The Prince's Pregnant Challenge

By: Leslie North

The Royals of Monaco Book 2


I dedicate this book to you, my loyal readers. Thank you for all the lovely e-mails, reviews and support. Without you, this wouldn't be possible.

Chapter 1

1 year ago

I hope he isn’t here again, Liane thought to herself.

She arrived at the country club on a sunny Thursday afternoon. It seemed busier than usual, which was strange to her. She had been going to the club at the same time every week for several years because it was normally quiet and the perfect time for her to relieve some stress from all those princess lessons. Betrothed to the Crown Prince of Monaco for the past ten years and preparing to be the crown princess took a toll on her. While she understood that this was a political alliance and not one based on love, the expectations placed upon her at an early age weren’t easy and she had missed out on having a normal childhood.

Liane went to the changing rooms to change into her riding gear. She heard the other women talking about Jean Pierre, the queen's nephew. Sighing to herself, he was there today, why couldn’t he come on a different day instead of the one day she had to herself. Everyone was always trying to meet members of the royal family and Jean Pierre’s reputation as a partier made sure that there was always a large crowd of people following him around. Ignoring their chatter, she dressed and headed out to the stables.

Finding her mare, she rubbed her nose while the stable hand helped saddle her. Taking the reins, she walked her out to the yard before mounting her. Turning toward the track, they trotted out to the course and she immediately began to relax. The afternoon breeze lifted her hair as they broke into a canter and then a gallop. There were days Liane wished that they could simply jump the fence and run away. Being engaged to the Crown Prince put a tremendous amount of pressure on her in terms of behaviour. Liane saw her friend Tracey waving at her and slowed down to speak to her.

“Jean Pierre is here, and you are out riding?” Tracey asked Liane, as she dismounted.

“What else should I be doing?” Liane asked. She was out of breath.

“You do not want to see?”

“See what?” Liane was not interested in Jean Pierre. He was a darling with the media and always seemed to have a different woman on his arm. She disliked his playboy attitude and couldn’t understand why he didn’t use his notoriety for something more meaningful.

“Oh that's right; you are to wed the Crown Prince. So naturally, you do not desire any other man.”

Liane laughed.

“I do not blame you. Prince Louis is very attractive. If I was engaged to him, I would not be interested in any another man either.”

Liane sighed. Their engagement was nothing more than a business transaction between two old families. “Even if I was not engaged, Jean Pierre is not my type,” Liane replied.

Tracey frowned. “He is everyone's type.”

Liane knew she would never win with Tracey. She put her gloves back on and got back on her horse. She had been friends with Tracey since they were in primary school. They were both from powerful families and even if they hadn’t met in school, they would be interacting constantly as they both ran in the same circles.

After two more runs around the track, Liane dismounted as she and Tracey headed to the stables. On their way there, they ran into Jean Pierre who was surrounded by his entourage as he led his horse out. Tracey greeted him with a smile, but he did not even bother to acknowledge her. He was so full of himself and that was what Liane detested most about him.

Admittedly, Jean Pierre was a good-looking man. One of the taller members of his family, he was more than six feet tall and had an average build. His hair was sandy brown and had highlights from spending so much time in the sun. As he smiled at a joke, Liane could see that his smile did not make it to his sombre grey eyes.

“Did he just walk past me without even greeting me?” Tracey asked.

“Are you surprised?” Liane asked. Liane shook her head as she hugged Tracey. “Don’t take it so hard, he does it to everyone,” she told her before she bid her friend farewell and left. She needed to get back home promptly as there was an important dinner that evening. There was always a function to attend. It had gotten worse now, as her wedding date grew closer. It was exhausting but she could not back out of the marriage. And she knew that she should be excited, this was her wedding day, but she simply couldn’t generate any enthusiasm. It wasn’t that the Crown Prince was undesirable, but she didn’t know him. In the ten plus years since this arrangement was made, she had very little interaction with the prince. You would think that if you were going to marry someone, you might at least want to get to know her, but the prince showed very little interest in spending time with her. Sighing, Liane kept reminding herself that this was a political union       and while she didn’t love the prince, perhaps in time, she would at least grow fond of him.