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Heads Up! You Have Until Sunday to Enter This Week’s Brand New KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes, Sponsored by James A. West, author of THE GOD KING (HEIRS OF THE FALLEN) – 4.4 Stars on Amazon and Now $2.99

Feeling lucky?

Did you win a Kindle Fire tablet this week?

If you are Richard Roon of Campbell River, BC, you did. Richard won his on Monday in last week’s Kindle Nation Daily KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes, and when it arrives at his home, he will become the 28th citizen of Kindle Nation to win a Kindle Fire from us in the past few months.

But we will be giving away dozens more Kindles this year, and we’d like for you to be one of the lucky winners! All you have to do to have a great chance to win is follow the extremely easy steps at the end of this post.

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

James A. West - This Week's Sweepstakes Sponsor & Author of THE GOD KING

Like each one of our weekly sweepstakes, this week’s giveaway is sponsored by a talented author who we think will prove to be a favorite with our readers. James A. West, author of THE GOD KING (HEIRS OF THE FALLEN),  is springing for the Kindle Fire that could very well end up with your name on it, so it only makes sense to pay it forward and stimulate both your karma and your imagination at the same time by chancing $2.99 to grace your Kindle with a novel that has 4.4 stars on Amazon from discriminating readers like us.

“With a crackle of thunder, a nacreous veil flashed into existence over the large granite basin, casting the chamber in a cold dead light. Prince Varis Kilvar stifled a fearful shout as the rumbling peal faded, replaced by demonic howls that burst through the luminous shroud and soared into the murky heights of the ancient temple’s domed ceiling.”

From that amazing first sentence right through to a compelling finish, fans of the Eragon books, The Name of the Wind, The Sword of Truth series, or the Game of Thrones series will find a new source of great reading in our sponsor James A. West.

Here’s The Scoop on THE GOD KING (HEIRS OF THE FALLEN)

 

4.4 stars – 9 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Heroes are not born, they are forged in the fires of apocalypse…

In the heavens above, the three moons crash together, streaming fire and death in their wake; below, the seas rage as the roiling face of the world shatters. After Prince Varis Kilvar steals powers to transform himself into a god, chaos reigns from the king’s city of Ammathor to the forbidding walls of the Black Keep. At his heels marches a demonic army torn from the very bowels of the Thousand Hells, and the risen God King uses terror to stake his claim over all lands.

Betrayed and bound to Varis by powers he does not understand, mercenary Kian Valara is forced to masquerade as the world’s savior, while a beautiful Sister of Najihar prepares him for his last battle. Victory against a living god is far from certain, but vengeance? For Kian, when the battle rage falls upon his soul and the sword hilt is hot and alive against his palm, vengeance is never out of reach.

The God King is approximately 120,000 words, and is specially formatted for Kindle with an active table of contents.

One Reviewer Notes

“Absolutely Fantastic! I was thrown right into the story by the vivid imagery. There is no waiting for character development. We get to know the characters from the heart racing action that starts at page one. I couldn’t put it down. I hope to read more from this author soon.” – Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

About The Author

When James was thirteen years old he read The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and a seed of an idea was planted that someday he, too, would create different worlds and realities.

After a stint in the US Army, a year as a long-haul truck driver, and a couple as a log home builder, he enrolled at the University of Montana. There, he majored in Psychology and, by chance, took a creative writing course. Words started to flow, and worlds were born.

James lives in Montana with his wife and his bodyguard, a Mini-Schnauzer named Jonesy.

And here, just in case you forgot are the details on how to

Enter Our KINDLE FIRE Giveaway Sweepstakes:

  • There’s no purchase required, but we do need you to go to our Kindle Nation Facebook page and “Like” us if you have not done so already.
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  • Then just follow the prompts to enter the sweepstakes, and you’re done!
  • Limit of one entry per weekly sweepstakes, but feel free to enter every single week!

Good luck! And happy reading!

Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert! Mainak Dhar’s Post-Apocalyptic Adventure THROUGH THE KILLING GLASS – The Explosive Sequel to Alice In Deadland – Now $2.99 or Free via Kindle Lending Library

4.2 stars – 5 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Praise for Alice in Deadland. More than 60,000 copies sold.

“ALICE IN DEADLAND is a fast paced, creative zombie tale.” – Reads A Lot Book Reviews

“Alice in Deadland may be a ‘zombie-like’ story, but it is a metaphorical tale of how we tend to demonize that which we do not understand. It is obvious that there are socio-economic and geopolitical undercurrents in the story line and shadows of colonialism, post-colonialism, jingoism, and intolerance. If you can read between the lines and see the deeper meaning to the story, Alice in Deadland is a wonderfully entertaining ebook.” – eNovel Reviews

“Words to live by: Eat all your vegetables. Exercise like a fiend. Sleep a solid seven to eight hours a day. Never, ever read Alice in Deadland before you sleep. Ever. Because if you do make the mistake of idly perusing the first page, you’re going to want to finish the last and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a foul surprise to learn on a work day. An unusual blend of the zombie mythos, conspiracy theories and Lewis Caroll, Alice in Deadland is self-proclaimed ‘cubicle worker by day, author by night’ Mainak Dhar’s most recent offering and one of the best reinterpretations of the childhood fable yet.” – Kindlefu.com

The explosive sequel to the Amazon.com Bestseller, Alice in Deadland.

More than two years have passed since Alice followed a Biter with bunny ears down a hole, triggering events that forever changed her life and that of everyone in the Deadland. The Red Guards have been fought to a standstill; Alice has restored some measure of peace between humans and Biters; and under Alice, humans have laid the foundations of the first large, organized community since The Rising- a city called Wonderland.

That peace is shattered in a series of vicious Biter attacks and Alice finds herself shunned by the very people she helped liberate. Now she must re-enter the Deadland to unravel this new conspiracy that threatens Wonderland. Doing so will mean coming face to face with her most deadly adversary ever- the Red Queen..

