how small she was compared with him. Of how much strength resided in those large, capable hands and that taut, athletic body.
Her mouth was parched but she had to find words to make him back off. This was too dangerous. To her masquerade but also to her. She teetered on the brink of feelings that made a mockery of all her training, her strength and control. She swallowed and moistened her lips with her tongue then opened her mouth to speak.

But the words didn’t come because Alex’s mouth settled on hers and the world exploded.
To buy:
Barnes and Noble
Carnival masks and cloaks in Venice
I so enjoyed writing the story of hidden identity and intrigue, I can't wait to write another! So much drama and passion! Just my sort of story.

Hiding your identity, often with a real mask, is popular around the world and there are multiple festivals where people dress up and pretend to be a total stranger. Halloween is an obvious example in North America. And I know in Germany one of the Carnival traditions is to dress in costume to celebrate. On a recent trip to Venice I saw plenty of masks and cloaks, which I have to say looked terrific and just a little scary - especially when you turned a corner into a narrow alley and discovered a couple of people in full costume, watching you from behind anonymous masks.

Do you like masquerades? What is your favorite dress up experience?

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dstoutholcomb said...

Loved dressing up for Halloween as a kid.

loved the excerpt.


Annie West said...

Hi Denise,

I'm so pleased you enjoyed the excerpt!

Halloween dress ups sound like so much fun. We don't have that tradition in Australia.