With: Christi Barth
When you’re an ordinary American woman who discovers that you’re really a freaking princess? Things get awkward. You get ripped away from your dream life in Manhattan, without being allowed to pack so much as a toothbrush. You discover you own the private plane that whisks you across the Atlantic. And a mere six hours later, you have to meet the brother that you never knew existed.
And that’s just the start of my funny, sexy romance The Princess Problem. Here’s a peek at Kelsey (in the yoga pants and too small tee she slept in on the plane) meeting her brother, the Crown Prince.
Kelsey took a deep breath and reminded herself she excelled at graphic design. That her clients called her intuitive. That her boss called her easy to work with. That she’d been voted most likely to make friends in a dystopian society in her high school yearbook. Prince Christian should be the one nervous about meeting her.
Except…he probably was because of that whole sticky layer of he and his family actively searching for her. For more than two decades he’d wanted his sister back.
Kelsey didn’t want anything. Aside from not humiliating herself. “Let’s do this.”
Elias led the way out of the plane and down the stairs. Kelsey kept her eyes glued to each step, refusing to give the universe any shot at mocking her by sending her tumbling into a heap at her brother’s feet. But when she hit the purple carpet runner on the ground, she looked up.
Christian was…well, gorgeous. Tall and broad-shouldered in a bright blue suit. Thick, blond hair topped off high cheekbones and a wide mouth. This man looked like a stand-in for at least four Disney princes.
Most noticeably, the unusual shade of his violet eyes was an exact match for her own.
He gave an identical sharp nod to the ones Elias kept popping off. “Your Highness.”
Having been schooled in the proper etiquette by her bodyguard prior to landing, she replied, “Your Highness,” and paired it with a curtsey that had to look just plain silly in her yoga pants.
An amused chuckle rolled out, as smooth as the Casamigos sipping tequila Mallory had splurged on to celebrate when Kelsey landed her job with Omni Creative. “That feels all wrong. Shall we start again?”
Oh, thank goodness. “Definitely.”
They both leaned in. Kelsey assumed it was for a hug. Christian, however, only leaned in from his shoulders to kiss her on both cheeks, European style. To do so, he grasped both of her elbows. So when she tried to go for a normal hug, she didn’t make it all the way and sort of rebounded off his chest with her boobs.
Christian let go with another chuckle. “There’s no way to make this less awkward, is there?”
Kelsey fought back the instinct to cross her arms over her chest. “Only in that it can’t get any worse.”
“That’s the spirit. Nowhere to go but up.” He brought his hands together and held them up to his face for several long, silent moments. But the staring he did was so loud and pointed Kelsey almost took a step back. “Apparently, I’ve a crap way of showing it, but I’ve been looking forward to this day for…well, for a long time.”
How on earth was she supposed to respond to that? Kelsey went with naked honesty. Begin as you mean to go on, right? “That’s more than a little disconcerting.”
“I imagine so.”
She stared over his shoulder for a second, distracted by a glorious vista of a jagged mountain range still tipped with snow on its highest peaks. “Whatever your expectations are, there’s a very good chance I won’t meet them. The idea of this life, of being royal, is completely foreign to me. The idea of having a whole second identity is beyond confusing.” Drawing herself up a little straighter, jutting her chin out just a bit, Kelsey finished with, “But I’m going to try.”
Another long silence. Uh…Elias had assured her that Christian spoke fluent English. Was he working so hard at coming up with the words in her language? Or coming up with something—anything to say to her?
He surged forward, throwing his arms around her and squeezing hard. It was a great hug. Kelsey swore she could feel the pent-up longing for his missing sister being released as they stood there, embracing in the light June breeze.
It was a much, much better start.
“Don’t worry about anyone’s expectations,” he said into her ear. “Because I never expected to see you again. So this is already more than enough.”