The Princess and the Peer
Book 1 in the Princess Brides trilogy
ISBN-10: 0451236343
ISBN-13: 978-0451236340
Published: April 3, 2012

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From New York Times bestselling author Tracy Anne Warren comes an enchanting new trilogy about three princesses brought together by friendship and fate.  This is Princess Emma’s story…

When a royal summons from her brother arrives, Emma knows it’s time to embrace her duties as the princess of a small European kingdom, and marry the man her brother has chosen for her…a stranger she has never met.  Instead she does what any self-respecting princess would do—she runs away.  All she wants is one week in London.  One week to experience everything life has to offer, before she is locked away in a loveless marriage forever…

Former naval captain Nick Gregory has inherited a title he never wanted. As the new Earl of Lyndhurst, he chafes against his landlocked existence—until fate brings a mysterious young beauty across his path. Believing she’s an unemployed governess, Nick offers shelter and protection to the captivating girl, never guessing her true identity.

Emma falls hard for Nick, but knowing they have no future, she flees once more—this time back to her royal responsibilities. But when she and Nick unexpectedly meet again, she learns that against all odds, he’s determined to make this princess his bride…

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“Gracefully written and exquisitely sensual…the perfect literary fairy tale for any romance reader.”–Booklist

“A charming story!”–BookPage

“A completely delightful and magically romantic reading experience. Warren writes so well you feel like you are in the room experiencing [the story] as love blooms around you.” –The Reading Reviewer

Excerpt from The Princess and the Peer

London 1815

Nick had estate business waiting for him at home––he seemed to always have estate business now that he was earl. But perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to explore the city a bit before returning to the town house, he decided. He could certainly do with an opportunity to stretch his legs. Leaving his carriage in the hands of a boy eager to earn a few extra shillings, he set off.

He hadn’t wandered far when a feminine cry of distress rent the air. Glancing up, he saw a slender young woman with hair so golden it gleamed guinea bright beneath her satin trimmed bonnet. Her blue day dress was plain but obviously well made, her fawn half-boots crafted from a fine quality leather that showed little wear. Clearly she was out of her element in the teaming marketplace and obviously alone, easy prey for the two young thugs who were boxing her in near a pair of fruit stalls.

Before Nick had time to react, one of the youths yanked the reticule off her wrist and broke into a run, his companion following fast at his heels.

 “Thieves! Come back here!” she shouted after them, drawing the attention of even more nearby onlookers and merchants. “Someone stop them!”

But no one moved, most casting down their gazes in a clear indication of their unwillingness to get involved. To Nick’s surprise, the young woman muttered an inaudible imprecation under her breath, lifted her skirts an inch above her ankles, and gave chase.

Without giving himself time to consider, Nick raced after her.

She moved with the fleet stride of a deer, weaving in and out of the crowds in pursuit of the miscreants who had stolen her purse. Still, her progress was hampered by her long skirts and obvious unfamiliarity with her surroundings.

Nick began to gain ground with his long strides. But before he had a chance to overtake her and lay his hands on the thieves, the two young men disappeared. Scanning the heads of the many people lining the narrow, twisting streets, Nick tried to catch sight of them again, but the youths were nowhere to be found.

As disheartening as their disappearance might have been, he wasn’t really surprised. In this neighborhood with its warren of alleyways and jumble of old, irregular shops and houses, a man could disappear as quickly and quietly as mist––there one instant, vanished the next.

After a few yards more, the young woman stopped, an arm wrapped around her middle as she tried to catch her breath, a small leather valise, he had only just noticed, gripped tightly in one hand.

He drew to a halt at her side. “Are you all right?” he asked.

She startled visibly and spun, looking up to see who had spoken.

In the next instant he found himself captivated, unable to look away from the loveliest face and the most beautiful pair of eyes he had ever glimpsed.

What a stunner, he thought, feeling as if he’d just taken a hard right from his sparing partner at Gentleman Jackson’s boxing salon. Silently, he surveyed the gentle curve of her cheekbones, the brief but adorable jut of her nose, and a mouth that was both generous and petal soft.

As for her eyes, they were a pure, luminous shade of blue that reminded him of the hyacinths that had once grown so sweetly in his mother’s garden. And as if that weren’t bewitching enough, they were framed by a set of long, lustrous golden lashes that looked as though they were dusted in morning sunshine––the same radiant color as her hair.

Given the circumstances, he’d expected to see tears, or perhaps fear, shimmering in those eyes. But there was outrage instead and a kind of pride that seemed almost regal.

A stunner with a streak of fire, he mused. I like her already.

Quite without meaning to, he smiled, the blood in his veins pumping strong and fast––and not from running.

She tilted up her chin and raised an imperious brow. “And just what are you grinning about? Or do you think it’s amusing that I’ve been robbed?” she demanded, her voice equally as lovely as the rest of her.

“No,” he said automatically. Yet in spite of the seriousness of the situation, he couldn’t seem to erase the smile from his face. She was just too pretty for him not to smile.

“Ooh,” she cried with frustrated fury, stamping one small foot against the pavement. “What I wouldn’t give to get my hands on them. If only I’d been able to run fast enough to catch up.” 

Considering her slender frame and modest height, he found the idea ludicrous. “And just what would you have done if you had caught them?”

“I would have had them tossed in the deepest, darkest dungeon I could find. After I’d taken my reticule back, of course.”

“Of course.” His lips twitched again, this time in delight at her irresistibly feminine logic.

At his expression, she looked him up and down once more. “You think I wouldn’t?”

“Not a bit, although you might find dungeons in rather short supply here in the city.”

“Not where I’m from.”

He folded his arms over his chest with interest. “Oh? And where might that be?”

She opened her mouth then closed it again as if trying to decide whether she should answer. “Scotland,” she said after a lengthy pause.

“Scotland? You’re a long way from home.”

“You have no idea,” she murmured under her breath.

“You don’t sound Scottish,” he continued.

“I suppose I do not. I’ve…I’ve traveled a great deal over the years, you see.”

“And now you’re here in London. Are you alone?”

She sent him a measured look, sudden reserve in her gaze. “No. I have a friend in Town. I was on my way to meet her when I was set upon by those thieves.” She paused, studying him again. “If it doesn’t seem impertinent, just who are you, sir?”

“I suppose introductions are in order.” Taking off his hat, he made her an elegant bow. “Dominic Gregory, Earl of Lyndhurst, at your service.”

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