The Prince's Chambermaid

By: Sharon Kendrick

He could see her looking at him questioningly, and he stroked at her silken hair. ‘Who’d have thought,’ he murmured, ‘that a couple of weeks’ of intensive sexual tuition could make a humble little chambermaid such a perfect partner in bed?’

Cathy’s smile didn’t slip. She told herself not to react. That he probably wasn’t intending to insult her. To concentrate instead on the way he made her feel when his fingers were stroking sweet enchantment over her skin. Anyway, perhaps he couldn’t help it—maybe that arrogance was inbuilt, and part of his unique royal make-up. Maybe princes from Zaffirinthos were expected to be arrogant. Far better to accept him for who he was and not try to change him. Why spoil what was never intended to be anything other than a brief, beautiful liaison?

‘Who’d have thought it?’ she agreed.

Sharon Kendrick started story-telling at the age of eleven and has never really stopped. She likes to write fast-paced, feel-good romances, with heroes who are so sexy they’ll make your toes curl! Born in west London, she now lives in the beautiful city of Winchester—where she can see the cathedral from her window (but only if she stands on tiptoe). She has two children, Celia and Patrick, and her passions include music, books, cooking and eating—and drifting off into wonderful daydreams while she works out new plots!

To Judy Hutson, Catriona Smith and Narell Thomas, who were there at this story’s inception and who inspired me—as did the green fields of West Sussex and the wild splendour of Cornwall.

And to Rachel Thomas for her invaluable research on head-hunting.

Chapter One

FOR a moment she thought she must have misheard him. Either that, or she was going crazy. And maybe she was. For hadn’t her foolish dreams of love just been dealt a death-blow in time-honoured fashion? From her position behind the reception desk where she was covering for the receptionist’s lunch-break, Cathy stared up at her boss in disbelief and tried not to think about the crumpled-up letter which was lying in the bottom of her handbag. Or the battering to her self-esteem which had left her feeling lonely, and wounded.

‘Sorry.’ She cleared her throat, wondering if he was having some kind of joke at her expense. ‘For a minute then, I thought you said—’

‘A prince? Yes, I did.’ Rupert’s smirk was supercilious, his upper-crust English accent even more pronounced than usual, as he paused to allow the significance of his statement to sink in. ‘A royal prince is going to be gracing our hotel with his presence—what do you think of that, Cathy?’

‘A prince?’ Cathy echoed in disbelief.

Rupert’s smirk became even more pronounced. ‘Prince Xaviero of Zaffirinthos. I don’t suppose you’ve heard of him?’

Cathy bit back the defensive response which sprang to her lips. Just because she was a chambermaid who’d never really qualified for anything didn’t mean that she was a complete write-off, did it? The implication being that such a woman would barely recognise the name of a member of the English royal family—let alone a rather more obscure foreign version. But Rupert was right, damn him. Despite doing her best to keep up with world events via newspapers and books, it seemed that Zaffirinthos had somehow slipped off her radar. ‘N-no,’ she answered uncertainly. ‘No, I haven’t.’

‘Then let me enlighten you. He’s next in line to an island kingdom, a world-class polo player—and a lover of beautiful women,’ said Rupert, puffing out his chest. ‘In fact, the most glittering VIP we’ve ever had.’

Cathy stared at him, screwing up her eyes in confusion because something didn’t make sense. They both knew that important guests were few and far between—despite the fact that there was a world-famous polo club nearby as well as some pretty impressive stud farms. But there were also other, more upmarket hotels and she couldn’t imagine why on earth a prince would choose to stay somewhere like this. Yes, the building was listed and yes, originally it had been a very elegant private home before it had been turned into a hotel. But Rupert’s general mismanagement and dwindling guest numbers had left house and grounds in a pretty run-down condition, which didn’t tend to attract VIPs.

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