The Rebel Prince
She thinks he is simply out of this world.
Little does she know just how right she is…
Practical, sensible science teacher Serenity Woodson is on a mission to prove her beloved aunt Tildy’s new friend is not a prince from another galaxy, as he so boldly claims. I mean really. Extraterrestrials on earth? Please. The man is a con artist, plain and simple, out to steal Tildy’s priceless necklace. But what turns out to be far more alarming is what he actually does succeed in stealing–Seri’s heart.
The thing is, Seri is right. Adventurous Prince Carch Sunstryker’s mission is in fact to retrieve the precious necklace that his grandfather foolishly left in the care of an earth woman, and return it to his home planet. If he doesn’t succeed, his whole family will die. But when the necklace disappears for real, he and Seri are forced to work together to find it. And the closer they get, the more the earth moves for both of them….
“Didn’t find a choice you like?” a deep voice said from behind her.
Startled, she swung around to see a tall figure sprawled negligently on the carved wooden garden bench in the middle of the courtyard, observing her.
And it was decidedly not Aunt Tildy.
Seri swallowed a gasp of surprise…then a gasp of something quite different.
Good grief. This male was—objectively speaking—gorgeous. Nothing like the dull, insipid specimens in college.
Tan and broad-shouldered, his body was muscular, his face lean, expressive and angular, with a definite air of authority. Hair the color of gold dust was just a little too long to be truly civilized. And his smile…the only way to describe it was knowing. She didn’t usually go in for blond men, but this one… Lord, can you say “bad boy?”
“I–I, um…” Had he asked her a question?
That knowing smile curved up ever so slightly. “I take it you’re not looking for love?”
“I—“ She straightened. “Excuse me?”
He rose to his feet in a lithe movement that seemed to make the air around him shimmer. “The doorbells.”
“Oh,” she said, squinting at the odd optical illusion. But it had vanished. Strange.
He gazed at her expectantly.
Right. The doorbells. She forced herself to look at them, struggling to gather her badly scattered wits. Something about this man rattled her to the core. A feeling… No, she didn’t do feelings. An aura, then… God, even worse.
“What can I say?” She managed a weak laugh and glanced back at him, startled to find he was standing right behind her. “There are never enough choices.”
His smile curved even more. “Never the right one,” he agreed, tilting his head. “I’ll bet I can guess, though.”
“Oh, really?” At the moment she wasn’t even sure she knew what the right one would be.
Her breath stalled as he reached for her—that is, past her, and opened the door to the Second Sun.
“You came for a reading? Tildy isn’t here at the moment, but I’ll do one for you.” Then, as though he were a mind-reader instead of a tarot card reader, he added, “I can tell you all sorts of things you didn’t know.”
“I… I’m not–” she stammered like an idiot, taking in the unlocked door with an inkling of suspicion. “You work here?”
“Not exactly.” He motioned her in first, and she fully intended to refuse, but strangely, when he put his fingers lightly on the small of her back, a tingle shivered through her whole body and in that dizzy sensation she completely forgot her objections to being alone with him.
He followed her inside. “I pitch in whenever Tildy needs a hand. I own the bookstore.” He jabbed a thumb at the Old World Rare and Antique Bookstore on the street side of the courtyard. “But I have a manager to watch things for me. Carch Sunstryker,” he introduced himself with a disarming smile, “at your service.”
She was still recovering from that touch on her back, so when he extended his hand she really didn’t want to risk touching him a second time, but for some reason her body was not obeying her today.
She put her hand in his, and was saying, “Seri Woodson,” when sure enough that tingly sensation quivered straight through her again, knocking the polite, “Nice to meet you,” right out of her mouth and leaving her more than a bit shaken. And stirred, too, for that matter.
“Ah,” he said, giving her another bone-melting smile. “Serenity June. Tildy’s niece.”
She didn’t know what was happening to her, but whatever it was, she didn’t care for it. With a concerted effort, she withdrew her hand from his before she did something monumentally stupid. Like melt in a puddle at his feet.
This was ridiculous. She didn’t do simpering, eyelash-batting female. She didn’t do men, for crying out loud. Remember the college experiments!
“Just Seri,” she corrected briskly, and tucked her hands under her armpits, safely out of danger. “Any idea when my aunt will be back?”
For a moment he gazed at her with that annoyingly knowing smile on his perfectly sculpted lips, then he pursed them as though trying to decide…lord knew what.
“Soon,” he finally said. “But for now—“ he swept his hand toward the back room where Tildy’s tarot table was set up behind a theatrical black velvet curtain. “Shall we?”
A drift of alarm sifted through her. “Shall we what?”
He just smiled.
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