Stealing Princes

Stealing PrincesThis is the second book in the internationally successful Calypso Chronicles series. Calypso begins the term facing a dilemma: who does she fancy? Freddie (the prince) or Billy (the fit older boy who rescued her from a dog attack) – or both!

While text-flirting with them over the summer break was fun, she knows she has to choose and decides to make the big decision before the La Fiesta Ball. It’s the first ball her parents have allowed her to attend, and the pressure is on to find the perfect partner. Billy may be older and have the hero-persona working for him, but Freddie is the one who sets her pulse racing.

Unfortunately, Freddie reveals he won’t be attending due to a much grander fabulous ball at the palace with all the other European royals – a more or less Annual-Euro-Royal-Bash. What can Calypso do? And this is on top of all the other things she has to contend with: school, friends, and sharing a room with the vile Honey O’Hare…

American Library Association
Set in a fictional Eton College where Princes William and Harry attended & the nearby St Mary’s Ascot school attended by Princess Caroline of Monaco and which the authors daughter attended, The Pulling Princes series provides a, “deliciously naughty insider’s guide to the midnight feasts, incredibly close friendships & romances of entitled toffs, British aristocratic & royal teenagers.”
Although entirely fictional, the books accurate portrayal of the hitherto closed world of Royal teens, created feverish speculation and comparisons to actual royals and Aristocratic teens – specifically Prince William and Prince Harry – were inevitable. After a heated bidding war, Bloomsbury won the USA rights to the series at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2004.
The books are narrated from the perspective of a fish out of water American, Calypso Kelly who goes from teased outsider –  enduring attacks on her by the British tabloids, teasing by the toffs and taunts from the Horrible Hon.s’ – before she eventually beats them at their own game and manages to not only charm all the girls but pull the Prince himself!

The Agony and the Text-acy of Flirt-texting Two Boys At Once!

I was standing in the en garde line, wired to the electrical recording device which would register hits (should I be lucky enough to get any). I saluted my opponent casually and focused. Well, I focused as best as a girl can when she’s about to fence one of the fittest boys in all the word.

Eades is the grandest of grand boys’ schools in England and they know it. Royalty, the good, the great and the madly wealthy of the world all send their sons to Eades to be educated in the art of effortless charm and entitlement. I suppose they teach them hard sums, Latin, and a bit of Greek too but then so do other schools. It’s the effortless charm and sense of entitlement bit that sets them apart and the fact that each and every Eades boy is distressingly fit. I suspect that their entrance exam includes a fitness test.

Billy Pyke, captain of the Eades sabre team, and the boy I was about to fence, isn’t a bit grand, though. Well, his family is ridiculously rich and he speaks in the grand way all Eades boys do but he’s actually from the East End of London. His father runs the country’s largest limo sale and hire business, but being ridiculously rich doesn’t necessarily make you grand. In fact, it can work against you and earn you the term nouveau which is worse than being a pleb. Most boys from Eades can point to their name in Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage or, if European, the Amanach De Gotha. At the very least your people’s money has to go back hundreds of generations for it to be respectable in the high-stakes world of English boarding schools. Billy’s family money only goes back one.

‘Better to be as poor as a church mouse, than rich and common,’ as they say here. Which is especially tragic for me because my parents aren’t titled and they aren’t rich, even new-money rich. They struggle to send me to Saint Augustine’s because they are obsessed with giving me the best education money can buy, which according to my mum isn’t available in LA. Also she’s English and went to Saint Augustine’s, and she thought it was ‘super’.

Apart from the new-money thing, Billy is distressingly fit and cool, and tall, blond, blue-eyed and dashing. And did I mention older? He’s seventeen. Older is always a plus. So clearly it was pretty tricky to focus the mind on combat, knowing of the gorgeousness that lurked beneath the tight white fencing gear and the electrically conductive metal mesh mask he was encased in.

The fencing master called ‘Play,’ and I advanced swiftly down the piste, preparing for an attack. Usually boys are a bit hesitant to hit girls on the chest. When I say hesitant, I’m speaking in nano-milliseconds. Obviously they still hit you, and just as hard! Nonetheless, their hesitation often gives a girl an advantage, because that’s all you need in sabre to grab the point.

Billy was renowned for not being in the least bit hesitant when it came to hitting girls. Actually, he was the most aggressive fencer I’ve had the privilege to be rinsed by. Sabre is all about speed and concentration and the attacker always has priority, as long as the opponent’s target (anywhere above the leg) is continually threatened. I won my first point and after that I made sure that Billy’s target area was continually threatened for the rest of the bout.

If I say so myself, I was unbelievable. My mother, Sarah, often says that false modestly is artless, so all modesty aside, my footwork was absurdly faultless. Honestly, I was shocked by my own talent as each lunge sent the electrical recorder lights flashing and buzzing. I was a veritable Olympian. I was indestructible and what’s more, I didn’t even feel the few hits Billy did manage. And in sabre that is something because it’s not like the graceful fencing you’ve probably seen in the Zorro films or the fencing you see on ads for hair products. It’s brutal and you get bruised and sore and seriously sweaty.

At the end of the bout, I triumphantly tore off my mask but instead of the usual spray of sweat and mucky hair, my unruly blond mane came out like . . . well like, hair-commercial hair. Incroyable, as my French teacher would say.

The applause was deafening as a victorious V was chalked on to the board, but all I cared about as I strode towards Billy to shake his hand was snogging him. Not that I would be allowed to obviously. Single-sex boarding schools like to keep inter-gender activities strictly lips-off. ‘There must always be a balloon distance between boys and girls,’ as Sister Constance likes to chant.

