I’ve always been fascinated with the British royals. What little girl doesn’t want to grow up and be a princess? How hard could it be? True, you might have to give up your privacy, but there’s no denying the job includes some great benefits. All the gold crowns and sparkling tiaras a girl would ever want to wear. An unlimited budget for the latest fashions and gorgeous shoes. A Cinderella coach with liveried footmen to take you wherever you need to go. Life in a Castle, with servants ready to attend to your every need. And on your wedding day? The British royal family certainly knows how to put on a wedding.
Brides! Weddings! I love them! My day job as staff writer at a real American castle which hosts numerous weddings (nearly 200 last year) feeds my fix for royalty and romance. When I began daydreaming about a plot for a new book, my love for all things royal and weddings came into play. But it wasn’t until my daughter Abby and her husband moved to
a few years ago, that I really started thinking. Las Vegas , the wedding capital of the world.
Voila! The framework for a new story was born. Las Vegas
Want to know a secret? Though my new novel ROYAL SECRETS has an “official” release date of July 1, 2013, it’s available now! ROYAL SECRETS tells the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in
, and of Lily
Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed
in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides,
grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to
someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding
chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails,
Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer
interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of
disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding
Chapel and leaves Las Vegas
to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her
teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas , lured by Mimi to help run the chapel.
Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Las
City and the nonsensical world of
which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to . But nothing prepares Lily for the
royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that
threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever. Las Vegas
Sound interesting? Read on for the Prologue…
There’s a reason they call this town
my mother told me long ago when I questioned her about something I’d heard at
school that day. But when I asked about the secrets
part, Mimi had refused to explain. “You’re much too young to hear about such
things, Lily,” she said and left it at that. Sin City
I wandered away, a confused eight-year-old, my head filled with even more questions. How could
be full of sin
and secrets when it was filled with so much sunshine? Growing up in this town,
in the ornate, spacious villa behind Mimi’s Royal Wedding Chapel near the
center of the Strip, I saw the glitz and glamour. It shimmered and sparkled
like the beautiful brides in their wedding gowns gracing the aisles of the
chapel. Peeking around the pews, I saw their glowing faces, heard the vows
exchanged, witnessed the beginnings of so many happily-ever-afters. Las Vegas
And then I grew up.
It took a while—around the time Mimi’s third marriage, the one to Jack’s father, collapsed—for me to discover the truth.
is full of sin and secrets. Most of them
stay in Vegas, left behind to be cleaned up by maids and blackjack dealers who
sweep away the debris. Others get carried home like guilty luggage, busting up
marriages and businesses and causing bankruptcy. Las Vegas
I’m forty years old, and that naïve little girl I used to be disappeared long ago. She learned that happily ever after is merely an illusion and that sins and secrets can weigh just as heavy on your heart as our family’s heirloom tiara can weigh on your head. The dazzling crown, in the special display case behind bulletproof glass in the lobby of the Royal Wedding Chapel, gleams like the fortune it is worth. But the antique combs pinch and the diamond diadem is a burden. How my grandmother managed to keep the jewel-encrusted crown on her head when presented to the Queen is the stuff of which family legends are made. With my grandfather descended from British nobility and in distant line for the throne, the tiara is a priceless treasure, proof of our family’s heritage.
As far as I’m concerned, though, that tiara is exactly where it belongs: safely behind glass, viewed from a distance. It glitters and sparkles, but the pain isn’t worth it. Dare to wear it, as I did once, and—just like the secrets hidden in
—the pain and guilt will tear you down.
I’m lucky I managed to yank it off in time. Sin City
And I refuse to allow that tiara to ruin my daughter’s life the way it almost ruined mine.
Kathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including ROYAL SECRETS and the
James Bay series (FATTY PATTY, HOME FIRES, LOTTO LUCY and FOR I HAVE SINNED). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen's educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from . She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Central Michigan University Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
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