Once Upon a Prince

Once Upon a Prince

by Rachel Hauck


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310315476
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Series: Royal Wedding Series Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 187,175
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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 pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauck.

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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Once Upon a Prince 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story a great deal. While there are some cliche moments, that doesn't detract from the overall story. After all, finding your one true love and Prince Charming is cliche because we all love it. However, I found the incessant focus on God's will to be distracting. Almost every conversation between the hero and heroine devolved into "is it God's will?" or some similar question. The heroine spends a lot of introspective time dwelling on God's plan for her. It actually became distracting from the story because the instances were periodically unconnected to the surrounding story. While I recognize that this is perfectly in character for a girl of the heroine's upbringing, there would have been smoother ways to include her spirituality and faith. Aside from the clunky inclusion of an excess of those moments, the story itself develops nicely.
Kellie4 More than 1 year ago
Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck was one romantic love story I didn't want to put down! Beautifully written, full of culture and history, it was the perfect blend. As with other books I have written by Hauck, I was immersed in the book from the very beginning. Susanna, a woman from Georgia thinks she has life figured out, a plan of all plans. Her military man will come home from deployment and after 12 years of being together he would finally propose! Or so, Susanna thought. Nate Kenneth, in Georgia on holiday from Brighton Kingdom, is visiting his cousin and decides to get out for a bit. Meeting Susanna at Lover's Oak after her breakup was not a coincidence, but truly ordained by God. The two enjoy some time together and learn a bit more about each other, but not everything. Susanna, a struggling landscape architect hopes to find work in all the right places, yet is looking in all the wrong places. Nate and Susanna's friendship grows when he asks her to fix and landscape his father's garden in Georgia. Suddenly, Nate must go home, and both pine and long for one another 4,000 miles away. A tale of romance and finding yourself. I truly enjoyed this novel by Rachel Hauck.
TammySotela More than 1 year ago
Every Girl's DreamWhat girl does not dream of meeting the Prince at some point in her life? In this book the dream comes true. I read this book while traveling with my husband/my prince as we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It was just the right book at the right time. Deep Sigh!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, I didn't realize this was a Christian book. Which wouldn't have been a problem, had I realized. But going in to it blind, I was very distracted by all of the prayer and such going on. A better description is in order.
daisysmomCH More than 1 year ago
I never heard of this author before, but this book has the most appealing male character I have ever read about. It's a "clean" romance with great characters; some quirky, and an unexpected, but satisfying ending. Neat locations and "real" dialogue. Highly recommended!!!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings  An ordinary Southern gal from Georgia has been waiting for the guy in her life to propose for many years - 12 to be exact and instead he breaks up with her!  After the break up she keeps running into this guy in town and he seems nice, but he is only visiting.   What great characters!  I fell in love with the hope of this sweet couple immediately and loved seeing the ups and downs of the beginning of their relationship.  Although there was definitely a prince involved, the arch of their relationship felt real, but what girl doesn't love reading about a commoner falling in love with a prince!  I loved how Prince William and Kate Middleton make an appearance, just another thing that made it feel more real!
Blondewendy More than 1 year ago
Although it was predictable, I loved this book. I knew what would probably happen, but I wanted to keep reading anyway. A wonderful love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big romance novel reader. But once in a while, I pick one up for kicks. Once Upon a Prince looked interesting - what girl doesn't dream about meeting a prince? And I liked the fact that it was written from a Christian perspective. I wont go into plot details, because you can read the book summary for those. But I have to be honest - the book reads like a fairytale. I mean, the chances of a normal (albeit beautiful) young woman meeting a prince in Georgia is slim to none. So if you prefer a more realistic romance, this isn't it. Otherwise, the author kept the plot moving. And despite myself, I kept reading. Yes, I had a good idea of how the book would end (happily ever after, of course). But she threw in enough conflict to keep me wondering how things would work out. Once Upon a Prince is a nice, feel-good book to read while relaxing on the beach. So pick yourself up a copy before you head off on summer vacation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and spent all day Sunday reading it! the characters seemed real, Christian but not preachy. the struggle to determine if what they were going thru was man's will or God's will really struck a chord with me--such a basic question that we all ask ourselves. my heart went out to Nate and I applauded his courage to stand alone against what his family and advisors were all trying to make him do. I would have liked more interaction between the two main characters but overall, great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book and Rachel Hauck's others. Captivating and fun reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost the entire time I was reading this book, I thought about how it reminded me of the Julie Stiles movie The Prince & Me - but was much better. Susanna has waited 12 years, including