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The Stolen Princess

The first in a new series about four soldiers back from war, and forced to adapt to a new world

The estranged youngest son of an earl, Gabriel Renfrew earned glory and honor on the battlefield, but now, without purpose, he finds himself deliberately courting danger. One night he races his horse along a death-defying moonlit cliff—and stumbles upon a beautiful woman obviously in need of saving…

A princess on the run, Callie has disguised herself and her son, the Crown Prince, as commoners, hoping to protect him from those intent on stealing the throne. She has no choice but to trust the handsome ex-officer who’s come to her rescue, even when he insists that only a marriage of convenience will provide her the ultimate protection. Can her new husband keep Callie and her son safe from assassins? And what will he do to her heart?

Read what readers have written to say about the book
Read an excerpt
See the story collage


What reviewers have said:

"Captivating historical romance with wonderful characters... I love all of Ms. Gracie's stories and THE STOLEN PRINCESS is no exception. It stole my heart, as it will yours. Suzanne Tucker, Fresh Fiction

"Gracie begins the Devil Riders series with a fast-paced and enticing tale about a princess on the run and the enigmatic man who gallantly comes to the rescue. She captures both the inherent tension of the story and the era with her hallmark charm and graceful prose." Kathe Robin, Romantic Times

"THE STOLEN PRINCESS... is as filled with warmth, humor, and lovable characters as any other of her titles. Though excellent characterization is a hallmark of Ms. Gracie's books, her plots superbly showcase the humanity of her creations. Anne Gracie's talent is as consistent as it is huge. I highly recommend THE STOLEN PRINCESS and look forward to the rest of the series." Jane Bowers Romance Reviews Today

"I absolutely loved The Stolen Princess and I am definitely recommending it to you!" Julie Kornhausl, Simply Romance Reviews


EXCERPT

"I have no plans to marry again," Callie told him. "Not ever. Not to anyone."

He heaved a sigh. "That's my hopes and dreams dashed forever, then."

They walked on. It had been a good thing to set him straight, Callie thought. Best to get it clear and out in the open. No misunderstandings. He'd stop bothering her now. He'd leave her alone, and that would be a good thing.

It would. She'd be much happier. She really would. She didn't need to be... bothered.
He was a very... bothersome man.

She darted him a sidelong glance. He'd been silent for several moments now. She hoped he wasn't too crushed by her announcement.

He caught her looking. "So," he said. "You're absolutely sure? No plans to marry again?"

She gave a firm nod. "None. Not ever. And I'm quite sure."

"Then you'll just have to become my mistress."

She stopped short, scandalized. She whirled to face him. His eyes were laughing at her. He was teasing her, she realized.

The way he laughed with his eyes, laughing and seeming to... caress... at the same time... it was most disconcerting.

"You are joking," she told him.

"Am I indeed?"

"Yes, for you know perfectly well I am a respectable widow—"

"Oh, we needn't tell anyone, if that's what you're worried about."

She gave him a severe look. "I told you, I have no desire to put myself under the thumb of any man, ever again."

"But it wasn't my thumb I was thinking of." He said it with such a— such a wicked, laughing look she was hard put to know what to say. So she turned on her heel and walked off.

It took her several minutes of marching along as fast as her legs could carry her before she was able to think at all, let alone think of an appropriately crushing, yet dignified response. His words, along with that laughing smile in his eyes, were a pure invitation to sin. She snorted. Nothing pure about it!

She could hear him coming up behind her on the path. She quickened her pace. His didn't seem to alter, and yet he still gained on her. It wasn't fair that he should have such long, strong legs and hers should be short and plump. The only way to escape him would be to run, but she wouldn't put it past him to run after her. The wretch probably would enjoy chasing her.

A small voice inside her suggested timidly that she might find it exciting, too. She ruthlessly squashed it.

She deliberately slowed her pace and stopped to stare earnestly at a flower in the grass. She had no idea what it was; she'd never been any good at botany, but he needn't know that.

He stopped beside her and waited. She felt the warm wash of his gaze flow over her. And ignored it. She stared hard at the flower. He bent and peered at it over her shoulder.

"Fascinating," she murmured, trying not to be aware of the proximity of his big, masculine body.

"Utterly," he agreed fervently. "Something special, do you think?"

She frowned thoughtfully, and then nodded over the small, blue-flowered plant. "It could well be," she said, hoping he was no botanist.

"It definitely could be," he agreed. "If only Creeping Charley was not regarded as a weed in England." He paused a moment, then added, "Shall I get someone to pull it out before it spreads, or would you rather paint it, or press it in your "Weeds of England" scrapbook?"

She continued the walk in dignified silence. He strolled along beside her.

"This is nice, isn't it?" he said chattily.

She didn't respond.

"Getting to know each other like this," he continued unabashed. "Learning about your fascination with English weeds... and your fear of thumbs."

"You deliberately misunderstood me."

"I?"

"Oh, don't play the innocent with me!"

"Never, my sweet. Innocence is over-rated, I quite agree."

He said it with that— that look. She felt herself flushing. "And don't call me my sweet, either."

