A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there - in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!
The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.
Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.
When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?
The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairy tale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.
About the Author
While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers.
Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. You can visit her on the web at www.DonnaAlward.com and join her mailing list at www.DonnaAlward.com/newsletter . She is the author of The Playboy Prince and the Nanny, Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.
A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.
Read an Excerpt
Stephani surveyed the ballroom, ensuring everything was running smoothly and to her satisfaction. As the executive assistant to the Crown Prince of Marazur, it was her job to make sure that Raoul Navarro's birthday party went off without a hitch.
So far the dinner had been delicious, the traditional almond cake devoured, and the music and dancing had begun. She started to breathe a bit easier now.
"Señorita Savalas? Champagne?"
She turned to the footman who carried several full glasses on his silver tray. "Sí, gracias." She smiled and took a flute from the tray, then sipped gratefully. The dry, fizzy liquid delighted her tongue. By royal standards, the party was small, but no expense had been spared. Including this particularly fine vintage.
Raoul deserved a wonderful party after the year he'd had. Considering this was the first real event at the palace since his wife, Princess Cecilia, had tragically died, Stephani had pulled out all the stops.
It was her job. And it was more than just a job, too. Because for the last seven years, she'd been in love with her boss.
Her boss, who had been married to her cousin.
Her boss, who was now a widower with two small children.
Right now Raoul was mingling with a group that included the finance minister and the gentleman's twenty-something daughter. The girl looked up at Raoul with something like hero worship, and Stephani smiled to herself. He was at least ten years too old for her, but he was extraordinarily handsome with his black hair and dark, soulful eyes. New lines had appeared at either side of his lips, but Stephani thought they only added to his allure.
She joined the group and smiled at everyone, then spoke briefly before turning her attention to the Italian attaché. There was also a representative from the French tourism ministry and she switched languages effortlessly.
"You're exceptionally good at that."
Raoul's deep voice vibrated at her ear and she suppressed a delighted shiver. She pasted a platonic smile on her face and turned around. "Oh, hello. Having a good time?"
"More than I expected. And what about you? Are you enjoying yourself? Or just working the room?" He lifted an eyebrow.
"Just making everyone feel welcome."
"And showing off the fact you can speak ..." He counted silently on his fingers. "Five languages? Six?"
"Five," she confirmed. "My Russian and German are more of a danger than an asset. I could ruin diplomatic relations in two sentences."
He chuckled, and she let herself enjoy the sound. Raoul didn't laugh much at all recently, but the wine pairings at dinner and the open bar had loosened him up considerably.
She hadn't seen him this relaxed since ...
A confusing wave of grief swept over her. Maybe she'd had a secret thing for Raoul for ages, but she'd also loved her cousin deeply. Everyone had loved Ceci. And Stephani missed her. Ceci would have loved a party like this. She would have sparkled like the diamond she was. Stephani was far better behind the scenes. It had always been that way, even when they were kids.
"It's good to hear you laugh, Raoul."
His eyes met hers. "It's good to laugh again. It's been a while."
"Of course." She didn't want to dampen the mood of the evening, so she smiled instead and nodded toward a woman skirting the dance floor. "Look. Rose has come back. The children were lovely at dinner, don't you think?"
His gaze followed the new nanny. "You helped with her dress for the evening?"
"My brother can't take his eyes off of her."
"I think Diego has finally met his match. Do you approve?"
"Yes and no?" He shrugged. "My first priority is the children, and they seem to adore her."
"But she is also a lovely person." He sent her a sideways smile. "Better than Diego deserves."
She laughed a little. "You don't really believe that."
"No, I don't. He's been ... different. Especially the last few months. Since ..."
His voice trailed off, but she knew what he'd meant. Since Ceci died.
Everything was different since Ceci had died.
He nudged her elbow. "I don't want to drag down the party. Do you want to dance, Steph?"
