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  • Dear Prince Charming
  • Written by Donna Kauffman
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  • Dear Prince Charming
  • Written by Donna Kauffman
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780553900606
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Dear Prince Charming

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Written by Donna KauffmanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Donna Kauffman


List Price: $9.99


On Sale: August 03, 2004
Pages: 384 | ISBN: 978-0-553-90060-6
Published by : Bantam Bantam Dell
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fiction (8) romance (6) chick lit (4) humor (4)
fiction (8) romance (6) chick lit (4) humor (4)
Synopsis|Excerpt|Reader Reviews


Too short to be a model, too unartistically inclined to be a designer, Valerie Wagner has finally found her niche in the fashion world she loves as the publicist for Glass Slipper, Inc., and the mastermind behind the launch of their brand-new glossy magazine. She's signed up the perfect cover model - Prince Charming, an advice columnist who's won the hearts of millions of women with his acerbic wit and his on-target romantic insight. Best of all, he's never revealed his real name or shown his face. Until now. And it's Valerie who's about to bring him into the limelight. There's just one problem. America's sweetheart, the sexy and sensitive man who's helped millions of women get their man, is coming out of the closet with a vengeance.

Valerie's new-found career is teetering on the brink of ruin. She can't crush the hopes of all the buyers of the magazine. She can't get Eric out of his seven-figure contract. And Prince Charming himself is tired of living a lie, and wants to find his own Mr. Right. Looks like there's no way out. Until Eric offers up his childhood best friend Jack, a sportswriter with a devilish smile and a chain of ruined relationships behind him. With Eric as the brains of the operation and Jack as the heartthrob that the media can sink its teeth into, they're an unbeatable team, and no one ever has to know... until Jack notices that behind Valerie's overachiever businesswoman personality is a woman with her very own kind of charm, and he decides to take matters into his own hands...

Fresh, sexy, and funny enough to have come from the pen of Prince Charming himself, Donna Kauffman transcends the boundaries of romance and chick lit to take her own particular twist on a fairy tale.


Chapter One

At age thirty, Valerie Wagner had begun to fear that the fashion career she’d dreamed of since opening her first Vogue at age nine was actually a grand and cruel delusion, and that perhaps medical intervention might be required in getting her over it.

Maybe her fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Spagney, had been right all along. She’d sent Vogue-enhanced Valerie home from school the following day with strict instructions to never scare the other students like that again. Privately, Valerie had thought Ms. Spagney could use some heavy kohl eyeliner and spiky bangs herself. It would have done much to hide the deep grooves that came from too many years of frowning down at young, independent thinkers like herself.

However, she’d been objective enough to realize that maybe makeup and hairstyling weren’t her strengths. So she’d stared down at her flat chest and thought . . . hmm. Valerie had been the only girl in her sixth-grade class secretly thrilled not to need a training bra. After all, she’d never walk the runways in Milan if she had boobies.

Unfortunately, she’d forgotten about the height clause. By sixteen, even in wobbly heels, with hair gelled to within an inch of its life, she barely flirted with the five-eight mark. Much shorter than the five ten she knew from her by-then slavish devotion to W, was the minimum of industry standards.

Cruelly, the now-welcome boobies had never appeared.

Undeterred, she’d resolutely turned to design. If she wasn’t made to model fashion, by damn, she’d create it. Which would have worked beautifully except stick figures sporting Magic Marker–colored, triangle-shaped outfits weren’t exactly going to win her any scholarships. And yet, she’d hung in there, convinced her calling was still within reach. She’d go for a degree in fashion merchandising and work for an upscale chain as a buyer. She envisioned trips to Paris, London, Milan. So what if she had as much chance of balancing her checkbook as she did of discovering the formula for cold fusion? It wasn’t like she was going to be spending her own money, right?

Then had come the Big Breakthrough. In her senior year of high school, the brokerage firm her father worked for had transferred him to Chicago. She’d gotten a summer job with Madame magazine—for full-figured gals, not call-girl employers—though as switchboard operator she’d heard every hooker joke and pimp pun on the planet. She hadn’t minded.

