Release date: March 13, 2017
As soon as she was old enough, Princess Tia Helios left the bucolic farmlands of the Mediterranean kingdom of Kelephai to pursue a degree in computer science at Oxford. But now she’s back and she’s got a mission. As Kelephai’s future queen, she’s determined to modernize the country and find out what its subjects really think of the monarchy.
When she goes off the grid to gather intel, her car breaks down at the farm of gorgeous horse breeder Damon Anatos. She never suspects the disdainful Damon knows a thing or two about royalty: he’s the bastard prince of neighboring kingdom Montcroix.
Damon wants nothing to do with that scene, including the gorgeous Tia, who could very well be a spy from his father’s palace for all he knows. But she needs a guide, he needs an investor to save his horse farm, and they both need to put down the put-downs long enough to realize that joining forces could be royally fun.
by Sophie Rodger
Author Bio: Sophie Rodger lives in the ever-sunny UK, where, if she’s not writing her newest romance, she’s planning the next one. Find Sophie, and her alter ego Olivia Logan, at https://sophierodgerwriter.blogspot.co.uk.
An excerpt from The Runaway Queen:
How had it come to this?
Tia dropped her hands onto her hips. After everything, at twenty-six years of age and with three years at Oxford University studying computer sciences, she had been defeated by . . . a car engine.
Smoke rose steadily from its depths, and she bit down on her lower lip. Now what? She shook her head, clearing the unhelpful thought. Get it together, Tia. This was a new car so it shouldn’t be having this problem, right? Okay. Logic. Engine off, tick; headlights on, tick. Should they be? She bit her lip again, eyeing them before looking over her shoulder at the surrounding empty fields.
Empty was the operative word. Her fingers itched to retrieve the phone she knew she didn’t have. The phone she had left, along with the rest of her earthly trappings, back at the palace. She balled her hands into fists. It did not matter. She would show them! Her plan had to work. She’d learned to walk and run and jump with the best of them after the riding accident, hadn’t she? And she was the best, darn it. She was the future queen of Kephelai!
She dropped her hands from her hips and ducked her head under the roof of the car, moving her fingers lightly over the cooling engine. Well, the first part of her plan had been a success. She smiled tightly. She had managed to leave the palace in disguise and her guards hadn’t followed her. Her next step of moonlighting as a gift shop attendee in Arios to find out what the country really thought of her family at the roots level of society- especially in light of the recent news of a rise in people who favoured a republic; while all the while finding out how popular her modernization was to the general public-would have to wait temporarily.
Her parents’ voices rang in her head as if they were right beside her. The life of a princess, Christiana Athena Louise Helios, is to serve her people through charitable works . . . They love us . . . What is wrong with our way of life? It is modern enough . . . Your harebrained plan will not make us any more popular . . . Georgios would not have dreamed of doing anything like this . . .
Okay, so maybe she added that last part herself. Her older brother’s laugh echoed in her ear like a church bell that had already emptied out its congregation. It had been ten years since the riding accident and ten years since her carefree existence at sixteen had been shattered.
Why had she and Sebastian been the ones to be spared but not their older brother, Georgios? It was a question she had asked herself more than once. She imagined it was the same one her parents had asked themselves too.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”
Tia jerked up at the sharp voice behind her, and pain throbbed through her skull as it made contact with the car bonnet. Damn! And double damn for using that word. She spun around and winced as the unexpected movement took its toll on her hip. Even after all this time, the pain from the riding accident still plagued her at the most inconvenient times—like now.
The sunrays had bathed the fields in a dusky pink as they kissed it good night. The evening had seemed peaceful. She narrowed her eyes at the man who had spoiled the calmness. His hair was cropped so close to his head she wouldn’t have been able to determine the exact color if it wasn’t for the dark stubble that covered his face. He looked . . . dangerous wasn’t the word. Menacing? No, not that, either. Regardless, either way, his looks were a far cry from those of the men she knew, like her blond-haired twin brother or her ex-fiancé, Antoine, and his glossy brown hair.
Tia smoothed down the wig she had purchased the week before and winced as her fingers made contact with the small bump she could feel forming on her skull. Great! Just great. Now, on top of everything else, she was to suffer a concussion too.