Did she? She'd only imagined it a million times. Particularly at every palace function when she'd stood on the sidelines with her clipboard while Ceci held Raoul in her arms. The perfect couple, a prince and princess, utterly in love.
She hesitated long enough that he stepped back. "Lo siento. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
"You didn't," she hurried to assure him. "I'd love to dance." It might be her one and only chance. She put her champagne down on a nearby table and smiled up at him. "Shall we?"
The band had switched to a slower song, and he led her to the polished parquet and took her in his arms. She swallowed tightly ... oh my. He was smooth, effortless, and his hand was warm against the hollow of her back. His fingers tightened over hers and she bit down on her lip. Raoul, she thought, wondering why on earth she insisted on torturing herself day in and day out. Why couldn't she manage to shake this silly attraction? Besides, he only ever saw her as his assistant. If he had any idea of her feelings ... Ugh. Work would be unbearably awkward.
"You look lovely tonight," he said, his lips only inches from her ear. "The little black dress was a good choice."
"It's Versace." She strangled out the words.
Their feet kept moving, and their bodies seemed to drift closer, until the lapels of his jacket brushed against her breasts. She could feel his heat, smell his cologne.
She should resign. Find another position somewhere, away from the longing for what she could never have. Except this was the perfect job. Wonderful pay, wonderful perks, and ... well, the family relied on her. She knew that. It was more than a job, and more than just Raoul. She cared about them all. King Alexander, Diego, the children ... they were her family now that Ceci was gone. She had no immediate family of her own. What remained of the Savalas family was spread out over Greece and Spain. She didn't even know half of them. Ceci had been her anchor, and in her absence, the Navarros had become her surrogate family.
The song ended and Raoul stood back, but his face had lost the relaxed easiness of before, and a small furrow had appeared between his brows. "Is everything okay?" she asked, suddenly panicked that maybe she'd been the one to drift closer and inadvertently created an awkward moment between them.
"Diego danced with Rose, and she's just left him standing in the middle of the floor," he said quietly. "Maybe there's trouble in paradise."
"You should talk to him."
"I know. It's never been easy, though. We're so different. We always seem to cross swords."
"That's because you're more alike than you think. You have to start giving him a chance. He's more reliable than you give him credit for."
Back to business. She felt on solid ground when she could focus on business.
She patted his arm. "I'm going to check on the kitchen staff. Señora Ortiz is planning a smaller buffet close to midnight."
She went to leave and he reached for her hand. "Stephani?"
She focused on his face, because the fact that he was holding her hand was doing funny things to her insides. "Yes?"
"Thank you, for all this. I know I've been difficult the last few months. Tonight, having people and music in the house again ..."
The butterflies in her belly grew heavy. "It must be difficult."
"Yes. No. I mean, it's been good. I can't live my life being gloomy and unhappy all the time. This wouldn't have happened without you."
She smiled. "The people need to see that you're still okay."
He squeezed her fingers. "I need to know I'm okay. This helped. Thank you."
And he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
His breath was warm against her skin, and she might be mistaken but she would swear his mouth lingered there just a moment longer than necessary. Heat rushed to her face and she muttered a hasty "you're welcome" before darting away. She didn't want him to see her blush. Or the fact that his casual touch had the power to make her normal unflappable reserve desert her completely.
* * *
Raoul downed his fourth — or was it fifth? — Scotch and put the cut crystal glass down on a table. The midnight buffet had been set out, a light meal for those partygoers working up an appetite on the dance floor. Diego had disappeared ages ago, chasing after Rose.
His brother was in love. The real thing. And Raoul had congratulated him and wished him well, when all he could think of was how horrible it felt to have his heart ripped out of his chest in the actions of a moment. That perhaps love wasn't worth it. He might actually believe that if it weren't for Emilia and Max. The children were all he had left of Ceci, and he wouldn't trade his marriage with her for anything.
Not even the pain of losing her.
