Hi Christi and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Ruling The Princess!
Hi – I’m doing a full royal curtsey of greeting, but it lacks gravitas in my jeans and rugby shirt…
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Lord Theo & Princess Genny loathe each other. His way of dealing with it? The only way to stop her arguing is, well, to kiss her.
Imagine what happens next…
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Princess Genevieve Eleanor Marie, second in line to the throne of Moncriano, had to use all of her twenty-seven years of training not to do a spit-take. But she did allow the shock to pop her eyes wide open. “Your date threw up on you?”
“Well, he wasn’t my official date,” her sister Kelsey corrected. Amazing how she waved that off with the hand holding the last bite of a dill roll.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
This is an enemies to lovers story. For years, Theo had loathed her and everything she stood for.
But for almost that entire time, he’d also recognized her as beautiful. Theo wanted the princess.
He hated that desire. But hating it didn’t mean he could deny it.
Genevieve, on the other hand, reluctantly admires Theo’s dedication to his job – even though that job is turning her life upside down.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
Revenge. Heat. Inexorable. Passionate. One-Upsmanship (I declare it a word!).
The First Kiss…
Theo jumps–fully clothed–into a swimming pool to ‘rescue’ Genny. She’s in his arms. In a skimpy bikini. They’re fighting. (I know – it hits all the buttons, right?)
Theo didn’t want to hear it. Didn’t want to fight about whatever it was.
So he kissed her.
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
I adore their first scene together, where they are sniping non-stop at each other. It is a perfectly matched battle.
He’d lost the high ground in this battle.
That left two options: surrender, or fight twice as hard.
Which really meant there was only one option.
So Theo snorted. “You want to talk about contempt? Because that’s exactly what you dished out to me.”
“You’re either petty or pouting.” She crossed her legs and leaned back in the chair. Much more gracefully than Simon had. “Because I’ve done nothing of the kind.”
“Maybe you’re just so used to it that you don’t realize how high-handed you are.” Theo splayed his palms on the desk and half-stood to lean over. To force her to look up at him. “I’m not a dog to be summoned at your whim. I’m a person. A professional. My time is valuable. Your time is consumed with shopping. Getting your hair done. Collecting bouquets and compliments. So tell me, Your Highness, which one of us sounds more inconvenienced by this unscheduled meeting?”
That pair of perfectly pink lips dropped open. Genuine shock blanked out her eyes. “You think that’s all the royal family amounts to? Standing around, looking pretty?”
“I didn’t call you pretty.” That had slipped out. And it sounded hurtful, even if unintentional.
Theo wouldn’t call her pretty. Not to wound her, but because it was a gross understatement. International headlines didn’t exaggerate. The princess was stunning. Breathtaking in her perfection.
Even her name flowed lyrically off the tongue. Genevieve.
What was wrong with him? He’d dated actual models in New York. Theo was a player. He took pride in it. Not in using women. Nobody got hurt.
But it seemed far more practical, more of a cost to benefit ratio, to…appreciate as many fun, beautiful, interesting women as possible. There wasn’t just one flavor of gelato. Not just a single sauce for pasta. Women were best enjoyed like food—in a wide variety. And he had a big appetite.
So why the hell was this woman getting to him? Distracting him from his loathing? Turning him into a bad imitation of a romantic poet?
He did know, however, not to lash out against a woman’s appearance—or even seem to. That’d been an accidentally low blow. As he took in a breath to, God help him, apologize, the princess laughed.
“I don’t need you to tell me what the mirror—and millions of people around the world—do. My ego isn’t bruised, Sir Theo, because you and your opinions don’t matter to me. Not one bit.”
Damn it, he respected her spine. Her sense of self-worth. The way she hadn’t burst into tears at his seeming insult.
That was no way for him to win this battle.
Theo stood. He came around to casually sit on the corner of the desk. It crowded her crossed legs.
It was supposed to.
He tucked away the feelings that had precipitated his outburst as easily as tucking his summer-sky blue shirt into his pants. “Actually, they do. My opinions—when it comes to the state of your finances—matter to the Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the entire European Concord. Ergo, get on board, Your Highness. My opinions matter quite a lot to you.”
Her hands fisted around the wooden arms of the chair. “You presume to tell me what to do? How to spend my money?”
“I do, indeed. My demands were clear—or are you as bad at vocabulary as you are at finances?”
The princess popped out of the chair in a most un-royal fashion. Now she crowded up in front of him. Close enough Theo caught the sweet scent of her perfume—some tantalizing mix of nectarines, flowers and honey. It gave him the urge to bury his lips in her neck.
She heaved in a breath that brushed the tips of her breasts against his jacket lapels. “Your demands were clearly based in ignorance of the requirements of my station. Not to mention a lack of understanding about women in general.”
