The Reluctant Prince
The Reluctant Prince
This prince must decide. Duty or his heart?
A Barrum, Ks Novels
Hadrian Drake needs a vacation. As a celebrity chef, he’s television royalty. Or so everyone said. His overbearing assistant knows that he is real royalty—a prince from the island of Koros.
And sometimes, even a prince has to get away to Vegas for the weekend.
Sydney Martinson has to get the hell out of Barrum, Kansas—especially when her ex will not leave her alone. A trip to Vegas, for a trade show is perfect.
Then she bumps into the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen. Hadrian awakens parts of her that she thought had died after the divorce. Suddenly the trade show isn’t that important. Even if he’s a tv celebrity, she feels so good around him.
In all the ways.
Then Hadrian’s assistant tracks him down with dreadful news. One cousin is dead, another is missing.
Hadrian is the Crown Prince of Koros—the last job in the world he wanted.
Worse, he and Sydney are next in line on a killer’s list.
Barrum, Ks Books:
“We need to talk about what you want to do for the holidays,” Alicia Schmidt said, glancing at Hadrian Drake, the star of The Pasta Prince.
Hadrian rolled his eyes. He hated these meetings. Especially when his assistant ran them—he might as well not even be here. “It’s not even January, Alicia. I just got back from the holidays with the full family. I am not ready to think about next Christmas holidays.”
He’d only got off the plane late last night. Hell, his voice had slipped back into that Mediterranean accent he worked so hard to keep neutral all these years. Though it always did when he came back from Koros. He’d hardly gotten any sleep before his alarm—already set by Alicia—had awoken him so he could make this meeting today.
And he’d wanted to sleep in.
Family did that to him. He loved his dad’s family, but they were an exhausting bunch.
The Pasta Prince producer, Ron Weisberg, sighed. “We have to plan out your schedule. And you need to come up with something new for the show.”
“What for?” Hadrian asked. “We’re doing great. The show’s more popular than ever.” Even though it wasn’t quite January, the producers had insisted on the kick-off meeting to hash out plans for the new season. He should have stayed overseas until after the new year. Planning meetings were the most tedious part of being on a television show. “Why should we change anything?”
Alicia started tapping her fingernails on the conference table. “The same old thing every time will get stale. We need to come up with an interesting idea.”
“We don’t start shooting anything for two months,” Hadrian said. “We have plenty of time to come up with some kind of new segment. We don’t have to figure it out now.”
Ron grumbled under his breath, and Alicia glanced at Ron like she was apologizing for a temperamental child.
“Hadrian, to create a new segment, all kinds of things have to be done. The format, the design, the graphics, it all needs to be made and set up. That takes time. Figuring out the menu is also a chore.”
“I still like the idea of you traveling, checking out little Italian restaurants all over the country,” Ron said.
Hadrian shook his head. “Everyone does that.” Almost every big celebrity chef on the Food Channel did some kind of tour of the country, going to different places. One cook did diners, one did vacation spots… It was all tedious, as far as Hadrian was concerned. “What about a segment on ways to bring flavors of Europe to your home kitchen? I mean, I was raised on an island.”
Ron shook his head. “Gina does that on Casual Italian.” Ron stopped, tilting his head. “Um, since when? I thought you grew up in Missouri.”
Hadrian paused, knowing he’d said more than he should. And Alicia was giving him the evil eye. Again. “Family in the Mediterranean too.” He started rotating his pencil in his hand. “Budget cooking? With the current economy, it would be a good idea.”
“We have three shows now with budget cooking,” Ron said.
Alicia shook her head. “You should not be doing anything with budget cooking.”
“Why not?” Hadrian asked. “I think it would be a nice bit. Shortcuts to save money. Do the full-priced version of the menu, then show an alternative, cheaper way to do the same meal.”
“Because a man of your station doesn’t need to be worrying about the masses,” Alicia grumbled.
Hadrian grimaced. The last thing he wanted to discuss was his station—especially with Ron sitting in front of him. One breath of his royal heritage to any of the show producers and they’d have a field day. “I’m a public figure whose show is supposed to be about every man cooking in his home.”
Ron glanced at Alicia. “What in the world are you two arguing about? You know he’s not really a prince.”
Hadrian stiffened, and he glared at Alicia. She didn’t seem to notice his mad face, but he figured she’d mastered ignoring it over the last five years.
“It has to do with Hadrian’s family. They are dignitaries overseas. They are not pleased about his appeal to commoners.” Alicia’s stylus danced over her cell phone. “We have a meeting in an hour with the stylist, Hadrian. We need to go over your wardrobe.”
Hadrian shook his head. “This is a casual show, Alicia. I’m not wearing Armani to cook.”
“Of course not. But you’ll wear new casual like your contemporaries are wearing.” She raised an eyebrow, one of her blonde curls falling across her face, daring him to counter her.
“Whatever,” Hadrian said. The argument was lost anyway.
One would think, as the star of a cooking show, he’d have a bit more power in his real life.
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