Dear Reader,

I've been a huge fan of royal weddings ever since I was a teenager and woke up in the wee hours of the morning to watch Lady Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles.

Weddings are always big events, but royal ones take on a larger than life quality. The pomp, the circumstance, the dress. Fairytale endings aren't guaranteed as they are in the romance novels I write, but that won't stop me from being glued to the television when Kate Middleton ties the knot with Prince William.

Kate is living the dream many young girls have—to become a princess and possibly a future queen. I remember in college when a crown prince enrolled in the graduate business school. Even co-eds at a top university couldn't help entertain a few what-if fantasies.

I'm a huge fan of stories where a character discovers they're not who they think they are. That's how I came up with Expecting Royal Twins! What if an average, working class American woman discovers she's actually royalty?

A familiar storyline, so I wanted to put my own spin on it. The question was…did I succeed? RT Book Reviews said the book was "a fast-paced, fun tale…that makes the lost-princess plot seem surprisingly fresh." Long and Short Reviews called it "fun and unexpected…a breath of fresh air…one of the best Harlequin Romances I’ve read."  I'd love to hear what you think!

When Izzy Poussard finds out she's a long-lost princess, it's not good news. She's a car mechanic who dreams of working on a NASCAR pit crew. Forget Chanel. Carhartt is her idea of designer garb. Izzy wants nothing to do with fancy gowns, high heels and a sparkly tiara. She prefers greased stained coveralls, steel-toed boots and a faded baseball cap. No way in the world is she going to take princess lessons.

Crown Prince Niko Kresimir of Vernonia can't believe the woman with motor oil underneath her fingernails was his childhood bride! Izzy might have royal blood running through her veins, but she belongs in the castle's garage, not the Grand Ballroom. Time to send her back to America so he can do what's best for his country—marry the beautiful and oh-so-perfect Princess Julianna of Aliestle.

Expecting Royal Twins! is part of Harlequin Romance's Babies and Brides miniseries, so you can probably guess things don't quite turn out the way the dutiful crown prince hoped. But it did provide an opportunity to write a royal wedding scene. And since this is a romance novel, we all know how this royal union will end…happily ever after!

Let's hope the same happens for Kate and Wills!

Happy Reading!

Melissa



Excerpt from Expecting Royal Twins!

© Melissa McClone


     "Isabel."

     A man was calling Izzy's name, but she didn't open her eyes. Her alarm clock hadn't buzzed yet. That meant this must still be part of her dream, an odd mix of fairytale and nightmare with a brooding, handsome prince holding her captive in a tower.

     "Isabel," the man said again.

     She liked the way the three syllables rolled off his tongue. I-sa-bel. She snuggled against the pillow, wanting more sleep and more of him.

     The bed lurched, as if she were riding on a flying carpet that had come to a sudden stop.

     "Welcome to Vernonia," the male voice continued.

     Where? And then she realized.

     Izzy wasn't in bed dreaming. She forced her heavy eyelids open. Bright sunlight streamed through the window. She blinked. The plane had not only landed, but also parked. A small turboprop taxied by.

     Every single one of her muscles tensed. Yesterday had been real. The box. Her parents. The prince.

     She clutched the armrests.

     "Good morning, Isabel," Niko said from the seat next to her.

     Izzy saw nothing good about this morning. She was tired, surrounded by strangers and far away from home. She turned toward Niko to tell him as much, but her mouth went dry at the sight of him.

     Hello Prince Hottie. Heat pulsed through her veins.

     The stubble on Niko's face made him look sexier and dangerous. Especially with his scar. A real bad boy. His clothes remained unwrinkled, as if he'd just stepped away from a photo shoot, not spent the night flying across an ocean and a continent.

     "You didn't eat much dinner last night," he said. "Are you hungry?"

     She wouldn't mind a bite of him.

     Strike that. A serving of prince sunny side up wasn't on the menu this morning. Or any morning, Izzy reminded herself. This wasn't just some guy. He was her husband. At least for another couple of days until the High Court was back in session.

     Izzy toyed with the edge of the blanket covering her lap. "No thanks. I'm not hungry."

     "I will have a meal delivered to your room in case you want something to eat later."