Join the Alice in Deadland community on Facebookat facebook.com/groups/345795412099089

Praise For THROUGH THE KILLING GLASS

“This was a thrilling blend of post-apocalyptic zombie devastation and world domination. But the real question is, who are the real bad guys? Alice in Deadland and Through the Killing Glass are well worth reading and you can perhaps learn a little something about survival when dealing with zombies or politicians” – Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

About the Author

Mainak Dhar is a cubicle dweller by day and writer by night with eleven books to his credit, including the Amazon.com bestseller, Alice in Deadland. Learn more about him and his writing at mainakdhar.com.

(This is a sponsored post.)

Four Brand New Kindle Freebies! Download Now While Still Free! Marla Madison’s SHE’S NOT THERE, C.G. Powell’s CUPID PAINTED BLIND – A COLLECTION OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE STORIES, Eloise Hill’s THE EIGHT OF PENTACLES and Daniel Judson’s THE POISONED ROSE

With hundreds of new books turning up free each day now in the Kindle Store, it can be tough to hone in on books that you will actually want to read. And most of the new free books will be free for just a day or two at a time, so we are working hard to make sure that you do not miss the ones you want!

Here are a few books that have just gone free by authors who have already proven to be  favorites with Kindle Nation readers. Please grab them now if they looks interesting to you, because they probably won’t stay free for long!

Important Note: This post is dated Tuesday, May 1, 2012, and the titles mentioned here may remain free only until midnight PST tonight.

Please note: References to prices on this website refer to prices on the main Amazon.com website for US customers. Prices will vary for readers located outside the US, and even for US customers, prices may change at any time. Always check the price on Amazon before making a purchase.

*  *  *

She’s Not There

by Marla Madison

4.6 stars – 14 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Women are missing . . .

Is the rising number of abused women who’ve gone missing a statistical anomaly? Or is a serial killer targeting this vulnerable group of women?
When the Milwaukee Police Department refuses to investigate because no bodies have been discovered, Lisa Rayburn, the clinical psychologist who discovers the anomaly, is drawn into an investigation to discover the cause after one of her own clients goes missing. She finds herself forming an unlikely alliance with a former policewoman turned security consultant, TJ Peacock, and the husbands of two of the missing women who may themselves be murderers.
When TJ is attacked, and a woman looking remarkable like Lisa is found murdered, they know . . . someone is willing to kill to protect his secret.

Can they reveal the killer before he gets to them?

*  *  *

Cupid Painted Blind – A Collection of Paranormal Romance Stories

by C.G. Powell, Cait Lavender, Lisa Rayns, Olivia Hardin, Stephanie Nelson, Liz Schulte

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Cupid Painted Blind is a collection of six short stories. Total word count -71,296

Sweet Little Lies by Liz Schulte – Author of Dark Corners and The Guardian Trilogy
The day Femi caught her first bounty she knew this was it; she found her place in the Abyss. However, one mistake, one act of kindness, one beautifully whispered lie could cost her everything–even her life.

Autumn’s Call by Lisa Rayns – Author of The Curse of the Egyptian Goddess
When Autumn realizes death is chasing her, she runs only to be stalled by an unresolved ghost. Is he there to help her? Or does he want retribution for his murder?

Tell a Soul by Olivia Hardin – Author of Witch Way Bends
He’s the dependable one. The strong and steadfast one. Still, there’s one woman who has always turned his firm resolve on end. Langston is surprised beyond belief to find Kristana again, and this time without a husband. Has fate finally given them the chance to be together? Kristana can’t escape her intense attraction for the strange giant Langston, but the murmuring voices in her head are threatening to drive her mad. Can she find a way to trade one torment for another and thereby find true love?

The Siren Sarina by C.G. Powell – Author of Spell Checked
Being a siren is not all that it is cracked up to be, especially when you play with the gods. Sarina, like all good sirens, has a penance for sex and not with just anyone. This time her prey is Ares the god of war and lover to Aphrodite. Not that Sarina minds stepping on the goddess of loves toes, but when Ares gifts her with the powers of a god, Zeus can’t help but to intervene.

Fool Moon by Cait Lavender – Author of Cowboy Moon
All Jack saw when he looked at Carlie was perfection until she ripped out a man’s throat. Confused by the pull she had on his heart, he is left with the choice to chase after the love of his life or to be left howling at the Fool Moon.

When Opportunity Haunts by Stephanie Nelson – Author of The Gwen Sparks Series
With an eternity as the Angel of Death before him, not much could get under Dorian Hade’s skin–that was until he met Gwen Sparks. She shuts down all of his advances and insists they are just friends. Dorian takes matters into his own hands and tricks Gwen into a romantic weekend away from her ex-boyfriend at a haunted bed and breakfast.

*  *  *

5.0 stars – 1 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Eileen McGrath, a 43-year-old disabled nurse and barely employed psychic, is used to visions, but not the recurring nightmares that have crowded her sleep since her client, Laura Neff, was found drowned in Oakland, California’s Lake Merritt. When Daniel Burnette, the homicide investigator assigned to the case, rules the death accidental, she realizes it will be up to her to prove what her senses already know—that the teenager was murdered and that the policeman has his own reasons for wanting the case closed. With the help of the Tarot and private investigator, Atticus Spencer, Eileen uncovers a handful of suspects who have reason to want Laura dead—including her ex-boyfriend, an Oaktown rap producer. As she hones in on the killer’s identity and places her own life in danger, Eileen is forced to confront her doubts about her intuitive abilities, her feelings for Atticus, and the deadly message hidden in the Eight of Pentacles.

