UPDATED: From the Release Day for His Mistress With Two Secrets, Book Two of the Sauveterre Siblings! Read the opening pages below.
So this happened last week:
Thank you so much for making His Mistress With Two Secrets #1 on all of Mills & Boon. I'm touched and delighted by how well the Sauveterres are being received. When I committed to a four book series, I could only hope that others would love the concept as much as I did. I'm really thrilled you're enjoying them.
Here's what some of the early readers are saying:
"...one you will want to read in one sitting... A fabulous story that should not be missed."
"Like the first book, His Mistress with Two Secrets captures your interest from page one... Rich with detail, dialogue, family dynamics and drama…this story is bound to keep you riveted."
His Mistress With Two Secrets tells the story of Henri, the eldest Sauveterre, twin of Ramon. All the stories stand alone, but if you like to read in order, you can click here to find out more about Book One, Pursued By The Desert Prince, which features Angelique, second to youngest, twin of Trella.
Here are the opening pages for His Mistress With Two Secrets, where Cinnia is shocked by more than the discovery she is pregnant with Henri's twins. Enjoy!
~ * ~
As she entered the clinic from the stairwell, Cinnia Whitley almost knocked the door into a woman standing inside. Cinnia murmured a distracted apology, thinking she might have seen her before, but not here. She would remember someone so tall and stiff and alert standing in that particular place.
Wait. Was she a guard? It was an odd place to hover. Maybe that’s why she seemed so familiar. After spending two years with sober-faced watchmen dogging her movements, perhaps it wasn’t the face she recognized so much as the attitude.
Because, if the woman was merely a relative waiting on a patient, there was a very comfortable lounge at the front of the clinic. The back entrance was for people like Cinnia, the paranoid ones who crept in through the building’s underground car park in hopes of keeping her visit to this prenatal specialist strictly confidential.
Cinnia didn’t bother speculating who the celebrity patient could be. She had bigger fish to fry. She was here for a scan to confirm suspicions on why she was expanding so quickly.
No, she kept thinking, absolutely refusing to entertain the most likely reason. She had a lot of work to get through in the next twenty-two weeks and had struggled to find time for another morning off for this test. If the doctor’s suspicions were correct, her entire future would have to be recalibrated.
Twins? Really? No. Multiple births weren’t even hereditary when they were identical and she thought only mothers passed along the fraternal trait. A father with an identical brother and two younger, identical twin sisters couldn’t pass that to his offspring.
Henri did whatever he wanted. She knew that much.
She did not miss that arrogance, or him, or the life he led with guards like that one dogging his every step, she assured herself with another flick of a glance at the woman by the door.
So why did she spend her mornings combing through online gossip pages, reading every scrap she could find about him? Reading that Henri was back to his old ways of dating and dropping was pure self-destruction, but at least there wasn’t much written about that. His twin, Ramon, was stealing all the thunder, still racing and winning while doubling down with his own passionate exploits through a rotation of women who were loved and left.
The Sauveterres were a private lot, despite their domination of the media, but in her time with Henri, Cinnia had noticed that Ramon always seemed to make a splash in the papers when something was going on with the family, like he was deliberately pulling the attention.
Her breakup with Henri was two months ago. Old news by now. It must be Angelique he was trying to cover for.
The brothers were insanely protective of their younger sisters, which was understandable given Trella’s kidnapping when she was a child. Angelique was the only one seen in public these days and was becoming quite notorious, what with her affair with the Prince of Zhamair—or rather both him and the Prince of Elazar, if the online rags were to be believed.
Cinnia frowned, still thinking there was something about the photo of Angelique with the Prince of Elazar that wasn’t right. Impossibly, she had thought it was actually Trella in that photo, but Trella was a recluse. Cinnia had only met her in person a couple of times.
The nurse was on the phone and finally noticed her. Cinnia waved a greeting and tried to smile past her jumbled thoughts. Tried not to think of Henri and twins. It was too big and scary to absorb unless she was forced to.
The nurse indicated to a clerk that Cinnia was here. The clerk nodded and turned to the cabinet to pick out her file.
Cinnia loosened her scarf and started to unbutton her coat, pleased to be warm and dry when it was such a tremendously miserable day, even by London’s late February standards.
Behind her, a door to an exam room opened, startling her into stepping out of the way and turning.
“Oh. Excuse me,” the woman said.
“My fault—” Cinnia began, then blurted, “Oh, my God!” as she recognized that model-like physique and those aristocratic features. “I was just thinking about you!”
“Cinnia!” Angelique beamed and they went in for a hug like long-lost sisters, affection squeezing Cinnia’s arms tight around the other woman, her excitement completely overriding what should have been way more caution on her part.
The reality of Cinnia’s situation hit belatedly and continued to strike in successive slaps over the next few seconds.
Cinnia felt Henri’s sister stiffen as she came up against Cinnia’s baby bump beneath the layers of her clothes.
Don’t tell him, Cinnia thought with panic.