She’d found her people.

Obviously she’d just misinterpreted the gospel according to Elle. It wasn’t the people populating those glossy pages that called to her. It was the glossy pages themselves. Fashion magazines, the force that drove the industry, deciding what was hip and what was hopelessly last year . . . that was her true calling, her primary function, her niche.

Ten years later she’d become a serial niche killer. There wasn’t a job she hadn’t held. Or gone on to abandon, feeling more unfulfilled and depressed with each failure. Fortunately, she’d stumbled upon her last hope before getting a prescription for Paxil.

When she’d heard that the owners of Glass Slipper, Inc., the company renowned for performing life makeovers, were looking for a publicist for their new endeavor, the bimonthly glossy Glass Slipper magazine, she knew she’d found the career Holy Grail she’d been searching for. And it was do-or-die time.

She’d winged her way through what she privately thought was the best job-pitch performance of her life. And by performance she meant audition, because it had been the acting job of the century. She had no specific qualifications for the job. But when had that stopped her? She might have been slow finding her own niche, but the upside was that she knew a whole lot about everyone else’s. So she talked a good game. In fact, talking people into doing things her way was the one special talent she knew she had. In spades.

So when Mercedes Browning contacted her to tell her she’d gotten the job as the publicist for their new endeavor, she hadn’t been completely surprised.

The real shock was that she hadn’t realized her true calling sooner.

And now, six months to the day later, she’d topped it all by scoring the biggest coup in magazine history. Not only had she landed Prince Charming, the mysterious and elusive best-selling self-help author, as Glass Slipper’s spokesperson and exclusive columnist . . . she’d gotten him to agree to show his face to the world for the very first time, on the cover of their launch issue!

Valerie wove her way through the crowded outdoor tables at Sonsi’s, Potomac’s newest swank spot, where Washington movers and shakers came to see and be seen. Because, honestly, despite Chef Andre’s impeccable and well-advertised qualifications, no one was here because they had an undying craving for venison-stuffed pumpkin or Moulard duck wrapped in foie gras and fig.

At the moment, however, she didn’t care about unnatural food combinations. She was too busy savoring her triumph and trying to refrain from conga-ing her way around the tables. So many years of trying, of wondering, of worrying if she’d ever get to this moment. Hell, wondering if this moment actually existed. And now, finally, it was here. And it was even better than she could have hoped for.

“Cinderella, eat your heart out,” she whispered beneath her breath.

She had the Glass Slipper; she had Prince Charming; she even had her own fairy godmother—three of them, in fact. All she needed now was the Be-Dazzler-encrusted pumpkin carriage and the fairy tale would be complete. Her smile spread to a grin. However, her brand-new, sporty little Beemer would definitely do in the meantime. Life was good.

She waved to the Godmother Collective as she spied their table. Mercedes Browning, Aurora Favreaux, and Vivian dePalma—the founders of Glass Slipper, Inc., and now Glass Slipper magazine—nodded, fluttered, and lifted a drink, in that order, in her general direction as she navigated the final handful of tables.

Flushed with her success and hoping she didn’t look as smug as she felt—oh, what the hell, how often did one reach a career pinnacle?—Valerie took her seat across from the three women. “Everything is set,” she announced. “Nigel is on board. We shoot the cover Monday morning.”

“We never had a doubt!” Vivian exclaimed, lifting a bottle of Cristal from the ice bucket next to the table. Her trademark flame-red hair had been teased into a spiky pouf around her head, her makeup had been stenciled on with laserlike accuracy, and her outfit was as outrageous as always. Of course, most women couldn’t make zebra prints work. Valerie had quickly learned that Vivian wasn’t most women. The youngest of the three at sixty-eight, Vivian was also the most outspoken. “Let me pour you a glass or three, honey. Lord knows, you’ve earned it.”

