breathtaking conclusion of the Smoke & Mirrors Duology.
beautiful, defiant princess. A renowned, sinfully gorgeous Hollywood
Their love affair began
intensely and passionately. Princess Adeline and Josh Jameson knew
any future together was impossible—her status as a princess and his
standing as a Hollywood heartthrob dictated that. But the heights of
pleasure they could take each other to were wildly unanticipated by
them both. Josh’s absolute disregard for Adeline’s status quickly
drew her into his hedonistic world. And her perfectly worn mask and
false façade captivated Josh to the point of obsession. The
boundaries became blurred. The physical became emotional. Their
hearts became entwined.
But a cruel turn of
events rips their worlds apart and Adeline is more bound than ever by
the protocol and expectations her title commands. The army of royal
advisors who guard the secrets and scandals of the Monarchy will go
to unthinkable lengths to keep the smoke and mirrors in place…and
Josh away from Adeline. She knows the power she possesses comes with
agonizing sacrifices. Walking away from Josh devastates her…but it
keeps him safe from the corrupt institution that has ruled her life.
Yet Josh refuses to
lose the woman who has consumed him so completely, distorted his
boundaries, and stripped him of all sensibility.
Will the power of the
British Monarchy triumph? Or will their fierce love for each other
change the course of history?
father is The King of England.
is The Controversial Princess.
as down to earth by the press and rebellious by the King, Princess
Adeline refuses to bow to the royal expectations her title carries.
She knows better than anyone that the united front of the Royal
Family is nothing but smoke and mirrors – lies and secrets masked by
power and privilege. She wants no part of it, and she will never
surrender to the King’s demand to marry a man she does not love.
But despite Adeline’s determination to retain her free will, she
remains deeply unfulfilled, feeling caged and suffocated.
is until she meets Josh Jameson. Drawn in by his confidence, Adeline
is soon captivated by the scandalously sexy American actor. His
ability to penetrate her defences overwhelms her – his touch is pure
fire, and his allure overpowering. Nothing has ever made her feel so
alive in a world where she’s otherwise slowly drowning. However,
while Josh may be Hollywood royalty, he’s not actual royalty, and
Adeline knows the King and his advisors will do everything in their
power to keep them apart.
Josh Jameson becomes the princess’s ultimate vice.
although she bows to no one, she bows to him.
I stare at myself in the large, elaborate mirror while my long, dark hair is tugged and teased into place at the nape of my neck by my personal stylist, Jenny. She ensures I always resemble the enviable, beautiful princess I’m supposed to be. I look like my mother—dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin. My looks are the only thing I inherited from the Spanish princess, who is now the Queen Consort of England. Her doting, dutiful, compliant nature escaped me, much to the disappointment and frustration of King Alfred of England. Her husband. My father.
My old man is a stickler for tradition, values, and rules. Antiquated rules, and frankly, unreasonable rules. The modern age apparently bypasses kings and queens.
My black satin pencil dress is as noncompliant as my nature—tight and backless—my heels as high as my long legs can carry, and my lips painted disgracefully red. My look will certainly raise the bushy eyebrows of the King, and, as usual, I couldn’t care less.
I close my eyes, losing the sight of my scandalous self, while Jenny spritzes my loose updo with hairspray. “You could smile, you know,” she muses, tweaking the loose strands framing my face. “It is your birthday, after all.”
I open my eyes and pick up where I left off, staring into the dark, empty gaze reflecting back at me in the mirror. I’m thirty years old today. I’m supposed to be married by now to some blue-blooded member of the aristocratic world, someone like Haydon Sampson. The son of David Sampson, the King’s lifelong friend and one of his trusty advisors, is my father’s choice of husband for me. It’s a shame Haydon is not my choice. I will not marry him. Ever. “Tell me what I have to smile about.”
“Not everyone gets a garden party thrown at the palace in honor of their birthday.”
I move my gaze to Jenny. “You think today is all about me?”
Ignoring my question, she picks up my clutch and places a lipstick and a few other makeup items inside. Jenny has been primping and preening me for royal life for as long as I can remember. She knows how I feel about Claringdon Palace, garden parties, and rubbing shoulders with royalty and aristocracy. “Try to have fun.”
