USA Today Bestselling Author Susan Stephens
Susan Stephens' Books
The only woman he can't have…
Former soldier and diamond dynasty heir Tyr Skavanga has finally returned to the cold north. Haunted by the terrors of war, he's cut himself off and hardened his heart. But now one person has managed to defy his defenses, and she's the last person he expected.
…is the only woman he wants!
The exotically beautiful, innocent Princess Jasmina of Kareshi is strictly off-limits. Like Tyr, she has a reputation to protect, but denying their electrifying connection could prove to be the toughest challenge they have ever faced….
His heart banged in his chest when Jazz turned to look at him. Some invisible electrical cord connected them. What was it he’d said so confidently to Britt only minutes before? I’m going to see a lot of friends tonight and I’m going to treat them all the same...
No one else stood a chance of top billing with Princess Jasmina of Kareshi in the room. Britt had been derelict in her description of this new version of the tomboy Jazz, who hadn’t just grown up, but who had blossomed like an exotic flower into the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Jazz’s new air of serenity intrigued him. It was as if she had created a role for herself that she was determined to play out to the full –
He dismissed the new role Jazz had slotted herself into with a disapproving huff. She was avoiding the truth.
A bit like him, then?
Not a bit like him!
Swiping his hair back, he turned his mind to the flash of fire he’d seen in her eyes when Jazz had first spotted him entering the ballroom. It reminded him of the days when Her Royal Cheekiness had used to rip the crap out of him on every possible occasion. Level calm had returned to her eyes now that Jazz was concentrating on the group of women surrounding her –
He turned to look at Britt.
‘She’s beautiful, isn’t she?’
There was always more to Britt’s questions than it appeared, so he responded with caution. ‘I guess.’ His world was private. He’d lived alone for too long to share his personal feelings, not even with Britt.
He should have known his sister didn’t need any conversational pointers to read him. ‘Don’t shake her up, Tyr,’ Britt implored. ‘Be mild-mannered around her – don’t pull the marauding Viking act. Jazz is trying her hardest to play the conservative card, so that traditionalists aren’t rattled when Sharif makes sweeping changes for good in Kareshi.’ Britt shook her head for emphasis. ‘This evening is really hard for her, Tyr. Being out in mixed company, I mean. But Jazz needs this. She has such a free spirit – but you know that.’ Britt frowned. ‘She’s sacrificed more than we know for Kareshi –’
‘Her freedom?’ he cut in.
‘Tyr, please – Don’t make it any harder for her,’ Britt begged him with a restraining hand on his arm. ‘You, of all people, can surely appreciate the value of sacrifice. So just say – Hey, good to see you – and back off. All right?’
‘Thanks for writing the script for me, sis’.’ He raised an amused brow.
‘Just don’t mess with Jazz. She’s got enough to contend with.’
‘I’ve no intention of messing with Jazz, as you put it, but I’d have to be wood from the neck up not to respond to such a beautiful woman.’
‘Just keep your feelings under wraps, Tyr. Spare Jazz the heartache. She’s always been half in love with you. And you’ve been alone a long time, remember – ’
‘Relax, Britt. I’m not that desperate. I haven’t exactly been a saint while I’ve been away.’
‘You can find love in all sorts of unexpected places,’ Britt agreed, ‘But I don’t think Jazz is looking for the type of love you’re offering.’
He gave his sister an amused look. ‘I hope she isn’t looking for love at all.’
‘Why, Tyr?’ Britt’s stare pierced him. ‘Would you be jealous?’
‘Of Jazz’s suitors?’ He laughed that off. Offering Britt his arm, he led his sister deeper into the crowded room.
Mills & Boon Modern (UK)
Harlequin Presents (US)