Table of Contents
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2010 by Lilla DiPasqua.
The Princess in His Bed
by Lila DiPasqua copyright © by Lilla DiPasqua.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. BERKLEY
SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Berkley Sensation trade paperback edition / August 2010
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Awakened by a kiss / Lila DiPasqua.—Berkley Sensation trade pbk. ed.
eISBN : 978-1-101-44230-2
1. Fairy tales—Adaptations. I. Title.
This book wouldn’t have been possible without a number of special people. With gratitude and affection, I wish to dedicate this book to them.
To my amazing editor, Kate Seaver, and my fabulous agent, Caren Johnson Estesen, who both believed in me, my writing, and these stories from the moment they first read them. Thank you for your enthusiasm for my work, your invaluable suggestions, your wisdom and your patience in answering all of my many nervous newbie questions. It’s absolutely wonderful and an incredible privilege to work with you.
To my critique partners, Carolyn Williams, Donna Jeffery, Franca Pelaccia, Vickie Marise, and last but certainly not least, Mary Bar-one. We’ve critiqued together for several years and worked on many manuscripts together. I can’t begin to express how blessed I feel not only to have you as critique partners, but also as dear friends.
To my dear friend Rose Tanel, who is always there for me. Thanks for the laughs, for the talks, for reading my first drafts. And thank you for all the times you offered to babysit—taking my three children home to your three—watching six kids, just so I could write. Dearest friend, you are the best!
To my Dad and Mom and uber-talented brother who have run out of friends and family to tell about this book and have moved on to random strangers in grocery stores. These three are easy to spot. They’re the ones walking around, beaming with pride.
To my three rascally but beautiful children who have been my biggest—and loudest—cheerleaders through all this. I love you, my sweets.
Finally, to my gorgeous husband, Carm. Thank you for your unwavering faith in me and my writing. For enthusiastically reading all of my work and offering your male point of view. I couldn’t have done this without you. I love you madly.
A Historical Tidbit
Writer Charles Perrault lived in seventeenth-century France during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Louis was a lusty king. His glittering court was as salacious as it was elegant.
During this most wicked time period, Charles wrote stories that have delighted people for centuries:
Little Red Riding Hood
Puss in Boots
, and the ever-popular
, to name a few.
The following are loosely based on three of his famous tales. Step into the world when fairy tales were born . . .
Moral of the Story of
To wait so long,
To want a man refined and strong,
Is not at all uncommon.
But: rare it is a hundred years to wait.
Indeed there is no woman
Today so patient for a mate.
Our tale was meant to show
That when marriage is deferred,
It is no less blissful than those of which you’ve heard.
Nothing’s lost after a century or so.
And yet, for lovers whose ardor
Cannot be controlled and marry out of passion,
I don’t have the heart their act to deplore
Or to preach a moral lesson.
“Will you do it, Adrien? Say yes. You simply must. I’m your
.” Charlotte’s whine taxed Adrien’s already thin patience.
Adrien Christophe d’Aspe de Bourbon, Marquis de Beaulain, stared out the window at the gardens below. Lords and ladies milled about, clustering near the fountains and along the pathways bordered by flowerbeds. His mood was foul. His audience with his father, the root cause. It hadn’t gone well. It never went well. Days after the fact, he was still irritable. He’d only just arrived at the Comtesse de Lamotte’s château and already Charlotte had him wanting to leave. Her unexpected presence and the absurd scheme she’d devised had effectively soured his plans: a few days at Suzanne’s abode, indulging in drink and debauchery to lift him out of his ill humor.
“You’re my half-sister, Charlotte. We have
fathers,” he replied bitterly. Raised in Paris at the Hôtel d’Aspe by his three uncles, Adrien had had all the male influence he’d needed. Or wanted. Except for the occasional horrid visit, his father had been absent from his life—that is, until a year ago when Adrien’s mother had died. Since then Louis had injected himself into Adrien’s world. Though Adrien wanted nothing to do with the man, his father was not someone he or anyone could simply ignore.
Charlotte rose from the settee and stopped beside him. “You needn’t remind me of that. Your father is the King. At least he has legitimized you, given you title and lands—”
“He legitimized all his illegitimate children. Not just me. And it is a wonder there’s any land left in the realm, given the multitude he sired. I doubt even he knows how many mistresses he’s had.” Their mother among the masses.
“Well, the Baron de Chambly still won’t recognize me as his. He’s never given me a moment’s thought, much less wealth.”
“Charlotte, nothing comes without a price.” His tone dripped with disdain.
“Come now, Adrien. Enough of this. We are family.
I need you
.” Her bottom lip was out in a full pout. “What I ask of you is not so strenuous. You and I both know you’ll bed some of the women here before the week is up. All I ask is that you bed Catherine de Villecourt as well. Charm her. Convince her that marriage is not what she wants. Lure her away from my Philbert. You’re my only hope, Adrien. He’s set to wed her in two weeks.” Tears glistened in her hazel eyes. “I don’t want to lose him. He’s been so distant lately. I fear if he weds, I’ll never get him back. She’s younger than I. Fifteen years his junior.” Two tears spilled down her cheeks. “He’ll focus on his new bride and forget all about me.”
Exasperated, Adrien let out a sharp breath. Charlotte and their mother were so alike. She, too, had harbored the illusion that she could accomplish the impossible: maintain her lover’s interest indefinitely and remain his favorite for good.