They hadn't let him go to the scene of the accident, but he didn't have to. The news had shown the mangled wreck in full detail. A leaked phone video had shown the paramedics taking Emilia and Max from the car, and their driver, Marco, sitting with a white bandage on his uncommonly pale face. And there'd been a glimpse of the body bags, too — Ceci's, and Mariana's, the royal family's nanny.
He went to the bar and got another Scotch. He was a year older, and life did go on. He even had moments of happiness. Tonight had been fun, but now that the evening was winding down, he was missing Ceci more than ever.
Would it be very bad form for him to leave the party before his guests? He suspected it would.
As he took a drink of his Scotch, he spotted Stephani across the room. She didn't look tired at all, even though he knew she'd been here since about seven this morning and hadn't stopped all day. He wasn't sure where she got her stamina, but she was the best assistant he'd ever had. She'd been working for him long enough that she anticipated his needs. Hiring Ceci's cousin had started out as a favor to his wife. Stephani had graduated from university but was working as an event server at a resort in Barcelona to make ends meet. She hadn't had the resources Ceci did — she'd been the poor cousin who'd had to work her way through. Ceci had known Stephani wouldn't take a handout, and Raoul had reluctantly agreed to give her a chance. It turned out to be a brilliant business decision.
He sipped again. Didn't hurt that she was gorgeous, either. Her silky hair was the same inky color as her black dress and she wore heels that showed off her very fine legs. Stephani worked the room like the greatest of ambassadors and hostesses rolled into one. She was so like Ceci in that regard, warm and generous. But different, too. Focused, sharp. Ceci's biggest quality had been her capacity for love and kindness. Stephani's was to take that warmth and use it to its best advantage — while staying out of the spotlight.
She laughed and he swore he heard it across the room, above the music and the chatter. His body tightened in response, an uncomfortable and yet somehow welcome experience. He was thirty-seven, for God's sake, and heir to the throne. Unlike his brother, he didn't have the luxury — or the inclination — to play the field. But he was still a man. A young man, really. What was he going to do, stay a widower for the rest of his life? Stay celibate? It was utterly unrealistic.
Maybe he shouldn't have had so much Scotch. He should go. No one would miss him now, would they? Particularly not Steph. He'd thanked her and kissed her cheek, and she'd literally run off. What had he been thinking?
He left the ballroom and headed for the stairs, then reconsidered. He'd rather get some fresh air and clear his head after all the alcohol.
The hall to the back entrance of the castle was narrow and once he descended the steps, he reached a stone-encased alcove. Fresh air filtered in, moist and balmy in the summer heat, and he shrugged off his jacket and dropped it in a corner. It would be dusty but he didn't care. Instead he leaned back against the cool stone and closed his eyes. His head swam instantly and he opened them again, seeking equilibrium.
And there she was.
"I brought you a bottle of water," Stephani said softly. She uncapped it and held it out. "You need to rehydrate."
He took it and drank deeply. "How did you know I was here?"
She met his gaze evenly. "Your Highness, it's my job to know where you are at all times. Even more than your security."
"Thass right. You're my right hand." He heard the slur and was mortified. He never got drunk. Never. But he had tonight. It was definitely a good thing he'd left the party.
She smiled at him. "Oh my. You did hit the Scotch rather hard, didn't you?" He didn't answer. Didn't know how to answer.
"Slurring in front of the finance minister wouldn't be a smart move."
He looked over at her. "Really? I doubt he'd notice."
"Oh, he'd notice. Rumor has it he addressed his own alcohol issues a few months ago and has been dry ever since. I watched. He didn't take any wine at dinner."
And this was one of the reasons Steph was so valuable. She always had her ear to the ground. Always seemed to know what was going on and with whom.
Which made him look at her a little more closely. "So, Miss Observant, how long did you know about Diego and Rose?"
She laughed. "Almost from day one."
"I like it when you laugh."
Her smile faded. "Sir?"
"Don't 'sir' me, Steph. We've been past that for years. You're family."
