Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Karina Halle’s new release: The Wild Heir
At first glance I probably seem like any good-looking guy in their late twenties. I have an obscene amount of confidence, a tattooed body sculpted by the Nordic gods, and I love the ladies as much as they love me.
If I’m not BASE jumping or car racing, I’m chasing other devious thrills with the woman of the week. And that’s fine if you’re the average single guy.
But I’m not the average single guy.
I’m Crown Prince Magnus of Norway and my latest scandal just landed my entire royal family in hot water.
Now the only way the monarchy can save face is for me to smarten up – publicly. If I don’t, I’ll no longer be heir apparent to the throne. So it’s either I abdicate my future role as King or…
I get married.
To a blue-blooded stranger.
Enter Princess Isabella of the tiny country of Liechtenstein.
Quiet, intelligent, and uniquely beautiful, Ella doesn’t like this arrangement any more than I do and she’s not afraid to show it. She says I’m a womanizer, that I don’t take anything seriously, that my ego should be taken down a few pegs, and I think she aims to make me miserable for the rest of my life.
But even as our arranged marriage becomes a war of wit and words, I’m determined to break through Ella’s prim and proper façade to find the wild, sexual and risk-taking woman underneath. I want to uncover the Queen inside her.
The only question is – will she let me?
Read an exclusive excerpt from The Wild Heir:
My mother and her bodyguard, Per, are standing in the hall. I catch a glimpse of Einar in the background, heading down the stairs.
“Magnus,” my mother says to me in a curt voice, which is her default voice at any given moment.
“Mother,” I say right back. I flash her a smile which used to charm her but doesn’t seem to have that effect anymore. I meet Per’s eyes, but just like Einar, they give me nothing. More robots in fine suits.
I clear my throat and gesture to the apartment. “Well. Come in, then.”
She nods and glances at her bodyguards with an internal message for them to stay where they are. Then she steps inside and I close the door after her.
“You cleaned up,” she says, stopping in the middle of the living room and looking around. It’s an open plan apartment which means you can see most of it from any location, and normally it’s a mess. Even though I have a housecleaner who comes in here every other day, it doesn’t take long for the place to look like a tornado ripped through it. Let’s just add Messy Magnus to my list of nicknames.
“I tried to make it fit for a queen,” I tell her.
“Bullshit,” she swears, shaking her head and eyeing me sharply.
That’s my mother for you. She might be the Queen, but she can be as crude and blunt as I can be. While my father is easygoing and gregarious, if not a little loopy, my mother says what she wants, when she wants. She’s fearless.
At least she normally is. As sharp as her gaze is tonight as it cuts into me, I can see the sparks of fear behind her eyes, which in turn brings out the fear in me.
My heart starts to speed up and she nods at the two armchairs by the fireplace, an heirloom bearskin rug between them. “Sit down. I have something I need to talk to you about, and for once, I need you to listen.”
I swallow hard. “You don’t want coffee or?” I glance at the kitchen as if making her an espresso will buy me some time.
“Magnus,” she says sternly. “Sit.”
So I sit, and she sits across from me. She’s a petite woman, only about five feet, two inches tall, but even in a casual silk pantsuit that borders on pajamas, she’s formidable.
She doesn’t say anything for a moment which ratchets up the tension in the room to an unbearable amount. I finally have to say, “Look, I am so sorry about what happened—”
“Stop,” she says, raising her palm. “Just stop. You don’t need to apologize. Though I do wonder if you are ever truly sorry about anything.”
That was a cheap shot.
“What happened, happened,” she goes on. “There’s no stopping it. All we can do is damage control, if we can even do that.”
“I’m sure the prime minister understands that—”
“The prime minister,” she roars, her dark eyes blazing, “does not understand! For crying out loud, Magnus, you filmed a sex tape with his daughter!”
“I was breaking up with her,” I say feebly, covering my face with my hands because fuck I don’t want to talk about a sex tape with my mother, even though it’s all over the fucking news.