Time moved into slow motion as I stretched out my hand to shake his. I watched his hand begin to remove his mask, tugging the chin guard upwards, revealing inch by inch, not the features of Billy, but Freddie, as in HRH – you know Prince Freddie, heir to the British throne.

‘You have to put your seat belt on now,’ the flight attendant warned as she woke me. ‘We’ll be landing at Heathrow in a moment.’

OK, it was only a dream, but it was kind of spooky, actually, because all summer I’d been text-flirting with Freddie and Billy. I know it sounds bad but you can’t blame me. We are talking about two wildly fit boys here even by Eades standards and after taking so long to pull a single boy (fourteen years) I now had two boys text-flirting me. What girl is going to resist that? How was I ever going to choose between Freddie heir to the British throne and Billy, captain of the Eades sabre team who had rescued me from the jaws of a girl-eating attack dog before we broke up for summer?

My two best friends, Georgina and Star, have both found the text relationships of my summer hugely entertaining. I forwarded them every text, even though a part of me wanted to keep some of them a secret all to myself. Like the one where Freddie said his parents wanted to meet me.

Me, Calypso Kelly, a complete nobody from America! No title, no money – not even new money – and yet the King and Queen of the United Kingdom and all its territories wanted to meet me. I could have swooned with the excitement of it all, only then he went on to say how of course he’d never put me through that, because apparently it would mean spending a weekend at Bardington with his gran’s Labradors who are elderly and yet quite nippy.

I sent a text back telling him that I wouldn’t mind being nipped to bits by royal Labradors. I was madly restrained in fact – deleting the bit about how I’d be prepared to be mauled by them if it meant staying a weekend in one of his family’s castles.

Freddie sent back a text saying:

ha, ha, ha! x freds

You see, my fear of dogs is legendary at Eades ever since news got out about my attempted escape from school to go clubbing one night last term. I was chased up a tree by one of the school’s attack dogs. That’s how I first became friendly with Billy. He had helped me down while the girl-eating dog happily licked his hand.

Freddie knows all about my shameful stuck-up-a-tree experience, though he doesn’t know about the wobbly feeling I felt in my tummy as Billy helped me down and held me in his arms. And he definitely doesn’t know I’ve been text-flirting Billy all summer.

I’d already pulled Freddie, but everything between us got complicated because Honey O’Hare, the most toxic psycho toff ever, sold a camera-phone snap of us kissing in the bushes to the tabloids. It all ended in a bit of a messy misunderstanding which is why I got mixed up and started flirt-texting Billy.

Only now Billy’s texts are getting progressively steamier and I know I can’t go on text-flirting two boys from the same school without it all blowing up in my face. So while my furious text-flirting with two boys may have made my holidays in LA and the prospect of returning to Saint Augustine’s exciting, I was going to have to sort my feelings out by the end of the week when I faced them both on the fencing piste. It was that or quelle horreur risk having no boy texting me at all! Just like the old days.

Even as my taxi dropped me at school the thrill of having two fit Eades boys texting me was beginning to feel like a pressure more than a flattering thrill. And guess what? Mental telepathy really does work because no sooner did this thought flash through my mind than my text alert sounded:

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOUR NAVEL PIERCING. X FREDDIE

I texted him back immediately.

CAN’T WAIT TO RINSE YOU AT SABRE. X CALYPSO

I didn’t really feel like confessing that I’d been forced by my parents, Sarah and Bob, to remove my navel ring. I quite fancied the idea of Freddie thinking of me as this madly cool wild-child American girl who did her own thing and made her own rules. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

“Bridget Jones for the early teen set.”- WASHINGTON POST USA

“Budding Anglophiles ….will soak up the flood of upper-class British culture in this book. Fans of Cecily von Ziegesar’s “Gossip Girl” series and Zoey Dean’s “A-List” series (both Little, Brown) should enjoy it”.– WASHINGTON COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SERVICES

“Give this to fans of Princess Mia and Georgia Nicholson as well as to readers of O’Connell’s previous Pulling Princes” (2004). BOOKLIST, USA

“It is sure to have fans of the previous novels rolling on the floor laughing their royal crowns off.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, USA

“Outrageously funny and a serious contender for the teen chick-lit throne.” — THE BOOKSELLER on Pulling Princes.

“Lightening-fast comic twists.” Elle

“A spirited page turner that is high on humour.” Company

“A breezy, escapist, and relatively chaste romance for fans of the Gossip Girl books and other similar, popular fiction series.” – Gillian Engberg Gillian Booklist

“Both a fast-paced comedy of errors and a heartfelt romance, Tyne O’Connell’s classic novel proves that when it comes to winning someone else’s heart the first step is being true to your own…”  Gillian Engberg Booklist

“….Verdict: Funny exposé of It-girlschool life.” – Elle Girl UK

“A right royal read!” – Cosmo Girl UK

“Bridget Jones for the early teen set.” – Washington Post USA

“Budding Anglophiles ….will soak up the flood of upper-class British culture  in this book” – WASHINGTON COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SERVICES

“Outrageously funny and a serious contender for the teen chick-lit throne.” – Claudia Mody, THE BOOKSELLER

“A tale of celebrity, catastrophe & ‘The Rules’ – Manhatten Style.”- Publishing News

“Wickedly Funny” – Publishing News

“Frothy and fast-paced” Publishers Weekly

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