An American, made a Baron for all he did for the country,
Batholomew Tanner had helped found an oil company that the
country and the royal family's wealth was built on. Now his
great-great-granddaughter owns 20 percent of the very
lifeblood of the House of Yurkovich and Volyrus. The only
way to get that percentage back is by marriage.
Prince Demyan Zaretsky, adopted son of the King and Queen
of Volyarus, will do what ever he has to do for his family
and his small island country. He becomes a PRINCE OF
SECRETS disguised as a geek he ruthlessly sets out to do
what he must.
Chanel Tanner has no way of knowing that the man before her
will cause such upheaval in her life and is ill prepared
for his attention. She has spent her life believing she is
a disappointment to her mother and stepfather; a scientist
without any redeeming social graces. And Demyan is gorgeous
and charming. So what could he possibly want with her? Very
quickly they are both caught up with each other ... but
which of them did the actual catching?
PRINCE OF SECRETS is a swift paced, more deeply emotional
romance than expected. If the reader just skims this story
it is sweet and expected. But if you really get into the
characters, as I believe the author intended, and dig into
the uncertainties that both Demyan and Chanel carry you
will find something very special. Demyan refuses to believe
he feels anything other than his duty but to his surprise
she quickly becomes very important to him, not at all as he
expected. Chanel believes in love and that is the only
reason she agrees to marry him. I enjoyed watching Chanel
make the prince face a few truths about himself as well as
his feelings toward his adopted family, his biological
parents and most of all for his new wife. I really got a
kick out of Queen Oxana's little sneaky moves to bring
happiness for all her children. This book is the second
His Royal Decree books with One Night Heir the first. It
isn't necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one
but you will want to grab it.
Prince Demyan Zaretsky does whatever it takes to protect his
country. So seducing Chanel Tanner will be easy. And
marriage? An unfortunate side effect of duty. She
unwittingly holds the economic stability of Volyarus in her
hands...and he must secure it.
With his royal identity and intent disguised, Demyan sets
about a ruthless seduction designed to make Chanle lose her
mind with ecstasy. But when he discovers she is a virgin, he
uncovers something in himself—a conscience. Now his
plan takes a shocking turn—one this dark–hearted
prince had never anticipated!
"What am I looking at?" Demyan asked his uncle, the King
Spread before him on the behemoth antique executive desk
brought over with the first Hetman to be made Volyarussian
king was a series of photos. All were of a rather ordinary
woman with untamed curly red hair. Her one arresting feature
was storm cloud grey eyes that revealed more emotion in each
picture than he would allow himself to show in an entire
Fedir frowned at the pictures for several seconds before
meeting Demyan's matching espresso dark gaze.
Those who mistook Demyan for Fedir's biological son
could be forgiven, the resemblance was that strong. But
Demyan was the king's nephew and while he'd been raised in
the palace as the "spare heir to the throne", three years
older than his future king, he'd never once gotten it
confused in his own mind.
Fedir cleared his throat as if the words he needed to
utter were unpalatable to him. "That is Chanel Tanner."
"Tanner?" Demyan asked, the coincidence not lost on him.
The name was common enough, in the United States anyway.
There was no immediate reason for Demyan to assume she was
related to Bartholomew Tanner, one of the original partners
in Tanner Yurkovich.
Except the portrait of the Texas wildcatter hanging in
the west hall of the palace bore a striking resemblance to
the woman in the pictures. They shared the same curly red
hair (though Bartholomew had worn it shorter), high forehead
and angular jaw (though hers was more pleasingly feminine).
Her lips, unadorned by color or gloss, were a soft pink
and bow–shaped. Bartholomew's were lost beneath the
handlebar mustache he sported in the painting. While his
eyes sparkled with life, hers were filled with seriousness
and unexpected shadows.
Bartholomew Tanner had helped to found the company on
which the current wealth of both Volyarus and the Yurkovich
family empire had been built upon. At one time, he had owned
a significant share in it as well.
