Castiglione's Pregnant Princess(63)

By: Lynne Graham

The tiny country of Lerovia had become her home and she was a very popular working royal. Prince Eduardo now regularly conducted public engagements on his nephew’s behalf and was fully restored to the status his sister had once taken from him. Jazz had been shocked when Vitale had informed her that it had been Eduardo who had choreographed Queen Sofia’s downfall by tipping off a friend in the media about her affair.

‘It was payback for a lifetime of slights. Mean and cruel of him,’ Vitale had conceded of his uncle’s behaviour. ‘But who am I to criticise? Eduardo was once a very popular member of the family and my mother cut him out of our lives and kept him criminally short of money. He didn’t deserve that and her mistreatment of her brother came back to haunt her.’

Sofia Castiglione, now known as Princess Sofia, was still living in her opulent Alpine chalet with Cinzia. She phoned Vitale from time to time to reprimand him about changes she had heard he was instigating and she warned him that he would lose the respect of the people if he lessened the mystique of the monarchy by embracing a less luxurious lifestyle. She had flatly refused to ever set foot in Lerovia again, confessing that she had never liked the Lerovians, and Vitale had laughed heartily when he’d shared that particular gem with Jazz. He had visited his mother on several occasions but he did it out of duty, rather than affection. His failure to divorce Jazz had infuriated his mother and Jazz was still waiting, but not with bated breath, for an invitation to the Alpine chalet.

Charles Russell, on the other hand, was a regular visitor, particularly when the family were vacationing at the farmhouse where he too enjoyed relaxing. He was a great grandparent, always ready to put his book down to enter the world of small children and entertain them.

After dinner that evening, Jazz stepped gratefully into the candlelit bath awaiting her and smiled widely when Vitale brought her lemonade in a wine glass.

‘You’re not supposed to climb in until I’m here in case you fall,’ Vitale censured, his lean, darkly handsome face full of concern.

‘I’m not as big as I was with the twins,’ Jazz murmured softly. ‘I’m not going to fall.’

Vitale smoothed a coiling ringlet back from her damp brow. ‘Naked in candlelight you look incredibly sexy, bellezza mia...’

‘Don’t call me beautiful like this,’ Jazz scolded with a slight grimace down at the swell of her stomach. ‘Or sexy.’

‘But it’s the truth.’ Vitale levelled stunning dark golden eyes on her and smiled again. ‘You want me to lie?’

‘Oh, for goodness’ sake,’ she muttered, passing him her empty glass and rising to leave the bath.

Vitale wrapped her in a fleecy towel and scooped her out.

‘You’re getting wet!’ she cried crossly.

Vitale grinned wickedly down at her. ‘I won’t be keeping my wet clothes on for long.’

Jazz rolled her beautiful green eyes. ‘Now there’s confidence for you,’ she teased as he carried her back into their bedroom, a big airy space with a cosy corner by the fire for their winter visits.

‘Am I wrong?’ Vitale husked, pressing a kiss to the pulse point at her throat, sending her body haywire with response.

‘Sadly, no. I’m always a pushover,’ she sighed, finding his beautiful mouth again for herself and exulting in the love he gave her so freely and the happiness they had found together against all the odds.

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