Spotlight & Giveaway: Claiming His Virgin Princess by Annie West

Posted January 25th, 2022 by in Blog, Spotlight / 30 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Annie West to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Annie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Claiming His Virgin Princess!

 
It’s wonderful to be here again. Happy New Year everyone. Here’s hoping 2022 is a much better year for us all.
 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

After two disastrous engagements Princess Ilsa is tired of public pity. Her world is falling apart and after a lifetime of putting her people first and herself last, she finds it hard to put on a smiling face. When sexy tycoon Noah Carson sweeps her out of a Monaco club onto his yacht, it’s her chance to live passionately and recklessly for a little while. Until their scandalous affair turns to heartbreak when it seems they want different things. Ilsa tries to protect her heart, but everything changes when she discovers that against all odds, she’s pregnant with the child she’d always wanted and never believed she could have. Can the self-made billionaire from the wrong side of the tracks and the blue-blooded princess build a new sort of fairy tale happy ever after?
 

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

For a change I won’t choose one that shows the interaction between the hero and heroine. This one at the beginning, gives us an insight into Ilsa’s situation. On an official visit she walks in on someone reading a gossip magazine with headlines about her broken engagement. She and her ex happily agreed to end their dynastic betrothal but the public doesn’t know the full story. Everyone sees her as a victim and the continual speculation about her love life and her emotions are driving her crazy. The person reading magazine quickly hides it and Ilsa thinks:

She needn’t have bothered. The palace media team briefed Ilsa daily. If she remembered right that one led with “Ilsa Heartbroken as Lucien Flaunts New Lover” then went on to describe her as :tragic and lonely”. Sometimes she wished she didn’t have such a retentive memory.

I felt such sympathy for Ilsa and feel that line tells us a lot about her true feelings, her dry sense of humour and her determination to appear unfazed .

 

Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • In writing this book I got to relive visits to some terrific places. For instance to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that is like an Aladdin’s cave, and the wonderful spice markets, full of exotic and wonderful scents. Even the perfect, white sand beach that Ilsa and Noah visit from their yacht holds wonderful memories of my own visit to the south of Turkey. You can imagine what fun I had diving into the world of this story.
  • The heroine, Ilsa, actually appeared in a previous book of mine. She was engaged to marry King Lucien in ‘Pregnant With His Majesty’s Heir’. Fortunately for all concerned that marriage was cancelled and this book begins just after that event. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the other book – this is a standalone story.
  • As so much of the book takes place in Turkey, where Noah and Ilsa share an idyllic time, I’ve been craving Turkish food. I’ve been hankering for everything from kebabs to vegetable dishes, sweet pastries and Turkish delight. I even bought some Turkish delight to give away in one of my newsletter contests. There’s nothing like sharing something you enjoy, is there?

 

What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

In this case it really is love at first sight, or at least bolt-from-the-heavens attraction at first sight. Noah has previous, bad experience with a privileged woman so his first instinct, after realising how attracted he is to Ilsa, is to avoid her. But his caution lasts only a day because he’s so drawn to her. Especially when she doesn’t act like the shallow, selfish woman he expects. Instead he detects unexpected vulnerability and humour. Ilsa, too, is wary But at the same time, she’s ready to discard hey good girl image and, just for once, to live for the moment … with fascinating consequences.

 

Readers should read this book….

If you love deep emotion and sexual tension in your romances. Both Ilsa and Noah leapt of the pages when I wrote, the story coming alive in a way that tugged at my heart and made me smile when they found their HEA. I hope you have the same reaction. Plus, if you enjoy gorgeous, exotic locations, this one is for you. From the bazaars of Istanbul to white sand Mediterranean beaches, from glam Monaco to a billionaire’s private yacht, the settings are enough to make anyone dream of their very own romantic escape.