I look past Jenny when Kim, my private secretary, enters my suite. She looks as formal as ever, her short body encased in a stiff grey trouser suit, her red hair held off her face with a clip secured low on her nape. I disregard her raised brow when she takes in my choice of party wear. “Your car’s waiting.”
“Thank you.” I breathe in some courage to face the afternoon ahead, and accept my clutch from Jenny. “My phone?”
“In the side pocket.”
I nod my thanks and wander out of my suite, Kim on my tail. “How long do I have to endure this afternoon?” I ask as we round the huge gallery landing of my home at Kellington Palace, one of many official royal residences in central London. It’s elaborate and sparkling, everything a royal palace should be. I take in the walls as I go, portraits of my ancestors filling every available space, all dressed respectfully, all intimidating. One day, I will hang beside them, undoubtedly looking as royal as they do. Except my portrait will be smoke and mirrors. A lie.
“You mean how long do you have to endure your own birthday party?” Kim asks, amused. “I’d say you’re there for the duration.”
I grimace. “Wonderful.”
“About Friday night,” she says.
“What about Friday night?”
“Your little indiscretion with a certain banker.”
I smile, remembering the indiscretion well. Gerry Rush, president of Britain’s largest bank. He may be mid-forties, but the man is distinguished and delicious. “What about that indiscretion?” I look at Kim as we come to a stop at the top of the grand staircase, not liking the form of her tight, straight lips. “He’s married.”
“No, he’s separated,” I say, remembering the article published a few weeks ago in one of the tabloids.
Kim holds out a newspaper, and I look down to see an image of Gerry Rush with a woman on his arm. His wife. “When was that taken?”
“Thursday. Seems they reconciled.”
My hand meets my chest, my face dampening from the cold sweat breaking out. “Oh my goodness,” I breathe. “The dirty rat. He never said.”
Kim is quick to dab my cheeks down with a soft handkerchief, soaking up the beads. “Of course he didn’t.”
“Does the press know about us?” If they do, then my father does, and that will be a headache of epic proportions that I really could do without. And it would have been even before I knew the lying cheat was making amends with Mrs. Rush.
“Felix took care of it.”
I deflate a little, silently thanking the head of communications at Kellington Palace. He won’t be happy with me either. No one ever is. “So there was something to take care of?”
“A few pictures.”
“How did they get them?”
“It was his idea.”
“And I bet your arm took some severe twisting.” She reaches into her bag and pulls something out. “There’s this in Woman. Far more respectful, don’t you think?” Kim presents me with the magazine, where I’m gracing the cover. I take in the picture of me getting out of a car outside the Royal Opera House, being shielded by Damon, my driver and head of security. The headline reads: “To be blessed with beauty, style, and a royal title. What is it really like to be Princess Adeline? Let us tell you!” I roll my eyes and flip to the double-page spread, where they detail my life—all inaccurate. Carefree? Exciting? Fulfilled? I snap it shut and hand it to Kim, taking the stairs to the entrance hall. “My gown looked fabulous, so they got that much right.”
“I bet it looked fabulous on Gerry Rush’s hotel room floor, too.”
“Funny,” I quip, taking the last step and hitting the mosaic-tiled floor, nodding at Damon, who is waiting by the door. He nods back, his usual sharp acknowledgment. His customary black suit has been replaced with a navy one. “Going somewhere special?” I ask seriously, prompting a discreet smile from his worn-in face.
“Happy birthday, ma’am.” His deep, baritone voice does what it always does. Soothes me. Relaxes me. Damon has been my driver and head of personal protection for ten years and is a permanent fixture in my life. It’s a good job I’m quite fond of him, otherwise I might resent him and his intrusion on my life.
“Thank you, Damon. How is your lovely wife?”
“Very well. Thank you for asking, ma’am.”
“Wonderful to hear. Now, let’s get this afternoon out of the way, shall we?”
“It might not be that bad, you know,” Kim says as she stuffs the magazine into her bag, and I laugh, because of all people, she knows. She just knows. I straighten my shoulders and head for the door, looking down to make sure my chest isn’t showing…too much. Damon pulls the door open and stands back, letting me pass. “Thank you, Damon,” I say, coming to a stop at the top of the steps when I see someone blocking my path to the open door of my car.
