Dear Reader,

Hello!

I’m so pleased to be able to share my debut romance novel with you. Pure Princess, Bartered Bride is the story of the perfect, poised Princess Gabrielle and the only man who can get beneath her carefully-maintained public façade. He is Luc Garnier, a man who doesn’t believe in love and expects his marriage-of-convenience to proceed exactly as he’s planned—and at his command. Neither one of them expects the passion that swells between them!

I had such a great time writing this book. It was so much fun to watch two headstrong and vibrant people fall in love, fighting it all the way. What was also fun was being able to really let my imagination run wild in the glamorous, exotic world of Presents. Presents heroes can simply fly, on a whim and ensconced in a private jet, to whatever city takes their fancy next. Presents heroines can be princesses, dependable and good, of tiny jewel-like countries in the Adriatic Sea—answerable always to an adoring public. Everything about the Luc and Gabrielle is larger-than-life, which is how it felt to write their story. I found the whole experience delicious—and I hope you will too!

If you enjoy Pure Princess, Bartered Bride, I hope you’ll try out my next two passionate, sensual romances, both of which will be out later this year from Harlequin Presents.

Majesty, Mistress…Missing Heir is the story of Sheikh Tariq bin Khalid Al-Nur and the perfectly ordinary Jessa Heath—who Tariq just can’t seem to get over. But Jessa has a secret she’ll do anything to keep!

And Katrakis’s Last Mistress is the story of Tristanne Barbery, who will do anything to save her family from ruin—even volunteer to be the mistress of Nikos Katrakis, the only man alive who can get under her skin with just a glance. But Nikos has his own issues with the Barbery family—and is out for his own revenge!

I love to hear from readers, so please don’t be shy! You can email me at Caitlin@caitlincrews.com. I also spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter, and I blog too! Please feel free to drop by anytime.

Happy reading!

Caitlin Crews



Excerpt from Pure Princess, Bartered Bride

© Caitlin Crews


Luc lounged against the leather seat in the back of the car, and watched Gabrielle.  Covertly.  She extended her hand when he checked his PDA, and tilted the diamond this way and that, so it caught the passing street lights and sent light cascading around her.  He was certain she did not want him to catch her in the act, since she dropped her hand into her lap the moment he slid the PDA back into his pocket.

“There has been a change of plans,” he said.

“Our dinner plans?” she asked, turning that serene countenance toward him.  

“No.”  He fought the urge to say something vicious, just to see if he could pry behind that mask, as he had so easily in the beginning.  More and more, he was convinced he only saw the true Gabrielle when they were in bed.  “Tonight we are going into Marin County, to a restaurant I think you will enjoy.  An interesting take on classic French cuisine.”

“It must be good,” Gabrielle said, smiling.  An expression he had not seen before—mischievous, he thought—crossed her face.  “You are not only half-French, but half-Parisian, aren’t you?  Your palate must therefore be held to be even more discerning than a regular Frenchman’s.”

“Indeed,” Luc said.  Shadows hid her face, then bursts of light illuminated her as the car made its way through the city and toward the wild beauty of Marin County just across the Golden Gate Bridge.  “I believe I have been called particularly discerning, even for a Parisian.”

“I feel sorry for the chef,” she said, clearly teasing him now, and Luc felt torn.  On the one hand, he wanted her to continue looking at him with that bright humor in her eyes.  He craved it.  But on the other, he was so unused to being teased that he wasn’t certain what to do with it—how to respond in kind without becoming overbearing.  And then, of course, there was the part of him that didn’t mind being overbearing at all, if that would force her to open up to him and display her secrets.  He was not used to such indecisiveness.

“I had hoped to travel into the Napa Valley tomorrow,” he said after a moment, casting the unusual feelings aside and concentrating on facts, as ever.  “I have an interest in a vineyard there, and it is beautiful country.  But I am afraid business calls me to London.”  He shrugged.  “We will have to return.”

She was quiet for a moment.  There was no sign of any frown between her brows, though for some reason Luc was certain there would have been if she showed her feelings more.  He thought back to their wedding, and to that first night he had hunted her down in Los Angeles.  Her feelings had overtaken her then, though she’d hidden them in public.  When had she started hiding them in private, too?  He didn’t like the sensation that she was hiding from him, specifically.  That there were whole worlds in her, perhaps, that he had no access to at all.

He should at least know that they were there.  Shouldn’t he?
“I have not been to London since last spring,” she said at last.  He felt certain that was not at all what she wanted to say.  “Do you go there often?”

“Often enough,” he said.  

“I ask because, as I am sure you know, I have a residence there,” she said.  “If you would care to stay in it, we can.  I don’t know what your usual arrangements are in London.”

He remembered, dimly, the house in Belgravia that had been mentioned as part of her holdings in the marriage documents.  He was more interested in her periodic return to that stiff, chilly formality with him, though at least she had stopped talking of returning to her friend’s house in Los Angeles.  Did that mean she had accepted their marriage after this last, passionate month?  He found he was not willing to ask—and he didn’t know what to make of such uncharacteristic reticence on his part.

“That will do,” he said finally, when he realized she was awaiting his response.  “I don’t know how long we will stay.”  Was he afraid of what she might answer if he did ask?  He dismissed that possibility.  Since when had he ever been afraid of an answer, no matter how tough the question?

“However long you wish,” she said.  She smiled again.  That bright, easy, completely manufactured smile—the one she no doubt used on strangers.  It was enraging.  “I’ll phone the housekeeper before we leave.”

The civilized conversation was driving him insane.  Luc wanted to reach beneath her manicured veneer and find the truth of her—force it out of her—so he could see it even when she sported all her sophistication and class like some kind of shield.

And then he thought, why not?  The barrier was raised, hiding them completely from their driver.  The windows were tinted for privacy.  Why not, indeed?

“Take off your panties,” he ordered her, in the silken tone he knew would excite her.  She gasped.  Color flooded her cheeks and her eyes widened.

“I’m sorry?” she asked, her voice betraying her.  It was husky as she tried—and failed—to summon up some outrage.  “What did you say?”

“It is of no matter,” he murmured.  “I’ll do it myself.”  

He turned to the side, maneuvering himself so that he knelt before her.  He parted her long, gorgeously-formed legs, taking care to run his hands along the elegant length of each, and kissing the curve of one knee.

“What… what are you doing?” she whispered, her voice ragged.  

“You can leave your shoes on,” he told her.  He was tired of masks, of shields.  He wanted the real Gabrielle.  And he could think of only one way to access her—immediately.  And if that happened to also go a long way toward rattling her composure, well, that was even better.

“Luc!”  A desperate whisper.  “Luc, you cannot...!”

But he did.



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Contest!


To celebrate her debut novel and her love of the Harlequin Presents line, Caitlin is hosting a great contest for ASR Readers!

Three winners will each receive three Harlequin Presents novels by some of today's most loved authors!

To enter, visit Caitlin's website and find the answer to this question-

Caitlin visited Jane Porter somewhere exotic in 2006.  Where?  

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer by midnight on February 8th, 2010. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject heading as 'PurePrincess'.

Good luck!

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