*  *  *

4.8 stars – 6 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
To a corrupt chief of police intent on maintaining his power at all costs, part-time PI Declan “Mac” MacManus is a problem that must finally be addressed. Cursed with an unwavering sense of right and wrong, and a fierce loyalty to his few friends, Mac has become known as someone the working class of Southampton can turn to in times of desperate need. On a rain-swept night in October, Mac witnesses to a brutal homicide, but he has learned that nothing on the East End is ever what it seems. Determined to hunt down an elusive hired killer before he can strike again, Mac is reunited with what is left of a prominent family he once knew well. But something more—something darker than Mac could have possibly foreseen—is at play here, and as a long-hidden secret threatens to emerge, Mac once again becomes the only hope for justice in a town that all too clearly belongs to the rich and powerful.
(This is a sponsored post.)

Like a little romance? Or a lot? Then we think you’ll love this FREE excerpt from this week’s KND Romance of the Week, BE MY PRINCE – A Sizzling Treat from Kindle Nation Fave Julianne MacLean

Last week we announced that Julianne MacLean’s BE MY PRINCE was our new Romance of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the Romance category: over 200 free titles, over 600 quality 99-centers, and thousands more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Now we’re back to offer our weekly free Romance excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!

Be My Prince

by Julianne MacLean

3.7 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Or check out the Audible.com version of Be My Prince
in its Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged!
Here’s the set-up:

Lady Alexandra Monroe has been told in no uncertain terms that she must set her sights on a proposal from Prince Randolph to better her family’s situation. Instead, she finds herself falling for his charming but dangerous younger brother Nicholas, a man whose passionate nature—and irresistible good looks—makes it impossible to remember her duty. But while she is torn between ambition and desire, a wicked scandal brews, shocking secrets are revealed, and soon she begins to wonder: can true love really conquer all?

Review
“Julianne MacLean is much loved as the author of the Highlander series and now moves into the Regency era with Be My Prince, the first book of The Royal Trilogy. The setting and political intrigue added much to the novelty of the story, and the depth of love and feeling between the heroine and hero is palpable. There is a sense throughout the story that these two characters are truly each other’s destiny, although the pathway to that conclusion is long and rocky. MacLean masterfully navigates her characters throughout the story, keeping the plot interesting and suspenseful as Alexandra and her Prince struggle against the forces that would drive them apart. Dynamic and intriguing, Be My Prince is a fresh new offering in the historical romance genre, a sure hit for Julianne MacLean.”- ReaderToReader.com

About The Author

USA Today Bestselling author, Julianne MacLean (who also writes under the pseudonym E.V. Mitchell), came to the romance genre after completing a degree in English literature from the University of King’s College in Nova Scotia. She fell in love with some of the classic romances – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice – and after a brief stint as a federal government auditor, decided to try her hand at becoming a modern day romance writer.
She is a three time Rita Finalist and winner of numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice Award, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the Greater Detroit Romance Writers Booksellers’ Best Award.
She is a devoted wife and mother, and loves to travel. She has lived in New Zealand and Ottawa, and is now settled happily in Nova Scotia, while working on her latest historical romance.

 

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:

 

Be My Prince

By Julianne MacLean

Prologue

 

 

From the London Ballroom Society Pages

May 12, 1814

ROYAL VISIT CONFIRMED

 

Attention one and all.  The editors of this paper are delighted to report upon a most auspicious event.  His Royal Highness, Prince Randolph of Petersbourg, will set sail for London in early June and reside at St. James Palace for one full month.

The handsome heir to the Petersbourg throne will discuss with the Regent a political and military alliance that may result in the amalgamation of our two great and powerful naval fleets.

This favorable military alliance is not, however, the fuel that has fired the ambitions of the great matriarchs of the ton – for some say the true motive for the prince’s visit to our fair country is to seek and marry his future queen.

I will therefore pose the question to our devoted and reflective readers: Who among us will be the chosen one?

 

 

 

Chapter One

Carlton House, London

June 16, 1814

 

 

There were certain days of her life when Lady Alexandra Monroe wished she had been born a man.

This, perhaps, was the most noteworthy of those days, for here she stood in the Regent’s overcrowded London reception room, glancing about at all the other impeccably dressed young ladies, each vying for a chance to meet a handsome foreign prince and win from him a proposal of marriage.

It was quite sickening, really, and she was half-tempted to walk out – for surely, she was above all this – but she could not do as she wished, for she had a duty to fulfill.  She had been waiting a very long time for this moment.

“Upon my word, look at the jewels on that one,” her stepmother Lucille said as she snapped open her ivory-handled fan.  “How frightfully vulgar.  Just behind me in the violet gown.  Do you see?”

Alexandra leaned to the left to peer over her stepmother’s shoulder.  “Indeed I do.”

She, too, opened her fan with a smooth flick of her wrist and took note of an older woman by the mantelpiece, studying her with boiling menace.  The woman leaned closer to her own charge and whispered something that caused the girl to swing her head around and sneer.

Honestly.  This whole evening was nothing short of a bloodthirsty, cutthroat competition.  All the ladies were trussed up in their best gowns and jewels, eyeing each other with icy rancour.

If only we had swords and muskets, then the portrait would be complete.

She cheered herself, however, with the notion that it would all be over soon, for she had every intention of charging ahead in the next few minutes and tramping them all down into the dust.  Every last one of them.  Quickly and without mercy, because no one in this room deserved to sit on the throne of Petersbourg more than she did, and she was not going to surrender without a fight.

*   *   *

     “They say he wishes to marry for love,” the Duchess of Pembroke said, as she picked up a glass of champagne from a passing footman.  “It’s quite charming, do you not agree?”

“I think it’s a silly batch of nonsense,” Lord Brimley replied.  “The man is a future king.  He must choose a bride who will serve some political purpose.  He is responsible for the welfare of his kingdom.  Such romantic notions are pure folly, and it arouses great doubt in me that we should even desire a naval alliance with Petersbourg, if this is what we will be subjected to in years to come.  Kings must be sensible, and sometimes, when necessary, they must be ruthless.  Romance and sentimentality have nothing to do with it.”