“Happy Birthday, Addy.” Eddie grins at me, a bunch of white roses held under his chin.
“Eddie!” I virtually throw myself at my brother. “You scoundrel. You never said you were coming home.”
Catching me on a laugh, he swirls me around on the steps of Kellington Palace. “Don’t get too excited.” He places me on my feet and gives my dress a mild disapproving look. “I haven’t bought you a gift.”
“I don’t care,” I declare, looking at Damon. “Did you know?” My driver shrugs, his hand still resting on the door handle. I turn to Kim. “Did you?”
“He might have called last week.” She starts tapping at the screen of her mobile, leaving me to get back to my beloved Eddie, the youngest of my two elder brothers. My savior. The only one who understands me. He’s adorned in his military uniform, his green beret sitting perfectly on his gorgeous head. Part of me envies him serving our country, a daft notion, I realize, but at least he gets to escape this circus for nine months at a time when he’s on tour.
“So let’s party,” Eddie quips, throwing his bag and my flowers by the door. Olive, a member of our household staff, swoops them up before they’ve barely come to rest.
“At the palace?” I grumble, utterly unimpressed by his enthusiasm.
“Drink plenty of champagne and smile. I’m here. It’s bound to be more fun.” His hazel eyes gleam mischievously, and that will be his present to me. Some fun.
My birthday just improved tremendously. I can always count on Eddie. I watch as Kim, who I share with Eddie when he’s home, as well as Kellington Palace and all other staff members, rolls her eyes in mild dread. I grin. She’ll be jumping straight on the phone to Felix as soon as we’re in the car. Poor Felix is kept busy enough when I’m home alone. With Eddie back, he’ll be run off his Italian loafers trying to keep our royal reputations perfect.
“We had better be going before the King sends his minions to track us down.” I link arms with Eddie and walk to the pristine Mercedes.
“I believe Davenport has already called, ma’am,” Damon says as he holds the door open for us.
“Now there’s a surprise,” Eddie breathes, giving Damon a friendly smack of his suited shoulder. “Is that stick still stuck up his arse?”
I laugh. Major Davenport, the King’s private secretary, is old school, just like the King. I’m a thorn in his side, Eddie more of an itch, whereas our elder brother, Prince John, is the saint of the King’s three offspring. The arse-licker. The Heir Apparent, and the perfect prince with it.
“I believe it is, sir,” Damon replies dryly as we both get into the car. I smile my thanks as he shuts the door. I might hate my royal existence, but I love my staff. Unlike my father’s entourage of personal aides, advisors, and servants, mine aren’t stuffy, old-fashioned, uptight, pompous windbags. It’s a mild relief in my suppressed world, especially given my apparent flaws. I smile and cuddle into my brother’s side, so relieved he’s home to lift my spirits.
Happy birthday to me.
Ellen Malpas wrote her debut series, The This Man Trilogy, in secret,
worried about what people might think if they knew what her
imagination was capable of. She was shocked herself. But she finally
found the courage to unleash her creative streak and self-published
THIS MAN – the first book of the This Man Trilogy – in October 2012.
She took a chance on a story with a hero who soon became one of
modern day fictions most prolific alpha male characters. Jesse Ward –
also affectionately known as The Lord of The Manor, sparked
incredible reactions from women across the globe and catapulted Jodi
into the world of women’s fiction. With so much love and enthusiasm
from her readers, and a thirst for more of her words, Jodi suddenly
wasn’t afraid of her imagination anymore. She went on to write The
One Night Trilogy with the delectable and mysterious Miller Hart, and
stole the hearts of her readers once again. She’s now a proud #1
New York Times bestselling author – all seven of her published
novels having hit the New York Times best sellers list – as well as
a Sunday Times bestseller and international bestseller. Her work is
published in over 20 languages across the world.
was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England,
where she lives with her two boys and a beagle. She is a
self-professed daydreamer, a Converse and mojito addict, and has a
terrible weak spot for Alpha Males. Writing powerful love stories and
creating addictive characters has become her passion – a passion
she shares with her devoted readers
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