The King’s Christmas Heir (The Stefanos Legacy #3) Read Online Lynne Graham

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Stefanos Legacy Series by Lynne Graham
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Total pages in book: 55
Estimated words: 50474 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 252(@200wpm)___ 202(@250wpm)___ 168(@300wpm)
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The royal baby she carried!
When Lara rescued Gaetano from a blizzard, she never imagined she’d say ‘I do’ to the man with no memory. Or that, when the revelation he’s actually a future king rips their passionate marriage apart, she’d be expecting a precious secret!

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PROLOGUE

THE SNOW WAS falling in a blinding blur that ensured that the hiker couldn’t see more than a foot ahead of him. He was colder than he had ever known it was possible to be, which didn’t say much for his top-flight protective gear or the countless ski trips he had enjoyed since childhood. Those experiences had convinced him that he was a tough mountain man capable of handling anything that the weather could throw at him.

Too late now to realise how imprudent he had been, he acknowledged grimly. Vittorio’s illness had knocked him for six and his brother’s demand that he go off and live his own life while he suffered had almost sent him off the rails. He was neither impulsive nor foolish, but he had needed solitude to accept both Vittorio’s diagnosis and his wishes. In the grip of terrible grief, he had scorned the trappings of his world: the bodyguards, the five-star accommodation and private jets. That lifestyle attracted attention like a flashing neon light, and he didn’t want that. It had not once occurred to him that going fashionably off grid could endanger him. Innately confident, he had seen himself as mature and invincible. He had even argued about making a monthly phone call home, ostentatiously ditching his phone before his departure. He was twenty-seven years old...how mature had either of those decisions been?

Now that he was lost and likely to die of exposure such trivial concerns seemed a million miles from his current daunting reality. His confused, self-critical thoughts were drifting, blurring, his steps no longer sure in the heavy snow. Hypothermia, he guessed abstractedly, hitching his rucksack, which seemed to grow heavier with every second. In an abrupt movement, he began to struggle free of its weight and as he stepped forward again, feeling much lighter and freer, he caught a glimpse of lights and stared in disbelief through the falling snow at the small outdoor tree illuminated with a colourful string of lights. There was a house with a garden at the foot of the hill. He didn’t like Christmas. Indeed, he had never enjoyed Christmas, but that evidence of civilisation had never been a more welcome sight. As he descended the steep slope with the haste of impatience, he lost his footing and skidded into a fall that made him shout. He fell backwards, struck his head a glancing blow on a rock and knew no more...

CHAPTER ONE

Two years later

HIS MAJESTY, KING GAETANO of the European country of Mosvakia, paced by the window of his private office as he awaited the arrival of his best friend and legal advisor, Dario Rossi.

Dario had phoned him to tell him that the investigation agency had finally found her, and Gaetano was eager to hear the details. Not because he was particularly interested in what his estranged wife might be doing or where she was living, he assured himself, but simply out of natural human curiosity.

Although there was nothing particularly natural about the predicament he had got himself into just over two years earlier, he conceded sardonically, his lean, darkly handsome face tense with scornful recollection. While suffering from temporary amnesia, Gaetano had managed to marry a woman he had known for barely six weeks, a woman whom he knew virtually nothing about. Gaetano, prior to that act of inexplicable insanity, had been a playboy prince, notorious for his affairs and dislike of stuffy conventions such as getting married and maintaining a royally respectable low profile. So, what the hell had come over him after that accident in the mountains?

Two years on, Gaetano was still struggling to answer that baffling question. And to underline the obvious mistake he had made in marrying the woman, his bride had deserted him at dizzying speed. Gaetano, the son of a mother who had abandoned him as a toddler, had little sympathy for lying, disloyal women who walked out on their responsibilities. That he should also have married the same sort of woman infuriated him and it only emphasised how unsuitable the wife he had chosen had been. Most particularly a woman who had told him she loved him only hours before running away from him when he had needed her the most.

Mosvakia was a small country on the Adriatic coast, which had been in meltdown for the first year of Gaetano’s return home. Vittorio had had leukaemia but instead of the long slow decline he had envisaged, Gaetano’s older brother had died very suddenly from a heart attack. There had been no time for the careful training and transfer of power that Vittorio had planned for his little brother, no time for final goodbyes either.


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