“Well, that’s the problem, right there,” Baron Westley added.  “The man wasn’t born a royal.  He has no understanding of such things.  They say his grandfather was a blacksmith.”

“Hush,” someone hissed, from outside their circle.

Alexandra glanced over her shoulder at the daring offender – another mother of a marriageable young daughter who, in all honesty, had very little hope of catching the eye of any prince, for she was wide-eyed and fretful, like a mouse trapped in a corner by cats.

“His father has been king for ten years,” the duchess said, “and that will not change.  The people of Petersbourg adore Randolph.  Make no mistake about it, Lord Westley, we are about to bow and curtsey to the future King of Petersbourg, and I, for one, find his sizable naval fleet immensely desirable.”

The others, most of them red-nosed and brandy-faced, threw their heads back and laughed.

“I do not understand,” the young lady whispered to Alexandra.  “I thought Prince Randolph was a real prince.”

Alexandra leaned close to whisper in her ear.  “He is, but without royal blood.  His father was general of the military and leader of the Petersbourg Revolution.  Do you not know of it?”

The girl quickly shook her head.

Alexandra struggled not to let out a weary sigh, and instead searched for a way to explain.  “Twenty years ago, the true King of Petersbourg was deposed by the military.  The general – Randolph’s father – seized power for himself and formed a democratic government.  He was such a compelling leader that they crowned him king a decade later.  They now have a constitutional monarchy.”

Eyes as wide as saucers, the young lady nodded, but Alexandra was quite certain she was more confused than ever.

“Do not fret,” Alex whispered.  “He’s a real prince and very handsome.  That’s all you need to know.”

“But what happened to the old king?” the young woman asked.

Alexandra bent close again, for she did not wish to be overheard speaking of events that were best left in the past – at least while in the company all these powerful Whigs and Tories.  “He was exiled to Switzerland and died there.  The official story is that it was a brief illness, but some say he was murdered by the New Regime.  The queen, unfortunately, passed away a few months later after giving birth to a stillborn child.”

“My word.  How tragic.”

“Indeed.”

Just then the doors to the reception room flew open.  A hush fell over the crowd, which split in two and formed a wide corridor down the center of the red carpet.

“His Royal Highness, Prince Randolph of Petersbourg!” the majordomo announced.  “And Her Royal Highness, Princess Rose of Petersbourg!”

The guests curtsied and bowed as the young royals stepped into view and progressed elegantly down the long red carpet to meet the Regent, who stood waiting to greet them at the opposite end.  With keen eyes, Alexandra took in their appearance – the prince especially.

It had been widely reported from many informed sources that he was a handsome man, and Alexandra had no choice to but to concur.  Only a fool would argue that point, and she was no fool.

Dressed in his impressive royal regalia – a scarlet, double-breasted tunic with brass buttons and gold tassled epaulette’s upon his shoulders, a crimson sash around his waist, and a jewelled saber sheathed in a shiny black casing – Randolph was a striking figure to be sure.  He was tall and dark.  His hips were slim, his legs muscular beneath tight knee breeches, his eyes an uncommon shade of blue.

His sister Rose, the young princess on his arm, was equally handsome in both appearance and stature.  She carried herself with confidence and bright, smiling charm.  Her hair, styled in the latest fashion, was a shiny golden hue, and she was blessed with a tiny upturned nose, deep green eyes set wide apart, high cheekbones and full lips.

Alexandra fought to crush the resentment she felt upon seeing the princess’s exquisite white gown and stunning headdress, while she herself had been forced to wear rags up until a month ago.

The royal couple approached the Regent who welcomed them with a smile, and the crowd closed the corridor and resumed chattering.

“What do you think?” Lucille asked.  “Is he everything you imagined him to be?”

“Handsome, at least.”

Which would remove a certain degree of unpleasantness on the wedding night.

She turned to smile at the Countess of Risley, who approached with her son, a future earl. The gentleman bowed, and Alexandra curtsied.

For the next few moments, they exchanged pleasantries and demonstrated the immaculate manners and wit expected of their rank and station.  He was a future peer of the realm, she the beautiful, eldest daughter of one of the highest-ranking dukes in England.

She, however, like the prince, was the subject of much interest and fascination, for she’d been concealed from Society since the death of her father, the Duke of St. George, six years ago, and though impoverished since that day, had recently been dubbed the Hidden Jewel by her generous benefactor, who had come for her at last.  According to many, she was the woman most likely to win this race for the prince’s heart.

For that reason, handsome though he may be, she had no interest in this future Earl of Risley.              All that mattered was the fulfilment of her duty.  To that end, she must be true.

As soon as the young man and his mother took their leave, Alex turned her attention back to the prince.  By some stroke of luck their eyes met and she permitted him to look at her for a long, lingering and very satisfying moment before she gave him a cheeky smile – as if they were secret paramours – then averted her gaze and strolled off in the other direction.

Twenty minutes later, while she stood with her stepmother near a potted tree fern, fanning herself leisurely in the heat of the crowded reception room, His Highness approached her with curious interest.

Just as she suspected he would.

*   *   *

     The Regent gestured toward Lucille with a white-gloved hand.  “Prince Randolph, may I present to you Her Grace, the Dowager Duchess of St. George, and Lady Alexandra Monroe, eldest daughter of the late and greatly beloved Duke of St. George.”

Alex and Lucille each performed a deep curtsey.  “It is an honor, Your Highness,” Alex said as she rose to her full height.

The prince took in the details of her gown while she took note of the large emerald ring upon his right forefinger – one of the many crown jewels he was entitled to as heir to the throne.

He smiled, displaying fine white teeth.  “The honor is all mine.”