A strange look passed over her face and he wondered what it meant, but then she was smiling again and he thought he might have imagined it. "I'm Ceci's cousin, that's all. We're not blood relatives."
"No," he said quietly. "We're not."
And the strange feeling he'd had while dancing with her returned. Like his skin was somehow shrinking, taut with ... damn, he couldn't be feeling attraction. That would just be wrong.
And yet ... he dropped his gaze to her lips. They were plump and red, fuller than Ceci's had been, and right now they opened just a little as Stephani inhaled sharply.
"Raoul," she cautioned.
He dragged his gaze back up to her eyes, expecting to see disapproval, but instead they were wide with what he could only figure was equal awareness. He stepped closer, testing her, and watched as her pupils dilated.
"Raoul," she repeated, an edge of desperation in her voice. But not fear. He was clear-headed enough to recognize that wistful sound of longing, and when he lifted his hand and placed it along her cheek, her breath came out in a rush against the pad of his thumb.
And then he kissed her.
She tasted like dry champagne and a trace of almonds and citrus from the cake earlier, plus a darker flavor that was sultry, sexy woman. The little dress she wore was utterly appropriate, even conservative, but the woman inside it was so very alive and responsive. Her tongue met his as he deepened the kiss, and with a sigh of surrender she curled her arms around his shoulders and melted into him.
His body responded, and he was just man enough — just drunk enough — to be grateful. For the first time since Ceci's death, he was happy he hadn't died with her.
He stepped back from Stephani, breaking the kiss and putting a few feet between them. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, her lips were slightly swollen and parted. It would be so easy to step forward and take her in his arms. Press her against the stone wall, feel her body beneath his.
But she was Ceci's cousin.
And she was too valuable ... no, too important for him to treat her in such a cavalier, self-indulgent way. She was Stephani. The person he counted on most.
"I'm so sorry," he murmured, shoving his hands into his pockets. "Steph, I ... I have no excuse. That was so wrong of me."
Her lips closed and she lifted her chin, though he thought, for just a fleeting second, that her lower lip quivered a bit. "Think nothing of it, sir," she said firmly. "It was the Scotch talking, that's all."
"Yes, the Scotch ..." His voice trailed off for a moment. "Forgive me, Steph."
"There's nothing to forgive." Her voice sounded oddly thick, but he thought maybe it was because they were still ensconced within the stone walls of the alcove.
"You put together this wonderful party. You always have my back. You must know how I appreciate all you do."
She met his gaze and smiled a little. Was she sad? Why wasn't she angry? He took a breath, then remembered the little sound of acquiescence she'd made as she wrapped her arms around his neck and the words he had been going to say stuck in his throat.
She had welcomed the contact. Wholeheartedly. What the hell did this mean?
Excerpted from "The Crown Prince's Bride"
Copyright © 2018 Donna Alward.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sweet, with a Bit of Heat - Royalty Romance ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ FOUR-STAR ✩ REVIEW ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ > > Judging a Book by it's Cover > Looking Deeper Third person Stephani had worked as the Crown Prince's assistant for nearly eight years. Her fascination with him grew into a hidden love, even as her cousin married him and they became parents to two beautiful children before Ceci's life was taken suddenly in a tragic accident. Steph poured herself into the Navarro's daily affairs to allow Raoul and the family time to grieve their loss, being there in every capacity needed. Raoul had always thought of Steph as an indispensable aide, a confidante, a friend, but suddenly he was seeing her as a woman and this confused him. On the night of his thirty-seventh birthday, he may have blurred a line or two. He was afraid to love and suffer loss like he had already again. She refused to settle for anything less than everything. The work environment was mostly professional but occasionally filled with an awkwardness or sexual tension. The secondary characters were enjoyable. The story looks much "sweeter" than it is, it does have a bit of "heat" to it - but nothing overly descriptive and only on a few occasions. The plot was entertaining and the pages flew by with ease. There were some conflicts here and there and they were managed and resolved by the end. Predictability was fairly low and the conclusion was satisfying enough. I would, however, have liked to have seen a flash-forward epilogue introducing the third. Overall, it was an enchanting story that was extremely well written. . Rating: [PG-13/R] ~ Score: 4.225 ~ Stars: 4 ========================== ⭐ ⭐ **** Disclosure of Material: I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon at the recommendation of another reader and am voluntarily leaving unbiased and unsolicited feedback. I was not asked, encouraged, or required to leave a review - nor was I compensated in any way. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising". ***** ⭐ ⭐
