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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marrying the Prince…or Not

When I was growing up, I was always hoping that something big and romantic and magical and (unfortunately) totally unlikely was going to happen to me. Of course, in my heart of hearts, I always knew that I was not going to marry a prince or be the prom queen or slay a thousand men's hearts, but I'm not sure it really mattered. The dream of having a special fairy tale moment was enough.

And as I grew older I realized that love and romance (and magic) are often born slowly, over time, out of situations that might not seem romantic at all, at first.

That's how I feel about the hero and heroine's situation in my November book, Her Millionaire, His Miracle. They're an unlikely pair. Jeremy's rich, Eden is anything but. She had a stunning crush on him when they were younger, and he didn't know she existed. And now…he's going blind, he's put brakes on his future (no marriage, no children) and she wants children more than anything else. It's clear that this isn't going to be simple. Eden isn't going to wake up and find herself marrying Jeremy, the prince of her younger years. Instead, there's deep emotion that builds, a slow awakening, the promise of tremendous heartbreak, some tears and…here's an excerpt:

Turn around. Go back home. This could all go so wrong. What was I thinking when I decided to go through with this? Eden Byars tried to appear calm as the housekeeper at Oak Shores showed her into Jeremy Fulton's north suburban Chicago mansion, but her thoughts didn't seem to be willing to play the game.

Just keep moving forward, she ordered herself. This was too great an opportunity. She couldn't let old, uncomfortable memories mess things up.

"Excuse me?" the housekeeper asked.

Eden blinked. Had she spoken her thoughts out loud? Maybe. "The house is beautiful," she said, trying to regain her poise. "I'd forgotten." And she had never actually been inside. Not even inside the gates or down the long, winding drive shaded by oaks. In fact, she'd only ever seen glimpses of the imposing mansion in the winter when the leaves had fallen.

The woman tilted her head. "Yes, there's no other like it. Mr. Fulton is in the library, right through there. He's expecting you." She indicated a massive set of mahogany doors and left to return to her duties.

Eden stood before the doors, smoothing her hands over her old navy-blue skirt. Silly to be nervous. She'd barely known Jeremy ten years ago. They'd hardly exchanged a dozen words beyond hello and goodbye. Different social classes, different everything. It had been a nonexistent relationship.

Except for the fact that she'd had an overwhelming secret and painful crush on him until…

Eden's face grew warm with embarrassment. She took a deep breath.
Dusty history, Byars. He won't remember. Please. And even if he did, it couldn't matter. She had to have the job she'd heard Jeremy was trying to fill. Fate had thrown her a curve last month just when she thought she was back on her feet. Suddenly she was down on her luck again. Creditors were calling and all of her plans were on the brink of evaporating if she didn't do something quickly.

A sick feeling slipped into her stomach. The thought of standing before Jeremy and revealing her desperation while he judged her brought back old flashbacks from high school of never fitting in.
But that had been long ago. Awkwardness was no longer her constant companion. She'd changed.

Apparently, so had Jeremy. In one major way.

Eden closed her eyes, remembering what she'd heard. She tried not to think of how he'd once been with that disarming amber gaze and those wild, reckless ways that made girls forgive him anything. Fast and brilliant and very openly temporary, he had been the most vital, alive male she'd ever known.

And now he was…

Eden backed away from the thought. Don't think about it. I can handle this, she told herself.

Could she? Maybe. Yes. She had to. Jeremy's situation wasn't her concern. No man was, not in a personal way. Besides, he was no longer a boy she coveted. He was just a man with a job to fill, someone who could aid or ruin her, and loitering outside the library wasn't helping things. If she didn't prove to Jeremy that she was the best—a term no one would have tagged her with when she was younger—if she didn't convince him to hire her…

I'll lose everything I've worked for. The distant dreams that had kept her going this past year would never materialize.
"I won't let that happen," she whispered. Not again. Ignoring her pounding heart and a lot of unfortunate memories, Eden took a deep breath, pushed at the massive mahogany door and prepared to confront her past.