Many eyes watched them, curious ears listened, and Alex felt more determined than ever to beguile him straightaway.

“I trust your journey was smooth and uneventful?” she said.  “Not too arduous, I hope.”

He inclined his head politely.  “Not in the least.  It was a smooth and pleasant voyage.  You hale from Yorkshire, I understand?  It’s beautiful country there, from what I hear of it.  I was also told that your father’s palace is an architectural masterpiece, one of the greatest estates in England.”

“How kind of you to say so,” Alexandra replied.  “Perhaps Your Highness might travel to the north while you are visiting our fair country and see it for yourself?”

He narrowed his gaze flirtatiously.  “Is that an invitation, Lady Alexandra?”

She gave him a warm smile mixed with a hint of desire that went no deeper than the powder upon her skin.  But he would not know that.  He would see only what she wished him to see.  “If it would please you, Your Highness, you would be most welcome.”

Though she had no right to extend such an invitation, for she’d not set foot in St. George Palace for seven years.  Others resided there now.

The dinner gong rang out, and he bowed to her.  “It has been a pleasure, Lady Alexandra.  I trust you will honor me with a dance later this evening?”

“Most certainly.”

He bowed to her stepmother as well.  Then he turned to offer his arm to his sister, Rose, who waited a distance away.

Together with the Regent, they led the guests into the large banqueting hall.

“If he only knew,” Lucille sighed with casual triumph as she watched him disappear.

Alexandra exhaled sharply and fought to steady her breathing. “I am relieved he does not.”

For if he or anyone else in the room knew that she was the true heir to the throne of Petersbourg, she might very well end up dead.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

After dinner was served and speeches were delivered, the guests filed into the ballroom where the orchestra had already begun to play.

Alexandra glanced about at the lavishness of the room, adorned with sheets of white muslin draped across the walls.  Fragrant batches of white roses were set out in every direction, while hundreds of flickering candles provided a brilliant illumination for the Regent and his regal guests to mingle through the crowd.

Part of her wondered if this was all a dream and she would soon wake to find herself back in her tiny cottage in Wales with her sisters, arguing over how to scrape together enough coin to pay the butcher.

Her gaze fell upon a liveried footman.  He was moving slowly through the crowd and carrying a tray of Champagne.  The crystal glasses sparkled almost blindingly in the candlelight, and for some reason it made her heart beat uncomfortably fast.  A heavy shadow of apprehension settled over her, and she felt terribly displaced as memory transported her back to the cold chill of winter when there was not enough coal in the grate.  And the dreadful fear that came at night when a sound outside the cottage woke her from her slumber.  Who was it?  Friend or assassin?

She had been forced to keep secrets from her sisters, who were not really her true sisters.  Not by blood.  She cared for them deeply and would do anything for them, but she had never been able to confide in them.  She had been able to confide in no one.

A cheerful waltz began, and Prince Randolph escorted his sister onto the floor, set his hand at the small of her back, and began to dance around the room.

It was the first time Alexandra had ever seen a waltz performed, for it was very new.

How happy and carefree the young royals looked.  Did they ever think of the ancient bloodline they had toppled?  Of the family they’d destroyed?  Did they ever feel guilty for the wealth and luxury that was now theirs to enjoy while the true king and queen lay rotting in their graves?

She shut her eyes for a moment to purge such thoughts from her head.  This was not the time for morbid reflection.  She must smile and be merry.

She turned to her stepmother.  “I apologize, but I require a moment to myself.”  Lucille frowned at her, but she would not be daunted.  “I must take some air and gather my wits about me, or I will never make it through this night.”

Lucille tried to stop her, but Alexandra turned away and passed through the open French doors that led onto the stone terrace, which was dimly lit by two flaming torches, one at each corner.

She rushed to the balustrade and sucked in the cool, fresh scents of the night.  A light breeze blew across her cheeks but nothing seemed to ease the knot of anxiety in her stomach.  She had not imagined it would be this difficult.  So much depended upon this one night and the performance she must deliver.

At last, the chaos in her mind began to subside.  She sat down on the balustrade and looked up at the stars in the sky.  “That’s better.  Breathe, Alex.  He’s only a prince, and not even a real one.”

A throat cleared unexpectedly from somewhere in the shadows, and she quickly stood. “Who’s there?”

No one replied, so she took an unflinching step away from the balustrade. “This is highly improper, whoever you are.  Reveal yourself to me now, sir, if you please.”

It was dark in the far corner of the terrace, but not so murky that she could not make out a pair of long booted legs swinging down from a horizontal position on a bench.

Evidently, a gentleman – completely unknown to her – had been using it to take a nap.

She should have darted inside straightaway, but something held her fixed to the flagstone upon which she stood.  Perhaps it was the sight of the man’s upper body coming into view as he leaned into the torchlight.  Or maybe it was the finer details of his face – for it was a beautiful one, with strong, masculine lines and flawless proportions, capped off with an unfashionably wild mane of wavy black hair.

He held a silver flask in a leather-gloved hand, and Alexandra surmised that he could not possibly be a guest at the ball, for he wore a black riding coat, and one did not wear muddy boots to a banquet.

His voice was deep and low and strangely exotic as he began to chuckle in the dark.  “Not a real prince, you say.  That’s not very polite, Miss Whoever You Are.  I ought to report you to someone.”

“Like whom?” she countered, fearing suddenly that her identity and treasonous plot was about to be discovered.

“Like…  Oh, I don’t know.  I can’t think straight.  All that music and laughter is clouding my brain.  What about you?  Why are you out here when all the other ladies are inside scrambling for a chance to dance with the distinguished guest of honor?”  He raised the flask to his lips and took a long, slow swig as he awaited her reply.

“I don’t need to scramble for anything,” she said.  “All I need to do is wait patiently, for His Highness has already invited me to join him in a dance.  I simply required a bit of air, that is all.”

