If I’d known he had dimples, I never would’ve agreed to marry him.
Some people are born for parenthood.
But I’m about to get it anyway, since there’s no one else who can take care of my wild child baby sister. I’m supposed to be spending my days running a flight adventure company with my best friend, but instead, I’m inadvertently getting myself into trouble, just trying to do the right thing and keep her out of trouble, to the point that it’s clear I cannot do this on my own.
But who else would want to help us?
Turns out, my biggest enemy.
Mr. Tall, Dark, and Cranky just inherited a country, but in order for Amoria to crown him as King—you know, that job they give to people with no more demanding qualifications than flared nostrils, proper manners, and a taste for crumpets—he needs a wife. Now. Obviously the only person he would ask is as irresistible (and desperate) as me.
And I see no better way to prove I’m ready to take care of my sister than to wear the crown of a queen. No one’s ever found fault with royalty, and hey, the job comes with round-the-clock security.
Except in return for helping save my sister, Mr. I’m-Not-Sure-You’re-Even-A-
Remember when I said no one ever found fault with royalty? Try asking that question after you see your frazzled face under the front-page headline of a small country’s leading gossip mag…
Hot Heir is a romping fun marriage of convenience romance between a surprise heir and a southern hot mess, complete with the bedroom to end all bedrooms, a run-down alpaca, and that thing with the hot air balloon. This romantic comedy stands alone with no cheating or cliffhangers and ends with a royally awesome happily ever after.
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Taking a bullet or a knife, I can do.
But soothing a terrified, sobbing, otherwise competent woman is not something I’ve often—ever—accomplished successfully, nor have I ever found myself in many situations in which it was necessary.
I stroke her back, and gradually, they both cry themselves out.
Which is good, because seeing a chink in Peach’s armor is bloody terrifying.
“Papaya,” she says, her voice thick and wobbly, “you’re on kitchen duty for the next four weeks.”
“And if you get fired by the chef, you’ll be on maid duty. And if you get fired by the maids, you’ll be shoveling shit in the stables. And you don’t get to see Fred until your chores are done.”
I suck in a surprised breath.
Papaya gasps. “You can’t do that.”
“And if you don’t show up for kitchen duty, you won’t be going to Joey’s wedding next weekend.” She swipes at her eyes, which silences any objections I might have to keeping track of Papaya whilst Peach is away for a week. “You scared the ever-loving patootles out of me. I thought you were kidnapped. And instead, you’re here, spooking the daylights out of these poor guards who were trained on an invalid king who couldn’t even get out of his own bed to pee.”
Ah. I’m beginning to see from whom Papaya gets her creativity.
And it hasn’t escaped my notice that Peach is still leaning on me.
My knees are going quite numb from squatting, but I could crouch here for hours if that was what was required to make her feel better.
“You have two choices.” Her voice is growing steadier, more Peach-like. “You do your punishment, and we’ll find you a better outlet for all your creative energy, or we’re going to have one hell of a rough year.”
Papaya scowls. Her tears have also left her. “I don’t like those choices.”
“They’re what you’ve got.”
“I want to go home and live with my daddy.”
Peach’s entire body goes so rigid, I have to stop myself from grabbing Papaya and dangling her by the ankle for being such an ungrateful arse.
“He lost the privilege to keep you.” Peach’s voice wobbles again. “Meemaw and me and Viktor and Alexander and Samuel are what you’ve got.”
An emotion I cannot name blooms in my chest, swells into my throat, and renders me momentarily tongue-tied.
She’s just claimed us all as family.
“Get up. I want that armor shined and sparkling before it goes back where it belongs in the tower study, and don’t you dare give me any lip, or you’ll be shining and sparkling every single suit of armor in this whole entire castle if you so much as think at me wrong.”
I swallow hard, wishing my own voice were not so much more husky than I intend it to be. It seems emotions are going around. “I believe there are fifty more stored in the dungeons, my lady.”
My shirt is damp and cold where the tears from Peach’s cheek have soaked through, I’ve nearly watched a teenage girl outwit and terrify an entire team of guards who were quite ready to maim, if not outright kill her, and I’m playing parent for the first time in my life.
Being a team.
It’s disconcerting at best.
Irresistibly attractive at worst.
I’ve a kingdom to run. There’s no time to fall for my wife.
But I fear it might be too late.
Pippa Grant is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes romantic comedies that will make tears run down your leg. When she's not reading, writing or sleeping, she's being crowned employee of the month as a stay-at-home mom and housewife trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, all the while fantasizing about long walks on the beach with hot chocolate chip cookies.
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