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

Thanks for asking. My next release is One Night with Her Forgotten Husband, out in April. As well as the amnesia theme, it features a dark, brooding hero and an initially bewildered heroine, who must stand up for herself against the odds. Emotions and sexual tension run very, very high in this one. After that, in August look out for ‘The Desert King Meets His Match’ about a sheikh who hires a matchmaker to find him the perfect wife and ends up finding himself far too distracted by his feisty, sexy matchmaker. That was enormous fun to write. As a writer I love presenting a powerful, alpha hero and making his world unravel around him due to one, special woman.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: Two readers will each receive a signed Annie West paperback. It will be another romance featuring a royal princess!

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: In ‘Claiming His Virgin Princess’ Ilsa and Noah see each other across a crowded room at an official event but actually meet on the dance floor at a party. If you could choose, where would you like to have a hero and heroine meet? If you can’t decide, can you think of a great meeting scene from a book you like?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Excerpt from Claiming His Virgin Princess:

His attention kept straying to the dancefloor.
It was filled with beautiful people, or people rich enough to pretend they were beautiful. The older ones danced circumspectly, the younger ones obviously conscious of how they looked. Time and again he caught female eyes on him as dancers checked whether he was checking them out.
Only one stood out.
Like the others she was privileged and easy on the eye. But she seemed totally absorbed in the music, uncaring of who was watching. Her body moved to the beat in a way that dragged his gaze back again and again.
It wasn’t just her absorption and apparent disinterest in the A-list crowd that set her apart.
In a short, glittery dress of cobalt blue, her lips red and her gilt hair flying loose around her shoulders, she was Temptation incarnate.
Just watching her sinuous movements made his body heavy and tight with hunger.
Noah hadn’t been able to get her out of his head since yesterday, when he’d deliberately kept his distance.
Ilsa of Altbourg, the alpine kingdom renowned for its ski fields, banking, robotics and quaint royal traditions.
Princess Ilsa.
Noah often dated rich women. He was a billionaire now and met his fair share. But he had a deep-seated prejudice against snobby ones who believed inherited privilege made them superior. Surely a princess would be one of those.
Yet at the charity lunch yesterday he’d wondered.
She’d been chic, composed and gracious, all the things you expected of a royal. Beautiful too, if you liked blonde snow queens. But something else had snagged his interest. Her aura of calm seemed, somehow, fragile.
Which was nonsense. She was at ease with the entitled crowed, confident and able, graciously agreeing to step in at the last minute to conduct the charity auction when the MC took ill.
Yet instinct told him she was more than a gilded royal.
He’d spent the lunch watching her, captivated despite himself.
Interestingly Princess Ilsa had watched him too, though she tried to hide it. Again and again their gazes had met across the room. Each time he’d felt something ghost down his spine. A primal awareness that dragged at his belly, and lower.
Yet her glances hadn’t been flirtatious.
She’d been…controlled. Contained. While those around her grew louder and laidback as the champagne circulated, Ilsa of Altbourg was as serenely composed at the end of the afternoon as at the beginning.
Tonight she wasn’t composed. Noah watched her long, pale gold hair swish around her shoulders as she moved and felt everything in him tighten. His blood pounded a primitive beat that had nothing to do with the music and everything to do with her.
It was time to meet the woman who’d haunted his thoughts for the last day and a half.
*
He was watching her. She felt it like the track of a laser across her bare arms and legs and even through the fabric of her dress, making her nipples peak and her flesh tingle.
She’d slitted open her eyes a minute ago, registering the strange frisson shivering across her skin, and glimpsed him in the distance. The broad-shouldered man with the enigmatic stare from yesterday.
She’d deliberately not asked her lunch companions about him because she didn’t want to know. Yet her eyes had sought his time and again.
The music stopped and Ilsa’s hair swirled into stillness around her shoulders as she dragged in deep breaths.
Her brief, precious interlude, losing herself in the mindless throb of music, was over. Time to return to the real world. Even if she felt different. Maybe it was just from wearing her hair down and a dress that ended halfway up her thighs. She tried to imagine her father’s face if he could see her, then wiped the thought from her mind.
‘Dance with me?’ The dark voice, low and rich, curled around her like a silken rope, drawing her lungs tight.
Slowly Ilsa turned, knowing who she’d see.
His voice made goose bumps skitter across her skin and heat flare low in her body. Impossibly, that voice sounded familiar, as if she’d heard it before.
