Becoming the Prince's Wife (Harlequin Romance Series #4427)

Becoming the Prince's Wife (Harlequin Romance Series #4427)

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by Rebecca Winters

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A forbidden love…with a prince! 

Attorney Carolena Baretti keeps her cards close to her chest. But when a chance encounter with the handsome prince ignites a fiery attraction, Carolena finds that he may just be the one man she can trust…. 

Crown prince Valentino finds himself increasingly distracted from his duty by commoner Carolena

…  See more details below


A forbidden love…with a prince! 

Attorney Carolena Baretti keeps her cards close to her chest. But when a chance encounter with the handsome prince ignites a fiery attraction, Carolena finds that he may just be the one man she can trust…. 

Crown prince Valentino finds himself increasingly distracted from his duty by commoner Carolena. But Valentino is playing with fire. To be with Carolena he would have to sacrifice everything—including his right to the throne…. 

Princes of Europe 

Torn between love and royal obligation…

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Princes of Europe
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As Carolena Baretti stepped out of the limousine, she could see her best friend, Abby, climbing the stairs of the royal jet. At the top she turned. "Oh, good! You're here!" she called to her, but was struggling to keep her baby from squirming out of her arms.

At eight months of age, little black-haired Prince Maximilliano, the image of his father, Crown Prince Vincenzo Di Laurentis of Arancia, was becoming big Max, fascinated by sights and sounds. Since he was teething, Carolena had brought him various colored toys in the shape of donuts to bite on. She'd give them to him after they'd boarded the jet for the flight to Gemelli.

The steward brought Carolena's suitcase on board while she entered the creamy interior of the jet. The baby's carryall was strapped to one of the luxury leather chairs along the side. Max fought at leaving his mother's arms, but she finally prevailed in getting him fastened down.

Carolena pulled a blue donut from the sack in her large straw purse. "Maybe this will help." She leaned over the baby and handed it to him. "What do you think, sweetheart?"

Max grabbed for it immediately and put it in his mouth to test it, causing both women to laugh. Abby gave her a hug. "Thank you for the gift. Any distraction is a blessing! The only time he doesn't move is when he's asleep."

Carolena chuckled.

"So you won't get too bored, I brought a movie for you to watch while we fly down. Remember I told you how much I loved the French actor Louis Jourdan when I was growing up?"

"He was in Gigi, right?"

"Yes, well, I found a movie of his in my mother's collection. You know me and my love for old films. This one is called Bird of Paradise. Since we'll be passing Mount Etna, I think you'll love it."

"I've never heard of that movie, but thank you for being so thoughtful. I'm sure I'll enjoy it."

"Carolena—I know this is a hard time for you, but I'm so glad you decided to come. Vincenzo and Valentino need to discuss business on this short trip. It will give you and me some time to do whatever we want while Queen Bianca dotes on her grandson."

"When Max smiles, I see traces of Michelina. That must delight her."

"I know it does. These days it's hard to believe Bianca was ever upset over the pregnancy. She's much warmer to me now."

"Thank heaven for that, Abby."

"You'll never know."

No, Carolena supposed she wouldn't. Not really. Abby Loretto had offered to be a surrogate mother to carry Their Highnesses' baby, but they'd both been through a trial by fire when Michelina was suddenly killed.

Carolena was thrilled for the two of them who, since that time, had fallen deeply in love and weathered the storm before marrying. Now they had a beautiful baby boy to raise and she was glad to have been invited to join them for their brief holiday.

Today was June fourth, a date she'd dreaded every June for the past seven years. It marked the death of her fiancé, Berto, and brought back horrendous guilt. She and Berto had shared a great love, but it had come to a tragic end too soon. All because of Carolena.

She'd been too adventurous for her own good, as her own wonderful, deceased grandmother had always told her. You go where angels fear to tread without thinking of anyone but yourself. It's probably because you lost your parents too soon and I've failed you. One day there'll be a price to pay for being so headstrong.

Tears stung her eyelids. How true were those words.

Berto's death had brought about a permanent change in Carolena. Outside of her professional work as an attorney, she never wanted to be responsible for another human life again. Though she'd dated a lot of men, her relationships were of short duration and superficial. After seven years, her pattern of noncommitment had become her way of life. No one depended on her. Her actions could affect no one or hurt anyone. That was the way she liked it.