"She looks like Baron Tanner." The oilman had been
bequeathed a title for his help in locating oil reserves and
other mineral deposits on Volyarus by King Fedir's
Fedir nodded. "She's his
great–great–granddaughter and the last of his
Relaxing back in his chair, Demyan cocked his brow in
interest, but waited for the king to continue rather than
asking any questions.
"Her step–father, Perry Saltzman, approached our
office in Seattle about a job for his son." Another frown,
which was unusual for the king, who was no more prone to
emotional displays than Demyan. "Apparently, the boy is
close to graduating university with honors in business."
"Why tell me? Maks is the glad hander on stuff like
this." His cousin was also adroit at turning down requests
without causing diplomatic upset.
Demyan was not so patient. There were benefits to not
being raised a Crown Prince.
"He is on his honeymoon." Fedir's words were true, but
Demyan sensed there was more to it.
Otherwise this could have waited. "He'll be back in a
couple of weeks."
And if Mr. Saltzman was looking for a job for his son,
why were there pictures of his stepdaughter all over the
"I don't want Maks to know about this."
"He will not agree to what needs to be done." Fedir ran
his fingers through hair every bit as dark as Demyan's, no
strands of grey in sight. "You know my son. He can be
For the first time in a very long while, Demyan had to
admit, "You've lost me."
There was very little his cousin would not do for the
country of his birth. He'd given up the woman he wanted
rather than marry with little hope for an heir.
Fedir stacked the pictures together, leaving a candid
shot on top that showed Chanel smiling. "In 1952, when Bart
Saltzman agreed to help my grandfather find oil on or around
the Volyarussian islands, he accepted a twenty percent share
in the company in exchange for his efforts and provision of
expertise, a fully trained crew and all the drilling
"I am aware." All Volyarussian children were taught
How Volyarus had been founded by one of Ukraine's last
Hetman, who had purchased the chain of uninhabited and most
believed uninhabitable islands with his own personal wealth
from Canada. He and a group of peasants and nobles had
founded Volyarus, literally meaning free from Russia,
because they'd believed it was only a matter of time before
Ukraine fell under Russian rule completely.
They had been right. Ukraine was its own country again,
but more people spoke Russian there than their native
tongue. They had spent too many years under the thumb of the
Hetman Maksim Ivan Yurkovich, the First had poured his
wealth into the country and become its de facto monarch. By
the time his son was crowned King of Volyarus, the House of
Yurkovich's monarchy was firmly in place.
However the decades that followed were not all good ones
for the small country and the wealth of its people had begun
to decline, until even the Royal House was feeling the
Enter wildcatter and shrewd businessman Bartholomew
"He died still owning those shares." Fedir's frown had
turned to an all–out scowl.
Shock coursed through Demyan. "No."
"Oh, yes." King Fedir rose and paced the room, only to
stop in front of the large plate glass window with a view of
the capitol city. "The original plan was for his daughter to
marry my grandfather's youngest son."
"Great Uncle Chekov?"
"But..." Demyan let his voice trail off, nothing really
Duke Chekov had been a bachelor, but it wasn't because
Tanner's daughter broke his heart. The man had been gay and
lived out his years overseeing most of mining interests with
a valet that was a lot more than a servant.
In the 1950s, that had been his only option for
Times had changed, but some things remained static. Duty
to family and country was one of them.
King Fedir shrugged. "It did not matter. The match was
"But they never married."
"She eloped with one of the oilmen."
That would have been high scandal in the 50s.
"But I thought Baron Tanner left the shares to the
people of Volyarus."
"It was a pretty fabrication created by my grandfather."
"The earnings on those twenty–percent of shares
has been used to build roads, fund schools...damn."
"Exactly. To repay the funds with interest to Chanel
Tanner would seriously jeopardize our country's financial
stability in the best of times."
And the current economic climes would never be described
"She has no idea of her legacy, does she?" If she did,
Perry Saltzman wouldn't bother to ask for a job for his son,
he'd be suing Volyarus for hundreds of millions. One of the
few countries in the world that did not operate in any sort
of deficit, that kind of payout could literally break the
"What's the plan?"