In her dreams maybe.
Despite her high heels her eyes were only level with his mouth.
The shock of her up-close view ricocheted through her. A tanned, squared jaw was saved from being too aggressively masculine by the hint of a cleft on his chin. And by his wide, sensual mouth, curling at the corners and making her lungs squeeze even harder.
A voice in her head urged her to flee, screaming danger.
But another voice whispered Yes!
Ilsa lifted her chin and met the most extraordinary stare she’d ever seen.
Under coal black brows and long lashes, his eyes were turquoise. Not blue nor green but somewhere between. Clear eyes, bright and assessing.
No wonder the women on the other side of the lunch venue yesterday had preened and tittered, trying to catch his attention. Up close he was gorgeous, not merely charismatic.
‘Your Highness?’
Disappointment furred her tongue and she swallowed.
For a brief second she’d imagined them yanked together by the implacable force she felt vibrating between them. By a deep, inexplicable compulsion.
Of course it was no such thing. He knew who she was. He wanted to dance with a royal. Maybe make a social or business connection, and be able to name drop later.
Ilsa pulled on a princess smile, cool and charming. ‘I’m afraid you’re too late. The set has ended and I—’
Music rippled on the night air. Not an upbeat pop tune like band had just played but something slower, melodic and soulful. The lights dimmed and his straight, inky eyebrows rose just a fraction, the grooves around his mouth carving deeper in a look of complacency.
It hit her like a bolt of out of the blue. He’d arranged it. The change of music. The lighting.
To dance with her.
Ilsa’s eyes widened and she read confirmation in his gaze. Not smugness but a level of calm self-assurance that was powerfully appealing.
She breathed deep, telling herself he was just another man wanting an introduction to royalty. But that slow inhale brought a scent that scattered her thoughts, something rich and earthy that made her nostrils flare and hormones spark.
She could say she was leaving. Or that she’d had enough dancing for one night.
Instead she nodded and was rewarded with a flare of what looked like anticipation in those stunning eyes, even as his mouth firmed into a straight line.
As if he too, wasn’t sure this was a good idea.
Then he took her hand in his and slid his other arm around her, his palm sitting at her waist, all perfectly respectable.
It didn’t feel respectable as he led her into a slow dance. Ilsa’s nerves jumped and jangled like she’d touched an electric wire and her breathing turned shallow.
By contrast, she moved in his arms as if they’d danced together for years. As if their bodies knew each other, anticipating every move, every shift of weight and slight pressure of hands.
Still their eyes held, and it felt impossibly intimate.
Which proved how unexciting her life had been.
Then his attention dropped to her lips and heat seared her. It took a second to realise he was watching her tongue trace her suddenly dry mouth.
Did he think she was trying to entice him? Dismay unfurled and she stiffened.
‘Easy, Princess.’
He firmed his hold as she bumped into someone behind her. Now he held her closer, near enough that she felt his body heat radiating into her.
He moved with easy grace and she wondered what he did professionally. Sportsman? He had the power and athleticism, and she felt sure, enough single-minded determination. But his air of authority suggested something else. As did the calculation in his eyes, as if he assessed her just as thoroughly as she assessed him.
She was torn between wanting to know everything about him and knowing that when she did this fantasy of an elemental connection between them would shatter.
Was it crazy to hang onto the illusion a little longer?
‘Why did you ask me to dance?’ she asked finally.
He didn’t answer immediately and when he did she wasn’t prepared. ‘Because I couldn’t not.’
That jolted her right to the marrow of her bones.
There was no humour in his expression, just an intense focus that pierced several defensive layers. In other circumstances she’d expect some facile compliment about her looks. Instead his stare transfixed her. Just as well her body was working on autopilot, swaying to the seductive music in perfect time with his.
They were surrounded by people, hemmed in by dancers, yet everything beyond the pair of them was distant, as if they existed in a bubble, cut off from the world.
Ilsa blinked, realising her hand had crept from his shoulder to his hard chest, planted there as if staking a claim. Heat flushed her cheeks and she started to move her hand back when he shook his head. ‘Leave it.’
She didn’t take orders from any man, apart from her King, but the gravel note in those terse words made her pause.
‘Why?’ she asked again. ‘Why couldn’t you not ask me to dance?’
His mouth twisted up in a smile that she felt deep in some vital organ. ‘I planned not to. I saw you yesterday and didn’t approach you.’
Ilsa nodded. She’d told herself she was glad he hadn’t. That he clearly wasn’t as interested in her as she was in him. But he’d been on her mind ever since.
