Accidental Prince: Karl von Lohenberg and Princess Serena of Badenstein
Purchase on Amazon: Michelle Willingham – The Accidental Prince (Harlequin Historical)
His runaway princess… Princess Serena of Badenstein intends to flee—from her violent father and from the man to whom she’s been pledged in a political marriage of convenience.
Karl von Lohenberg is without a country, a title—and a bride if he lets Serena get away. A ruthless man, he takes her to a secluded island, hell-bent on seduction. Only, he discovers a broken woman behind the prim princess facade. The time they spend together mends her spirit and touches his soul, but how will she react when she finds out how he’s deceived her?
I’ve only read one other book by Michelle Willingham and it was one of her highlanders. I’ve been meaning to go back and read her backlist, but alas I have not had the time. So when I saw there was a review copy of this book available I grabbed it without hesitation. I don’t read that many historical’s but so far I love Willingham’s works her characters really stick out among the crowd.
Almost immediately we are drawn into this world, where Princess Serena is in a panic to flee her kingdom. Her ribs are broken; there are red marks around her neck and fresh bruises on her arms. From the beginning there is no way you can shield Serena from your heart. She is physically broken, but her spirit is not. Somehow she has managed to keep her spirit and her will intact, they may be a bit bruised and uncertain, but unlike her body, she is not completely broken. You have to admire that about her. Despite her circumstances she still maintains a good heart and cares about her loved ones and mourns leaving them, before she has even left. When her plans are thwarted by her betrothed the Prince, she goes with it, but still keeps her head about her. When her fiancé abducts her, she tries to keep him at an arm’s length and does a pretty good job of it but little by little he shows her that he would never harm her and he niggles his way in. He helps her overcome her fears and mends some of those bruises on her spirit. In a weeks’ time, he shows her more compassion than anyone else has, and surprisingly she ends up trusting this man with her life. When his secret comes out, I really thought she’d lose her ish more than she did. As it turned out it almost brought her closer to Karl. Serena definitely surprises the reader at times, you expect her to act one way but she does the opposite. Not only does she surprise the reader, she surprises our hero Karl quite often as well. She keeps him off balance and just like he thwarted her plans, she thwarts his!
Karl, doesn’t know what to do with his abducted princess. Every time he thinks things might go his way, she surprises him and he has to reevaluate. She makes him realize some things and take a harder look at his life. At the beginning of this novel, Karl has just found out her is a bastard and he has lost his title and kingdom. There is nothing more important to Karl than getting a kingdom anyway he can, and the only way he can get a kingdom is through Princess Serena. When an opportunity arises for him to “escort” Serena on a holiday, he takes it. His plans are to seduce her and marry her, within a day of arranging her “holiday”. He soon realizes that is not going to happen as his intended is not going along with his plans at all. Not only does she not care that she has been ruined, she has no plans to go back to her kingdom. Karl also quickly realizes that she has been severally physically harmed and that it wasn’t just once. He realizes that she is seriously distrustful and will not let him touch her. He knows then, that his seduction of the Princess has just gotten that much harder. But as the time goes by, Karl becomes more and more attracted to this beauty and it’s not just her face that holds him enchanted, but her unbreakable will as well. Karl, does the most growing throughout this novel, he goes from spoiled former prince that will stop at nothing to get what he wants no matter who he has to use. By the end, the kingdom doesn’t matter anymore, only keeping Serena safe is important.
Throughout the novel the attraction between Serena and Karl grows. They find that they have more in common than either of them could have ever imagined. Their feeling grow and grow until nothing else is as important and the first thing on each other’s mind is keeping the other safe. Serena is willing to walk back into the lion’s den to keep Karl safe, and Karl is willing to risk his own life to keep Serena from the lion’s den. But, in the end, neither of their plans will come to fruition. These two seriously niggle their ways into your heart; I swear I was misting up when their time together was coming to end. For them the situation looked helpless and there is a moment of such tenderness that I choked up a little bit. LOL I must be getting soft in my old age, or Willingham is just that good! The heat factor in this book was not as much as I expected considering the last book I read by Willingham, but there is plenty of sexual tension and build up that you don’t really miss that the actual act doesn’t come until later on in the book. I stayed up all night reading until 5:30 a.m., I just could not let this book go until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. This just reiterates that I need to get on it and start reading Willingham’s back list!
Rating: 5 Romanticals