Dear Reader,

It was the Royal Wedding that started it.  Almost exactly two years ago, here in the UK,  Prince William married his fiancée Kate Middleton with  all the pomp and  ceremonial  of a British royal wedding.   Royal Wedding fever hit the country, everyone wanted to know about the prince, his bride , the ceremony, the flowers,  the clothes, the uniforms, and of course The Dress.

And because it was the culmination of the big royal romance story, naturally all the reports and the stories in the papers were about the happy day, the time since the engagement, the way that the couple were together and looking forward to the happy ever after  that everyone wished for them.  But at just that time, I was asked to run a workshop on writing a Royal Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. That made me realise two things –

One was that I had never actually written a Royal Romance. I’d written 60 different novels, 60 different stories about 60 different heroes and heroines, but none of them had been a prince – or a princess. I’d written about Sheikhs who were already rulers of their desert kingdoms. But I’d never written about a prince or  princess,  never created a hero who was going  be a king  and rule his own country.

The other thing I realised  and taught the students in that workshop, was that a really important part of writing a Royal Romance was not the public displays, the pomp and ceremony that everyone could see, but what went on ‘behind the scenes’, the private lives that my hero and heroine lived, the problems they face, and the way they reacted to each other  out of the spotlight when they had to be just the people – the man and the woman they really were as well as the King and his Queen to be.  It was their story that I wanted to write.

And because Alexei, my hero, never wanted to be a King, because he feels alienated and exiled from the country he is now supposed to rule, his heroine Ria –or to give her her full title, the Grand Duchess Honoria Maria –  finds that the man she once thought of as her friend has grown into a dark and bitter man.  A man who will give her his help – but only at a price.


A kingdom's safety
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend... Alexei Sarova--the true King of Mecjoria.

In exchange for her happiness
But Alexei's tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria's family for his bitterness, and his help--when he offers it--comes with a price: he'll take his rightful place as King with Ria as his wife, until she produces a true-blood heir....

This book will launch the new mini-series Royal and Ruthless when it is published  in the June line-up of Harlequin Presents.  (Publication date June 21st)

Romantic Times gave A Throne for The Taking  a 4.5 star  rating with a great review:

10 years ago, Ria Escalona had her friend Alexei exiled from Mecjoria. But now she knows the truth, and she needs him back to save their country from tyranny and civil unrest. Can she do it without revealing her true feelings?
Alexei Sarova has spent the past decade forgetting Ria, building a successful but lonely life. Now she’s back and needs his help to claim the throne of their homeland. Will she agree to his unscrupulous terms?
The majesty of Walker’s fictional principality shines, and her frenemies-to-love story is  perfectly passionate.

I hope you enjoy reading about my ‘Black Sheep Prince.’  There are more details and an extract from the book on my web site (http://www.kate-walker.com/index.html)  and all my up to date news can be found on my blog (http://kate-walker.blogspot.co.uk/)
Warmest wishes and happy reading

Kate Walker



Excerpt from A Throne For The Taking

© Kate Walker


‘Hell, but you’re beautiful. . . ’

He muttered the words against her arching throat,  his breath warm against her flesh, and she could hardly believe that she was hearing them. Had he truly said beautiful?  Was it possible that the man the gossip columns labelled the playboy prince, who had his pick  of  the sexiest women in the world – socialites, models, actresses -  could think her  so attractive?   Memories of the adolescent  dreams she had once indulged in, the yearning crush she had felt towards this man surfaced all over again, reminding her of how much she would have given to hear those words back then, years ago,  when all he had ever shown her was a kind, but rather offhand friendship that was light-years away from  this carnal hunger that seemed to grip them now.

‘Who would have thought that you would grow up like this?’

‘It – it’s been a long time.’ Ria managed to choke out, her throat dry with tension and need.  ‘I missed . . .’

But a sudden rush of self-preservation had her catching up the words in shock,  clamping her mouth tight shut against what she had almost revealed. The heady rush of sensuality had driven common sense so far from her mind but she needed to grab it back now – and quickly.  Alexei was no longer even her friend. He was the man who held her future and that of her country in his hands, even if he didn’t know it yet.

In the strong, sensual hands  that had been creating such electric pulses of pleasure in her body only a moment before. Pulses she wanted to feel more of. That made her whole body ache with need.  But  she must deny herself  such caresses even though her whole body screamed in protest at the thought of stopping now, here, like this, when every nerve had suddenly come alive and awake in a whole new way.  She had to remember why she was here.