That was a first for her. Since her ill-fated teenage romance she hadn’t fretted over any man. Yet ever since yesterday’s lunch she’d wondered if she’d see him again. Monaco was tiny after all.
‘But I couldn’t ignore this.’ He captured her hand, lifted it from his chest and skimmed his lips across her fingers.
The instant jolt of sensation buckled her knees and he tightened his embrace to support her. Ilsa’s eyes felt like saucers as she met his knowing stare.
‘You feel it too.’ Yet he didn’t look triumphant. If anything his features looked stern. As if…
‘You don’t like me.’ The words shot out before she could think about them. But tonight, with him, her usual caution had been stripped away.
‘I don’t know you.’
Ilsa was used to people eager to meet her and spend time with her. It was strange to feel she had to earn his approval, that he might even be predisposed not to approve.
But she wanted him to.
She turned her hand in his and stroked a finger down his palm, feeling him shudder, and watching his eyelids droop in an expression of pure sexual desire.
Low in her pelvis she felt a new sensation. Something that made her shift her weight, trying to ease — not pain, but a sort of throbbing tenderness.
Ilsa snagged a deep breath, abruptly conscious that they’d stopped moving on the edge of the dance floor, while other couples passed them.
She should step back, put distance between them.
But this feeling, this man, were too extraordinary.
If she turned away she knew she’d regret it. This flash of connection was rare. Would she ever experience it again? Instinct said no. Especially not with some appropriate suitor arranged by her father.
‘I don’t know you either.’
‘That’s easily remedied.’ He paused. ‘Come with me and we’ll get to know each other.’
His words hung between them, inviting, tempting. Full of innuendo.
The intensity of his scrutiny stole Ilsa’s breath. Or maybe it was the effect of standing so close to him, locked in his embrace.
The idea was outrageous. To go out into the night with a man she didn’t know. It went against every rule.
Ilsa had lived her life by the rule book.
In her peripheral vision she saw the curious looks they were attracting. They couldn’t stay like this indefinitely. They had to move.
Yet she couldn’t bring herself to care. She was tired of worrying about image and public perception.
‘Who are you?’ Amazing to be considering this yet not know his name.
‘Noah. Noah Carson.’
The name was familiar. Anyone who read the international press would recognise it. A self-made multi-billionaire known for innovation, dazzling success and the glamorous women in his life. Now she realised it was a hint of an Australian accent she heard in his deep voice.
He read her expression. ‘You know the name?’
‘You’re notorious.’
His mouth turned down. ‘Do you believe everything you read in the press?’
Despite herself, she flinched. It was a sore point given the flights of fancy that had been published about her ever since she hit puberty, and now the pity, scorn and lewd speculation levelled at her and Lucien.
She saw Noah register her reaction. ‘Absolutely not. Do you?’
Was that why he gave the impression he responded to her against his better judgement? Maybe he saw her as leeching off her people and giving nothing back.
‘No.’
He squeezed her hand and her thoughts scattered as pleasure rippled across her skin and into her bloodstream.
Noah leaned forward, his words a whisper across her temple. ‘You’re safe with me, Princess. You have my word. Nothing will happen that you don’t want to happen.’
Her breath hitched at the thought of what she’d like to happen. It was unprecedented to hunger like this for any man.
Ilsa tried to tell herself she was simply feeling bruised and rejected and Noah’s blatant interest was balm to her battered ego. But the real truth swamped that totally.
The truth was she’d never, in her life, been drawn to anyone like this. Every cell in her body screamed that it would be criminal, impossible even, to turn away.
She moistened her lips and saw his gaze flicker and sizzle. In answer her breasts swelled, her already peaked nipples aching.
‘It’s Ilsa. Don’t call me Princess.’
His sculpted mouth tilted up at the corners and that hint of appreciation undid another knot in the fabric of her defensive caution.
How would his lips feel against hers? Hot and decadent or coolly delicious?
‘Shall we go?’ His arm slipped from around her back, making her sway as if suddenly unsteady on her feet.
Or as if she didn’t know how to hold herself without him touching her.
But he still held her hand and somehow, though his was larger and rougher, their palms and entwined fingers felt like a perfect match.
‘Where to?’ Ilsa tried to imagine taking him back to her hotel room, walking past the studiously disinterested gazes of the staff. And past the shuttered stare of the bodyguard she’d spotted when she left the hotel today. Not one of her own, for she’d ordered them to remain in Altbourg, but one of her father’s staff. An unwanted reminder that, though she wanted a taste of freedom, she couldn’t outrun her real life, even if she pretended for a week or two.
‘Come back to mine.’
Those amazing turquoise eyes held hers and Ilsa felt a moment’s surprise at how inevitable, how right this felt.
‘Yes. Please.’