Dear sweet Abby had known the date was coming up. Out of the goodness of her heart she'd insisted Carolena come with them on this trip so she wouldn't brood. Carolena loved her blonde friend for so many reasons, especially her thoughtfulness because she knew this time was always difficult for her.

As she strapped herself in, several bodyguards entered the body of the jet followed by black-haired Vincenzo. He stopped to give his wife and son a kiss before hugging Carolena. "It's good to see you. Gemelli is a beautiful country. You're going to love it."

"I'm sure I will. Thank you for inviting me, Vincenzo."

"Our pleasure, believe me. If you're ready, then we'll take off. I told Valentino we'd be there midafternoon."

Once he'd fastened himself in and turned to Abby with an eagerness Carolena could see and feel, the jet taxied to the runway. When it took off into a blue sky, it left the Principality of Arancia behind, a country nestled along the Riviera between France and Italy.

Before heading south, she could see the coastal waters of the Mediterranean receding, but it was obvious Abby and Vincenzo only had eyes for each other. Theirs was a true love story. Watching them was painful. There were moments like now when twenty-seven-year-old Carolena felt old before her time.

Thank goodness she had a movie to watch that she hadn't seen before. The minute it started she blinked at the sight of how young Louis Jourdan was. The story turned out to be about a Frenchman who traveled to Polynesia and fell in love with a native girl.

Carolena found herself riveted when the volcano erupts on the island and the native girl has to be sacrificed to appease the gods by jumping into it. The credits said the film had been made on location in Hawaii and used the Kilauea volcano for the scenes.

As the royal jet started to make its descent to Gemelli, she saw smoke coming out of Mount Etna, one of Italy's volcanoes. After watching this film, the thought of it erupting made her shiver.

The helicopter flew away from the new hot fumarole in the western pit of the Bocca Nuova of Mount Etna. The fumarole was a hole that let out gas and steam. After the scientific team had observed an increased bluish degassing from a vent in the saddle, they sent back video and seismic records before heading to the National Center of Geophysics and Volcanology lab in Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily.

En route to the lab the three men heard deep-seated explosions coming from inside the northeast crater, but there was no cause for public alarm in terms of evacuation alerts.

Once the center's helicopter touched ground, Crown Prince Valentino waved off his two colleagues and hurried to the royal helicopter for the short flight to Gemelli in the Ionian Sea. Their team had gotten back late, but they'd needed to do an in-depth study before transmitting vital data and photos.

Valentino's brother-in-law, Crown Prince Vincenzo Di Laurentis, along with his new wife, Abby, and son, Max, would already have been at the palace several hours. They'd come for a visit from Arancia and would be staying a few days. Valentino was eager to see them.

He and Vincenzo, distant cousins, had done shipping business together for many years but had grown closer with Vincenzo's first marriage to Michelina, who'd been Valentino's only sister. Her death February before last had left a hole in his heart. He'd always been very attached to his sibling and they'd confided in each other.

With his younger brother Vitale, nicknamed Vito, away in the military, Valentino had needed an outlet since her death. Lately, after a long day's work, he'd spent time quietly partying with a few good friends and his most recent girlfriend, while his mother, Bianca, the ruling Queen of Gemelli, occupied herself with their country's business.

As for tonight, he was looking forward to seeing Vincenzo as his helicopter ferried him to the grounds, where it landed at the rear of the sixteenth-century baroque palace. He jumped out and hurried past the gardens and tennis courts, taking a shortcut near the swimming pool to reach his apartment in the east wing.

But suddenly he saw something out of the corner of his eye that stopped him dead in his tracks. Standing on the end of the diving board ready to dive was a gorgeous, voluptuous woman in a knockout, fashionable one-piece purple swimsuit with a plunging neckline.

It was just a moment before she disappeared under the water, but long enough for him to forget the fiery fumarole on Mount Etna and follow those long legs to the end of the pool. When she emerged at the deep end with a sable-colored braid over one shoulder, he hunkered down to meet her. With eyes as sparkling green as lime zest, and a mouth with a passionate flare, she was even more breathtaking up close.

"Oh— Your Highness! I didn't think anyone was here!"

He couldn't have met her before or he would have remembered, because she would be impossible to forget. There was no ring on her finger. "You have me at a disadvantage, signorina"

She hugged her body close to the edge of the tiled pool. He got the impression she was trying to prevent him from getting the full view of her. That small show of modesty intrigued him.

"I'm Carolena Baretti, Abby Loretto's friend."