They drew back. Cinnia knew she wore a look of horror, which was awful when she was actually happy about the baby, happy to see—
“Oh, my God,” Cinnia whispered. “I thought you were your sister.”
Cinnia had always been able to tell the twins apart quite easily. It had been surprise and a quick glance and an even quicker assumption that had made her mistake Trella for Angelique. Trella never left the compound in Spain without one of her siblings accompanying her.
Did that mean Henri was here? Cinnia looked around with alarm, only seeing the guard.
Of course—that’s why the guard seemed familiar. She’d seen her at Sus Brazos, the Sauveterre family home in Spain. This was Trella, even though there was nothing distinct to tell the women apart. Cinnia just knew by something in their demeanor. Angelique had that hint of reserve that Henri wore, while Trella had the radiance of warmth that Ramon projected.
Then it hit that not only was it odd for Trella to be out in public, with no family in sight, but she was also in a prenatal clinic.
“Oh. My. God.”
What was the normally cloistered Sauveterre twin doing in London? Holding a bottle of prenatal vitamins and looking guilty as hell? How did a woman who lived like a nun and had female guards get herself pregnant? Henri was going to lose his mind!
Trella tucked the bottle behind her back and opened her mouth, but only a weak “Um” came out.
Cinnia’s eyes were widening to the point they stung. She was pretty sure they were going to fall right out of her head.
She watched Trella’s gaze narrow as the full scope of where they were and why penetrated on her side. Cinnia’s blood pressure had been stable so far, but her limbs began to tingle and her head went so hot she felt like her hair was on fire. She was pretty sure whatever breaths she was managing to draw lost all their oxygen before hitting her lungs.
“Are you…okay?” Cinnia asked hesitantly. She didn’t know exactly what Trella had been through when she had been kidnapped, but she knew it had left her afraid of men for a long time. Afraid of a lot of things.
Trella, being an enormously resilient and self-deprecating person, let out a choke of hysterical laughter and rolled her eyes. It was a “look where I am,” and her shrug conveyed that she was dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, but not one caused by something traumatic.
“How about you?” she challenged with wry cheer, then sobered. She frowned at Cinnia’s middle. “Is it…?” She glanced around.
Henri’s. That’s what she was asking.
Cinnia’s eyes teared up. Please don’t tell him, she silently pleaded.
This was part sitcom, part Greek tragedy. Her own hysterical laugh pressed for escape, but her tight throat wouldn’t release it.
Trella straightened her spine so she was that little bit taller than Cinnia. She gave her wavy dark hair a toss.
“We’ll pretend this didn’t happen.” She was a stunning woman in her midtwenties, but she looked nine years old, hiding stolen candy and bravely pretending it wasn’t in her red-hot hand.
This was the sister Henri had told Cinnia had existed in his childhood, the brat who had driven him crazy getting herself into trouble, always needing big brother to step in and fix it.
Cinnia wanted to hug her again. She was so proud of Trella, even if conquering her past had led to a complicated future.
And she desperately wanted to share this moment with Henri, instinctively knowing that after the shock, this sign of healing in Trella would be a much-needed bright spot.
Or not. Worrying about any Sauveterre would sit heavily on him. Taking care of his mother and sisters was as much responsibility as he was willing to shoulder. That’s why he’d drawn such a hard line against marrying and procreating.
A wistful sigh filled her, but she held it in. Ironic that she wanted to be there for him as he dealt with his sister’s news knowing full well he would lose his mind once he learned Cinnia was carrying his child.
I told you from the beginning I would never marry you.
Her heart clenched afresh, abraded and stung. Scorned.
“Ms. Whitley,” the nurse said behind her. “I can take you, now.”
“It’s really good to see you,” Cinnia said to Trella, holding out her arms for another quick hug. “I’ve missed all of you.”
Most of Cinnia’s interactions with Henri’s family had been over the tablet, but she felt the loss of connection to the Sauveterre clan quite deeply.
“I would ask you to give my regards to everyone, but…” Cinnia trailed off.
Trella’s arms were firm and strong around her. She pulled away slowly, tilting her head so they were eye-to-eye. Would her baby have those Sauveterre eyes, Cinnia wondered with a pang? Babies?
“You and I can stay in touch now,” Trella said with a conspiratorial twitch at the corners of her mouth. Her expression sobered to concern. “Can I call you? I’d like to know why…”
Cinnia knew that keeping the pregnancy from Henri was a losing battle. She just wanted a plan in place before he found out so he wouldn’t feel trapped. Trella was far too close to her siblings to keep her own pregnancy a secret from them for long. Once she spilled those beans, Cinnia’s condition would be quick to follow.
But if she could buy a little time to get her ducks in a row, maybe find out exactly how many babies she was actually having…
She nodded. “If you’re still in London at the end of the week, why don’t we have dinner?”
~ * ~
Want to know what happens next? His Mistress With Two Secrets is available now. Grab your copy here:
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Have a great weekend. I'm writing this ahead so I can take a few days off myself.