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

A sheltered princess…
And the man who could set her free!

Hounded by the paparazzi and pitied by the public after two failed engagements, Princess Ilsa of Altbourg escapes to Monaco. She’ll finally let her hair down in private. Perhaps self-made Australian billionaire Noah Carson can help her do that…

Women like Ilsa have always scorned Noah’s humble roots. So when an inferno sparks between them, he’s cautious, even while whisking Ilsa away on his lavish yacht! It’s clear opposites do attract…but if Noah claims her, can he be sure they can bridge the gap between their different worlds?
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | Google |
 
 

Meet the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Annie West loves writing passionate, intense love stories. She has devoted her life to an in depth study of tall, dark, charismatic heroes who cause the best kind of trouble in the lives of their heroines. Creating heroines who are a perfect match for those strong, stubborn men is one of her all time favorite things. As a sideline she’s also researched dreamy locations for romance, from vibrant cities to desert encampments and fairytale castles. She lives on the east coast of Australia and her favorite things are books, good company, good food and travel. For behind the scenes news, early release information and free giveaways, sign up for Annie’s newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/ya56pe7c then look out in your inbox for your first free read – if you don’t see it check your spam folder.
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30 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Claiming His Virgin Princess by Annie West”

    • anniewest

      EC – a book fair – what a great idea! I’ve never seen that before and a man who likes books is such a nice idea.

  1. Janine

    I think a hero and heroine meeting at a cat cafe would be fun. You would know right up front that they love cats (which is important for me).

    • anniewest

      Hi Janine, that’s something I’d never have thought of! I love hearing so many great ideas that get me wondering.

    • anniewest

      Daniel that sounds like my life – I seem to be at the post office so often! That’s another place I hadn’t thought of.

    • anniewest

      Colleen I really like the sound of that. I wrote one book that began at a masquerade ball (Forgotten Mistress, Secret Love-Child) and it was such fun. I’d like to revisit that idea.

  2. Summer

    Carnival in Rio or Mardi Gras in New Orleans, some big fun crowded setting where the likelihood of meeting is slim and so it feels kind of fated.

    • anniewest

      Hi Summer. I’m really attracted to that idea of the meeting feeling fated and by a big festival!

  3. Crystal

    Another book by Annie West. I love her books and where she sets them and OH the characters and plots in the books.
    I would like the Hero & Heroine to meet at a Mardi Gras Concert.
    Would love to read & review book in print format.

    • anniewest

      Hi Joanne, actually you’re tapping into a thought I had for a future story – though a very special garden. I wonder if I’ll actually get to write it?

  4. Amy R

    Kylie Scott does great meetings and one she did was from a book I liked was H/h were hostages in a gas station robbery.

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