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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.         



She arrived home and rushed upstairs to get dressed for the dinner. She  walked into her bedroom, still wrapped in a towel to find her baby  sister lying on her bed. "Hey, baby girl," Liane said, as she walked to  her closet to find something suitable to wear.

"Hi, Annie," Macee replied.

"Are you staying for dinner?"

"Definitely not."

Liane smiled. As the youngest, Macee and their mother did not see eye to  eye on many things and Liane was fairly sure that many of Macee's  antics were designed simply to rub their mother the wrong way. Not that  she could blame her. As the oldest and the one betrothed to the Crown  Prince of Monaco, the expectations laid upon her at an early age  prevented her from living the life she would have preferred. In fact,  she was often jealous of her sister's free spirit. Macee truly hated  these dinners their mother organised and Liane did not blame her; they  were such a bore.

"How was the country club?" Macee asked. That was another thing she was  not into, as she disliked the sort of people who went there. If they  were anything like the people their mother invited to the house when she  wanted to brag about Liane, then they were not of interest to her, as  they valued wealth and prestige more than family and friends.

"It was fine," Liane replied.

"Just fine, of course nothing interesting happened."

"Riding was interesting."

Macee laughed. "My dear sister really knows how to have fun," she said sarcastically. Liane laughed.

"Where are you off to while I sit through another one of mother's dinners?"

"Go-karting," Macee said with a smile and wiggled her eyebrows.

"Stay out of trouble."

"I never get in trouble."

Liane whipped her head in Macee's direction and raised her eyebrows at  her. Macee laughed as she stood up from the bed. She waved at Liane and  walked out of her bedroom.

Liane dressed quickly and pinned up her hair before rushing downstairs  to meet her parents. Her other sister, Francesca, was also there. Unlike  Macee, she always attended the dinners and events her mother organised.

Colonel and Mrs LeBlanc greeted the guests, as they arrived. As the  highest-ranking officer in the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Roi, Colonel  LeBlanc was an advisor to the king and a long-time friend. As Mrs  LeBlanc introduced everyone, she made a point of reminding her guests  that Liane was engaged to the Crown Prince, something that was  continually the subject of conversation for their mother. Since their  father's promotion to Colonel and the decision to unite the two families  in marriage, their mother's thirst for power and prestige was endless.  And these dinner parties were always subject to political gain as the  guests vied for Liane's attention, which annoyed her. They could not  simply take interest in her, as a person. Their lust for power was too  obvious as everyone jockeyed to be friends of the crown.

Chapter 2

10 months ago

Liane was counting down the hours until she could go riding again. She  needed to release all the stress that had built up inside her. Charles,  the royal tutor, who was assisting her in her princess lessons was  driving her crazy. She had been training under him for the past ten  years and he still treated her as if she was that same eleven-year-old  girl all those years ago.

Liane was finally free of Charles and off to the country club. Her  mother insisted that she have a driver given her pending role as  princess. Normally, Liane didn't mind having a chauffeur as it gave her  time to think, but there were occasions when she preferred to drive  herself if only to contemplate driving as far away as possible.

When Liane arrived at the country club, she saw her friend, Tracey  getting out of her car. Even at that distance, she could see that she  had highlighted her already blonde hair. "You look lovely," she said to  her as she walked up to hug her friend. Tracey flipped her blonde locks  with a smile.