Thanks so much to Crystal for having me stop by to talk about my newly released romance, Adored. This book is the latest in the Pride of Uttor series and is a MF romance in a fantasy historical setting.
A Pregnant Princess
Imperial Princess Adora Leonnte didn’t want to be pregnant. How that happened was told in the first book of this series, Captive Heart, which is about her brother and a different princess. Still, the fact remains: Adora is pregnant, the father, Lorant, was a monster—though not literally—and she’s glad he’s dead. Now it’s up to her to undo the evil Lorant wrought.
It would be nice if she could find romance while she’s at it.
I really enjoyed writing about Adora. Her ordeal started the war at the core of Captive Heart, and that incident and the characters surrounding it continue to play out through the series. Focusing a romance on her meant skating around some traumatic themes. She’s dealing with having been kidnapped, forced into marriage, and raped. On top of it all, she’s carrying her rapist’s child—a child forced upon her by enemies who want to overthrow her brother, Uttor’s emperor. Adora’s emotions are understandably complex. One the one hand, she’s a thoughtful and compassionate woman determined not to be bitter…and on the other she’s got a backbone of steel and needs a strong man.
Make that a strong and sexy man.
Adora may be pregnant, but she’s far from sexless. She appreciates men for their characters and their bodies. When she sees Vallmer, a man whose honor turned the tables on Lorant and helped free her, Adora doesn’t stand on the sidelines waiting for him to come to his senses. If she wants Vallmer to realize she, and not some insipid princess, is the perfect woman for him, she has to take action.
So often the heroine in a romance resists the hero’s appeal and pursuit. I couldn’t see Adora doing that. She’s been an imperiled princess most of her life. Now that she’s taking charge of that life, she sees nothing wrong about pursuing a handsome, honorable, and completely mystified prince.
Because Crystal’s being so sweet about giving me this last moment spot on her blog, I’m giving away a free ebook copy of Adored to one reader who comments at the bottom of this post. Anyone interested in a pregnant princess? (Answer to the question I get most often: Yes, this book has sex. Lots of it, in fact.)
It takes true strength to overcome tragedy and survive.
Adora Leonnte, sister to the Uttoran emperor, endured a year trapped in a nightmarish forced marriage to a Sebboyan prince driven by a sinister prophecy to take her against her will. The war that followed destroyed the small country, but she emerges unbroken…if not unscathed. Safe again in Uttor, she vows to put the horrors she faced behind her and once again become the fearless young woman she was before her abduction.
As fate would have it, her hated kidnapper left her carrying his child, and that is a condition even she cannot wish away. Adora’s enduring hope for romance fades until a blue-eyed, self-possessed foreigner walks back into her life and reawakens feelings promising the erotic delights of which she’s always dreamed.
Vallmer Berringen, the handsome and devout prince of a country allied with conquered Sebboy, has come to Uttor for two reasons: to secure the treaty that will give his country a much needed alliance, and to fulfill his father’s orders to use the occasion to find a suitable bride. Captivated by Adora’s intelligence and courage, Vallmer is torn by the fact she is both pregnant and pagan. Her infamous reputation taints Adora, a woman that a man of his position and faith should never be tempted to woo.
Can he reconcile his vision for his country with his passion for a woman whose spirit sets his blood on fire—but for whom kingdoms have gone to war?
“My father is getting old,” Vallmer said, “and I see the day coming when I must take the throne. I would like to do so with a wife at my side. My father gave Benarri three sons. Now my subjects will look to me to provide another generation of princes.”
“You know, your father didn’t do it alone.” Adora somehow made the words encouraging. “Men may require a female to bear a child, but a wife should be more than a womb.”
“Mine must bring a womb along with an alliance, and—better yet—great wealth or lands.” He sighed and looked at the city again. “What I am seeking isn’t romantic, it’s practical. As such, it should be doable. I shall not be too great a burden as a husband, and the position I offer is a good one. It’s just—”
“Have you ever had a normal relationship with a woman? Or any relationship at all?”
What did she mean? “I’ve known many women. Most politely, and some less so.”
“Less so was for sex, I take it?”
Did she really expect him to answer so personal a question? Apparently she did, because she was giving him the most provocative smile, one that said she knew she’d put him on the spot. His answer, however, would be too revealing.
She laughed again, but the sound was warm, embracing. “You know, sex doesn’t have to be impolite. It’s a little undignified, but—”
“Which is why it is private.”
“Yes,” she agreed, and cocked her head, reassessing him. “Yes, it is.”
“Why are we talking about this?”
“You tell me.”
Now that would be dangerous. He was talking to her about sex because she made him think of it. Because Adora looked and sounded and smelled like a woman who might enjoy being with a man. Lorant had called her a slut, but Vallmer had never been fool enough to believe it. He had known all along Lorant could not abide being rejected by a woman who found him wanting. Vallmer liked that about Adora, that she was fearless about her opinions. He met too many women who were so completely deferential to men their thoughts could not be trusted.
“I talk to you this way because I feel I can talk with you about anything, anything at all. And because I feel this way, you can steer me into talking about anything you wish.”
Her smile beckoned him to thoughts he would do better to avoid. “Are you calling me artful, Prince Vallmer?”
“I am calling you fascinating.”
Their bodies were close enough he had but to turn his hand and he would feel her. As it was, oil lamps burned overhead and lent such warmth to the beckoning green depths of Adora’s eyes that he found it impossible to look away from them. From her. He watched the way her expression softened, rose-tinted lips parting with a pleasure that invited him to continue. Realizing he was wondering what it might be like to kiss her, he moved to extricate himself.
“If I may ask a favor, Lady?”
“A favor?” Her necklace of gold and lapis lazuli beads led his eye from her shoulders down to the soft cleft between her mounded breasts. Now he must force from his mind the idea of kissing those, too.
Tali Spencer fell in love with writing at an early age and never stopped. Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian-American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.
Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com