The Bachelor and
Princess Daniella fantasizes about cowboys. The tall, dark, and rugged kind, but when she gets the chance to travel to Texas
on business, she gets stuffy Andrew instead. He has the looks: tall, blond, and definitely hot. Something doesn’t quite fit though.
It’s as if a piece of the puzzle is missing, and she’s determined to find it.
Playboy Andrew Lawrence has never regretted going into the advertising business with his brother, but when Blake and Cassie
take a cruise with the kids, Andrew is stuck babysitting their new client, Princess Daniella. Big brother made him promise to show
her the town, keep his hands to himself, and not to let her get into trouble. Trouble? One look at the princess, who has all the right
curves in all the right places, and Andrew has a feeling he’s in for a lot of trouble.
Daniella wants to dance and party the night away. What she doesn’t plan on is stuffy Andrew taking her to museums because
her father insists Andrew keep his youngest daughter safe. When she discovers he’s actually a playboy, she’s infuriated. Andrew
laughed when she flirted with him. She might be inexperienced, but she won’t be played for a fool! She’ll turn up the heat, and
show him just how much of a playgirl she can be.
But when her life is in jeopardy, can Andrew keep her safe in a secluded cabin? Or will he become her biggest problem?
Before Andy even got to the front door of his brother’s home, he could hear Cassie laughing, the twins singing off key at the top of
their lungs, and the rat-a-tat-tat of the toy machine gun he’d recently given his young nephew, Trevor, much to the chagrin of his parents. By the time he rang the doorbell, he was grinning, because he could return to his quiet apartment every evening.
There was a chorus of ‘come ins’. He was almost afraid to open the door. He did so tentatively.
As he peeked around the door, his grin only widened. It was funny how a few years ago his brother’s life was organized. Everything had its own place, and heaven help the person who rearranged Blake’s things. Now chaos reigned. He was pretty sure that Blake didn’t mind.
“Hi, Andy,” Cassie smiled, looking frazzled this morning.
Blake glanced up, but returned his attention back to the kids.
“Okay, where’s Pugs?” Blake cast a menacing look at the three children who innocently stared back at him.
“I don’t know, daddy,” Manda and Megan chimed in unison.
Andy studied the two seven-year-olds. He never knew if they were telling the truth or not. They always looked so innocent. Of course, he knew that wasn’t true. They also had their daddy wrapped around their little finger.
“Trevor, do you know where Pugs is?” Blake knelt down and asked his young son.
Plastic gun hanging down at his side, the three-year-old looked up at his daddy. “Him’s sleeping in your bed. Girls put him there ‘cause they said he was tarred.”
“Oh good Lord, he’s probably already wet the bed. I told you girls to quit putting Pugs in my bed.”
“But he was tired, Daddy,” Manda said.
“He was real sleepy,” Megan chimed in.
With something that sounded like exasperation, Blake turned on his heel, and headed toward his bedroom.
Cassie frowned at the girls, but Andy could see she was having a hard time not smiling. She quickly turned her attention back to him. “I think we’re almost ready to go, and then Blake will give you the keys to the house. Thanks for agreeing to take care of Pugs for us. I just hate putting him in a kennel.”
Blake came into the living room once again, but this time he was holding a puppy out in front of him. “I don’t know how I let everyone talk me into getting a puppy. If he’s not chewing on my shoes, he’s wetting the bed. And on my side!” He looked up, and as if really noticing his brother for the first time, along with the grin Andy still wore, he frowned. “Just wait, little brother, your time is coming.”
Andy shook his head. “Nope, I’m not about to get tied down.” He noticed Cassie’s frown and hurried on. “Not that I don’t love visiting your family. Marriage just isn’t for me. I’ll just live vicariously through you, brother.”
Blake handed him the pug. “Then here, you can enjoy Pugs while we’re on our cruise.” His forehead wrinkled as he turned serious. “I hate dumping everything on your shoulders.”
“I can handle Pugs, and the ad agency practically runs itself. Besides, I’ve been working there long enough. I think I can handle everything. It’s time you took a vacation with your family.”
There was a honk outside as the van arrived to take them to the airport. Andy just thought it was a madhouse before. Blake and Cassie looked at each other in total confusion. The kids were jumping up and down with excitement.
“We’re going to Mickey’s ship!” They said in unison.
“The suitcases,” Blake said.
“The wet sheets,” Cassie said.
“I’ll help Blake carry the suitcases out,” Andy said. “And I’ll take the sheets to my house and wash them for you. Cassie, you round up the children. Go ahead and get settled in the van.”
“That’s a first,” Blake said with astonishment. “My little brother’s more organized than I am.”
Andy chuckled. “That’s because I don’t have a wife and three children.” He put Pugs in the bathroom so he wouldn’t get lost or stepped on as they gathered the suitcases to take to the van.
“I’m still worried about the princess. I shouldn’t be dumping all this on you. It was a last minute decision on her father’s part since everyone there has the flu except her. He’s hoping to spare her.”
“We’re partners. I know what I’m doing and I’ll make sure that she approves the ads for her country’s tourism trade.”
Blake shook his head as he grabbed another suitcase. “I don’t know. Royals aren’t like the rest of us. They have quirky habits. They’re bossy, too.”
“I’m sure I’ll be able to handle her.”
Blake studied him for a moment. “No funny stuff.”
