From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.
For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.
But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
2:37PM, Tuesday, April 28
Third Floor Apartment
Consulate General of Genovia
New York City
I don’t know what’s happening to me. I lie when I should tell the truth, and tell the truth when I should lie.
Like half an hour ago, when Dr. Goldberg, the newly appointed “royal physician,” was here, and asked if I’ve been under any “unusual” stress lately.
I laughed and said, “Gosh, no, Doctor, none that I can’t think of.”
You would think Dr. Goldberg might have noticed the hordes of paparazzi gathered outside the consulate doors when he came in.
Instead, he said I shouldn’t be concerned about the fact that my left eyelid has been twitching pretty much nonstop for the past week, which is why I asked for an appointment in the first place.
According to Dr. Goldberg, this sort of thing “happens all the time, and is not at all indicative of a brain tumor or stroke.”
Then he suggested I stop putting my symptoms into iTriage, and instead get “plenty of sleep and exercise.” Oh, and I might try eating healthier.
Sleep? Exercise? Who has time to sleep or exercise? And how am I supposed to eat healthier when I’m literally trapped by the press inside the Genovian consulate and can only order food from places that deliver near the United Nations (which are basically steak houses, Chinese, or gyros)?
It wasn’t until he was packing up his medical equipment that I realized Dr. Goldberg was immune to sarcasm and really intended to leave without writing me a prescription.
So I said, “The truth is, Doctor, I have been feeling a little stressed. You might have heard about my recent family difficulties which have led to . . .”
I pointed meaningfully out the window to the throng of paparazzi waiting below. Dominique, the director of Royal Genovian Press Relations and Marketing, says if we don’t encourage them they will go away—like stray cats are supposed to, if you don’t feed them—but this isn’t true. I’ve never fed the press, and they still won’t go away.
“Oh, yes, yes, yes,” Dr. Goldberg said, seeming to realize things were a little out of the ordinary—like the fact that he was visiting me in the consulate instead of seeing him in his office hadn’t given it away. “Of course! But your father is doing very well, isn’t he? All the reports I’ve heard say that he’ll most likely be given a slap on the wrist, and then he’ll be able to return to Genovia. The press seem to find his little mishap with the law quite amusing.”
Little mishap with the law! Thanks to my father’s decision to take a midnight jaunt down the West Side Highway in his brand new racecar, Count Ivan Renaldo, Dad’s opponent for prime minister, is ahead five points in the polls. If the count wins, Genovia will be transformed from a charming medieval-walled microstate on the French Riviera to something that looks more like Main Street USA in Disneyland, with everyone strolling around in T-shirts that say, Who Farted?, eating giant turkey legs.
“Oh, Dad’s doing great!” I made the huge mistake of lying (I realize now). This is what we’re supposed to tell the extended family and the media. It is not the truth. Royals are never supposed to tell the truth. It isn’t done.
It’s for this reason that I think I’m losing my grip on my sanity and can no longer tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s a façade for the sake of the media (iTriage says this is called disassociation and is generally used as a coping mechanism to manage stress).
“Wonderful!” Dr. Goldberg cried. “And things are going well between you and—what is the young man’s name?”
I swear Dr. Goldberg must be the only person in the entire Western Hemisphere who doesn’t know Michael’s name.
Is Michael Moscovitz the world’s greatest lover? ‘YES!’ says sex-mad Princess Mia, declares the cover of this week’s InTouch.
Michael’s dad thought this was so hilarious, he bought dozens of copies to give to his friends and even his patients. Michael has asked him to stop, but his dad won’t listen.
“You really expect me not to buy this?” Dr. Moscovitz asked. “My son is the world’s greatest lover! It says so right here. Of course I’m going to buy this!”
This could be the reason for my twitch.
“Michael,” I said to Dr. Goldberg. “Michael Moscovitz. And yes, everything’s fine between us.”
Except of course since I’m being held a prisoner in my current home by the paps—I had to move out of my old apartment last year on account of my stalker, who calls himself RoyalRabbleRouser and likes to say he’s going to “destroy” me. The consulate is the only building in Manhattan guarded 24/7 by military police specially trained in the protection of a royal—Michael and I hardly ever get to see one another.
And then when we do, we mostly just lay around and watch movies on Netflix, because leaving the consulate is such a pain, unless I want to hear all sorts of horrible questions hurled at me on my way to the car:
“Mia, is that a baby bump or did you just have too much of that falafel we saw delivered an hour ago?”
“Mia, how does it feel to know Kate Middleton wore it better?”
“Mia, did you tell your dad not to bend over in the showers?”
“Mia, why hasn’t Michael put a ring on it?”
I tried to show Michael my twitch earlier on Facetime, but he said my eye looked perfectly normal to him.
“If you’re twitchy, though, Mia, it’s probably in nervous anticipation at the prospect of going out with me, the world’s greatest lover.”
“I thought we agreed we weren’t going to read our own press,” I reminded him.
“How can I help it?” he asked. “Especially since my erotic powers seemingly extend all the way to the Upper East Side, where they’ve rendered you sex mad.”
“Ha, ha, ha. You probably planted that story yourself.”
“You’ve grown so jaded and cynical since I last saw you. But really, Mia,” he said, finally getting serious. “I think you’re just stressing too much about all of this. I’m not saying things aren’t bad—they are. But maybe all you need is to get away for a day or two.”
“Away? How am I possibly going to get away? And where am I going to go that the press can’t follow me and ask about my alleged baby bump or how my dad looks in his orange jumpsuit?”