"No, my dear."

"Or that. And you know perfectly well what I meant by not wanting to be under the thumb. My entire life has been spent under the rule of two extremely autocratic men — first my father and then my husband. Now I have had my first ever taste of freedom, and nothing — no man —could ever taste sweeter than that."

"Is that a challenge?" he said softly.

"No! Do not be so frivolous."

"I wasn't," he said in a meek voice, but his eyes were dancing.

It was the color, she thought irrelevantly. She'd never seen such blue, blue eyes. Like sunlight sparkling on the sea. Another thing that wasn't fair. Men shouldn't be allowed to have eyes like that.

They walked on and, as they turned a corner, the house came into view. Thank goodness, Callie thought. She might have been walking on a firm graveled path, but it had felt in some ways like she'd been negotiating a marsh, full of traps for the unwary.

He was a very dangerous man! She glanced at him and found him watching her.

"I'm so relieved," he told her.

Callie could not imagine what he was talking about. "Relieved?"

"That you're not afraid of my thumbs. I think they're quite nice thumbs — for thumbs, that is. Don't you think?" He spread his hands out for her to inspect, and though it was clearly ridiculous, she couldn't help glancing at his hands.

"What do you think?" he asked.

She gave them a second critical look and sniffed. "All I can see is that your thumbs are rather large," she said in a quelling voice.

He gave her a slow smile. "Exactly."

Callie had no idea why she should blush, but she did. "I think our breakfast will be ready now," she said and marched briskly back to the breakfast room.

He strolled along beside her. "Yes, I'm ravenous." The way he said it, he didn't just mean for food.

Callie walked faster.

* * * * *

What readers have written to say about the book: (NB I have removed any personal or private references or spoilers.)

I have a big bone to pick with you. How dare you write something as fabulous as The Stolen Princess!!! It quite distracted me from EVERYTHING I needed to do. ;) Yvonne

Well, I have the complete series of the Merridew sisters and I loved it! Oh, my favorite is Prudence and Gideon, because he just couldn't understand why others couldn't see how beautiful she was. Was a bit dissapointed that Charity didn't get her own book. But then she was too gentle and quiet to really get her own book. So I kinda understand.
 
So...the devil riders! The Stolen Princess was a great start! Loved Gabriel. He was great. He had the best personality, teasing and funny but could get deadly serious. Nikki and Callie were good too. Especially liked Jim and Nikki.
So, when are the other's books coming out? And who is in the next book? and when will we get a synopsis for that book? ...Vickie
Anne replies *The next book, His Captive Lady is Harry's story and it will hit the shelves in Sebtember. I'll put up a Captive Lady page a month or two before that. After that comes Rafe's story 2009.

I just finished "The Stolen Princess" and absolutely loved it! ..... Carol
I just wanted to let you know I devoured The Stolen Princess in a day (well, 24 hours, I stayed up all night). I think it’s your best yet. Loved it! Full of the banter and emotional punch you do so well. I just wallowed in its lusciousness. Haven’t read a book that quickly in a long time—as I’m sure you know, that’s a compliment. .....Christine
Dear Ms.Gracie,
You are a fabulous writer. I whip through your books and they are so emotional and filled with depth and wonderous characters. I read The Stolen Princess and didn't want it to end. I cant wait for the other stories to come out. Keep up the terrific work. .....Amy

Dear Ms. Gracie,
I just finished "The Stolen Princess" and I must say, I totally fell in love with Callie, Gabe and all the "Devil Riders". I can not wait for the next installment!! I liked all the characters; (Except Count Anton) although sometimes Callie made me angry with not wanting to love Gabe. And Nicky and Jim were perfect friends. I truly liked Delaney and Tibby, too. (Is there a future for them??). Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.....Sue
Anne replies *Yes indeed, Tibby and Ethan's story continues in His Captive Lady, coming in September.

I just added another Anne Gracie book to my keeper shelves. I found The Stolen Princess at the bookstore Friday night and stayed up until I finished it. I loved it. Gabriel is definitely sigh-worthy, and I found Callie such a sympathetic heroine. Nicky was a darling too. ............J.R.
I have written one "fan" letter in my life and it was many years ago.  I have never been moved to write one again until recently.
 I came across "Waif," Tallie," all 4 of the sisters' books and several of your other books and just read "Princess."  I must say that you have a unique and incredible touch with characters.  Your heroines are so very different and their life experiences are unparalleled...strong women, but strong because of life's fires.  They are unique and eccentric.  Not all are described as gorgeous but all are beautiful inside and out.  Your heroes are flawed but flawed by life, also.  They are overcomers and be it they are cold and wary or incredibly witty...you find yourself loving the dialogue and the way the action plays out.
 Each character in "Princess" is finely drawn and I feel as though I know them.  Your vignettes are very well written, for example, the memorial for Jim's father is extremely touching and tells you so much about this boy and those around him.  It really made me want to see read his "grown up" love story one day. 
 I cannot wait to read all the stories of the Devil Riders.  I want to read on and on about each of these "new" characters and keep up with those we've already met.
 "Waif", "Tallie", "The Perfect Rake", etc are among my favorite books and I am very vocal in recommending them.  "The Stolen Princess" joins the list........ Jan.
Your new book was delightful, I'm a huge fan. I just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year, and hope you keep writing, I so enjoy your books.
THANKS!!!!!!!!!.....dj
Just a note to let you know that I am almost finished with The Stolen Princess, and I have enjoyed it very much. I like Gabe for his cheerful stubbornness and Callie for her courage.
I look forward to the rest of the series :)
Happy New Year, and please keep those fingers flying!.................................... JJ