through military deployments, for Adam to ask her to marry him. Just when she thinks the proposal has finally come, Adam tells her he had found "the right girl but not the right ring." Meanwhile, Nate Stratton is coming to terms with the idea of being king of Brighton and dealing with an entail that could force him to marry a woman he doesn't love. Susanna and Nate meet - cue the romance. I liked that the author made me feel as if Brighton is a country that truly exists. I actually thought a few times I might need to check a map just to make sure it isn't. Also, she doesn't make the story feel like a fairy tale or have the characters feel superficial. I felt as if I was watching the story unfold like a fly on a wall. I didn't quite understand the inclusion of the eccentric character Aurora, a woman who once was a DC lobbyist and now lives in a tent on St. Simons Island, Georgia, where Susanna and her family live. Overall, this was an enjoyable story, and I look forward to reading future books in the series. Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Zondervan.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
A Cinderella story in a modern setting, with very real people, complete with a quirky fairy godmother. A wonderful introdction to the new series by one of my new favorite authors! Must read the novella called March Bride to get the rest of the story--  you won't be disappointed!
manders204 More than 1 year ago
It was a sweet book that made me so happy. Every time God was brought up I was so thankful that there are still Christian writers out there. I had to stop and give thanks to him many times. And who does feel at some point that they want to marry a prince? 
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
Jilted! And from there the story of  Susanna, flows and ebbs. Adam, who has been in Susanna's life forever has just returned from a tour of Afghanistan. This is the first day she sees him, though he has been home for three days. Instead of the proposal Susanna is expecting, he tells her he loves someone else. Rachel Hauck is a fantastic author and uses her unique voice and superb use of words to paint vivid images of the scenes around her characters while making the people realistic, though not perfect.  Walking along a beach, I could almost feel the sand between my feet and smell the ocean while seeing the waves rolling in. A modern day fairy tale, Once Upon a Prince is a story that every girl dreams of, where a simple girl can truly win the love of prince.   Faith when plans go awry, Trust that although God's plans are not my plans, things will turn out the way He has planned for me and I can feel His love as well.  I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. A positive critique was not required, just an honest one. The opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow... where do I start with this one? First of all, I was immediately drawn to the heroine, Suzanna, when the story opened with her walking the beach with her boyfriend of 12 years in anticipation of his proposal. Instead, he dumps her. Though I was grateful for the soldier's fictional service to our country, I wanted to shake the man. Twelve years. Need I say more? Then the hero of all hero's, Prince Nathaniel of Brighton Kingdom, A.K.A Nate Kenneth, walks into Suzanna's life. Their shared faith bonds a friendship--and romance--that struggles to survive four-thousand miles. As Nathaniel prepares to become king, Susanna seeks her true destiny. Does God's will for her life include Nate? This story did it all. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and it gave me a new outlook on Christ's kingdom and our role in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was cute and fun, but predictable. I inevitably knew that the prince was going to fall in love with the american that he couldn't get out of his head. It was a fun read, but didn't get very deep. Biblically, the story was very clean and taught principles in life that are easily forgotten in the buzz of rush that the american culture thrives on. I would highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite's!!! Will surly be reading more of Rachael's books!! Thank you for taking me along on a beautiful touching romantic story. Was touched as forgiveness was asked and given (don't want to tell to many details)..... Thank you!
motherofash More than 1 year ago
I love the book looking forward to the next series.
CarrieP More than 1 year ago
Absolutely lovely modern fairytale. Be prepared that there are some twists and turns in this story that are different from some other Christian Historical Fiction novels. For one thing Rachel Hauck delves into the tricky zone of a young woman with unresolved issues that kept her in a wrong relationship for a dozen years Mr. Wrong. And instead of us having to wait a year for her to recover from this "shattered" (um, not!) relationship, our heroine Suzanna  finds herself drawn to the humble prince (who is also not cluing her in on his royal pedigree.) This story explores the question--what happens when God has put two unlikely people together and how can they follow His will for them despite what appear to be unscalable (castle!) walls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typical fairy tale ending which of course I like =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Christian Romance!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the Christ Centered relationship in this book. The fact that the focus was only to follow the Lords will is a wonderful example for young women to follow. The story is what most little girls dreamwhich just makes for a fun lose yourself in the storyline kind of read. I loved the character Aurora! She is how we all wish we could live. This book should be shared with all your girl friends who are hopless romantics. I could not put this book down! ENJOY!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I'm ready to read the next in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though seemingly far fetched, the author did fo a good job in explaining how a GA lady meets a prince. That said, I am a devout person but I just felt as though I was repeatedly being hit over the head with the moral/Divine element. It felt too contrived. There is something to be said about subtle and this book was not it.