USA Today Bestselling Author
A skeptical prince,
an American heiress,
and the enchanted ring…
Prince Richard de Thierry of San Montico believes legends and love are relics of the past. Attending a royal birthday ball in his honor is not at the top of his to-do list, but duty calls. There, he encounters the enchanting, accident-prone American heiress, Christina Armstrong, who he dislikes on sight and wants to avoid for the rest of the evening.
Christina, desperate to escape the spotlight, finds her clumsiness reaching new heights when she gets the fabled royal engagement ring stuck on her finger. The legend of the ring claims Prince Richard must marry the woman who wears the ring or abdicate, but both he and Christina are determined to defy destiny.
As royal wedding plans spiral out of control, Christina’s charm and kindness breathe fresh air into the royal court, challenging Richard’s beliefs about his kingdom. Though their chemistry is undeniable, they’re forced to keep their distance as everyone pushes them together. But in their quest to remove the ring and debunk the legend, will they risk missing their chance at one true love?
When two worlds collide, can opposites really attract? Find out in The Accidental Princess where a skeptical prince and an accident-prone heiress defy expectations in a whirlwind, contemporary royal romance set on an island kingdom in the Mediterranean.
Previously published as If the Ring Fits… This is a revised and expanded edition.
It’s the Birthday Ball for Prince Richard de Thierry of San Montico and he really just wants to escape from it. All of the single women attending are there to try on ‘The Royal Engagement Ring’, if it doesn’t come off, she is supposedly his perfect match. He’s tired of wealthy, spoiled, heiresses who only want the title. He also doesn’t believe in the legend of the ring, unfortunately everyone in his country does.
Christina Armstrong is a US heiress, her father escorted her to this ball at her mother’s insistence. She’s always in the press for doing something that happens because she’s clumsy. It starts with colliding heads with the prince, then managing to remove the gauntlet off ancient armor. Far worse is yet to happen.
Didier Alois, Prince Richard’s royal advisor, is making sure these women try on the ring, and Christina is not going to escape that. Didier insists she try on the ring, and she’s flippant about it, asking if there’s a prize or something. Little does she know what’s in store for her and the prince.
This is a favorite scene.
Didier brought the ring to her finger.
Funny, but it almost felt like heat was emanating from the gold band.
Must be Didier. Men were always hot.
As the ring touched her skin, a buzz of electricity shot up her arm.
She gasped, but Didier continued sliding the ring onto her finger. When he let go of her hand, Christina couldn’t believe it.
The ring fit.
She stared at the ring.
Someday, she would have an engagement ring of her own. Not this spectacular. A simple gold band would do.
All she wanted was to find a man who would love her for whom she was, a man who wanted what she did— children, pets, a porch with a swing. A normal life, a normal family.
No more limelight. No more photographs or headlines or snide remarks in gossip columns. No more twelve-inch-thick prenuptial agreements to protect an inheritance she didn’t want.
Didier furrowed his brow. “Are you all right, miss?”
“Yes.” Though the temperature had warmed in the room. Her head spun, but she knew what explained the dizziness. Too much sun, too much champagne, too much lusting after Prince Richard.
The proverbial clock had struck midnight. Time for this Cinderella to call it a night. “Thank you for letting me try it on. The ring is exquisite.”
She pulled on the band. It wouldn’t budge.
Didier leaned toward her. “Is there a problem, Miss Armstrong?”
Christina pulled on the ring again, but her fingertips simply slid over the elaborately decorated band. It wouldn’t even twirl around her finger. “The, um, ring seems to be stuck.”
“Let me try.” Didier straightened his shoulders and tugged on the ring until Christina cried out in pain. “The band doesn’t seem to be moving.”
She couldn’t understand why Didier smiled as if he’d just won the lottery. This was a disaster. “I must get this ring off. If my father finds out, he’ll kill me. And the prince…”
A glance told her Prince Richard was too engrossed in his conversation to realize what was happening. Christina wanted to keep it that way.
She tried again, but the ring didn’t move. “Would it be okay if I went to the ladies’ room and tried to remove it?”
For some reason, Didier seemed to be enjoying himself. His brown eyes twinkled; his smile grew wider. He looked almost giddy. “I don’t think it’s coming off.”
“Please.” Why had she allowed this to happen? She knew better. “I’d like to try.”
From his peripheral vision, Richard saw Didier approach. About time. If Richard heard one more boring piece of gossip about the United Kingdom’s royal family, he would reinstate flogging.
“May I speak with you for a moment, Your Highness?” Didier asked in a low voice.
“Of course.” Richard bowed to the women surrounding him. “Excuse me, ladies.”
As soon as the women were out of earshot, he sighed. “Thank you for coming to my aid, Didi. I never thought I would escape with all my clothes on. I felt like a rabbit surrounded by panting wolves. I was hoping you would leave the ring long enough to rescue me.”
“I left the ring for another reason, Your Highness.”
Richard glanced at its pedestal.
The empty pedestal. No guard. No ring.
His stomach knotted. “Where is it?”
Didier’s wide grin answered his question.
No. This could not be happening.
The legend wasn’t true.
The legend dictated he had to marry the woman whom the ring fit within a week or abdicate. He would do neither.
His duty was to marry and produce an heir. He would, but not because he was turning thirty and a legend determined his relationship status. He would marry whom he wanted when he wanted.
Every decision in his life had been made for the sake of San Montico. He sacrificed childhood dreams and adult desires for his family, his people, his country. But the choice of a wife was his, and his alone, to make.
He glanced around. “Does anyone know? My mother?”
“No. We can make an announce—”
“Tell no one.” Richard needed time to think, time to come up with a plan. San Montico’s sentimental attachment to a legend would not take away the most important choice of his life and prevent him from modernizing the country. “Where is… it?”
“In the ladies’ lounge,” Didier said.
Not her. Please not…
“With Miss Armstrong,” Didi finished.
Richard’s shoulders slumped. “May I suggest a course of action, Your Highness?” Richard clenched his teeth. Didi was his best friend, but as royal advisor his role was to ensure the continuation of the monarchy. That was Richard’s duty, too. But he wouldn’t allow a misbelief in magic to determine his future and his wife.
“No. You have done enough.”
Melissa McClone. The-Accidental-Melissa-McClone (Kindle Locations 221-270). Kindle Edition.
Now the ring isn’t coming off Christina’s finger, and Prince Richard knows he can’t keep it hidden for long. Christina has no idea of the legend at least not yet.
Things take a rapid turn when the entire kingdom starts preparing for the wedding. All Christina and Richard can think about is getting the ring off her finger, but they both had to attend to royal duties in between. The clincher is they both want to bring his kingdom into the future, but the ring and its legend will always be a part of it.
This is such fun as these two gradually start to like each other and fall in love.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
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USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!