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Forgetting the Prince

Forgetting the Prince

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Jenna is content with her research and doesn’t need a man. When she’s injured while hiking and is rescued by a handsome stranger, she starts to have second thoughts. But nothing more than a few stolen kisses could come of it since he’s only in town for a short time.

Stefan is in the United States to convince a scientist to help him establish a lab that will benefit the people of Durham. The last thing he needs is any romantic entanglements. Especially after what his older brother, the crown prince of Durham, has gone through. But when he rescues Jenna from a hiking accident he wishes he could throw caution to the wind.

When he discovers Jenna is the top research assistant, he jumps at the chance to hire her to set up the lab back in Durham. The more time he spends with her, the more he wants to push all the royal protocol to the side and go after his heart. Can Jenna see past the royal duty and allow herself to fall in love, or would she be better off forgetting him completely and keeping her heart locked away where it’s safe?

Intro into Chapter One

Jenna glanced up at the threatening sky through the dense canopy of the Washington forest, wondering if she’d be able to make it down the trail and to her Land Rover before the late August rainstorm hit. She’d checked the weather app on her phone before she started her seven-mile round trip hike through her favorite area, but apparently a twenty percent chance of scattered showers actually meant a one hundred percent chance of thunder storms.
A bolt of lightning lit up the sky seconds before a deafening roar of thunder pounded in her ears. No more time for speed walking. Jenna started to run down the trail, hoping to make it to the safety of the car before the trail got too muddy to travel. She gripped her backpack behind her with one arm to help keep it from bouncing too hard and throwing off her balance. Her thick soled hiking boots were doing their best, but as more and more rain fell through the trees above her, the trail got slicker and more dangerous.
Another bolt of lightning crashed down to her right seconds before the boom of thunder left a ringing in her ears. She’d never been in a downpour like this and she knew it wouldn’t be safe to hide under any of the trees because of the lightning. Her best bet would be to keep going the almost three miles to reach the parking lot at the trail head.
Frustration warred with panic. To keep herself from giving in to the fear trying to grip her, she started cursing everything and everyone from the weather man to the clouds. The lightning eased up, but a deluge of rain decided to pick up the slack and tiny rivulets of water turned to streams along the trailside. She jumped over the large puddles, not wanting to risk twisting an ankle in the unknown depths, but the bouncing of her backpack threw her off and she stumbled forward and lost her balance.
Jenna managed to not fall flat on her face by grabbing a hold of a tree along the trail side. As she stood straight to catch her breath, the ground beneath her feet decided it didn’t want to maintain any integrity and before she had time to scream in surprise, she found herself sliding down in a mudslide, praying she wouldn’t hit any trees before the hillside ended in a slope fifteen yards below her.
When she came to a stop, she lay still in the mud, staring at the sky above her, not caring that the rain hit her face. She was just happy to be alive. After a moment, she sat up and took stock of her injuries and predicament. She’d hit her right knee on a rock and banged up her left ankle during her rapid descent, but other than being completely soaked, and covered in mud and a few dozen scratches, she was basically whole.
Jenna looked around, hoping for inspiration on what to do next. She’d gone camping and hiking enough as a child and teen with her family, she didn’t fear the outdoors, but she’d never been in a situation like this and knew she needed help. Her phone was ruined with the rain and mud bath it had so she pulled out her hiking map to try to get an idea on where she might be. Knowing there was some private land that had cabins scattered throughout the area, she figured she could find shelter somewhere there and find her way out of the forest when the storm ended.