“A proper celebration is definitely in order,” Aurora added after a quick frown at Vivian. Swathed in layers of gossamer silk, Aurora had that effortless, delicate Southern charm that quite successfully hid the steel magnolia beneath.

“So, everything is in order, then? You’ve spoken with Elaine, I assume? No other last-minute emergencies?” Mercedes’ expression was serious as always. Valerie privately thought of her as the Eeyore of the group. It had come as no shock to learn that, prior to launching their life-makeover empire, Mercedes had been headmistress of a private New England girls’ boarding school.

“For heaven’s sake, Mercy, let the girl have some bubbly before you start interrogating her.” Vivian handed Valerie her glass, then topped off the other three. “I’m sure everything is just fine.” She beamed at Valerie, but her gaze was sharp as ever. “You’ve all but taken over the reins of this whole endeavor, haven’t you?”

Valerie was surprised by the comment, but as Vivian seemed to mean it as a compliment, she continued to smile. “Hardly. Elaine is doing the work of ten people,” she said, referring to the managing editor. “I’m in constant awe.”

“But you were clever enough to come up with the spokesperson and cover model idea,” Vivian commented.

“Yes, but of course we had no idea Mr. Jermaine would refuse to deal with anyone but me. I just did what I had to to ensure he signed with us.”

Aurora flipped her scarf at Vivian. “Of course you did, dear. And we’re ever so grateful.” She lifted her glass a bit higher as she turned her attention to them all. “Here’s to our new venture, and the dynamite publicist who single-handedly assured us a smashing debut!”

“Hear, hear,” Vivian agreed readily. “Here’s to knocking those bitchy industry insiders on their collective jealous ass! And they said our plan to launch a magazine in this economic climate was foolhardy. Ha!”

Mercedes’ frown only deepened, but she tipped glasses with the rest of them, then spoke before they’d barely finished swallowing. “You’ve confirmed with Mr. Jermaine the cover shoot for Monday?”

Valerie assured her she had, even as Vivian rolled her eyes.

“We’re all looking so forward to finally meeting him in the flesh,” Aurora said, leaning forward a bit, the multiple rings on her fingers sparkling as the sun reflected off the champagne glass.

“Flesh you’ve promised is cover-model worthy,” Vivian reminded her.

“Oh, you won’t be disappointed, trust me,” Valerie said, enjoying the feel of the fizz as it tickled her nose. Did it get better than this?

“If he’s as good-looking as you say, I find it surprising he’s kept his light under a bushel for so long,” Aurora offered.

“I don’t think he really thinks about his looks one way or the other.” Although privately she agreed with Aurora. Eric was six feet plus of tanned muscle and beachboy godliness. He already had women all over America swooning with his no-bullshit insight into the male mind. He was proof positive that caring, sensitive men did exist. All that and drop-dead gorgeous, to boot. She wouldn’t be surprised if the female population took one look at the way his perfectly sun-streaked and tousled blond hair fell in endearingly boyish waves across his broad, tanned forehead, those stunning aqua-blue eyes, and a mouth that Cupid must have had a hand in sculpting . . . and had a spontaneous group orgasm. He’d certainly left her feeling a bit damp. “He’s just a very private person.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Mercedes said. “We’ve been reduced to negotiating via phone conferences.” She settled her napkin in her lap as their salads arrived.

Valerie said a silent thank-you for the timely intrusion. Mercedes had been the only one who hadn’t been all that enthusiastic about hiring Eric sight unseen. It was too late now, however, so there was no point in yammering on about it yet again.