“Good question. Let me work on it.”
I know he’s just trying to help, but really, the idea of getting away with Dad in so much trouble and the country in such an uproar and the election so close and Mom being a new widow and Grandmère—oh, Grandmère!—as crazy as ever?
Plus my boyfriend having rendered me sex mad, of course.
No. Just no.
But of course I couldn’t tell Dr. Goldberg any of this. It’s like my lips have been frozen into a permanent smile by all my media training (and compartmentalizing of my feelings).
“Well, that’s fine then,” the doctor said, beaming.
Fine? It’s so not fine. Was it really so wrong of me to think that maybe, possibly, the palace physician might give me a little something to keep my eyelid from jumping around like a Chihuahua at dinnertime, or at least help me not lie awake all night?
And then when I do manage to fall asleep I have nightmares, like the one I had last night that I was married to Bruce Willis, and whenever Bruce would get out of the shower, he would dry off his penis while singing the song “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
I can’t even tell Michael this. How do you explain it to the kindly old physician they found who is still willing to do house calls?
“I’ll make sure the lab gets the blood and urine samples you insisted, Your Highness,” Dr. Goldberg said. “I should have the results in about a week. But I have to say that medically, I doubt they’ll find anything wrong. Your pulse is strong, your skin tone looks even, your weight within the normal range for your height. Despite this twitch you say you have—which frankly I can’t see—and your fingernails, which I see that you bite, you seem to be glowing with health.”
Damn! He would notice my fingernails. I must be the only female left on the entire planet who doesn’t get manicures because there’s nothing left of my fingernails to file, let alone paint.
“Maybe,” I said, trying to keep the eagerness out of my voice so I wouldn’t sound like one of those crazed oxy-addicts on the now sadly cancelled Intervention, “I should be written a prescription for a very mild mood stabilizer.”
“Oh, no,” Dr. Goldberg said. “Nail-biting is a bad habit, but very common, and hardly worth treating psychopharmacologically. The worst that could happen from compulsive nail-biting is that you might incur an infection, or pick up a pin worm.”
Oh my God. I am never biting my nails again. At least not before thoroughly washing them in antibacterial soap.
“What I suggest you try,” he added, as he packed up his bag, “is journaling.”
“Journaling?” Was he joking?
He was not.
“Why yes, I see you’ve heard of it. Journaling has been shown to reduces stress, and help with problem solving. My wife keeps what she calls a gratitude journal. She writes down three things every day for which she feels grateful, and keeps a dream journal, as well. She says it’s helped tremendously, especially with her mood swings. You should try it. Well, I’ll be in touch in about a week about that blood work. Good day, Princess!”
And then he left.
Which leaves me here. Journaling.
Why couldn’t I have lied to make myself seem more pathetic so he’d have written me a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication, or at least a low dose sleeping pill? Even the veterinarian does this for Fat Louis when I take him on the private jet back and forth to Genovia, and Fat Louis is a cat. Why does a cat get tranquilizers but the expensive concierge doctor we hired will not give them to me?
Of course if Fat Louis doesn’t take them, he revenge poops on everything, which is extremely problematic, especially when going through security (not that we have to do this because when you fly private they assume you aren’t going to blow up your own plane and don’t X-ray you or your baggage, which makes no sense. You would think by now that radical terror groups would have caught on to this and bought their own Lear jets, but apparently not).
But sometimes they still spot check you, even if you’re royalty, and it’s quite embarrassing to have the cat you’re holding firing tiny brown missiles at the poor TSA workers as you’re going through the body scanner.
But honestly, if a cat can have pills that turn him into a sweet, mellow travel companion who doesn’t shit everywhere, why can’t I?
Oh, dear, I just read that over. I’m not shitting everywhere, obviously. I just wouldn’t mind feeling a bit more mellow and getting some Bruce-Willis-free sleep once in a while.
I suppose it’s typical of my luck that we have the one concierge doctor in all of Manhattan who refuses to prescribe anti-anxiety medication. I’m sure every other celebrity (and royal) is loaded up on them.
This would explain a lot about their behavior, actually.
But if “gratitude” and “dream” journaling really does help with stress, I’m willing to give it a go.
At this point, I’ll try anything.
Let’s see. I already wrote down what I dreamed about. Here are three things for which I feel grateful:
- I don’t have a brain tumor.
- My father didn’t die in that racecar incident. Though given how reckless it was of him to have been in it in the first place, he probably deserved to.
- Michael, the most understanding, handsome, witty, and forgiving boyfriend in the entire world (even if every once in a while lately I’ve noticed there’s something going on with his eyes, too. Not a twitch. More like something brewing in there. If I still wrote historical romance novels—which I had to give up, because I do not have the time for all that research what with all my public speaking and running the center—I would describe it as a “haunted shadow.”)
I know it’s selfish, but I hope to God if there’s anything off with him, it’s because he’s passing another kidney stone, like the one he had last May—even though he said it was the most painful thing he’d ever experienced in his life—and not because he’s thinking about breaking up with me. I’m sure he’d like to experience a normal relationship with a girl who can casually leave work on a Friday night to meet for drinks at a bar without first having to have it checked for bombs or be escorted by bodyguards or followed by a phalanx of photo-hungry press.
But I love Michael and I will seriously lose my shit if he dumps me.
About Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. There have been over 25 million copies of Meg’s nearly 80 published books sold in 38 countries. Her last name rhymes with habit, as in “her books can be habit forming.” She currently lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and various cats.