“Oh, I know woman, Your Highness.” She was right there. In his space. What sort of idiot wouldn’t act on that? Theo skimmed his knuckles down her cheek. Bent over just enough to feel the softness of her hair against his lips as he whispered into her ear. “I’m intimately acquainted with everything about your fair sex.”
Her indrawn breath was deeper, more ragged this time. As though she was affected by his nearness.
Served her right.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
Theo thinks the monarchy is useless. As he spends more time with the princess, he sees that what she does actually matters. But a random encounter on a cost-cutting shopping trip has a citizen open his eyes to how much they need their royal family…
“The brand of pantyhose you currently buy costs five times what this package does.”
Her gaze cut to the packages on the rack. Gave it the same dismissive once-over that he himself gave rail drinks at a bar. “Quality matters. Pantyhose are part of the uniform of a female royal.”
That argument wouldn’t fly. No uniform disintegrated in two wearings. “You went through seven pair in the ten days of your tour through India.”
“I sat in a lot of rattan furniture. As far as my pantyhose were concerned, I was sitting on barbed wire.”
“It adds up, princess. It adds up to a truly unbelievable amount. Do you think the average citizen of Moncriano can afford the brand you wear?”
“No, I do not. Which is a shame.”
From out of nowhere, something blunt connected with Theo’s shoulder and the back of his neck. Hard. More than once.
“She’s not average, you nincompoop. She’s a princess.”
He whirled around to see a wizened prune of a woman who barely came up to his ribs. She brandished a brown purse big enough to be considered luggage. Oh, and a scowl that was twice as big as the damned purse.
“Ma’am, please stop hitting me.”
“I’ll stop as soon as you stop.”
“I’m not the one inflicting blunt force trauma.” He deftly evaded the next thwack. Glanced at Clara, who didn’t seem inclined to come to his rescue. So Theo grabbed the old woman’s wrist—hoped it didn’t snap like a twig from osteoporosis, which American television commercials made seem more pervasive than the common cold—and took away her purse.
“Now you’re robbing me!” she screeched.
“I’m diffusing a threat. Before your aim falters and you accidentally hit the princess.”
She wobbled into a curtsey aimed at Genny. “Your Highness, I’m Lucille Lortois, and I’m so sorry.”
“For smacking Sir Theo?” The princess clasped her hand, patting the top of it. “Trust me, Lucille, I think everyone has that impulse upon first meeting him.”
It wasn’t like Theo was doubled over, asking for an ambulance. But he had been the recipient of several sturdy hits from an object that felt like it held half a quarry’s worth of rocks. And while not up-to-date on Moncriano’s laws, he was certain that public assault wasn’t supposed to earn you a grip-and-grin with royalty rather than a citation.
Her white curls didn’t tremble. Crepey legs in bright orange shorts, however, did. Fierce brown raisins of eyes shot daggers at Theo before shifting to the princess. “I don’t want you to wear bargain pantyhose, Your Highness.”
“That’s a relief.”
Now Carla sprang into action, pushing over a ladderback chair under the senior.
Theo didn’t begrudge an old lady her opinions. To do his job effectively, though, he needed an explanation of them.
“Why, exactly? Why do you care—especially if it ultimately gets paid by your taxes—that the princess not wear the same brand as you? That she gets something better?”
“Because she is better. The House of Villani has ruled this country for centuries. Their lineage put in place by the grace of God. They are the very best of our kingdom. Princess Genevieve is a role model for every girl, every woman in the kingdom. She can’t do it with ladders in her stockings. She’d be a laughingstock. And we’d have no one to look up to anymore.”
There it was.
Laid out in exceedingly simple terms.
Agreeing wasn’t necessary. Nor was understanding. But Theo wouldn’t be able to finish his assignment properly unless he accepted the role the princess played.
Smirking, Genevieve said, “You’ve managed to render Sir Theo speechless, Lucille. That calls for a reward. If you give your address to Clara, I’ll send you a packet of my brand of hose. Thank you for sticking up for me.”
Genevieve walked away—regally, of course, with a tall neck and a graceful glide of a stride.
Theo had to hustle to catch up several rows over. She draped her arm around a mannequin, then bent over.
The princess was having a royal laugh attack.
At his expense. Again.
Suddenly, it didn’t matter that she’d shot down his factory idea. That they’d argued just minutes ago. Her laughter was contagious. All Theo wanted to do was chuckle along with her.
So he did.
“If you discover there’s a video of that woman purse-thwapping me, I’m pretty sure my friend Simon would pay you top dollar for the link.”
“Good. That just might be enough to cover my pantyhose budget for the month.”
