NY Times Bestselling Author
Jodi Ellen Malpas
Her father is The King of England.
She is The Controversial Princess.
Regarded as down to earth by the press and rebellious by The King, Princess Adeline refuses to bow to the royal expectations her title carries. She knows better than anyone that the united front of the royal family is nothing but smoke and mirrors – lies and secrets masked by power and privilege. She wants no part of it, and she will never surrender to The King’s demand to marry a man she does not love. But despite Adeline’s determination to retain her free will, she remains deeply unfulfilled, feeling caged and suffocated.
That is until she meets Josh Jameson. Drawn in by his confidence, Adeline is soon captivated by the scandalously sexy American actor. His ability to penetrate her defences overwhelms her – his touch is pure fire, and his allure overpowering. Nothing has ever made her feel so alive in a world where she’s otherwise slowly drowning. However, while Josh may be Hollywood royalty, he’s not actual royalty, and Adeline knows The King and his advisors will do everything in their power to keep them apart.
But Josh Jameson becomes the princess’s ultimate vice.
And although she bows to no one, she bows to him.
Princess Adeline is celebrating her 30th birthday, the celebration, a garden party at the palace is nothing more than a chore for her. Spending time with her cousin Matilda, the Duchess of York is the only thing relieving the tedium. That is until she spots Josh Jameson, American Actor and Sex Symbol heading their way.
This is a favorite scene.
Someone I actually do recognize, though what he’s doing here is a mystery. “Is that Josh Jameson?” I ask Matilda, nodding discreetly through the crowds.
“You mean the actor? The hot American actor?” Her neck cranes to see, and then there is a small gasp from my cousin. “Oh, golly, yes. What is he doing here?”
“I have not the faintest idea,” I say quietly, taking a few small steps to the right to get a better view. I breathe in controlled, but exhale a little shakily. By gosh, he’s even more striking in the flesh. One is a little speechless. Twinkly blue eyes that harbor mischief and pure sex, permanently roughed-up brown hair, and scruff to match. He’s perfectly rugged and dangerously handsome. Josh Jameson. I sigh, smiling to myself, enjoying my new delightful view. He was recently voted the World’s Sexiest Man Alive and has an Oscar under his belt to boot. He is the perfect male specimen, every woman’s fantasy. A Hollywood poster boy. A bloody god. But to me, he is prohibited. The World’s Sexist Man Alive is off limits. Typical. I pout to myself as I continue to admire his fine form, silently damning my royal bones to hell and back. But then he looks in my direction and our eyes meet. I quickly turn away from him, a little taken aback by the blaze in his stare. What is he doing here?
“It’s the London premiere of his new movie soon,” Matilda muses, popping a canapé in her mouth. “I read it in a magazine.”
“But why is he here? At my birthday party?”
She ignores my question, her eyes widening somewhat. “Oh, gosh. Adeline, he’s coming over.”
“He is?” I feel my body straighten out, all the stressed muscles unkinking. “Why ever would he do that?” Josh Jameson’s face and body is splashed on millions of billboards and magazines across the world, his playboy reputation renowned, and now he is here? In the flesh? In a suit, looking all handsome and ruggedly distinguished? At my birthday garden party?
A slow, lazy smile stretches my red lips through my increasing fluster. Josh Jameson.
My, oh my.
“Your Highness.” The rough American accent takes my simmering blood and directs it to my epicenter. And I don’t mean my heart, though it is certainly thrumming. The thrill is electrifying. <em.Your Highness. Never before have those words turned me on. I always feel the inclination to shove them back down the throat of whoever has spoken them to me. Not today. I turn slowly and cock my head in question, suggesting he should prompt me on his name. Of course, I know exactly who he is, yet a deep desire in me does not want to let on that I am privy to his identity.
“Josh Jameson.” He smiles, all bright and dazzling, with a hint of cheek, but it is one hundred percent knowing. Who doesn’t know who this man is?
I don’t try to conceal my demure grin. “What a pleasure, Mr. Jameson. Please, there is no need for formalities. You may call me Adeline.” I’m lying. There is every need for formalities, as expressed in Matilda’s shocked look when I catch her eye. But the truth is, I want to hear him say my name. Softly. In that gorgeous, rough American drawl.
“Adeline,” he muses delicately, taking my charging blood to boiling point. I am far from disappointed. On the love of the King, holy bloody hell. “Happy birthday.”