     Room service? She wiggled her toes with anticipation. She'd never stayed at a nice hotel that offered room service. Maybe this trip would have some bright spots. "Thanks, but please don't go to any trouble. I can order my own food."

     "It is no trouble," he said.

     But it was for her. "I prefer to do things myself."

     "Luka already came by with the warm towels," Niko continued as if she hadn't spoken. "If you would like one—"

     "No, thanks. I'm good.

     Tired, but good. Izzy yawned, hoping she wasn't breaking some princess protocol. She needed more sleep. A shower wouldn't hurt. Once she arrived at the hotel...

     "Ready to see your homeland?" Niko asked.

     Vernonia might be her place of birth, but she would never call it her homeland. "I suppose I can't stay on the plane all day."

     "You could."

     "Really?"

     "You're a princess," he said, as if she knew all the rules about being royalty. "But you might get bored."

     "I don't do well being bored."

     "That doesn't surprise me."

     She stood and placed the shoulder strap of her backpack over her shoulder.

     "The crew will carry your backpack," Niko said.

     "I don't mind."

     "The crew does. They consider it an honor to serve you."

     "I'm, uh, not really comfortable with that. It has my wallet and my ID in it."

     "It looks strange for a princess to be hauling around a backpack."

     "It's my purse," she countered. "Besides I don't care what other people think of me."

     A muscle flicked at his jaw. "You've made that quite obvious."

     Niko pressed his lips together. The same way he'd done in Charlotte. He wasn't happy with her. He'd probably better get used to that for as long as she was in town.

     "Just so you know," she said. "It really bugs me when people try to tell me what I can or can't do."

     She walked down the aisle before he could say anything else to annoy her.

     The other passengers who had been introduced by job titles, not names during the flight, had already deplaned. The flight crew, including the pilots, stood in a line at the front of the plane. Izzy thanked them for the flight and exited.

     At the top of the portable staircase, she took a deep breath. The crisp air refreshed her.

     The airport wasn't as large as the one in Charlotte and seemed to be built on a plateau. Everything from the control tower to the runways looked brand new. Beyond the runways the flat landscape gave way to foothills and rocky mountains beyond that.

     Niko joined her on the landing. He motioned to a black limousine at the bottom of the stairs. "Our chariot awaits."

     Attached to the front of the car were two small blue and white flags with yellow emblems in the center. They fluttered in the cool breeze. Uniformed guards with large guns stood nearby. A man in a black suit unloaded the luggage from a cart. He carefully placed her battered duffle bag into the trunk as if it contained fragile Faberge eggs, not thrift store bargain buys.

     Feelings of inadequacy swept through her. Izzy was completely out of her league here. She clutched the metal handrail like a lifeline.

     Niko offered his arm. "I'm only offering because you must be tired."

     His gesture of chivalry brought tears to her eyes. Uncle Frank used to the same thing before escorting her across the street or down a parking lot staircase. Izzy wiped her eyes with her hand.

     Boy, she must really be jet-lagged to get so sentimental. But Niko was right. Her legs were stiff from the flight. Her shoes fit tighter, making her wonder if her feet had swollen. She couldn't pretend she wasn't feeling more tired by the minute.

     Falling down the stairs was a distinct possibility in her current condition and would not be a good start to her visit to Vernonia. Forget making a faux pas. The stage was set for an epic fail. She couldn't let that happen.

     Better safe than sorry. Izzy wrapped her arm around Niko's. "Thanks."



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Contest!


Melissa wants to celebrate her first visit with Newswire readers by offering a special contest just for you!

To enter, visit Melissa's website and find the answers to these two questions:

1. What is the prince's complete royal title and full name (first, middle, last)?
2. What is the title of the sequel to Expecting Royal Twins?


Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with the answer and be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the email.   Please also remember to mark the subject heading as 'Expecting Royal Twins'.

Do make sure you email your answers only to staff@authorsoundrelations.com or your entry will not be counted!

Four winners will be chosen and contacted via email shortly after March 16th.

First prize is a $20 eGift Card from Barnes & Noble
Second prize is a $15 eGift Card from Barnes & Noble
Third prize is a $10 eGift Card from Barnes & Noble
Fourth prize is a $5 eGift Card from Barnes & Noble

Good luck!

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