Prince Ruben of Helgmøre knows exactly what he wants—and his current obsession is Cherry Neita. Everything from her rollercoaster curves to her fearsome attitude commands his attention. And best of all? She has no idea who Ruben is.
Until the paparazzi catch them in a dark alley, her scarlet lipstick smudged, and his hands somewhere naughty…
All Cherry wanted was a night or two with the hottest man she’d ever seen. Turns out, that man is actually a prince, and now he needs her to play princess. Well, princess-to-be. One year as his fake fiancée, and he’ll make all her problems disappear. Easy. Right?
Trigger warning for child abuse and domestic abuse as well as some racist remarks.
At one point I was reading five books, none of them romance. (I don’t know how it happened, either.) So as soon as I finished one I dove into my digital to-be-read pile and came up with The Princess Trap.
The last Hibbert book I tried to read opens with scenes of abuse and I had to put it down. I’m okay with mentions, especially when they’re of past events, but extended scenes told in the present tense are hard for me to read. Luckily the opening of this book is fine – heroine working at a job she doesn’t care for meets a “hidden royalty” hero, sparks fly, etc. Being discovered in a compromising pose leads to an engagement of convenience, jetting to an island kingdom, and some steamy scenes as they fall in love.
So lots of good stuff. The author is a woman of color, the relationship is interracial, the hero is bisexual, and side characters indentify as LGBTQIA+ in slick, ‘this is totally normal’ ways.
She’d never brought a boy home. Her sister had never brought a girl home. They had no point of reference for [how their parents would react].
Further on in the book, though, we flashback to child abuse (present tense), domestic violence is insinuated, and we see the aftereffects of more child abuse to a different character. As a result I struggled. I love that the author has hotline numbers and encouraging words in the acknowledgements, and the whole situation is handled incredibly well, but still. I had a hard time getting through.
The only other thing that bothered me was the hero’s convenient BDSM-lite. It allowed him to show an alpha side early on and hint at delicious wickedness, but it wasn’t revisited after the first sex scene.
Despite the personal minuses I still started and finished The Princess Trap within 24 hours, so… ~shrug~. I learned my lesson though – I’ll be checking reviews for trigger warnings before I pick up another book by this author, as much as I like her work.