3.5 Stars Another enjoyable read from Donna Alward! This royal family has faced some hard times and it was nice to see Prince Raoul find his happy ever after. This book picks up in parallel to the ending of the first book, The Playboy Prince and the Nanny, but can easily be read as a standalone. The plot is not new and the twists are not unique, but this love story between Prince Raoul and his assistant is an easy read that gets a little bit angsty but delivers a nice happy ever after. I really enjoyed Stephani. She had a strength about her that I admired. She was committed to doing what was right for her – and was resolved to do so even if it meant leaving the job, country, and family she has come to love. Raoul irked me at times. He has had a hard time with the loss of his wife, and, add on the pressures of knowing he would one day take over the throne, I could definitely see why he needed to be cautious with his choices. What irked me though is what he put Stephani through – for someone who always needed to be conscious of what impact his decisions may have it got me just a little mad how he ended up treating Stephani. Of course, he does come to his senses – this is a romance novel, so that was a given – but boy did I want to give him a good talking to a couple of times! I enjoyed catching up with other characters from the first book, and Diego’s children were just as endearing in this one. Having met the other members of the royal family already and seeing the impact that Rose (from the first book) had made on the family made this an even easier read for me – I’m not a huge fan of royal romances but this family did make me smile and enjoy each page I turned. Donna Alward has created a wonderful fairytale world in Marazur and this book was a nice read to escape in. She has crafted a well put together book that is an easy read. A must read for those who are fans of royal romances or anyone looking for an easy read to escape in with a happy ever after.
The Crown Prince's Bride is a bittersweet, moving and emotionally penned storytelling of a Crowned Prince who lost his true love, only to find it again in the most conflicting of circumstances. Crowned Prince Raoul lost his wife in an accident, leaving him grieving but still must carry on his duties. Stephani is Raoul’s deceased wife’s cousin and Raoul’s assistant. There is an attraction there but Raoul is extremely conflicted about Stephani. The Crown Prince, Raoul, starts to explore his feelings for Stephani only to discover that the woman that had helped him through his loss might be the answer to making him whole again. Emotions, mixed feelings and insecurities might just destroy any chance that their relationship can work. The Crown Prince's Bride is truly a bitter-sweet story. Sometimes, being the survivor is the hardest place to be, adding a royal title just increases the complications, including public opinion. Understanding that, I found Raoul’s indecisiveness and decision making disconcerting. The Crown Prince's Brid is a strong and entertaining royalty romance. I received the ARC copy of The Crown Prince's Bride from St. Martin's Press. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Raoul is the Crown Prince of Marazur. He's recovering from the loss of his wife. He's afraid to love again. Stephani Savalas is his assistant. She's loved him from afar for the last seven years. The problem is Ceci was her cousin. Do these two have a future together? Raoul hides his pain by throwing himself into his work. I felt sorry for the pressure he placed on himself. I wanted him to relax and let love in. Stephani understands Raoul and his burden. I loved how their relationship is base on affection and mutual respect. Stephanie is a loving woman who wants what's best for her Prince. I was impressed by her sacrifice. Donna Alward's writing made me care for these characters. I wanted the best for them. This story is a sweet romance that has an unexpected twist. I couldn't stop reading The Crown Prince's Bride. This book made me feel happy. I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed. My comments are my honest opinion.