“That’s how you break up with people?” She’s incredulous. I peer up at her to see her shaking her head in disgust. “First of all, what the hell were you doing with Heidi Lundstrom to begin with?”
“She’s a fan,” I try to explain. “I mean, she wanted to go out with me. We’ve met so many times over the years, you know it was kind of inevitable. She’d just broken up with her boyfriend and we were at that fancy charity event for frogs and wetlands or something and…”
“Did you not think for one second that perhaps she was off-limits?”
I shrug. “Well, no.”
“Of course not. Because you never take one second to think about anything. Always jumping into everything like you’re out of control. You are out of control, Magnus. Always have been. I—we—have tried everything to rein you in over your twenty-eight years and nothing has worked.”
“Hey,” I say, hating that she throws this shit in my face. “I did think. In fact, I thought maybe for once it would be a good match since she has a similar lifestyle to mine and knows what it’s like to grow up in a family of power, but she’s a lot, uh, more unstable than I realized.”
“Well. since you’re unstable too, I can see why you bonded,” she says, pretending not to notice me wince at the unstable remark. “But honestly, a sex tape?” She says the words like they’re in a foreign language. “You didn’t once think about the repercussions of that.”
“Why would I?”
“Because that sort of…thing, it always gets loose. Haven’t you learned anything over the years with celebrity scandals?”
“And the same dynamics apply here. Obviously you’ve learned nothing about being a prince. Instead, you try and shun it every chance you get. Is that what you want? You want to abdicate? Is that why you’re self-sabotaging?”
“I’m not self-sabotaging! And I don’t want to abdicate.”
But my voice trails off at the end of that sentence as it always does when abdication is brought up, when I’m reminded of what a poor choice I am for a king, how terrible I will be.
“Look,” I continue, leaning forward with my elbows on my thighs, my fingers laced together as if in prayer. “I made a mistake with Heidi. I obviously didn’t want to humiliate her or the prime minister, even though I think he’s always hated me to begin with. Can’t we do damage control here? Can’t we tell the press that it’s a fake? Surely someone did hack into Heidi’s phone like she says. Can’t we say that person made the whole thing up with like Photoshop or something like that?”
She exhales through her nose and gives me a steady look. “Not when Heidi has already admitted to the press what happened. Rather proudly, I might add. I think that girl has some, how do you say, daddy issues.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” I mutter under my breath, having a flashback to some rather questionable words Heidi muttered during sex. “So what do I do?”
“I’ll tell you what you’re going to do, Magnus. And you’re not going to like any of it.”
I take in a deep breath, wondering what kind of royal terrors await me. “Okay,” I say slowly. “What is it?”
She rubs her lips together, taking her time. I know she does this because I’m terribly impatient and hate having to wait. I also know she loves to see me squirm.
“First of all, you’re going to have to apologize to the prime minister and Heidi. In person. And then later on camera during a press conference.”
“What!?” I exclaim. “On camera? But…the world will eat that fucking up with a spoon. That will make us look weak.”
She gives me a sour smile. “We already look weak, thanks to you. The entire monarchy has now been razed to sub-standard levels. We are the laughing stock of the country, of Europe, of the entire world. Magnus, the damage you’ve done with this is just the straw that broke the damn camel’s back. All respect that this royal family has earned is gone and in a world where monarchies are no longer in vogue nor in real power, this will have lasting effects.”
“Okay,” I tell her, gathering my courage. “I’ll do it.”
“Yes. You will do it. And you’ll do the next thing as well.”
“What next thing? It can’t be worse than that,” I say softly, but from the look in her eyes I can tell it is. I brace for impact.
“The next thing…” she starts and then seems to wince at what she’s about to say. “Magnus. You’re going to have to get married.”
Excerpt. ©Karina Halle. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Giveaway: Signed paperback of THE WILD HEIR by Karina Halle
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Meet the Author:
Karina Halle is a former travel writer & music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author of The Swedish Prince, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Bad at Love & over 45 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her adopted pup Bruce, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2rOLRdS
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