“Air?”  The stranger stood and approached.  He was an imposing figure to be sure and she was strangely spellbound by each step he took across the terrace. “We have something in common, then.”

The torchlight danced in a sudden gust of wind.  “And what, pray tell, is that?”

He halted before her.  “We both like to breathe.”

Alexandra watched him for a moment, then narrowed her guarded, suspicious gaze.  “You smell like a distillery.  Are you drunk?”

“Only a little, but let us keep that to ourselves, shall we?”

As it happened, she was very good at keeping secrets.

Nevertheless, there were rules of etiquette to consider.  “If you are drunk, sir, then a royal ball is no place for you.  You ought to go home.  I have no doubt you’ll feel much better in the morning.”

He chuckled.  “I doubt that.”

She glanced down at his boots then let her eyes wander with interest up the impressive length of his body.  He was strong and well-proportioned and possessed the firm, muscled thighs of an active horseman.

“I suppose I wouldn’t know about such things,” she replied.  “I’ve never had more than a few sips of anything.  Not that it’s any business of yours.”  She gave a quick curtsey.  “Good evening, sir.”

She tried to leave, but he blocked her way.

“Don’t go yet.”  He leaned close to speak softly in her ear – so close that she could smell the brandy on his breath and feel the moist heat of his words on her lobe.  “I need someone to talk to and I like the sound of your voice.  It reminds me of…”

He paused, and her breath caught in her throat.

He was unbelievably attractive.

“Of what?” she cautiously asked.

Those dark eyebrows pulled together.  “I’m afraid I can’t quite recall, but I am certain it will come to me.”

Alexandra felt a heated stirring of arousal in her core.  She worked hard to quell it, however, for she was here on a mission, and this was not it.

Thankfully, he backed away and gave her some space to collect herself – though it was not easy to do.

“This is not appropriate,” she said, realizing with more than a little displeasure that she was stalling, for this mysterious horseman from the shadows was an overwhelming distraction – and heaven knew she needed one.  “We have not been properly introduced.”

“You are quite correct,” he replied.  “Where is your chaperone?  Shall I call for her?”

“No!”  She looked inside, then spoke in a quieter tone.  “Please do not.”

For she knew exactly what her stepmother would say.  Lucille would demand to know why Alex had taken her eyes off the prize.

The horseman glanced toward the open doors.  “Fine, then.  We’ll take care of the introductions ourselves.  I’ll tell you my name if you promise to tell me yours.”

“Agreed,” she replied, “but then you must let me pass.”

He bowed to indicate his agreement.  “Very well then.  And your name is…?”

“I am Alexandra Monroe, honored to make your acquaintance.  Good evening, sir.”

She curtsied again, made another attempt to return to the ballroom, but he stopped her again – this time with a gloved fingertip upon the bare skin of her upper arm, just below her puffed sleeve, which caused a flash of heat to rush from the point of contact straight down to her toes.

His blue eyes narrowed.  “Lady Alexandra…  Are you the daughter of the Duke of St. George?”

So he knew of her.

“Yes, but not the current duke.  My father died six years ago.”

Though my real father was put to death by greedy insurgents before I was born.

“Ah, yes.”  He lowered his hand to his side and removed his gloves.  “I have heard of you.  You are quite notorious in fact. They say you have been living in Wales with your sisters, and that you have been…”  He paused.  “Unjustly impoverished.”

Alexandra detected a hint of compassion in his voice and had to work hard not to immerse herself in it.  She had learned a long time ago that one cannot wallow in self-pity and stand strong and mighty at the same time.  “Evidently I am quite the spectacle this evening,” she said.

“Indeed.   This is your first Season, correct?”

“Yes.”

He leaned close and spoke in a husky voice that feathered across her skin.  “At least the gentlemen at Whites were right about one thing.”

Alexandra quirked a brow.  “And what was that?”

“They said you were the most beautiful woman in England, hidden away and guarded like a priceless jewel.”  He drew back and regarded her intently for a moment.  “Beautiful to be certain, but why have they kept you hidden away, may I ask?  You are the daughter of a duke.  Why have you been residing in Wales?  Why not at the estate where you were raised?”

She wet her lips and concealed the more pertinent question:  Why not with her real family, in the country where her ancestors had been born and where they had ruled for centuries?

“I am surprised you don’t know the answer to that question,” she said, “when you seem to know everything else about me.”

The blue of his eyes shone in the torchlight.  “Indulge me.”

“Why should I?”

Again he leaned close.  “Because you want to.”

An intoxicating shiver of arousal ran through her as she comprehended the truth in his words, spoken so provocatively.

She had never met a man quite like this one before.  He was very confident and exuded a distinguishable air of sexuality.  All the little hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end.  Her heart was beating wildly with exhilaration, and she could not deny that she wanted to revel a little longer in this feeling of excitement.

“My father the duke died without an heir,” she explained, “so the title passed to his estranged younger brother, who arrived at the palace with four daughters of his own, roughly the same age as my sisters and me.  He took one look at us and decided that we would be an obstacle to the marriage prospects of his own daughters, so he sent us away, banished us to a place well beyond the reaches of polite society.”

The gentleman frowned.  “Because the four of you were prettier?”

“I suppose that would be an accurate conclusion to derive from the circumstances.”

He inclined his head with curiosity.  “Tell me more.”

“His Grace provided us with a very meagre allowance, barely enough to live on and certainly not enough to provide a dowry or even gowns for a proper Season.  That is why we have never been to London.”

He studied her with some concern.  “That is most unfortunate.  It sounds as if you and your sisters were greatly wronged.”

Alexandra swallowed uneasily.  There it was again – the compassion.  But she had not told him of her situation to seek his pity and wished for a moment that she had not revealed any of it.

