By: Carol Marinelli

Seven days without her crown!

Princess Layla of Ishla craves just one week outside the gilded cage of her palace. A chance to try absolutely everything that is forbidden!

1. Sharing a romantic dinner

2. Dancing the night away

3. Kissing a gorgeous man…

The only exception? She must remain pure for her future husband! When she arrives in Australia, she finds there’s only one man who can help her fulfill this dream….

Revered yet feared, Mikael Romanov has earned his ruthless legal reputation, yet spirited Layla quickly gets beneath his skin. Mikael’s sworn to protect her, but can he protect Layla from himself?

“One kiss.” Layla smiled.

“Your brother asked me to…”

“You don’t have to keep my promises for me,’ Layla interrupted. “I shall be returning to Ishla a virgin.”

“We were talking about a kiss!”

“So what’s the problem then?” Layla said.

She soon found out.

Mikael turned her around to face him, and she stood shivering in anticipation. She felt his hand on her shoulder and his face move to hers… And then she was lost, because nothing in her imaginings could have prepared Layla for arrogant lips turned tender.

His kiss was soft at first, as one hand rested on her waist, the other at her shoulder. Then she felt the slip of his tongue and the slide of his hand to the back of her head. It was shocking. It was sensual. It was the gateway to paradise.

One kiss and her lips were swollen.

“We agreed one kiss.” Layla smiled again. “But now I know why it is trouble…”


‘PRINCESS LAYLA, are you excited to be…?’

Layla patiently waited as the little girl on her computer screen faltered while choosing her words. By video link Layla was being beamed into the classrooms of the girls and young women of Ishla. Each class took an hour and, by working hard, Layla managed to get to each classroom once a month. Here she encouraged the children to converse in English and to work harder on their schoolwork, and it was proving a huge success.

‘Princess Layla.’ The little girl tried again. ‘Are you excited that you will travel to Australia with Prince Zahid and Princess Trinity on their honeymoon?’

At the word ‘honeymoon’ the class exploded into a fit of giggles and Layla did her best not to join in with them. This class consisted of ten-year-old girls and they were all terribly excited that the handsome Prince Zahid had married the English lady Trinity, and they were all only too happy to talk about weddings.

And honeymoons!

‘Well done,’ Layla said to the little girl when the laughter had died down. ‘You asked your question beautifully. Yes, I am very excited that I shall be joining my brother and his bride in Sydney, Australia. Did you know that you are my final class before we leave on the royal plane tonight?’

Zahid and Trinity’s wedding had been beautiful, and the whole of Ishla had joined in the celebrations, even though the shocking news had hit, just before the wedding, that Trinity was already pregnant.

Layla’s rule was that so long as questions were politely asked she would answer as best she could. Some of the questions, though, about Trinity’s pregnancy, had been more than awkward—and not just because the subject in Ishla was sensitive. Layla simply hadn’t known the answers, and had begun to understand just how naïve she was.

Layla craved knowledge.

She had long dreamt of a world outside the palace walls.

Before Zahid had even known who his bride was he had agreed to allow Layla to accompany him on his honeymoon. As a future king Zahid could not be expected to entertain his wife all day, and of course it had been assumed that his bride would need a companion.

They were so deeply in love, though, that perhaps they would prefer to be holidaying alone—but there was no way Layla was going to give up her first and only trip out of Ishla.

Guilt gripped her.

Not because she might prove a bit of an imposition for a couple in love—instead the guilt was for what Layla was secretly planning to do when she got to Australia.

‘Princess Layla, are you scared?’ another little girl asked.

‘A little.’ Layla spoke a guarded version of her truth. ‘After all, I have never been out of Ishla, and so I don’t really know what to expect, but I am also very excited. It is going to be a huge adventure for me and I have been looking forward to it for a very long time.’