cover image A Princess in Theory

A Princess in Theory

Alyssa Cole. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-268554-4

A delightful premise enlivens this opener of Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. Naledi Smith, a New Yorker and epidemiology grad student, is busy with her lab work, her numerous jobs, her lazy boss, and her drunken best friend. She has no time to entertain the ramblings of an email stalker who keeps claiming Naledi is the missing betrothed to the prince of a country she’s never heard of. When Prince Thabiso of Thesolo learns the whereabouts of Naledi—thanks to his charming, intelligent assistant, Likotsi, who steals the show more than once—he sets out to bring her back to their homeland, but is surprised to learn that she has no memory of him or her life in Thesolo. He’s spent years dreaming about reuniting with her, so when she mistakes him for a new hire, he slides into the role, seeing it as the perfect cover so he can get to know her. Soon they build a strong emotional bond and intense physical attraction. Naledi has trust issues, so when she finds out the truth of Thabiso’s identity, the betrayal cuts deep. After a strong start, the ending falters, but the chemistry between the lovers makes up for that slight disappointment. (Mar.)