Another part of her, however – the deeper, more honest place that had been profoundly hurt and wounded by all the lies and betrayals from those she trusted most – cracked just a little, and she found herself opening up even further to this stranger before she realized what she was saying.

“Indeed, and here I am, dressed in a borrowed gown and jewels, hoping to win a proposal from a prince, along with dozens of other young women, each with their own story I suppose.”       She paused and looked up at the stars, listened to the crickets chirping in the grass.  “It’s strange.  There was once a time, long ago, when I imagined I would marry for love.  I would have settled quite happily for a simple life with a mere clerk or merchant for a husband, but others insist that such a common existence is beneath me.”

She dragged her gaze down from the stars and spoke in more practical terms.  “More importantly, my stepmother controls our allowance from my uncle, so it seems I must choose a husband in a more mercenary fashion if I am to help my sisters improve their situation.  I am the eldest.  It falls upon me to lift us out of the trenches.  That is the world we live in, I suppose.  Duty must come first.”

The gentleman said nothing.  He seemed rather taken aback, and Alexandra wanted to sink through the ground.  What had she been thinking?  It was unseemly to reveal such intimate details to a complete stranger in the dark when she was duty-bound to be inside seducing a prince – not only to secure a better future for herself and her sisters, but to avenge her true family and embrace her destiny as the rightful sovereign of Petersbourg.

“What happened to your real mother?” the man asked, proving himself to be a very bad influence, continuing to ask such personal questions.

My real mother died tragically in exile, shortly after giving birth to me.

“The duchess died when my youngest sister was born.  Our father remarried my stepmother a year later, but there were no children from that union.  I am sorry, but I must go.  Goodnight sire.”  She hurried past him to return to the ballroom.

“Wait.” He turned to follow. “Will you dance with me?”

She glanced down at his muddy boots.  “You’re not dressed.”

“I can be,” he replied.  “Just say yes, and I will arrange a proper introduction.”

Alexandra hesitated. “I am here to dance with the prince.”

“So you’ve already said.”

A spark of heady anticipation seeped into her blood as she imagined waltzing with this man… setting her gloved hand upon his shoulder… following his movements across the floor…

“You’re going to get in my way, aren’t you?” she asked.

“In the way of your mercenary ambitions to marry a royal?”  His eyes burned into hers.  “I thought you said you’d settle for a clerk or a merchant if it meant you could marry for love.”

Alexandra lifted her chin.  “I did say that, but I must think of my sisters.  As much as I would like to, I cannot settle for less, so please do not upset things.”

He spread his arms wide as if to profess his innocence.  “A dance.  That is all I ask.”

She should have taken more time to weigh the particulars, but an answer spilled past her lips before she could think it through.  “Fine, but please say nothing to anyone about our conversation here.   I’ve stayed too long as it is.”

The instant she re-entered the ballroom, her stepmother came quickly to her side.

“Where were you, Alexandra?  The Duke of Wentworth has been engaging me in conversation.  I could not break away, and I was consumed with worry that you had been abducted by some imperial spy in the garden.”

“Oh, don’t be silly.  I only required a bit of fresh air.  That is all.”

But in all honesty she had been abducted – in the proverbial sense at least – by a handsome horseman in the shadows with a quiet, husky voice and a very dangerous sensual appeal.

It was not until that moment that she realized he had not told her his name.

She hoped he would not come to the ball.

It would not be wise to see him again.

*   *   *

 

Continued….

Click here to download the entire book: Julianne MacLean’s BE MY PRINCE>>>

 

Kindle Nation Daily Bargain Book Alert: Mainak Dhar’s ALICE IN DEADLAND is Our eBook of the Day at just 99 Cents, or Currently Free Via the Kindle Lending Library, with 3.7 Stars on 285 Reviews, and Here’s a Free Sample!

Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it’s legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters.

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases.

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill.

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.

Learn more about the world of Alice in Deadland and engage with the author and other readers at the new Alice in Deadland Facebook Group. Go to facebook.com/groups/345795412099089.

From the reviewers:

Alice in Deadland  is a fast paced, creative zombie tale.” – Reads A Lot Book Reviews

Alice in Deadland may be a ‘zombie-like’ story, but it is a metaphorical tale of how we tend to demonize that which we do not understand. It is obvious that there are socio-economic and geopolitical undercurrents in the story line and shadows of colonialism, post-colonialism, jingoism, and intolerance. If you can read between the lines and see the deeper meaning to the story, Alice in Deadland is a wonderfully entertaining ebook.” – eNovel Reviews

“Words to live by: Eat all your vegetables. Exercise like a fiend. Sleep a solid seven to eight hours a day. Never, ever read Alice in Deadland before you sleep. Ever. Because if you do make the mistake of idly perusing the first page, you’re going to want to finish the last and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a foul surprise to learn on a work day. An unusual blend of the zombie mythos, conspiracy theories and Lewis Caroll,
Alice in Deadland is self-proclaimed ‘cubicle worker by day, author by night’ Mainak Dhar’s most recent offering and one of the best reinterpretations of the childhood fable yet.” – Kindlefu.com

Visit Amazon’s Mainak Dhar Page

Mainak Dhar is a cubicle dweller by day and author by night. His first `published’ work was a stapled collection of Maths solutions and poems (he figured nobody would pay for his poems alone) he sold to his classmates in Grade 7, and spent the proceeds on ice cream and comics. He was first published in a more conventional sense at the age of 18 and has since published eleven books including the Amazon.com Bestseller Alice in Deadland. Learn more about him and contact him at mainakdhar.com.

