Apr 26, 2015

Sunday Smooch: Annie West's anthology 'A Royal Scandal'

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from  Annie West's A ROYAL SCANDAL but first 

... the two winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Franca Poli!

Can you please contact amy(at)amyandrews(dot)com(dot)au to receive your copy of Risky Business.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from A ROYAL SCANDAL.

This is the first anthology of three Annie West full-length stories. Yay! The stories included in A ROYAL SCANDAL are:

Passion, Purity and the Prince
Prince Alaric of Ruvingia is as wild and untamed as the remote kingdom he rules. Then prim, bespectacled archivist Tamsin Connors uncovers a shocking state secret. Now Tamsin has Alaric’s undivided attention…and she is quickly promoted to His Majesty’s mistress!

Prince of Scandal
Raul, Prince of Maritz, is furious that an archaic law is forcing him to wed. But scandal and unrest has dogged this prince for years, and a marriage to recently discovered princess Luisa Hardwicke will help bring stability to the monarchy. Only, Luisa is an outspoken farm girl who isn’t going to come quietly! Luisa challenges Raul at every turn – and he finds himself anticipating their wedding night with an excitement he never imagined he’d feel…

Defying Her Desert Duty
Across the nightclub, bodyguard Zahir El Hashem watches his latest charge temptingly swaying on the dance-floor. Returning the princess to her bridegroom might not be such a simple operation after all… Soraya Karim knew one day she must resume her royal obligations, just not so soon! Clinging to the last shreds of her freedom, Soraya insists they take the long way back to Bakhara – their attraction reaching a dangerous fever pitch…

 Here's a scene from Passion, Purity and the Prince.

Scene set-up

Tamsin is a book conservator staying at Alaric's castle while she works on some recently unearthed manuscripts. She finds herself falling for the dashing, troubled prince. Inexperienced at glamorous social events, she finds her first royal ball at first intimidating and then exciting, especially when she finds so many eager partners. But when Alaric dances with her, she's stunned by his unexpected bad temper, warning her not to take such male attention too seriously.

Smooch  -

'Alaric.’ The word was barely audible. Whether from the pulse pounding in her ears or because she couldn’t seem to catch her breath, she didn’t know.

‘That’s better.’ His voice was rough as his lips moved against her hair. ‘I like it when you say my name.’

With one final turn he moved them off the dance floor. Before Tamsin could catch her breath he’d shoved aside a hanging tapestry and hustled her through a door into a narrow passage. A few steps on and another arched door opened on their left. They were through it and in a small dimly lit chamber before Tamsin could get her bearings.

A key scraped in the lock, loud as the thrum of her heartbeat. Then she felt a solid wall behind her and Alaric’s powerful body trapping her against it.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ It was meant to sound strident and outraged. Instead Tamsin’s voice was light and uneven, weak with the force of conflicting emotions.

She should abhor this forced intimacy, the press of his body. Yet a secret thrill of pleasure ripped through her.

‘I’m sorry, Tamsin.’ Alaric cupped her face in warm palms and lifted her chin so she looked deep into eyes the colour of a stormy night sky. ‘I spoiled your evening with my loutish behaviour. That was unforgivable.’

He leaned forward, touching his forehead to hers, hands tunnelling her hair, sending threads of shivery sensation down her spine and across her shoulders. Suddenly it wasn’t him holding her prisoner, but her body’s response.

‘Why?’ she croaked, her mouth too dry for speech. How had they come to this?

She should move but she made no resistance as he caressed her scalp and rubbed his nose against hers.

Where was her anger? A deep shuddering sigh rose and she strove to stifle it.

‘Because I was jealous.’ Shock slammed into her. Yet she felt the words as well as heard them as his lips caressed her eyelids. He really did say it. ‘From the moment you appeared tonight I wanted to be with you. Only you.’

This couldn’t be. Tamsin shook her head, or tried to. He held her so close she couldn’t move.

‘I don’t understand.’ She hated her shaky tone but she was at a loss. ‘You avoided me most of the night.’

‘Displacement activity. I either spent the evening glued to you, and that would have caused a scandal, and probably embarrassed you. Or I kept my distance, acting the polite host, circulating. There was no happy medium. In the circumstances I thought my self control admirable.’

His hands moved, slid down her throat and spread across her bare shoulders. Something about his powerful hands touching that vulnerable part of her so tenderly made her breath catch. His palms circled back to her throat, warming her skin and making her pulse race.