Jeremy rose from the desk where he'd been sitting when the door opened. His housekeeper had buzzed him to let him know Eden was here several minutes ago and he'd been wondering why she hadn't appeared yet.

Well, sort of wondering. He imagined it took a bit of courage to face an old acquaintance under these circumstances. But he refused to examine his circumstances. Too many dangerous emotions down that path, something he'd learned to avoid. Instead he concentrated on the moment… and the woman. He would have preferred someone who'd never known him as he once had been, but Eden had been sent here by her cousin, Ashley, an old friend of his whom he trusted implicitly.

He looked toward Eden, turning his head slightly to catch the best possible view of her. It was a habit he'd had to get used to of late, and it worked, albeit imperfectly.

Showtime, Fulton. Put the big smile on for the lady.

I loved writing this book. The characters spoke to me, and Jeremy is a truly special man, both very powerful and vulnerable and…achingly unattainable. I guess I do get to have those magic moments, after all. Writing this book was one of them (and okay, I've had my share in real life. My husband and I spent the morning at an art museum, went for a romantic walk and then he took me out to lunch. Who needs to marry royalty when I have my very own prince)?
As Melissa mentioned earlier, The Wedding Planner authors have a number of books either out now or next month. Here's the schedule:

November – Her Millionaire, His Miracle by Myrna Mackenzie
Rescued by the Magic of Christmas by Melissa McClone
December – Marry-Me Christmas by Shirley Jump
Her Baby's First Christmas by Susan Meier

Also, in honor of Christmas I'll be having several contests at my website (in addition to the usual quarterly one, so please stop by and enter, or if you comment on today's blog entry, I'll automatically enter you in the first pre-Christmas contest, a grab bag containing a book and miscellaneous goodies).

Wishing all of you some of those very special romantic and magical moments. So...what was your "Marrying the Prince" fantasy when you were young?

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Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

First, as I have already told Myrna, I loved her book. Definitely get it y'all! Second, I lived through the TV Cinderella with Leslie Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. My princes have always been dark haired fantasies ever since!

Peace, Julie

November 12, 2008 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger Myrna said...

Julie, picture me squealing! You and I have to be the only two people in the world who remember Leslie Ann Warren's Cinderella. I loved that show! And yes on dark haired princes. Is it too weird to say that as an adult with children that my favorite Disney movie was The Little Mermaid (another dark haired prince story)? Somehow my sons weren't nearly as enthralled.

November 12, 2008 at 5:02 AM  
Blogger Monique Wood said...


The story sounds fantastic!

I'll admit, as a young girl I used to build up fantasies in my head about being swept away by a wealthy prince.

Being a child of working class parents, we didn't have a lot materially, so the idea of living in an exotic location with an adoring member of royalty sounded like heaven!

Of course, princes can come in all forms. They don't need to be wealthy, as long as they have a good heart and a strong spirit. I found my prince, and he's handsome, a wonderful husband and a brilliant father.

I'm a very luck girl :-)

November 12, 2008 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I always liked those Dark Haired Princes, too. Good thing I married mine. *G*

November 12, 2008 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Myrna said...

Brandy and Monique,
I'm so glad that each of you found your prince! Isn't it wonderful how we discover that a prince doesn't actually have to be royalty...and even better that your own personal prince is right there in front of you?

And Monique, I hear you on what it was like to grow up working class and have those fairy tale dreams. My parents had both grown up on farms and moved to the city to work in factories. We didn't have much money, but they always made sure I had access to books (loved the library)! I still have some of my childhood books of fairy tales, too.

November 13, 2008 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Monique Wood said...

Hi Myrna,

I was addicted to reading as a child. I had such an active imagination, and books were the fuel!

By the way, my prince is dark haired, too! I'm partial to guys with dark hair. Sounds like it's a common thing :-)

November 13, 2008 at 5:33 PM  

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