Donna Alward’s The Crown Prince’s Bride Are you ready to be swept away in a wholesome, heartwarming sweet read? You will sample part of the life that royals must live through the eyes of Stephani, the assistant to the Crown Prince of Marazur. Description is deftly woven into the story making the reader feel as if they are there with the vivid, colorful and well defined characters. Power packed with emotion, fear to love again, loss and grieving, family issues, shenanigans, personal growth, friendship and love,this fairytale story moves at a steady pace. This is book # 2 in the Royal Duology series. It can be read as a stand alone. It was the first one in the Duology that I read and the past and present mixed effortlessly making it easy to follow the royals and their activities. A highly recommended read!! I volunteered to read The Crown Prince’s Bride. Thanks to St Martin’s Press via Net Gallery for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
Knowing and facing the truth are two of life's hardest tasks. The third is facing fears, especially when it comes to love and loss. One woman changed the course of many lives, but can that one woman be instrumental in bringing two grieving hearts a new beginning. The mystic of a fairytale is that we always remember the beauty and forget the heartache. The Crown Prince's Bride forces the facing of some painful truths in order to get to that great big rainbow at the end of the tunnel. Donna Alward brings her own brand of magic to an awesomely majestic romance.
Once again Author Donna Alward writes a book that wrung my heart with intense feelings. This second book to the Royal Duology is filled with raw emotions within Stephani and Raoul as well as between them. It felt real and makes one wonder if they themselves were perhaps doing the same in their life. Though a fairytale it is heartwarming in how it shows the reader that a person can be in love and still be strong enough to walk away honoring their personal power. Stephani is perfect. Some may think too perfect but I would disagree with them. She is thoughtful, caring and capable of taking care of her personal wellbeing when the timing was right. This part of her shines at the end of the book and is a great example for woman on how to suffer loss and find strength. Prince Raoul's character came across as forceful enough to rule a country, compassionate and loving for his family but broken from the loss of his wife. The author's portrayal of his heartbreak and fears feels real and true to his situation. I give this 4 STARS for its emotional impact. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
I loved the tender, stolen moments between Raoul and Stephani. Their emotional journey was definitely worth reading. I enjoyed both books in the Royal Duology. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley.
I hadn't read the first book in this series, but I will have to get it to read about Diego and Rose. Stephani has been in love with Raoul for years. The problem is, he was married to her cousin and she is his assistant. He just doesn't see her that way. He has been grieving the death of his wife and Stephani has been there through it all to help him and his children. She has been a good friend. Then on his birthday, Raoul finally really looks at her. Will he open his eyes and see what they could have? Or will he keep his heart locked away forever?
The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward is the 2nd and final book in her sweet The Prince duology. Once again, Donna Alward gives us a wonderful sweet delightful romance. The Crown Prince’s Bride continues the story of the Royal family of Marazur, with the Crown Prince, Raoul now the hero. The story picks up close to when it left in the first book. The wedding planning for Diego and Rose is on the way, with everyone working hard in the preparation. Stephani, who is Raoul assistant, is working overtime time to make sure the wedding goes as planned, as well as helping Raoul with his duties. Just a brief refresher: a year ago, Raoul wife’s , Ceci was killed in a car crash, devastating him and his two children. Stephani was Ceci’s cousin, and has worked for Raoul for 8 years. Over the years working for Raoul, she knew she had fallen in love with him, but she loved Ceci and would never allow herself to push her feelings. Even now, with a year past, Stephani knows Raoul is still in mourning, and continues to hide her feelings, as she works hard to be the best assistant for him. At Diego and Rose’s wedding, Stephani had to step in to be Rose’s maid of honor, and wore the fancy beautiful gown. Raoul begins to see her in another light, besides being his trusted friend and valued assistant. What follows, is a slow built romance that will bring them very much together, with both knowing their true feelings. They take a week long business trip to the Rivera, and act on their lustful feelings. Raoul though falling hard for Stephani, is afraid to move forward, claiming he is not ready, causing Stephani to reevaluate her staying in Marazur. She loves her job, and is very good at it, but she knows Raoul is afraid of moving forward, and she needs to put her own happiness to the forefront. She makes moves to leave and find another job, because she can’t handle her feelings for Raoul, and feels he needs to find a proper Queen. Raoul, with advice from his brother, father and friends realize that his fears are also based on losing another person he loved, and the pain it causes. He must get past the grief and pain to accept the joy that could come from being with someone he loves. Will he let Stephani leave? The Crown Prince’s Bride is a sweet, wonderful, heartwarming romance, with some heartbreaking moments. I loved this family that we got to know in the first book, and continued to spend time with in this book. I loved Diego and Rose, and loved Raoul and Stephani equally. Donna Alward has written a very enjoyable, sweet contemporary romance. She always gives us great likable characters, and from the start you will root for Stephani to get her fairy tale romance.
