Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Once Upon a Prince

Once Upon a Prince

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by Rachel Hauck

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Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by best-selling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her


Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by best-selling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simons Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?

“This is classic romance at its very best.” —DEBBIE MACOMBER

“[A] surprisingly believable royal-meets-commoner love story. With only a subtle nod to Cinderella, this modern and engaging tale follows the budding relationship of an American Southern girl and a pseudo-Brit prince . . . Hauck fans will find a gem of a tale.” —Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW for Once Upon a Prince

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the first of the Royal Wedding Series, Hauck (The Wedding Dress) spins a surprisingly believable royal-meets-commoner love story. With only a subtle nod to Cinderella, this modern and engaging tale follows the budding relationship of an American Southern girl and a pseudo-Brit prince. Struggling with disappointments both personal and professional, Susanna Truitt meets Prince Nathaniel, who is vacationing on her island home of St. Simons, Ga., to escape worries about his ailing father and roiling political events back home. Hopeful, yet aware of the potential obstacles they face, Nate and Susanna wrestle with the idea of God’s will: is Nate’s kingly destiny a human device or divinely purposed? Can Susanna surrender her need to plan her life and, instead, let God lead? A royal marriage would ask Susanna to trust him more deeply than she thought possible. Facing political scheming and seemingly immovable royal traditions, the couple discovers that their happily-ever-after will require courage and faith not found in fairy tales. Well-developed secondary characters are entertaining in their own right, adding a quirky touch (as do cameo-style appearances by real-life royals). Hauck fans will find a gem of a tale. Agent: Chip MacGregor, MacGregor Literary. (May 7)
From the Publisher

"This is classic romance at its very best."
—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times best-selling author
Library Journal
Susanna Truitt has to pull herself together after being dumped by her high school sweetheart. But her life takes a romantic turn when Prince Nathaniel, on holiday on St. Simon's Island, comes to her aid. His heart tells him he has found his queen, but his mind tells him he has duties that don't include a woman whose upbringing is so different from his. Susanna too is convinced that marriage to a prince could never work, but then she receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. VERDICT Hauck (Sweet Caroline) has written a Princess Diaries for grown-ups that will please readers who enjoyed Jen Turano's A Change of Fortune.

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Royal Wedding Series, #1
Edition description:
Large Print
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Once Upon a Prince

By Rachel Hayes Hauck


Copyright © 2013Rachel Hayes Hauck
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-31547-6



What did he say? The storm gusts moving over the Atlantic must have garbled his words.

"I can't marry you"?

Susanna stopped, flip-flops swinging from her fingertips. She'd misunderstood, right? Sand washed out from under her feet as the afternoon tide pulled the waves back into their ocean boundaries.

Adam walked on, failing to notice she wasn't with him.

"Hey, wait ..."

On the northern horizon, spikes of gold broke through mustang-blue storm clouds and ignited the dark afternoon with light.

"Adam, what did you say?" Her feet slapped the wet sand where his footprints were already fading.

"This isn't easy, Suz," he said, taking one last step, a low breeze nipping at the hem of his cargo shorts.

"What's not easy?" The man had fought battles in Afghanistan; how could anything on a St. Simons Island beach be difficult?

Her hair blew around her face as she stared toward the dispersing rain clouds. This wouldn't be the first time a storm had brewed in Adam Peters after he'd returned from a Middle East tour, jammed up and bothered. She'd weather it with him. Again.

Susanna dipped her head to see his averted gaze. "Come on, what's bothering you? Being stateside? Leaving your men? You've done four tours in six years, Adam. It's okay to do something for yourself." She wiggled his arm, teasing him, drawing him out. "You're an amazing marine. Stateside or fighting the front lines."

"Suz?" His tone and the way he collapsed his marine-muscled shoulders made her heart seize. "It's this." He motioned to her, then to himself, exposing the tip of his red-and-blue semper fi tattoo hidden beneath the sleeve of his white T-shirt.

"This?" She glanced around. "Walking on the beach?"

He made a face. "No, Suz. Why would I not like walking on the beach?"

"I don't know. You started this." Impatience. A sign of a brewing argument. "Excuse me if I can't read your mind ... What's bothering you? Did something happen on the tour? Before you came home?" She tossed softballs, trying to get him to swing, to hint at the emotion he was struggling to articulate.

She had twelve years of history to back her up. Twelve years of friendship. Of an ebbing and flowing romance. Of drives up to Quantico when he was in officer candidate school. Of weekends in Atlanta, where she had launched her landscape-architect career. Of four shipping-outs to the Middle East. Of four homecomings.

