A Prince, A Fake Relationship & Image control…
Our spotlight is on one of our favorites and the amazing Claire Contreras with her new release THE WICKED PRINCE! I know we can’t wait to dive into this book! Check out the excerpt below…
The Wicked Prince
“Are you not feeling well?”
“I feel fine. Why?” She walked over and sat down.
I sat across from her. It was a two-person table, small and cramped and I hated it. These quarters had been used by palace employees for years before Elias decided to revamp them and turn them into nicer guest suites. As kids we would complain about sleeping in Versailles. The three of us said it was haunted and scary, and it still felt that way to me. For all the work they did on them, they didn’t take away any of the eerie feeling. At least now, they were open spaces and light and airy. Before they were remade, they were small and dark. People just assumed my father didn’t give a damn about anyone’s comfort but himself. I tried to brush that off as an exaggeration, but I wasn’t quite sure. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle, in that crevice truth liked to nestle.
“Did Addie send this?” Joss asked, taking a bite of the croissant.
She frowned, chewing on the soft bread and taking a sip of the hot chocolate I’d also managed to carry over. “Who then?”
“Right, but whose idea was it?”
“Yours?” She blinked rapidly. “You decided to bring this for me?”
“Why is that so hard to believe?”
“Why’d you bring it?” Her eyes narrowed slightly as she lowered the half-eaten croissant in her hand.
“Because I was told you didn’t feel well.”
“Who told you that?”
“Joslyn. Just eat the food and be grateful I brought it.” I exhaled, running a hand through my hair.
“I am grateful you brought it, but it’s very uncharacteristic for you.”
I rolled my eyes. This was exactly why I didn’t do nice things for people. If they’d only accept them and thank me for them, it would be fine, but they always felt the need to discuss it in excess and it bored me. Joslyn continued eating quietly. I took in her appearance. Her eyes weren’t red, but they were a little pink. She may have been crying after all.
“Do you want to talk about what happened?”
“With what?” Her eyes shot to mine quickly.
“Okay, let’s cut the bullshit. David told Ben he had a fight with you and he left upset, then you didn’t show up for breakfast.”
“So, you came over here to try to see what gossip I’d tell you so you can go report back to the family. Is that it? Or are you here to make fun of me about it?”
“Jesus, Joslyn. I’m not a monster. I’m here because I want you to eat and I want to make sure you’re okay.”
“And because you’re nosey.” She arched an eyebrow as she sipped her hot chocolate.
“And because I’m a little nosey.”
She smiled. “We broke up.”
“Oh. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” She side-eyed me as she picked up the thin piece of sausage on her plate. “Though I wish you’d stop looking so smug about my breakup.”
“I don’t look smug.”
“Your eyes smile even when you don’t, Aramis.” She rolled her eyes. “I will never understand why you get such joy from my relationships failing.”
I opened my mouth, then closed it momentarily, my brows pulling in. “I don’t get joy from that.”
“Okay, maybe this time, but not always.”
“At least you admit it.” She laughed lightly, shaking her head. “Why this time?”
“Because I want you to date me.”
“Wh . . . what?” she set everything down and wiped the tips of her fingers with the white cloth napkin on her lap, staring at me like she was trying to figure out if I’d said what I said.
“I want you to date me.”
“What happened with Cassandra?”
“We didn’t click.”
“It sure looked like you did.” She scoffed. “I find it hard to believe Cassandra doesn’t click with everyone she meets.”
“Well, we didn’t and I need someone to go out publicly with. Why not you?”
My job was to clean up his reputation and find him a wife.
It was supposed to be easy, but nothing about Prince Aramis was ever easy.
I was about to throw in the towel when he came up with a solution: I’d be his pretend girlfriend. Forget the fact that I was sort of seeing someone, or that I had no interest in joining the royal family. Once Aramis sets his eyes on something, there’s no use in fighting him on it, besides, in a way it would make my job a little easier.
I accept the offer but set boundaries. Boundaries that Aramis is intent on testing. Before either of us know what’s happening, the lines start to blur and I can no longer tell the difference between pretend and reality.
My job on the line is one thing, but losing my heart to Aramis was never in the cards.
Claire Contreras is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Her books range from romantic suspense to contemporary romance and are currently translated in over fifteen languages.
She’s a breast cancer survivor, a mother, a wife, and a Florida girl that currently resides in Charlotte, NC. When she’s not writing, she’s usually lost in a book.
Connect with Claire