‘Every time I saw you smiling at a dance partner I wanted it to be me you smiled at. No one else. Do you have any idea how gorgeous you are tonight?’

He couldn’t be serious!

She couldn’t think logically when he caressed her like that. She needed to think, to understand.

‘Please. Alaric I…’

‘Yes, let me please you. Like this?’

His hands dropped, skimming the silk of her bodice, down the sides of her breasts, till her nipples puckered needily and the breath seared from her lungs.

Logic didn’t matter when his mouth was a mere inch away. She craved him with every fibre of her yearning, untried body. As if this were what she’d secretly waited for. Without volition she raised her face, hungry beyond rational thought for his passion.

His mouth hovered, a breath away from hers.

‘I promised I wouldn’t.’ His husky voice stroked like suede, dragging at her senses.

‘So ask me to kiss you, Tamsin.’

As you can see, Tamsin had a very exciting time at her first ball. Do you have fond memories of a dance you've attended, or maybe even a ball? A little romance maybe? If not, perhaps you'd like to share your idea of the perfect dress for a royal ball! 
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced and a smooch from Louisa George will be posted!

In the meantime, if you'd like to grab A ROYAL SCANDAL and can't see it in store you could try Mills and Boon Australia, or The Book Depository which posts free anywhere in the world.

Smooch Graphic by WebWeaver


  1. I remember going to a dance at our church when I was in Grade 8. There was a guy I liked. He was too heavy; I was too skinny. I kept thinking that if you cut us in half while we slow danced, we'd both be the right size. Today, over forty years later, I am heavy and he is skinny. Amazing.

    1. Laney, you make me smile! What a cute image and what a great memory you have.

  2. Hi Annie

    Oh I loved all of these stories and that cover is so beautiful :)

    I have not been to many dances there was my year 6 farewell we organized a farewell dance when we finished high school and that was year 10 for me which was so wonderful long dresses and lots of fun was to be had that night and a couple of years later I got engaged to my date and them married him :) and years later there was a ball at the with the bank I worked with and that was very upper class :)

    Have Fun

    1. Helen, that's about as many formal dances as I've been to. How terrific that you me your husband that way. How very romantic!

      So glad you enjoyed these stories. I'm excited about having them out together in one volume.

  3. What a wonderful smooch. For my school dances, the guys I liked never asked me to dance. But, their younger brothers did. And I did have fun with some younger guys.

    1. Tammy, that does sound like fun. Nice to be so popular! Dances are supposed to be fun.

  4. I remember the high school dances with my future husband. We've been married almost 50 years now, but I can still remember how exciting and thrilling it was to be there together and do those slow dances!

    And I just love these stories!

    1. Oh, Grandma Cootie, I remember those slow dances with my future husband too! Weren't they terrific.

      So glad to hear you love the stories. Thank you!

  5. Hello Annie, I love all your books. I have never attended a dance, the only time I danced was with my husband on the day of our wedding 38 years ago and wore a beautiful and romantic white wedding dress.

    1. Franca, you've made me smile - I'm so chuffed you love the books.

      I'm amazed you haven't been dancing more. I thought it was the sort of thing you'd enjoy. But on the other hand, doing it just once at your wedding would be very special.

  6. I've never been to a ball as such. Plenty of country dances though. There was always the fear that no one would ask me to dance & the fear that they would.

    A must read for me.

    1. Mary, I love country dances! They used to do some great ones in little country halls not far from where we lived. Very energetic and everyone joined in!

  7. Love the cover . Would so love to read. A ball no less. Never been myself .

    1. Hi Nobody. Maybe you should plan to go sometime. It could be fun.

  8. Wonderful excerpt, Annie! I've been to a few balls. I also recall attending one with a guy who made my heart beat a little faster. ;-) That said, I will admit I'm more of a pub girl at heart -- much prefer the casual meal, the casual clothes...and the casual banter. :-)

  9. Annie, what a luscious smooch! I loved all these stories when they came out. How wonderful that a whole new audience will get a chance to discover your gorgeous royals!

  10. Lovely smooch as always! It helps that they're in a castle of course, makes it so mromantic ;)

  11. we had a school ball each year & when I was about 10 had come off a pushbike I split the back of my head -had bandages & a "pixie" hood to keep them clean -a boy came & asked me for a dance- the first dance I had been asked-- my Mother made all our ball frocks---Lyn

  12. Love the cover, stories sound great!