Stefan looked out the window of the cabin they’d rented to keep his presence in America under the radar. His brother, the crown prince of Durham, was taking most of the attention of the nation so Stefan didn’t think there would be too many publicity magazines watching what he was doing, but he still didn’t want his whereabouts known to everyone.
He wanted to feel a moment of anonymity. To just be a man, not a prince who was expected to follow all the rules all the time. Something he couldn’t feel while being catered to in a five-star hotel where everyone would be doing their best to catch a glimpse of the second son of the Somerset family.
He had almost a week to enjoy the seclusion of the forests in Washington. It was as close to a private vacation he could get before he was scheduled to meet with the lead researcher he wanted to convince to help him establish a laboratory in Durham. Yet if he’d known how much rain could fall in the forests, he might have conceded to his personal assistant’s recommendation to stay in one of the luxury hotels in the city. Of course, the storm couldn’t last too long, and the cabin was actually more of a large home built of solid log timber. He’d be perfectly fine.
And for the first time in a long while, he was mostly content. Here, right now, he could just spend time alone and think. Or as alone as he could be with his two bodyguards his parents had required and Nanna Grace who insisted on being his caretaker wherever he went because she didn’t think he’d eat if someone wasn’t there to cook for him. Though he was no gourmet chef, he could manage to throw a decent meal together. But he still loved to eat Nanna Grace’s dinners. He could smell the beginnings of her meal now and looked forward to it. Though she would eat it with him, he knew his two body-guards wouldn’t, cementing once again in his mind that he was never going to escape the life of being different no matter how much he wanted to.
Cavel, one of his guards, rushed into the room and spoke. “Come away from the window. The motion sensors have picked up movement out there.”
“Through the rain?” Stefan asked.
“Is it an animal?” Stefan asked. “I’ve seen signs of deer out there.”
Cavel shook his head and Stefan looked out the window again, wishing he could stay to find out what it was, but Cavel would physically move him if he didn’t step away from the window as asked.
Nanna Grace entered the room, holding a pistol in her hands, though she pointed it at the floor.
“Nanna,” Stefan sighed. “You are not my body-guard. Put that down.”
“No, sir,” she said with a smile. “You insisted on coming with only a few of us. So I get to do what my daddy taught me.”
“Whatever animal is out there, it’s not going to come into the house. We’re completely fine here.” Stefan looked at Cavel who was peering out the window and talking through his two-way ear piece to Brooks, Stefan’s other guard who hadn’t come into the front room.
“I don’t see any signs of — wait, to the left. Just out of the bushes.” Cavel raised his firearm and pointed it against the window. “It’s approaching the house. You ready to take it down?”
“Is it a person?” Stefan asked.
“Affirmative,” Cavel said. Then he spoke to Brooks. “I only see the one.”
Stefan and Nanna Grace moved over to join Cavel near the window. “It’s a woman,” Stefan said.
“You sure?” Nanna Grace asked. “I can’t tell anything through all this rain.”
“I’m sure,” Stefan said. She looked like a drowned rat and about ready to collapse, but it was definitely a woman’s curvy body. “She’s in trouble, we need to help her, not shoot her.” He placed his hand on the top of Cavel’s weapon, pushing it down.
Stefan moved over to the door and opened it, ignoring Cavel’s complaints. “She’s not dangerous,” Stefan said. “Besides, Brooks is still out there watching.”
