200 Harley Street: The Soldier Prince

Available in stores

Mills & Boon Medical Romance

June 2014

ISBN: 9780263907698

 

Harlequin Medical Romance

date: June 2014

ISBN: tbc

The Soldier Prince

injured war hero Prince Marco finds he's in good hands with physical therapist Becca Anderson - the woman he once shared a magic summer with incognito! Chemistry still sizzles between them, but it's more forbidden than ever… because Becca's secrets mean she can never be a royal bride. Except there is nothing more tempting than forbidden desire…

Also released as:

  • UK hardback (June 2014, ISBN 9780263243789)
  • UK large print hardback (Dec 2014, ISBN 9780263239140)
  • Also released in Australian paperback (June 2014, ISBN: tbc).

 


Behind the Book

This was part of a continuity - 200 Harley Street - which is set in London. I had a wonderful time bouncing ideas with the other authors and talking with them about how I could use their characters in my book - particularly Amy Andrews. We had a lot of fun with Zorro…

My editor clearly had just as much fun putting the continuity 'bible' together, because my favourite film star was the model for my hero! (I think the others might have been in on it, too, because they were waiting for the delighted squeaks from me…) So if you can spot the Antonio Banderas film references - yup, I sneaked them in. And that's why he's excellent at dancing and fencing and playing the guitar.)

The story's a bit dark in places. But there are also places where I hope I'll make you laugh.

Because Marco is a soldier, I wanted to check out what he could actually do from a fitness point of view with his injuries - thanks to Chris Craig, the manager of the gym where I train every weekday, for giving me advice on that. And thanks to my son. Chris Brooks, for advice on military stuff. I've dedicated the book to the Harley Street authors, Chris Craig and Chris Brooks.

Read a bit

That was the last of the men.

Safe.

Or were they? The rescue had been slightly too easy for Marco's liking. The insurgents didn't usually give up that quickly. And this definitely felt like a false sense of security, he thought as he drove the Jeep back towards base.

'Pedro, I need you to keep a close eye out, on the way back. Anything that makes you even slightly uneasy, you tell me immediately,' he said to his second-in-command.

'Sir. You're expecting an ambush?'

'Maybe.'

Pedro had worked with him long enough to follow his train of thought. 'You're right. It was a bit too easy. They're prob–'

The word was cut off by a loud boom.

Bomb, Marco thought, and was about to slam on the brakes when the blast wave smashed into the Jeep, cracking the screen. Marco put his left hand up automatically to shield his eyes; even as he did so, he was aware of splintering glass spiking into his skin.

But he didn't have time to worry about the pain. The blast wave had made the Jeep slew. He tried to steer out of the skid, but the blast wave was just too strong and the car rolled.

Everything went into slow motion, and Marco's senses were working overtime. Everything felt magnified. The bang of the rest of the glass imploding, the scrape of metal, the salty-rusty smell of blood.

Finally, they came to a halt. Upside down.

Oh, great.

He knew they were a sitting target in the Jeep. They needed to get out – right now. It would take just one RPG fired into the fuel tank to blow them all sky-high…

Then again, Marco also knew that the insurgents preferred prisoners to dead men. Live prisoners would be much more useful to them. Especially if one of them was second in line to a throne – even if the throne in question was that of a relatively small south European country. Sirmontane still counted.

That was why it had been too easy. Because they'd known that Marco wouldn't leave his men, that of course he'd come to rescue them. That every single one of his team mattered to Marco; he wouldn't leave any of them behind to be tortured and hurt.

So, by coming to the rescue, by doing the predictable thing, Marco had put them all in danger. He cursed mentally. What an idiot. And he'd thought he'd been so clever, devising the rescue plan.

The first Jeep hadn't stood a chance. It had driven right over the bomb, setting it off. The pieces would be scattered everywhere, along with the remains of its occupants. There hadn't even been the usual warnings of large rocks or whatever blocking the narrow road; at least in those circumstances they knew that any possible alternative route was likely to be rigged and could check it out. The insurgents had been one step ahead, meaning that Marco's team had driven straight over a buried explosive device.

'Pedro? We need to get out. Now.'

'Uh,' was the response.

Concussion, probably. But Marco didn't have time to be sympathetic. 'We have to take cover,' he said urgently. 'Look, I'll come and get you out.' He raised his voice. 'Everyone in the back, be prepared to evacuate and take cover.'

His hand hurt. It felt like a thousand needles burning into his skin. But he'd deal with that later. First of all, he needed to get his men to safety. What was left of them.

It took an effort to shoulder the door open, but he did it. He went round to the other side of the Jeep to pull the passenger door open and help Pedro out, when he realised that something was wrong. He couldn't bend the fingers on his left hand.

Which meant it was useless; he couldn't even hold a gun, much less fire one, in this state.

Blood was oozing out of his hand, leaving a trail that just about anyone could follow. He swore, ripped a bit off his shirt and wrapped it round his hand to staunch the bleeding, and used his other hand to yank the door open.

Pedro was still groaning, but Marco was able to get him out of the Jeep, then move to the back and help the rest of his men out. Once he'd got them hidden in nearby vegetation, he used his elbows to propel himself to a better vantage position. Hopefully they'd been near enough to the camp for the blast to have been spotted on surveillance equipment, and help would arrive before things got really sticky.

He could see insurgents swarming all over the Jeep, and Marco prayed to the God he'd stopped believing in that something would happen before they searched the area and found his team.

Amazingly, his prayers were answered: screeching tyres and rapid bursts of fire drove the insurgents off.

'Thank you,' he whispered.

He could hear people calling. Knowing it was safe to do so, he yelled back. Got their attention. Help was on its way.

And finally the pain in his hand made him pass out.

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