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KND Kindle Free Book Alert for Tuesday, May 1: 305 BRAND NEW FREEBIES in the last 24 hours added to Our 3,400+ FREE TITLES Sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Bryan Cohen’s THE POST-COLLEGE GUIDE TO HAPPINESS (Today’s Sponsor – $2.99)

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Being a college student myself I do wonder sometimes how life will be once I graduate, but the beauty of this book is that it applies to all people not just those who just graduated from college.
The Post-College Guide to Happiness
by Bryan Cohen
4.4 stars - 18 reviews
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The world can be a bit negative sometimes, which is kind of like saying rain is wet. Smiles have been replaced by cell phones and cynical is the new normal. The pursuit of happiness has been changed into the pursuit of dollars and in a tough economic climate, it's a race most of us are losing. Comedian and author Bryan Cohen thinks that it's time to remember what happiness is all about. He believes that normal people like you without diamond wearing Chihuahuas can still be happy with a few changes to your attitude, your beliefs and a short training routine to build up your joy.

Cohen has laid out 35 exercises that you can use to create a happiness workout plan to help you in the following areas:
· Keeping your negative thoughts at bay and learning to control your emotions
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· Loving the one you're with and strengthening your family's happiest memories
· Learning more about yourself and what you're good at without requiring a masters degree
· Embracing silence in a world overrun by digital doohickeys
· Finding time and energy to embrace your creative side and live your dreams
· Making your beliefs inclusive and turning to spirituality for health and wealth

Whether you're just graduating from college or headed into retirement age, The Post-College Guide to Happiness will help you turn that pessimism upside down and put you back on the path to a happier life. After years of joyous research, Cohen has found the most effective happiness boosters from all sorts of places, including business books, self-help audio programs, autobiographies, spiritual classics and even his experiences to get you out of your funk for good. If you've had no luck looking for happiness in all the wrong places, pick up this book and learn how to look forward to life again.
One Reviewer Notes:
This was what I really like to have in self-help books. Everything was laid out in an easy to understand manner, and having all of the exercises at the end of each of the chapters was great. It made them easy to find and go back to when you want to start a new one, or reflect on one you have already started. It's also pretty short, so it's not something that's going to use up all your time just reading through it before you can even start with the exercises. Which is great for college-aged people. I will most definitely be keeping this book and hope to stick to working on the exercises as best I can, and I recommend it to anyone who has a little free time to get some happiness in their life.
Alyssa Greatbanks
About the Author
Bryan Cohen writes about writing, comedy, self-help and embarrassing anecdotes from his life. He is also an actor, director and producer who enjoys dabbling in both theatre and film in Chicago, Illinois. Bryan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art with a minor in Creative Writing. His books have sold over 10,000 copies. His website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, helps over 25,000 people a month to get over writers block and to come up with new creative project. Bryan Cohen writes about writing, comedy, self-help and embarrassing anecdotes from his life. He is also an actor, director and producer who enjoys dabbling in both theatre and film in Chicago, Illinois. Bryan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art with a minor in Creative Writing. His books have sold over 10,000 copies. His website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, helps over 25,000 people a month to get over writers block and to come up with new creative project.
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I was born a princess among criminals. An untouchable among thieves. Heiress to a life others have killed for, and one I'd do anything to escape. I vowed not to leave without Diego, my first love and best friend, but if his ruthless brother has his way, I won’t leave at all.Cristiano de la Rosa is...
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They can't trust him with their shoes, but they can trust him with their hearts.Since Nick Marshall’s wife died, he’s been struggling to keep a lid on his PTSD and raise his stepdaughter Chloe and her younger half-sister, Abby. He’s always run a tight ship, but when he learns that Chloe’s...
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Ruby Achera just wanted a nice, quiet drink at her family’s casino in Magic City. The Mist Casino sits just above a kemana with an interior that would make a ghost feel right at home. Of course it does.After all, Magic City has to compete with nearby Vegas. A different kind of magic.Ruby is just...
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Here’s The Complete Course Will Help You to Understand The Fundamentals Of  Market Investing And Strategies and Learn How to Make Money In Few Weeks!      ★2021 EDITION★Do you want to discover how to trade and avoid costly mistakes that beginners make?Do you want to discover how to...
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Blindfolded speed dating for shifters, what could go wrong?I spent years fighting alongside some of the best males I've ever known. One mission went wrong and I watched as my twin brother died in my arms. Now, I've settled into a less dangerous job developing new sonar technology for the...
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KND Kindle Free Book Alert for Tuesday, May 1: 305 BRAND NEW FREEBIES in the last 24 hours added to Our 3,400+ FREE TITLES Sorted by Category, Date Added, Bestselling or Review Rating! plus … Bryan Cohen’s THE POST-COLLEGE GUIDE TO HAPPINESS (Today’s Sponsor – $2.99)

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal — Tuesday, May 1 – Two Great Reads for under $3 — Save 70% on Jennifer Estep’s paranormal TOUCH OF FROST, plus … Don’t miss Greg Walsh’s SCOUT’S HONOR (Today’s Sponsor)

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Scout’s Honor

by Greg Walsh
5.0 stars – 3 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Here’s the set-up:

Twenty years after the mysterious death of the world’s population, Gus Thomas is forced to leave his family and venture into the relics of Miami. His journey brings him to the shocking discovery that his family is not alone in this world.

Befriending the people of the last remaining Florida community, he is pulled into the middle of a deadly assault on their home. They place their trust in Scout, a mysterious young woman who protects the city from the threat of a growing wolf population.

The attack leads to a treacherous journey to the heart of New York City. Trekking northward, he encounters the last strands of  civilization. Some have noble intentions. Most do not. Gus and his friends attempt a daring rescue that puts each of their lives at risk and forces them to choose between their own personal freedom and the safety of the human race.

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Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy)Kindle Daily Deal: Touch of Frost
Gwen Frost has a unique gift: she can know any object’s history just by touching it. But after she has a serious magical meltdown, the 17-year-old is sent to Mythos Academy. The school caters to people like her and is filled with myths, magic, and warrior whiz kids.

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