As with any romantic tale, obstacles lay in the path of the hero and heroine. Some are easily overcome, others, like deception, aren't as easy to forgive, as Trevor learns in this exchange with Zoe.
Tristan stopped and faced her. “Was there something you needed?”
“Yes.” She walked over and closed the door. “I'd like to speak with you in private.”
“Your Highness, this is highly improper.”
An amused chuckle bubbled around him. “About as improper as our time spent in the gardens last night.”
“You were chaperoned.”
“True, but if they'd known you weren't a prince, things would have gone differently.”
Ashamed, Tristan hung his head. “I apologize, but I was only following my orders.”
A perfectly arched brow rose. “You were given orders to deceive me? To what end?”
“No. I mean…” Tristan ran a hand through his hair and tugged on the ends, hoping the pain would help him form a coherent thought. “I was asked to stand in for Prince Rand, as he was ill, so Merlette would still be considered among your choice for husband. No harm was meant by my actions.”
“No harm? I believed you to be a prince. A man I could ask to stand at my side for the rest of my life. A man to rule my people with me. And now I learn that not only are you not a prince, you aren't even a titled lord.”
Tristan's heart pounded in his chest, and each breath pained him. Tears glistened on her dark lashes. A single drop broke free, trailing down her pale cheek. Closing his eyes, hands clenched into fists, he forced himself not to reach out and brush away the tear, or worse, pull Zoe into his arms to comfort her.
“I didn't mean to hurt you.” He looked at her then. “I swear it. I didn't know―”
“You didn't know what?” Aquamarine eyes flashed as she cut him off.
A quiet sigh preceded his whispered, “I didn't know I could fall in love with someone in so short a time.”
Tristan enjoys being in the shadows as Prince Rand's bodyguard. Similar in looks, the two often exchanged places in their youth, but he never expected the king to order him to impersonate the heir to the throne in order to win the hand of a princess.
Princess Zoe needs to find a husband. After a year of searching with no success, her father insists on hosting a masquerade ball for the eligible princes of the nine kingdoms. Not one prince piques her interest, until she meets the mysterious stranger who won't tell her his name.
When Tristan meets Zoe he finds the girl of his dreams. The only problem? She's a princess and he's impersonating a prince―a crime punishable by imprisonment and floggings.
Unable to tell Zoe his real name, he gives her a special navigation device. One that leads to the owner's true love. Will this magic device lead Zoe to Tristan, or will her true love forever remain a mystery prince?