"How will that help?" Whoever she married could make the
same claims on their country's resources.
"There was one caveat in Bartholomew's will. If any
issue of his ever married into the Volyarussian royal
family, his twenty percent would revert to the people less a
sufficient annual income to provide for his heir's
"That doesn't make any sense."
"It does if you know the rest of the story."
"What is it?"
"Tanner's daughter ended up jilted by her lover, who was
already married, making their own hasty ceremony null."
"So, she still could have married Prince Chekov."
"She was pregnant with another man's child; she'd caused
a well–publicized scandal. He categorically refused."
"Tanner thought he would change Uncle Chekov's mind?"
"Tanner thought her son might grow up to marry into our
family and link the Tanner name with the Royal House of
Yurkovich for all time."
"It already was, by business."
"That wasn't good enough." King Fedir sighed. "He wanted
a family connection with his name in–tact if
"Family was important to him."
"Yes. He never spoke to his daughter again, but he
provided for her financially until she remarried with only
"Her son keep the Tanner name." It made sense.
"And he presumably had a son."
"Chanel's father, but you said she was the only living
Tanner of Bart's line."
"She is. Both her grandfather and father died from
dangerous chemical inhalation after a lab accident."
"They were scientists?"
"Chemists, just like Chanel. Although they worked on
their own grants. She's a research assistant."
The woman with the wild red hair in the pictures was a
"And no one in the family was aware of their claim to
"No. He meant to leave them to the people of Volyarus.
He told my grandfather, that was his intention."
"But he didn't do it."
"He was a wildcatter. It's a dangerous profession. He
died when his grandson was still a young boy."
"And my grandfather provided for the education expense
of every child in that line since."
"There haven't been that many."
"Yes. The full ride and living expenses scholarship she
received is apparently what gave Percy Saltzman the idea to
approach Yurkovich Tanner and trade on a connection more
than half a century old."
"What do you want me to do? Find her a Volyarussian
"He has to be from the Yurkovich line."
"Your son is already married."
"You are not."
Neither was Demyan's younger brother, but he doubted
Fedir considered that fact important. Demyan was the one who
had been raised as "spare to the throne" almost a son to the
Monarch. "You want me to marry her."
"For the good of Volyarus, yes. It need not be a
permanent marriage. The will makes no stipulations on that
Demyan did not reply immediately. For the first time in
more years than he could remember, his mind was blank with
"Think, Demyan. You and I both know the healthy economy
of Volyarus sits on a precarious edge, just like the rest of
the world. The calamity that would befall us were we to be
forced to distribute the funds to Miss Tanner would be
"You are being melodramatic. There's no guarantee Maksim
the First's duplicity would ever be discovered."
"It's only a matter of time, particularly with a man
like Perry Saltzman in the picture. His kind can sniff out
wealth and connections with the efficiency of a ferret."
"So, we deny the claim. Our court resources far exceed
this young woman's."
"I think not. There are three countries that would be
very happy to lay claim to Volyarus as a territory and the
United States is one of them."
"You believe they would use the unclaimed shares as a
way to get their hands on a part of Volyarus."
Why not indeed. King Fedir would and come to it, Demyan
wouldn't hesitate to exploit such a politically expedient
turn of events himself.
"So, I marry her, gain control of the shares and dump
her?" he asked, more to clarify what his uncle was thinking
than to enumerate his own plans.
He would marry one day. Why not the heir to Bartholomew
Tanner? If she was as much a friend to Volyarus as her
grandfather had been, they might well make an acceptable
"If she turns out to be anything like her grasping
step–father, yes," Fedir answered. "On the other hand,
she may well be someone you could comfortably live with."
The king didn't look like he believed his own words.
Frankly, Demyan wasn't sure he did either, but his
future was clear. His duty to his country and
well–being of his family left only one course of
action open to him.