This woman was Abby's best friend? He'd heard Abby mention her, but Vincenzo had never said anything. Valentino knew his brother-in-law wasn't blind… Though they hadn't told him they were bringing someone else with them, he didn't mind. Not at all.

"How long have you been here?"

"We flew in at two o'clock. Right now the queen is playing with Max while Abby and Valentino take a nap." A nap, was it? He smiled inwardly. "So I decided to come out here for a swim. The air is like velvet."

He agreed. "My work took longer than I thought, making it impossible for me to be here when you arrived. I've planned a supper for us in the private dining room tonight. Shall we say half an hour? One of the staff will show you the way."

"That's very gracious of you, but I don't want to intrude on your time with them. I had a light meal before I came out to swim and I'll just go on enjoying myself here."

He got the sense she meant it. The fact that she wasn't being coy like so many females he'd met in his life aroused his interest. "You're their friend, so it goes without saying you're invited." His lips broke into a smile. "And even if you weren't with them, I like an intrusion as pleasant as this one. I insist you join us."

"Thank you," she said quietly, but he had an idea she was debating whether or not to accept his invitation, mystifying him further. "Before you go, may I say how sorry I am about the loss of Princess Michelina. I can see the resemblance to your sister in you and the baby. I know it's been devastating for your family, especially the queen. But if anyone can instill some joy into all of you, it's your adorable nephew, Max."

The surprises just kept coming. Valentino was taken aback. The fact that she'd been in Abby's confidence for a number of years had lent a sincere ring to this woman's remarks, already putting them on a more intimate footing. "I've been eager to see him again. He's probably grown a foot since last time."

An engaging smile appeared. "Maybe not quite another foot yet, but considering he's Prince Vincenzo's son, I would imagine he'll be tall one day."

"That wouldn't surprise me. A presto, Signorina Baretti."

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Becoming the Prince's Wife 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
Attorney Carolena Baretti has had a rough past, she has promised to herself that she will no longer be responsible for anyone and by that she has decided to not marry. But soon her plans to stay single are thrown out the window that minute she meets Crown Prince Valentino while vacationing with her best-friend Abby and her husband Vincenzo. The attraction between the two begins right from the start, and as the two start to spend more time together, the more she realizes just how much she is attracted to Valentino. Crown Prince Valentino knows the he has a duty to the crown and his family. After been betrothed to marry a princess for a while, it's already set that his destiny is to become a king one day. But his long interest in volcanoes has made him think twice about becoming a king and giving up on his dream profession. His mother has made it clear to him that he is to marry soon, but after seeing Carolena for the first time, he must decide whether or not it's worth giving up the throne to marry the one he loves.  I really enjoyed reading Becoming the Prince's Wife, it was a sweet yet fast-paced romance story. The characters had their troubles and they had to learn to overcome their pasts in order to be able to move on. Carolena's character was a bit frustrating to read, it took her a while to finally accept her feelings for Valentino. Whereas Valentino's character is sweet and romantic, he is definitely a true prince that wants to please Carolena and give up everything for her. While both characters had their personalities, the writing style felt a bit too rushed, especially the ending. I'm still not sure if I liked the writing as much. But the overall was good and the ending was satisfying to read.  *ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This Crown prince Valentino is hot, charming, caring, hard working and romantic. He has a job that is fascinating to me and different from what most princes do. I really like the characters and how deep they got in their lives. I love characters that I can care about what happens to them. Carolena Baretti is a lawyer who is on vacation with friend Abby and her husband Crown Prince Vincenzo Di Laurentis or Arancia they were going to neighboring Gemelli. Carolena is bright, is not looking to marry. Lots of drama, romance and family relationships. Did not want to put back till I was finished. Valentino has been engaged for years to someone his parents picked. He promised when the time came for him to rule he would be married. He also promised that the day the date was announced he would be faithful to the princess. Valentino sees Carolena diving into the pool and stops in his tracks to meet her. Carolena does not want his attention and does not want to be around him. Valentino does not want to leave her. Their first date he takes her up to Mount Etna where the public can't go and shares his love of volcanoes with her. They get into deep personal subjects. They feel very strong for each other. The Queen tells Prince Valentino that next week they will announce his wedding date. He will then be crowned after the wedding. Valentino always keeps his promises. Now he wants to break them. He tells Carolena and gives her the power to decide there future. I liked this story. Did not want to see it end. I will read more of Rebecca's novels in the future based on this book. I was given this ebook to read and in return promised to give honest review of it by Netgalley and Harlequin.