The Not-So-Perfect Princess

Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC

Formats: eBook, print 

ASIN: B07QYCT93L

ISBN: 978-1944777302

 

Duty requires her to marry—but she’s having second thoughts.

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The Not-So-Perfect Princess


Duty requires her to marry—but she’s having second thoughts.

Princess Julianna dreams of marrying for love, but no one cares what she wants. The future of her kingdom—and countrywomen—depends on her arranged marriage. Too bad, her intended’s brother is the one who captures her interest with his good looks and sailing skills. She’ll just have to push aside her attraction and do what’s right for everyone else, if not herself…

Prince Alejandro wants nothing more than to relinquish his title. He can’t wait for his older brother to marry and have a child. That is, until he meets the beautiful princess destined to be his country’s future queen. Julianna holds the key to his freedom, yet he recognizes a kindred spirit—someone trapped by the demands of being royalty—and finds her utterly irresistible.

Knowing the royal wedding must occur for the sake of their countries doesn’t stop them from wanting to be together. A happy ending could be theirs if they are willing to accept the consequences of following their hearts. Will duty or love reign supreme?

Read an Excerpt


“Welcome to La Isla de la Aurora, Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Brandt and Your Royal Highness Princess Julianna.” An older man in a gray suit bowed. “I am Ortiz. Prince Enrique sends his regrets for not meeting you himself, but he is attending to important state business.”

“We understand." Brandt might not be the typical statesman, but no one could fault his friendliness. “State business comes first.”

A floral scent lingered in the air, no doubt from all the potted plants and flowering vines at the palace. She definitely wasn’t in Aliestle any longer, but paradise?

Perhaps. She would have to wait and see.

“Thank you, sir.” Ortiz sounded grateful. “I am in charge of the palace and at your service. Whatever you need, I’ll see you have it.”

Jules glanced at Brandt, whose grin resembled the Cheshire Cat’s. She would make sure he didn’t take advantage of the generous offer of hospitality.

“The palace grounds are lovely, Ortiz,” she said. “Very inviting with so many colorful flowers and plants.”

“I am happy you like it, ma’am. Prince Enrique takes a personal interest in the palace gardens. I’m sure he’ll give you a tour.”

“I would enjoy that.”

Ortiz’s smile showed off his tanned face. “Please allow me to show you and your party inside.”

Klaus nodded. Her bodyguard, in his fifties with a crew cut and a gun hidden under his tailored suit jacket, had protected her for as long as she could remember. She was so used to his presence she barely noticed he was around unless he called attention to himself.

“Lead the way, Ortiz,” she said when her brother appeared preoccupied by a maid cleaning a nearby balcony.

As they walked, Ortiz provided a brief history lesson about the island. She had no idea the royal family had been the sole rulers on the island. No doubt the continuous line of succession had impressed her father who would want to ensure a long reign for his grandchild and the heirs who followed.

“Prince Enrique has done so much for the island,” Ortiz said. “His work ethic is second to none. A finer successor to King Dario cannot be found, ma’am.”

Jules wished she knew whether the compliments were truthful or propaganda. Guess she would find out soon enough. “I’m looking forward to meeting Prince Enrique.”

Ortiz beamed. “He said the same thing about you at lunchtime, ma’am.”

A third good sign? Jules hoped so.

As they reached the entrance, two arched wooden doors parted as if by magic. Once the heavy doors were opened, she noticed the two uniformed attendants holding them.

A mix of anticipation and apprehension ran through Jules. If all went well—and she hoped it did—this palace would be her new home, where she would live with her husband and raise their children. She fought the urge to cross her fingers.

Not cursed. Not cursed. Not cursed.

With a deep breath, Jules crossed the threshold. The others followed.

A thirty-foot ceiling gave the large marble-tiled foyer an open and airy feel. A mix of modern and classical artwork hung on the walls. A statue of a woman sitting in the middle captured her attention. “What an amazing sculpture.”

“That is Eos, one of the Greek’s second-generation Titan gods,” Ortiz explained. “We are more partial to the Latin name, Aurora. Whichever language you prefer, she’ll always be the Goddess of the Dawn.”

“Beautiful,” Brandt agreed. “Eos had a strong desire for handsome young men. If she looked anything like this statue, I’m sure she had no trouble finding willing lovers.”

“Close the doors!” a male voice shouted. “Now.”

The attendants pushed the heavy doors. Grunts sounded. Muscles strained.

“Hurry,” the voice urged.

The people behind Jules rushed into the foyer so the doors could be shut. The momentum pushed her forward.

As a shirtless man wearing shorts ran toward the doors, something black darted across the floor.

Yvette screamed. “A rat, Your Highnesses.”

“There are no rats in the palace!” Ortiz yelled.

The ball of black fur darted between Jules’s legs. Startled, she stumbled face-first.

“Catch her!” Klaus yelled.

Too late. Even though she was the one falling, the floor rose to meet Jules.

She stopped abruptly. Not against the floor.

Strong arms held Jules. Her face pressed against a solid, bare chest. Her cheek rested against warm skin and dark hair. The sound of a heartbeat filled her ears. His scent tickled her nose.

Whoever this was, he smelled good. No fancy cologne. Only soap and salty ocean air.

She wanted another sniff.

Ortiz shrieked. “Your Highnesses. Are either of you hurt?”

Highnesses? The title meant the man must be a prince. Her father had only spoken of the crown prince. No brothers had been mentioned. Oh, if this were Enrique