The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward is reminiscent of a fairy story, unrequited love being reciprocated after a broken heart finds healing and a willingness to love again. Stephani, assistant to the Crown Prince and amazing at her job, has been in love with her boss for years but would never act on it. In fact she considers leaving her job andf the royal family to find someone who would love her for her. Raoul, the Crown Prince, lost his wife, Stephani’s cousin, and believes he will never find love again. Raoul finds himself at a crossroad between opening his heart to love again or remain the dutiful and lonely father to his children. I loved reading this story. Ms. Alward is an excellent storyteller, keeping me interested in this story so that I had trouble putting it down. I highly recommend this outstanding book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book of second chance love. The Crown Prince of Marazur, Raoul lost his wife in a tragic accident and has a broken heart and busy with his two young kids. Stephani has been his assistant for years, but has kept a secret from her boss, she has had a secret crush on him for years. As her cousin was married to him, he was always off hands. Raoul has asked Stephani to stand in as date for him, when he finally sees Stephani as more than his assistant. But, is he ready to open his heart again. A great story that kept me turning the pages. This is the second book in the series but can be read as a stand alone, because now I have to go back and read the first story. I highly recommend this story.
The Crown Prince's Bride is another entertaining read by Donna Alward. Ms. Alward has delivered a well-written book. The characters are outstanding and my favorite part of the book. Raoul lost his wife in an accident. Stephani was his wife's cousin and is his personal assistant. She's also been in love with Raoul for years. Their story is loaded with enough drama, humor and spice to keep readers glued to this book. I enjoyed reading The Crown Prince's Bride and look forward to reading more from Donna Alward in the future. The Crown Prince's Bride is book 2 of the Royal Duology Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
This book is loaded with drama,feelings and some humor thrown in. Raoul has to learn to live again and Stephanie has to teach him how.
I have to admit that I have become accustomed to more raunchy and steamy romances. So if you're looking for something that will leave you hot and bothered and have you blushing, than this romance isn't it. But if you want a sweet second chances romance that leaves you with a smile on your face, then this is the romance for you. Stephani has been working for the crown prince of Marazur of years. What's more, she's also had a major crush on him. But Raoul Navarro hasn't been the same since he lost his wife Ceci in a car accident. He is now a widower with two young children and no hope of every finding love again. He loved once and lost it in a heartbeat. He never wants to feel that helpless ever again so he is guarding his heart. Raoul has no idea that his personal assistant is madly in love with him. She is his late wife's cousin and is like family. But when a romantic wedding is coupled with too much scotch, he finds himself drawn to Stephani and is finally able to see her as more than his right hand and the woman who has kept his life in order. But when you are the crown prince and everyone's eyes are on you, can you really be able to live life as you wish? And can Stephani really keep on living her fantasies from a far and not be able to make her dreams come true? A sweet romance with some heart wrenching moments. I must say that there were many times when I got mad at Raoul, but then we get to understand his hesitation and doubt and can't help but be touched by his pain and anguish. A modern fairytale!! Thank you Netgalley St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is a sweet, romantic story of a man dealing with loss and learning to live and love again. To make his struggle more difficult the woman who has gained his attention is his long time assistant and his deceased wife's cousin. Stephani has been in love with Raoul for years but has always hid her feelings for the sake of family and most recently respect and her job. She now has a decision to make. Go after who and what she wants or move on in both her personal and professional life. This story takes us on the journey these two travel to find their HEA. I would definitely recommend this one.