Stefan hurried down the front steps and into the rain with Cavel on his heels. Behind the girl, he could see his other guard approaching her with his weapon ready. Stefan waved him down and Brooks looked angry, but obeyed. He nodded to Cavel who stood behind Stefan with weapon ready, then Brooks turned around as if searching for any indication she hadn’t come alone.
Stefan let his guards worry about the other things while he allowed all his attention to take in the woman in front of him. Her long wavy hair was plastered against her face and streaks of mud hid most of her features from him, but her eyes were striking.
She didn’t look panicked or afraid, just exhausted.
“Thank heavens,” the woman said. “I hoped to find someone. Can you help me?”
She wobbled a little and Stefan reached out to grab her. She fell against him and he instinctively wrapped her in a sheltering embrace. Her soft body was freezing and he knew he needed to get her inside and dried off quickly or she would be in danger of hypothermia.
“Of course,” Stefan said as he supported her weight and half dragged, half carried her to the steps.
She whimpered a little indicating she was in pain as she tried to take a few steps up. Stefan looked down at her legs and feet, seeing the scratches and more mud or possibly blood covering her ankle. “What happened?”
“Slid down the hill.”
Stefan looked behind her through the trees. He didn’t remember seeing any sort of hill near the property. “What hill?”
“On the Manza Trail.” Her words were hard to make out since she was shivering so much her teeth clattered.
He stopped asking questions and when the door opened, he saw Nanna Grace standing in front of him.
“Run grab some towels and blankets,” he said before seeing she held some large towels in her arms already and had opened one up to wrap around the frozen girl beside him.
Stefan stepped back a little to allow the towel to go around her, but when she wobbled again, Stefan wrapped his arms around her once more. He took the second towel Nanna Grace held out and put it over the woman’s hair like a shawl and ushered her into the cabin, instructing Cavel to turn the gas fireplace up. Cavel hurried to do what was asked and Stefan moved the girl over to the chair closest to the fireplace and sat her in it.
He took another towel from Nanna Grace and bent down to dry off her legs and feet. He eased off the muddy, wet hiking boots and peeled off the socks, then gently dried her legs and feet, examining them for injuries. He knew her ankle was injured, but he didn’t think it was broken, though it had begun to swell. After wiping off the mud with the cloths and bowl of warm water Nanna had placed on the floor beside him, he could see a dark purple bruise working its way up her ankle.
“How did you manage to walk on this?” Stefan asked. He looked up at the girl, but her eyelids drooped and he knew she would be asleep in moments.
Nanna Grace used a cloth to wipe away more of the mud from the girl’s neck and face. “Are you warm enough yet?”
The girl had gone from shivering uncontrollably to only a few shivers here and there. She nodded and whispered, “Lots better.”
“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Nanna Grace asked.
“Jenna,” the girl whispered before she fell asleep.
Stefan sat on the floor and held Jenna’s cold feet in his hands, trying to warm them up and feeling a sense of peace in her presence. Though Nanna Grace was right there, Stefan felt like it was only himself and Jenna in that moment and the girl was even unconscious. He hoped she would be all right. He was dying to find out more about this fascinating creature who had walked through a storm like this and must have scaled the fence around the perimeter to make it to safety.


