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Don't Kiss the Princess, #3

Don't Kiss the Princess, #3

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Love, loyalty, and a royal charade intertwine across two worlds, but will a daring game of pretend lead to an unexpected happily ever after? Heath Savage's idyllic life in his family's Irish castle in Washington is marred only by his unspoken love for his sister's best friend Quinn O'Brien. Her world is upended when she learns she's a king's daughter, leading to a royal suitor's pursuit and a pretend romance with Heath. Amidst this masquerade, they must decide if their growing bond is strong enough to reconcile their dreams or if their fairy tale ends before it truly begins.

Main Tropes

  • Sister's Best Friend
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Fake Engagement

Synopsis

Love, loyalty, and a royal charade intertwine across two worlds, but will a daring game of pretend lead to an unexpected happily ever after?

Heath Savage's life at his family's relocated Irish castle in the picturesque landscapes of Washington is idyllic. When he has an opportunity to work remotely for a prestigious gaming company, his life is almost a dream come true. Now if he could overcome his lingering crush on his sister’s best friend.

Quinn O’Brien, a gifted photographer, relishes her time on the staff at the Savage Citadel, especially the captivating moments spent with charming Heath Savage. But her heart is tethered by conflicting dreams. He is resolute to live near his family while she believes her destiny lies beyond the castle walls.

Then life sends Quinn a twist in the form of her previously unknown biological father—the king of Glenloria. When he sends a duke to the castle to woo her back to his kingdom, she makes a bold move to protect herself. As Quinn and Heath play out their captivating pretense, they become enmeshed in a complex tapestry of converging paths and divergent dreams.

Will Quinn and Heath seize their chance at happiness, or will their fairy tale end before it even begins?

Intro Into Chapter One

“Xavier Heath Savage, are you even listening to me?”

“Hang on, Mom. I have to get this uploaded.” Heath glanced up from his laptop where he’d been making last-minute changes to the family’s business website while his mother talked. He clicked Save. “All right. Now you have my full attention.”

She visibly slumped in her chair, looking even wearier than she had two years ago when they’d first moved from California to Washington. Taking up residence in a transplanted Irish castle and maintaining their own village had been tough on all of them. His parents had grand goals for their historical theme park, but every new thing they came up with impacted his workload too.

“What’s wrong now?” Heath asked, grimacing that he’d added to her stress.

“You weren’t taking notes of my brilliant ideas, were you?” she asked with a groan.

Heath shook his head. “But to be fair, you didn’t say you wanted me to. Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry.” His mother gave a self-deprecating chuckle. “You already do too much around here. I feel like we’re taking advantage of you.”

Heath’s tension ratcheted up a couple of notches. Would she feel betrayed if she knew he was in negotiations with REKD Gaming to work part-time for them as a programmer? He loved what he did here, especially working with his family, but he’d studied to do more than web design. Not that web design wasn’t a great career, but he’d always wanted to be a game designer.

“You’re gone again.” With a sigh, Heath’s mother pulled her chair closer to his and took his hand in that all-too-familiar way she had. “Something’s been on your mind the last few days. Is it Quinn? I’ve seen how you look at her sometimes.”

Heath winced mentally. He didn’t want to talk about his feelings for Quinn, but he wasn’t ready to fess up about his work negotiations either. Not yet, anyway. If REKD Gaming wasn’t willing to compromise and allow Heath to work for them remotely, there was no point in troubling his mother about it. Deflection would keep him from talking about either.

“It’s only that we have a lot going on right now with the Harvest Festival coming up,” Heath said. “No offense to your spa idea, but I don’t think it’s a good use of your time or mine to worry about something that might not happen.”

His mother pinched her lips for a second before she gave him a resigned sigh and released his hand.

“You’re absolutely right. Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time focusing on what I want to do about the spa. It’s not time.” She shot him a hard look. “But is that everything?”

“At the moment, yes.”

And it wasn’t even a lie, since his hopes might not turn into a reality any more than her spa idea. Besides, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Heath was nearly twenty-three years old making an important career decision, not a teen trying to sneak out at night. He woke his phone to check the time.

“I’ve got to get to my office. I’m supposed to meet with Lia about her cookbook.”

“Has she settled on a photographer?”

“Quinn, of course. Lia’s thrilled. I’m surprised she hasn’t mentioned it to you yet.”

Heath took care to keep his face turned away from his mother, who tended to see too much. Or read too much into things that could never be. The Savage Citadel was merely a stepping-stone for Quinn’s long-term goals. She wasn’t staying, and he wouldn’t leave.

“I like her. We’re lucky to have someone of Quinn’s caliber setting up shop here, even temporarily. I dread the day we’ll have to replace her. I’m glad she’s doing Lia’s cookbook photos.” His mother stood and shot him a sidelong glance, one he’d only seen when she had matchmaking on her mind. “So, you’ll be working with Quinn.”

“Well, I have to bounce.” Heath rose and picked up his laptop. “Talk to you later.”

He fled the room without a backward glance. It was safer to keep Quinn as a friend. He could still think she was cute with her shoulder-length red hair and hazel-green eyes and that dotting of freckles across her nose above those kissable lips—

Don’t go there.

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