Table of Contents

“Valerie, you go, girl! Jack is no Prince Charming, and how Valerie keeps him from risking her job and the wrath of her bosses, the ‘Godmothers’–a wild and wooly trio of *Grand Dames”–and at the same time, keeping her sanity, makes for a novel that's a cut above the usual romance fare. It's clever, funny, and insightful.”–Virginia W., Hemet, CA

“Absolutely loved the book. Made me laugh out loud a few times. It’s a stay-up- late-to-see-how-it-ends kind of book. Sweet, funny and highly addictive. I can't wait to get all of Donna Kauffman's books.”–Elizabeth S., Jacksonville NC

“Donna Kauffmann delivers a delightfully fast-paced romp with the story of Jack Lambert, who 'owes' a friend a favor and Valerie Wagner, a job hopper who has finally found her niche and stands to lose it all.  Dear Prince Charming is filled with lots of sexual tension and steamy love scenes that will make you wish... if only the glass slipper fit your foot! “ –Johnna F., Ennis, TX

“Donna Kauffman shredded the stereotyped romance novel and replaced it with a captivating story–Prince Charming meets Cinderella with a modern twist. It was tense, fun-filled, captivating and a tearjerker.”–April R., Ashuelot, NH

“I thought this was one of Donna Kauffman's best books.  She just gets better and better.  Sexy, witty, and fun. I didn't want to put it down.” –P. Wincek, Frisco, TX

“I would like to say this is the first book I have read by Donna Kauffman, but I now have others ready to read.  I think Dear Prince Charming was well written, with wonderful characters.  The story sucked you right in. The characters were very believable and strong and I loved the friendships and love that developed among them.  Dear Prince Charming definitely gives you that sparkle of hope that not all things turn out badly no matter what they seem like at the moment.”–Serena K., Henderson, KY

“Looking for a summer read? Then pick up a copy of Donna Kauffman's latest book. A cross between a romance and a chick lit novel, this tale will be appealing to avid romance readers as well as the twenty and thirty-somethings. Valerie and Jack are two characters that are strong and well rounded. I think you'll love the godmothers, especially Vivian. Grab a fruity smoothie and this book and enjoy.”–Natalie M., St Mary’s, GA

“Even with three Godmothers thrown in, this is not your typical fairytale. There are no evil witches. But there are a lot of laughs, strong sexual tension, and great advice to be found. I very much enjoyed reading my pre-publication copy of Dear Prince Charming. I read it in a surprisingly short period of time. Not because the book was short but because I was so caught up in the fun that I lost all sense of time.” –S.J. A., Vancouver, BC, Canada

“This is my first book by Donna Kauffman but not my last. It was funny and hot. I loved all the little intros to each chapter–it gives you something to look forward to. Definitely worth reading.”–Monica G., Chicago IL

Dear Prince Charming was fun!  Eric Jermaine was a wonderful character and his relationships were a great foil for developing the Jack/Valerie story line.  The conversations were well written and true. The chapter introductions/sayings were fabulous–very creative and added much to the story.  All in all a good summer read!”–Laura T., Florham Park, NJ

A surprise from beginning to end! Is there really a Prince Charming? And would we even recognize him when we find him? This book leads us on a merry discovery.”–Melissa L., New London, CT

“Never before have I gotten good advice while reading a delicious romance novel.  I couldn't read fast enough to get to the beginning of each new chapter.  An enticing must read!”–Amanda K., Brook Park, OH

“An entertaining and delightful romance that has depth.  Loved it.” –Sharon B., Albuquerque, NM

“Awesome Read, I would definitely recommend it to others, loved every part of it.” –Melissa C., Dayton, OH
Donna Kauffman|Author Q&A

About Donna Kauffman

Donna Kauffman - Dear Prince Charming
Once upon a time, Donna Kauffman was born in Washington D.C. Alas, there were no glass slippers in her closet, but fate was kind, and a trustworthy (and totally hot) knight did cross her path. No fool she, Donna didn't need a fairy godmother to point out a good thing when she saw it. Their happily ever after is currently taking place in Virginia.

Author Q&A

Author Q&A

What’s the best moment for you in the process of writing a novel?

For me, there are two best moments. (No, not writing Once Upon a Time and The End. That’s so last season. I love that must-have moment that happens before I ever get to Once Upon a Time. That moment when the idea for a new story hits me.