Jenna basked in the warmth surrounding her. She had been so cold before and thought she’d never be able to thaw out completely, but when she woke, she was wrapped up in warm blankets in front of a cozy fireplace. Her body ached and she couldn’t remember for sure how she had gotten there. The one thing she could remember was a handsome man helping her. She looked around the room and saw an older woman that looked familiar and a grumpy looking guy staring her down. He had to be about ten years older than Jenna’s twenty-seven years. Yet the guy she remembered wasn’t there.
She was positive she hadn’t dreamed him up. Though he was the stuff of dreams. Dark hair, square jaw with a new beard, and bright green eyes. And his voice — she was sure he had an accent, though she couldn’t place it. Could have been east coast or something, but it was deep and soothing and she wished he could tell her stories. She’d bet he’d even sound sexy reading the dictionary.
The grandmotherly woman moved closer. “How are you, dearie?”
“Lots better,” Jenna answered. “Thank you so much. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.”
“No need. Do you need something to eat?” the woman asked.
“Actually, I’d just like something to drink and then a shower if possible.”
“Stefan, Brooks, Cavel. Someone please bring some hot tea in for Jenna.”
The hottie that had helped her into the house poked his head in the room and smiled brightly when he met her eyes. “Right on it, Nanna Grace.”
He disappeared into the other room and within a minute brought out a small tray with a mug and a teapot. He set the tray on the small coffee table to the side of her, and Nanna Grace started pouring the hot liquid into a mug with a delicate silver chain hanging from the side.
“Thank you, Stefan.”
“Jenna, how are you feeling?” Stefan asked as he knelt in front of her chair. “How are your injuries?” He looked down at her legs that were wrapped up in blankets. “We tried to clean up the cuts and scratches, but thought you might want to sleep and warm up before we really had a go at fixing you up.”
“I’m a little sore,” Jenna admitted, “but not bad. I’m sorry to intrude on you all like this, but thank you for being my hero.”
“How did you get here?” The ornery guy in the corner asked.
Jenna blinked at his tone. Stefan turned to the guy and shook his head. “Cavel, ease up a little.” Stefan turned to Jenna again and smiled. “Don’t mind him. He’s always been that way.”
Nanna Grace handed her the cup and asked. “What Cavel meant to say was, how did you find yourself in this predicament and make your way to our cabin?”
Jenna took a slow drink of the warm tea, surprised it was actually good. She’d only had boxed herbal teas, but these guys knew how to do it. Of course with their European accents, they could have been from across the ocean instead of the east coast like she’d first thought.
“I had been hiking on the Manza trail when I got caught in the thunderstorm. As I was hurrying down the trail trying to get back to my car, I slipped and went down the side of the hill. I knew this area had cabins so I worked my way over here.”
Cavel, to the side, grunted like he didn’t believe it. “What’s your full name? Who’s your family? Do we need to call someone to have them come get you?”
“Jenna Owens,” she answered. She began to reach for her phone then remembered it had been destroyed. “My phone is a mess, but I’m pretty sure I can remember some numbers. My parents are in Argentina right now. But I could call a friend.”
“What are your parents doing in Argentina?” Cavel asked, his tone making Jenna worry.
“They went down with a group of people to help build some homes and get some water wells established.”
“Really?” Stefan asked, his eyebrows high, yet he didn’t look like he thought she was lying, just surprised.
Nanna Grace took the cup from Jenna after she’d drank about half of it and had set it on her lap. “How about we see what we can do about getting you that shower.”
“Oh, thank you,” Jenna said. She moved to stand up, but when she placed her feet on the ground and tried to put weight on her ankle, she gasped.
“Are you all right?” Stefan asked. “Can I help you?”
“It’s just really sore.” She pulled the blanket off her legs and studied her foot.
“It’s a little swollen,” Stefan said, “and I wouldn’t doubt you’ve sprained it, but I don’t think it would be broken. Not if you were walking on it.”
Jenna nodded, not ready to speak because it still throbbed. She didn’t know how she had forgotten about it while she’d been sitting there talking with Nanna Grace and Stefan. He stood and held out both hands.
“Allow me to assist you.”
She placed her hand in his, loving the warmth and strength of it. He pulled her up and she rested all her weight on her good foot, though felt the ache in her knee again.
“I don’t know if I can walk very far,” Jenna said.
“Would it be all right with you if I carried you?” Stefan asked.
“You don’t have to do that,” Jenna said, feeling mortified and a little short of breath at his offer.
“Of course I don’t have to, but I would be honored if you’d let me help you.”
Jenna met his eyes and she only saw kindness in them. “Thank you.”
He smiled, causing her insides to melt a little, but when he lifted her and cradled her gently against him, she felt as if she’d turned to liquid.
Nanna Grace led the way out of the room, but Jenna could hardly focus on anything except for Stefan. When he entered the master bedroom, he turned and headed straight for the huge bathroom. The cabin was amazing, something Jenna could never afford to live in. He set her down on a little stool in the bathroom and when he was sure she was stabilized, he stepped back and met her eyes.
“I’ll, uh, let Nanna Grace help you from here. We’ll find you some clean clothes — though I doubt we’ve got anything your size — and when you’re done, we’ll make sure you get something to eat.”
Nanna Grace smiled and shooed him away. “I’ll take care of the rest, Stefan. You just go calm Cavel and Brooks down. Let them know I won’t be letting her leave tonight unless she feels well enough to do so.”
Stefan saluted Nanna Grace and winked at her then turned to Jenna and smiled before closing the door. As Nanna Grace went about filling the huge bath tub and getting out the various toiletries Jenna would need, Jenna took inventory of herself. Her legs were covered with scratches and bruises, especially the knee and ankle. Her arms were scratched up too, but not as bad. She stood carefully and when she saw herself in the mirror she cringed. She hadn’t even thought about what she might look like, but she wondered how she could ever face Stefan again after he’d seen her looking so thoroughly atrocious. Of course, she could only look better after a shower.

She's a scientist with no time for romance, he's a prince afraid of making a mistake, do they dare follow their hearts and give each other a chance?

Main Tropes

  • Office Romance
  • Royalty
  • Instant Attraction
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