I have since finished the book and it's on the "keeper" shelf :)
Hi Anne,
Loved it, really loved it. Gabe is the most gorgeous hero, and I adored his teasing sense of humour and the way he held the upper hand with Callie.  And who could not champion Nicky?  I can't wait to read the next in the Devil Riders series, which you've set up beautifully ...
Well done, Anne!  More please!!............................Helen.
Anne, I would like to congratulate you on your latest book The Stolen Princess. It was certainly a story I had difficulty putting down for any length of time (food breaks etc) until I had read the entire story. Thank you again for your wonderful stories................ Heather

I LOVED Stolen Princess!!!!  I can’t wait to read the next 3 “Devils” stories. I assume we’ll be able to catch up with Gabe and Callie in those books, too, since I was quite disappointed that you didn’t include an Epilogue. I think I might have read Perfect Kiss but none of the other Perfect stories ring a bell so I’m going to have to see if I can get my hands on all four books. Thanks for the hours of pleasurable, frequently laugh-out-loud, entertainment, Anne! .............. Lucy

Dear Anne Gracie:
I am a constant reader. I have a book in every room in the house, my purse, my car, etc. etc. etc. I picked up your latest paperback at Borders the other day and sat down for a cup of coffee in their coffee shop. I left the store with a copy of every one of your books that they had for sale (there were five, I believe). I started with number one about Prudence and have not been without one of the books in my hand ever since. I read at traffic lights, while I am 'on-hold' on the phone (which is often) while I am stirring at the stove ... you get the picture.
I am hooked and looking forward to whatever you write even if it would be the back of cereal boxes!
Thanks for being who you are and delighting those of us that rummage in the Romance section for an author of substance. ..........Molly
I just wanted to let you know what a great story The Stolen Princess was!  It was so refreshing to read a book that actually had a great story to it and not all of the mistress and weird sex stuff.  I love the hero Gabriel and how patient he was with the princess.  I hope that you will have one with Harry.  Which hero is the next book about?  Thanks again for the book!  Lori, stay at home mom of 4 boys, USA
Am reading Stolen Princess and it's great. Gabe is lovely! My heart still belongs to Gideon, of course but Gabe is close. ... Mel.
Ms Gracie, just finished the Stolen Princess and liked it a lot. You do a
great job of getting together an ensemble cast of characters which
makes the book a good, fulfilling read................Deb
I happen to adore your books. Thanks for writing. I'm a hard sell with humor but I still need it like everyone else. You hit the spot. Alecia
I started reading your book. Big mistake. I managed to stop reading this morning and force myself to look at my ms. Then lunchtime arrived and I just had to open your Stolen Princess again and have just sat, ignoring everything. You've totally distracted me.
Just finished it and I LOVED it! Thank you. It was the best read I've had in ages. Loved the characters, loved the sweetness of the love story. Callie and Gabe and Nicholai are wonderful. But so are all the others. Am looking forward to the rest of the stories in this series. Oh, boy, did Gabe's friends work for me. Particularly loved Nash being affronted and telling Callie that his government excelled in creative delay. Only a public servant could truly appreciate the full juiciness of that plum! Fantastic book, Anne. Thank you for writing it! Loved the witty dialogue too. .... Annie
I wanted to send you feedback on your wonderful book.  I have am not normally a historical romance reader but you'll be speaking at our Romance Readers group at the end of the month.  I enjoyed your book immensely and you have piqued my interest in Regency romances again.  I loved both Caroline and Gabriel.  I loved that he fell for her first and felt he had to win her over. Caroline was a great heroine - feisty and knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.  You have me hooked an I want to follow the exploits of the rest of the Devil Riders. 
I can't wait to discuss the book with your at the end of the month but wanted to email you about it now. ....Ann
Just wanted you to know i enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next devil riders. thanks,.... dorotha... la usa
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and wanted to tell you how tickled I was to see the brief appearance of Oswald Merridrew! The whole story is so heartwarming. Callie is gutsy and Gabe is truly a hero in so many ways. What he gives Nicky is invaluable. I can hardly
wait for the other books in the series!.... Judy
Have just finished reading "The Stolen Princess".  As usual it was fun, funny and sensual with just a little bit of terror thrown in to keep me reading the next page.  It was a perfect way to spend a Thursday.  So thank you for writing the book.......Phyllis

I'll post more letters when I get time...

Below is the collage I made for the Stolen Princess. I've had a few inquries about it, so here it is.

 

 


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