‘You – you’ve been missed,’ she managed though her voice shook on the words, betraying the effort  she was making to get them out.  And then, suddenly aware of how that might sound – that he could interpret as meaning she was telling him just how much she had missed him, she rushed on - ‘You’ve been missed in Mecjoria.’

The sound of that name brought  exactly the reaction she feared. She felt the new tension in the long body pressed against hers as he stilled, withdrawing from her immediately, his hands freezing, denying her the shivers of pleasure that had radiated out from his touch.,

‘I doubt that very much,’ he muttered, his voice rough and  harsh so that it scraped over her rawly exposed nerves. ‘I don’t think that could ever be true.’

‘Oh but it is!’ Ria protested, forcing herself to go on because this was what she had come here for after all. ‘You’re missed in Mecjoria  – and  -  wanted and needed there.’

‘Needed?’

Her heart sank, as he pushed himself away from her to stand looking down into her face with icy onyx eyes, all fire, all warmth fading from them in the space of a heartbeat. She had done what she needed to do,  turned things back on to the real reason why she was here, so that at last she could tell him just why she had come to find him. But she felt  lost and alone, her body  suddenly cold and bereft without the heat and power of his surrounding it, her skin, her breasts, her lips cooling sharply  as the imprint of his whipcord strength  evaporated into the cool of the afternoon air.

She’d lost him again.  That much was obvious from one swift glance at his face, seeing the way it had closed off against her, black eyes opaque and expressionless, revealing nothing. His only movement was when his hand went to his throat, tugging at the tie around his neck as if it was choking him. He pulled it loose, flicked  open the top button on his shirt, then another as if just one was not enough. And the restless movement  was enough to draw her eyes, make her watch in stunned fascination.

No that was a mistake – a major mistake. Looking into those deep-set black eyes she suddenly  saw a new light, a darkly burning, disturbing light in their depths and it warned that there was more to this than anything she might have anticipated already. Memory swung her back to the  scene of just moments before. Then, pinned up against the wall with his hands hot on her, she had known exactly what he wanted. And she had been dangerously close to giving it to him, with no thought of her own sanity  or  safety.   Her body still tingled with the aftershocks of that encounter, the taste of him still lingered on her mouth.  If she licked her lips she revived the sensation, almost as if he had just kissed her again. And oh dear heaven but she wanted him to kiss her again.

‘There is no one there who would miss me and as for anyone who might want me for any reason whatsoever. . .’

‘Oh but you’re wrong there.  You really are - ’

But how did she convince him of that? If there was anything  that brought home to  her how difficult her task was then this office,  this building was it. She didn’t need to be told how much Alexei had made his new life here in England. More than  a new life, his fortune,  his home. And it was plain  from the way he spoke of Mecjoria that his father’s country meant nothing to him. Did she even have the right to ask him to give this up?

She didn’t know. But the one thing she was sure of was that she didn’t have the right to keep it from him. The decision, whatever it was, had to be his.

‘I’ll make it easy for you, shall I?’  Alexei  drawled cynically .  ‘Twice now you have told me that I am wanted – and needed  -  in Mecjoria. You have to be lying.’

‘No lie. Really.’

‘You expect me to believe that I am needed in the country that rejected me as not fit to be even the smallest part of the royal family.  Needed by the place that has disowned and ignored me for the past ten years?’

The only response Ria could manage was a sharp, swift nod of her head. She couldn’t persuade her voice to work on anything else.

‘Then you’ll have to explain. – Needed as what?’

‘As . . .’

Twice Ria opened her mouth to try  to get the words out. Twice she failed, and it was only when Alexei  turned his narrow-eyed glare on her and muttered her name as if in threat that she forced herself to speak, bringing it out in a rush.

‘As – as  their king. You’re needed to take the throne of Mecjoria now that Felix is dead.’

Excerpt from the title: A Throne For The Taking by Kate Walker
ISBN: 9780373131570 Copyright ©: 2013 by Kate Walker
First North American publication 2013
The excerpt is posted by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A


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Contest!


Kate is really excited about her new release to celebrate, she's hosting a contest just for you! For a chance to win, just visit Kate's website  and find the answers:

Name two of Kate’s other titles: Her last title, published in Presents Extra in April last year, and any one of her backlist titles that are now republished in the Harlequin Treasury ebooks.

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer by midnight on June 3rd, 2013. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject heading as 'Throne-KW'.

1st prize: A $25.00 gift certificate from Amazon and a copy of The Devil & Miss Jones.
2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes: A copy of The Proud Wife.

Good luck!

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