Andy paused in the middle of picking up another suitcase. “What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean. I know your reputation with the women. You love ‘em, and leave ‘em. From everything I know about the princess, she’s very shy and quiet. Just go over the ads with her, and don’t romance her. This is a very important campaign.”
“You know as well as I do that I don’t mix business with pleasure. I never have and I never will. You have nothing to worry about, big brother. Now, go. Relax, and have a good time. I’ll take care of everything here.” He looked around at the dozen or so suitcases being loaded in the back of the van. “You’re forgetting something,” Andy said.
Blake glanced around.
Andy snapped his fingers. “I know. The kitchen sink.”
Blake glared at him. “Not funny. But I have to admit, we are taking a lot.” He was still shaking his head as he climbed into the van.
Andy waved them off, then went back inside. After he gathered the soiled sheets, he went to the bathroom to let Pugs out. He picked up the puppy and looked into his flat little face. “What do you say, Pugs? Can we take care of everything, or what? She’s just a princess. No big deal.”
The puppy licked his nose.
“America,” Princess Daniella sighed.
“Stand up straight,” Mary said as she came into the room. Mary was tall and thin, with dark brown hair generally streaked with gray. She was in her sixties, and had always made sure the princesses presented the perfect picture of how a royal should act. She was the closest thing to a mother that Daniella had ever known, her own having died when Daniella was young.
Daniella automatically straightened, it would be unforgivable not to, and turned from the window. “Can you believe my father is sending me to America, Mary? I wonder what the people will be like.”
“I would assume unsophisticated, barbaric, and uncultured. We are talking about America.”
Daniella rolled her eyes, but made sure Mary didn’t see. Mary’s glass was always half empty. She thought anyone who lived outside their tiny kingdom could not possibly live up to their culture and refinement. America was on the bottom of her list of places to see. She shuddered every time Daniella mentioned Texas, which, in Mary’s opinion, was filled with uneducated cowboys and smelly cows.
Daniella had once visited the bookstore in town during the grand opening ceremonies, and seen a cowboy on the cover of a romance book. He’d worn a cowboy hat, which someone had told her was a Stetson. No shirt, low-riding jeans, and cowboy boots. At that point in time, if he had marched inside and swept her off her feet, she wouldn’t have cared if he was uneducated or not. She was twenty-three and she wanted to have fun!
Besides, Prince Alfred had started visiting the castle every month. She knew there was talk that he would soon be asking for her hand. She was pretty sure he’d once been a frog. At least, that’s what he reminded her of. She shivered with distaste.
It didn’t matter, Daniella was finally getting the chance to travel outside the kingdom, and she really didn’t care what Mary thought. She felt like a bird in a cage, and the door had been opened. She wanted to fly forever, or at least, for the couple of weeks she’d be there.
“I can’t see why your father didn’t have this ad agency come to us.” Mary studied Daniella for a moment, lips pursed. “No, the outfit you’re wearing will not do.”
Daniella looked down at her bright yellow pantsuit She didn’t see anything wrong with it. “I love this color. What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
“It’s too bold. You need softer colors. The pale blue skirt with the matching jacket will suit the function better. Do you have your speech? The ladies garden club will expect you to know a little about the projects they’re planning in the upcoming months. Did you read over the papers I gave you?”
“Yes I have my speech, and yes I read over the papers you gave me. Don’t I always?”
Mary squared her shoulders. “A princess has to be perfect, otherwise her subjects will not give her any respect. I only try to help.”
Now she’d hurt Mary’s feelings, and it hadn’t been her intention. “I don’t know what I would do without you,” she quickly told her. “You’re always there when I need you.”
Mary seemed mollified by her words. She’d been truthful. With Mary’s help, she always came across as she was supposed to. The demure princess. The perfect daughter. The perfect little sister. The perfect…
She hated her life. On top of her list were all the stupid meetings and luncheons that she had to attend. As the youngest, she was given the tasks that her two older sisters didn’t have time to attend. Not that they did it out of spite, or anything. Bertrice and Lydia were the epitome of how a princess should behave.
Still, the only reason she was going to America was because her middle sister, Lydia, had come down with a cold. Her older sister couldn’t go because she was in line for the throne and had tons of duties. That left Daniella. She only hoped her middle sister didn’t have a miraculous recovery.
Not that she wished her ill. She just wanted to be the one to go to America. Daniella knew she was absolutely the worst princess ever, and selfish at that. Her shoulders started to droop, but she quickly forced herself to stand tall in case Mary was watching.
America represented freedom to her. Even if it was only for a short time. She wouldn’t be completely free, either. She would have to take her two bodyguards, but she wouldn’t have to stand on ceremony as she did here. And of course, Mary would be coming with her. She loved Mary, but she could be so strict at times.
Mary suddenly sneezed several times.
Daniella’s eyebrow shot upward.
“Oh my, I hope I’m not getting what Lydia has.”
“Maybe you should lie down for a while. You look a little pale.” Daniella took a few steps back.
It would be horrible if Mary was getting a cold. She wouldn’t be able to travel if she became sick. She was sure her father would send someone else. Maybe Aggie. She was a distant relative, also known as the Baroness Hofster. Sometimes she would act as escort to the princesses. She wasn’t nearly as strict as Mary, except if Mary’s glass was half empty, Aggie’s was entirely empty. Daniella could put up with her dour temperament, as long as she kept the reins loose.
Yes, it would be a shame if Mary came down with a cold. She bit her bottom lip and silently scolded herself because she knew she wasn’t thinking nice thoughts right now.