This book, The Crown Prince's Bride is Prince Raoul's story which follows after the story of Raoul's brother Diego. This story begins with the preparations for and the wedding of Prince Diego and Rose, the former nanny to Raoul's children. I was very interested after reading Diego and Rose's story, The Playboy Prince and the Nanny, to find out what would happen in Crown Prince Raoul's life. In Diego's book Raoul's wife, Cecilia dies in an automobile accident. I wondered then if Raoul would get over his grief and find happiness again. This is his story and the road to happiness for him turns out to be very bumpy. If you enjoy reading about a hero and a heroine who are both special, loving people who are drawn to each other and support each other in good times and in bad times then you will very much enjoy Raoul and Stephani's story. I voluntarily read an ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
I loved this book. In it, Stephani is the assistant to the crown prince. Raul, the crown prince, is also a widower with two children. Steph has been in love with him for years, but Raul has never seemed to notice her as anything more than an assistant. When circumstances provide an opportunity for Stephani to reach for it all, she does, but the results aren't what she had hoped for. This is a fairly formulaic novel, however it is so well done that I didn't care. The author created characters that I cared about and felt invested in their story. While this is part of a series, it is a stand alone novel. The author is on my must read authors' list.
I have loved the stories of the royal family in Marazur, and this one was just as wonderful. Raoul is the Crown Prince of Marazur. A man who was devastated after the tragic death of his beloved wife. A wife he is still mourning. He has created a wall around his heart when it comes to letting another woman in. Stephani has been his assistance for eight years. Her cousin was the Princess. She has been in love with him during all this time but never let it be known. After an unexpected kiss is shared by these two, Stephani thought he would start seeing her as someone other than his assistance. That was not the case . While she is considering moving away, Raoul plans a business trip to the French Riviera with the intent of also having this time with Stephani. Life throws them more than one curveball and now Stephani has to make decisions in her best interest. It is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story about family , and the loss of a loved . It was also a story about the difficulties of being in the public eye, where your personal life is on display at all times. In the end, will Raoul grab life and live it with Stephani , or will the pressures of the Crown and the fear of loving again hinder that happiness? Once again, Ms Alward gives us a lovely story. I was gifted a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward Royal Duology #2 Crown Prince Raoul: recently widowed, father of two, afraid to love and be hurt again… Stephani: Raoul’s assistant, first cousin to deceased wife of Raoul, has been “in love” with Raoul for years… The story begins right where book one of this two part story ended with a kiss between Raoul and Stephani. The story has interactions, events and a few things happening but it left me wanting more even with the HEA that eventually transpired. I am on the fence, much as Raoul was during most of the book, on this story. It was so-so and okay but not all that…at least in my opinion. If you are looking for an old fashioned love story that is somewhat predictable with a fairytale ending this book might be for you…just don’t expect fireworks or many emotions from either main character. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press – Swerve for the ARC – This is my honest review. 2-3 Stars
Stephani has had a crush on Raoul and she has kept it a secret and plans too as she thinks nothing will come of it. Being his assistant and being able to be there for him and her cousins kids is more important. Raoul has lost two women who have been closest to him and he is never going to marry again. When things go array in his life he knows he can always lean on Steph. Can they find hope for a relationship or is the working relationship all they will end up with? I really enjoyed this book and I loved how the author made Stephani this amazing strong women who wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I really enjoyed the story I think the only thing that I felt was I wished there was more, not that the story was lacking just wished it was longer such a fun read. The story is over all a pretty clean read it does have adult situations and topics but over all a fun story. This story is somewhat predictable but the story was so sweet.