I inhale deeply, allowing my eyes the pleasure of journeying his long, svelte body to his feet. His three-piece screams bespoke, and his shoes are without doubt handmade. But he looks effortlessly well turned out, the pale pink hanky poking out of his breast pocket not neatly folded, but more stuffed inside as if it could have been a last-minute addition to his attire. He does perfectly roughed-up so well, a mix of neat in his clothes and messy on his face. Goodness, he is edible.
A nudge in my elbow knocks me out of my silent admiring, and I turn to find Matilda staring at me with too many questions in her eyes. I quickly gather myself and shoot my gaze up, immediately finding Josh Jameson regarding me closely, no doubt relishing the scrutiny he’s under. Clearing my throat, I raise my glass to my cousin. “Mr. Jameson, this is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent.”
“Pleasure, Mr. Jameson,” Matilda purrs. “You may call me Matilda.” Her sarcasm has me peeking out the corner of my eye to her.
“The pleasure is all mine.” Josh smiles, another knowing smile. It is almost too much.
“So how did you come to be at my birthday celebrations?” I ask flippantly, trying not to express too much interest.
“My father met the King during his time in the military many years ago.”
“But you are American.”
“No shit,” he retorts quickly, reining in a cheeky smile. I’m both outraged and in awe. “You Brits and us Yanks are allies, ma’am.”
“I know that.” I roll my eyes dramatically, buzzing with something wild and electric. He cursed at me. It’s unheard of to use such vulgar language in the presence of a royal.
“My father is now a senator.” He points across to the King, who is talking to a rather round man in a black tux. “He was in town, and the King thought we might like to join him and his wonderful family today.”
“How lovely,” I muse. “So you are gatecrashing, for a lack of a better term?”
“Well”—he shrugs—“no man in his right mind would turn down the opportunity to meet the beautiful and illustrious Princess Adeline of England. And I must say, Your Highness, your pictures do you no justice.”
I force my eyes not to widen, gathering myself. “Touché.” My murmured reply is loaded with lust and suggestion. I toast the air, smiling around my pout. “I hope you are having a splendid time.”
“Oh, I am. And you?”
“Things are looking up.” I take a measured sip of my champagne, mesmerized by the sparkle in Josh’s blue eyes.
On a smile, he looks around the grounds. “I’ve often thought how alike we are.”
“Oh? How so?”
“You seem very passionate.”
“Yes.” His smile is now suggestive. “As am I.”
“And you seem to know what you want.”
“I like to have fun.”
“As do I, Mr. Jameson. As . . . do . . . I.”
“So we’re a match made in heaven.”
I laugh lightly, feeling Matilda’s despair as she endures this outrageous flirting match. I plan on winning. “In your dreams, Mr. Jameson.”
“Or maybe, Your Highness, in yours.”
Josh flashes another one of those dashing smiles, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am struggling to maintain my composure. So I do what is best and free myself from the suffocating intensity of Mr. Jameson’s presence before I make a fool of myself and start dribbling. “Excuse me.” Putting one foot in front of the other is far more difficult than it should be. “Delightful to meet you, Mr. Jameson.”
Malpas, Jodi Ellen. The Controversial Princess (The Smoke & Mirrors Duology Book 1) . Jodi Ellen Malpas. Kindle Locations (282-334). Kindle Edition.
Much happens at this garden party as Adeline sneaks off to a maze on the property to meet with Josh. Also the announcement of her brother John, the Heir Apparent, wife’s pregnacy, takes the shine off her party.
Plenty of subterfuge as the princess and the actor have several secret rendezvous. It’s also the nature of these encounters I have a bit of a problem with. I’m no stranger to kinks in a book, but there were elements here I felt should have had more of an explicit consent rather than an implied one.
This book was supposedly set in today’s world and that also made it a bit difficult for me. The English Monarchy and Aristocracy is well known and even with the landmark name changes and a totally different Monarchy I kept looking for the familiar.
I love the characters especially Damon and Bates, Adeline and Josh’s bodyguards respectively. What their charges put them through really is above and beyond.
Adeline is indeed strong and determined only to marry for love, and Josh is determined to be the winner in this battle of love v. tradition. The twists and turns in this book particularly at the end had me buying the second book in this duology.
4 Contented Purrs for Jodi!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
“I write for myself. Not what I think people want to read.” ~ JEM
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her husband, her boys, and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer and has a terrible weak spot for alpha males. After writing in secret for too long, Jodi exploded onto the scene in 2012 with her debut novel This Man, starring the prolific Jesse Ward.
Writing powerful love stories with fierce, memorable characters is her passion – a passion that has taken her on an amazing journey into the limelight of romantic fiction. Her work is now published in more than twenty-five languages across the world.