They looked at each other and burst out laughing again.
Theo was a goner for this woman. He’d gone and fallen for the princess. When he was supposed to be the one laying down the law to her.
That was even funnier than being attacked by a woman so old and frail that a hearty belch would knock her over.
Readers should read this book …
We all are guilty of making snap judgments based on first impressions, or even deeper misconceptions. This book is the journey of two people, who think they loathe everything about each other, discovering that they’re actually incredibly similar. And along that journey there are scorching sex scenes, family drama that will tug at your heartstrings, lots of hilarious moments, and best of all, true love that has absolutely nothing to do with titles and tiaras.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m currently working on The Magic of Christmas, which will be out in October – and, coincidentally, another enemies to lovers story. Before that, though, is Tempting The Prince in August – book 3 of the Sexy Misadventures of Royals series!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: The princess visits TWO palaces in Moncriano in this story. And I mentioned the teabag scene, sooo…I’m giving away teas from the Royal Palaces collection of Harney & Sons: the Tower of London blend and the Royal Palace tea.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Where do you stand on royal families? Do you get up early to watch the weddings? Huge fan? Think Harry & Meghan made a well-timed escape? (Obviously, I am a huge royal fan, but I promise there are no wrong answers!)
Excerpt from Ruling The Princess:
“Hmm.” He peered at the table, covered with bowls of chips, dips, and deviled eggs. “No china. No champagne. No hovering staff.”
For God’s sake. Exactly how big a stick did the man think was perpetually up their collective royal asses? “This isn’t an official event. Just a family, grilling out.”
One dark eyebrow rose. “That’s an odd turn of phrase. You can’t grill in.”
Genny’s hand lifted to pat his arm, thrilled to have someone read her mind. But then she remembered who was standing in front of her. One shared thought did not a truce make.
So she reached for the bag and stepped in, instead. “Agreed. But Kelsey insists that’s what it’s called in Michigan, where she grew up.”
“The decorations don’t look anywhere close to professional.”
Now they were touching, leg-to-leg, arm-to-arm. More specifically, skin to a whole lot of skin. Even their hands touched along the front edge.
And she liked it. Crisp, curling hair, hard muscles—Theo belonged in the dictionary under well-proportioned. Masculine. Tan. Toned. Thick thighs that made Genny wonder-just for a second—what else might be thick.
Those were dangerous thoughts.
She tossed her head. Enjoyed the soft thwap of her ponytail—also adorned with a bow, thanks to Kelsey—smacking him on the cheek. “You’re dangerously close to insulting the heir to the throne. Christian and I worked quite hard twisting those streamers and getting them to drape just right.”
“Sorry. I was stating facts, not passing on insults.”
“This time.” It wasn’t as if he’d hidden his disdain for her and her family prior to this evening.
“Yes. This singular time. This party is…not over-the-top. Not formal. Not at all what I expected,” Theo conceded.
If there was one thing Genevieve knew how to be, it was gracious. “So you came to catch us out, spending absurd mountains of money to celebrate the very young age of another country.”
“Yes. But I was wrong. I’m surprised. And relieved.”
Damn it. A man who could admit his mistakes? That was not common. It was responsible. Sexy. Proof that there were more layers to Theo that might be worth drilling down to…
She tightened her grip on the burlap. “I’ll overlook your assumptions if you help me win this race.”
“Is the prince a bad loser?”
“Worse. He’s a bad winner. He’ll rub it in my face for the next year.”
“Can’t have anything happen to face as beautiful as yours. It’d be a national crime.”
Genny almost missed the start of the race, so shocked was she at his compliment. His flirtation.
Yes, they’d kissed already, but the way he’d sprinted away from her gave the impression Theo regretted it.
Genevieve never regretted a good kiss. And Theo’s had been stellar. Top ten.
She did regret giving him the upper hand. She regretted whatever she’d done that made him apologize for kissing her. The one conclusion from her sleepless night was that there wouldn’t be another kiss between them.
Now? She wasn’t so sure.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I’m thrilled that my first trip back to my homeland, after years in exile, is for an assignment from the prime minister. Even better, the job’s to put Princess Genevieve in her place…by cutting off her cash flow. Spoiled royals—even drop-dead gorgeous ones—don’t do anything to deserve their wealth and status. Hell, they don’t do anything. She’s fighting me tooth and nail, of course. The only way to stop her arguing is, well, to kiss her.
And I can’t seem to stay away from her. Now I see a whole different side to the princess—and not just because I’ve gotten her clothes off. But I was put on this assignment for a reason… Those outside the castle want to see the Princess discredited and push their own agenda, and I may have just given them all the ammunition they need.
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Meet the Author:
USA TODAY bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.
Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.
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