Susanna had twelve years of letters, emails, phone calls. Twelve years of walks on the beach, of laughing on the Rib Shack's deck while eating ribs under the swinging strings of light, barbecue sauce slipping down their chins.

Of ups and downs, disappointments, postponements, arguments, and apologies.

All melded into her heart by memories, all a part of the bigger picture. The promise of something more. Commitment. Marriage. Growing old in a St. Simons cottage.

This was Adam's third day home on leave and he'd been mostly sleeping since he arrived. So when he called her at work this afternoon and asked her to meet him behind the Rib Shack, she'd dashed out. Didn't even tell her boss she was leaving.

A special call to meet him on the beach? It was romantic rendezvous enough for her. Enough to awaken her hopes for declarations of love, a marine on bended knee, and a diamond ring.

Okay, so she'd always dreamed of getting engaged under Lover's Oak, but far be it from her to nitpick. If Adam was proposing, she was accepting. Any place, any time.

But he wasn't proposing, was he? He barely looked at her. She surveyed his tense stance, his off-kilter, dark, and morose mood.

"Adam, talk to me. What happened over there?"

"I told you, this isn't easy." Adam tipped his head back, squinting up at a circling seagull. "I don't know, Susanna ..."

"What don't you know?"

"Looks like it's not going to rain after all." He pointed toward the sun's breach through the dark-bottomed clouds and walked forward again.

"Adam, stop ..." His demeanor awakened all of her dormant insecurities. The kind she had befriended as a girl hiding in her room while her parents fought, smashed Walmart dishes against the kitchen walls, and yelled four-letter words Susanna dared not repeat. "Stop walking away."

She reached for his arm again, a realization setting in that the wind had not garbled his words at all. What troubled him was her, their relationship. Not Afghanistan. "You said you couldn't marry me, didn't you?"

"I've rehearsed what I wanted to say." He peered down at her through narrowed eyes, cloaking his warm-chocolate irises. "You're pretty amazing. You know that, don't you?"

"I guess." The confession raised her suspicions more than eased them. Where was he going with this? He was hard to read when his soul was shuttered.

Adam lowered himself down to the beach, hooking his arms around his raised knees. "I missed the ocean. A couple of my buddies and I made makeshift surfboards and drove way out in the desert to surf the dunes." He shook his head, angling his hand through the air with a whistle, then a mock explosion. "Crash and burn. We had sand stuck in places we didn't even know we had places."

"Sounds fun." With her gentle response she gave him room to talk, let him figure out words for his internal turmoil. Susanna picked a spot next to him, sat, and dug her heels into the sand, letting the stiff breeze braid her hair across her eyes. "You were saying something about me being amazing?" She nudged his arm with her shoulder.

He'd not said he loved her since he had returned, but after twelve years, some of their affection had dulled. But if he thought she was amazing ...

"I don't know of a guy who had a girl wait for twelve years. Through college, officer training, back-to-back tours. Four in six years." Adam reached out and captured the floating ends of her hair with his fingers, letting the strands weave in the spaces between.

"It's not like I was sitting around, Adam. I graduated from college, worked for a big fancy Atlanta architecture firm, started my landscape career, and—"

"And now you work for Gage Stone."

"Oh, come on." She regarded him. "That can't be what's bothering you. That I work for Gage?" Susanna and Adam had gone to high school with Gage. Been good friends until time and distance pulled them apart. "I moved home to work for Richard Thornton, the most prominent landscape architect in the South. It wasn't my plan for him to die a month later."

She'd never have returned to the island if Richard Thornton hadn't pursued her. But an architect mentored by him could write her own ticket.

"Guess death wasn't part of the equation."

"No." Aneurysm. At the age of sixty. Died at his drafting table. In her grief, his wife closed the office and liquidated everything. And Susanna received her first and last paycheck.

"Why didn't you go back to Atlanta?"

She peered at him. "Do you even listen to our conversations, Adam? We talked about this."

"Yeah, yeah, I guess we did. You liked being home, right?"

"Once I got here"—she scooped up a handful of sand and let it sift through her fingers—"I felt like I was supposed to be here."

The day of Richard's funeral, Mama put Susanna on the Rib Shack schedule. Said it was a family business and Susanna shouldn't hesitate to take her rightful place. It was Mama's way of giving her a job without making Susanna ask. She'd made a big stink about going off to college to get away from waiting tables and mopping floors. But she welcomed the

Excerpted from Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hayes Hauck. Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Hayes Hauck. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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Meet the Author

Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at rachelhauck.com Facebook: rachelhauck Twitter: @RachelHauck

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