I’m always asked “Where do you get your ideas?” and I give Jenny Crusie’s stock answer: “Sears. The idea store.” But the truth is, any one of a million innocuous things can inspire an entire book. An article in the newspaper, a song on the radio, an overheard conversation, a chance encounter on an airplane. Or in the dressing room at Nordstrom. (Okay, that might be too much information.) The great thing is, you never know when it’s going to hit you. I can’t go look for a story. So when one strikes, it’s always exciting. (Yes, sometimes this is accompanied by a “Thank God, it’s about time!”) Anywhere, anytime, something can sneak up and make me go “Hmmm. What if?” It can start with something as complex as an idea for a character I want to explore, or something as simple as a title idea that begs for a story to go with it.

The other best moment is when, after working through all the twists and turns in a plot that turned out to be far more complicated than seemed remotely imaginable that magical day in the dressing room…months and months and many blood-sweat-and-tears pages later…usually right about the time I’m certain that for all my hard work, my brilliant idea is really just a huge pile of…well…anyway, something clicks, I turn that final corner, and finally, blessedly, I see that dim but unmistakable light at the end of the tunnel. (So, all right, at first I’m convinced it’s just the train.) But that moment when I realize I will, in fact, be able to pull all this together in the end is almost as big a rush as when I got the idea for the story in the first place.

If you weren't a writer, what career would you want to have?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, I just never thought it would be a career. In fact, I tried a whole lot of other ones first. I’ve been a ceramics teacher, a bookkeeper, a jazz troupe dancer, a dog groomer, a people groomer, a competitive body builder, and a builder of two completely new bodies (my sons). All of them were extremely rewarding in a number of ways; all of which lend a great deal to what I do now. Once I began writing with a career in mind, and that career did indeed happen, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Fourteen years later, I still can’t.

But if I absolutely had to imagine it…I’m thinking (very) personal assistant to Clive Owen sounds like an excellent career move.

What scene in your own books are you most surprised you wrote?

The very last one. See my response to the first question, and you’ll understand why.

What’s your secret vice?

Krispy Kreme donuts get so much press, you know? Too much, to my way of thinking. I mean, a donut is a donut to me. So, after much deliberation, I decided it was worth exposing my secret vice if it meant giving this much-deserved and tireless baker her just….well, desserts.

Yes, I’m talking about Little Debbie.

Little Debbie and I go way back. In fact, I don’t think I’m being a suck up to say that she has been my muse on more than one occasion (or more to the point, her walnut brownies with the faux slice in the middle–like you’re really going to eat only half! That Debbie, such a kidder.) Unlike fickle friends and absent family members, Debbie has always been there for me. Through thick and thin. Though, come to think of it, lately it’s been a lot more thick than thin. I know I can count on Debbie, always a trouper, to take full and complete, even gleeful, blame.

(And yes, fans who wish to impress at book signings, I can indeed be bribed with a token brownie offering.)

What do you give yourself when you need a pick-me-up?

Did you all shout “Little Debbie” with me? Actually, I pull out the All-Powerful Brownie only when I need the really serious support. For the day-to-day pick-me-up, I indulge in a very long soak in the tub, favorite book in hand, behind a locked door, with water running so loudly that only a fire engine siren would rouse me from my respite. As of yet, my children haven’t resorted to that particular measure to get me out of the bathroom. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Or until they read this interview.

Well, at least I’ll get to meet a few cute firemen. Hope my husband isn’t home at the time. (Note to self: keep very fluffy floor-length bathrobe on back of bathroom door at all times.)

What was your most memorable date (good or bad)?

Ask me again in a few months and it could be the one described above. (At the very least, that will fuel a few nice fantasy vignettes.)

My memorable past date would have to be meeting my (future) husband in person for the first time. He and I had been conversing via e-mail after he agreed to help me with some research. (Not that kind. Mind outta the gutter.) That part came much later.

At the time he was commander of a Special Emergency Response Team and his crew was heading to Quantico Marine Base to take part in a SWAT/SERT team competition. You think wine and roses are the best first date? No. Watching a hundred guys dressed in black cammies, running around doing all kinds of macho things with all kinds of very macho equipment strapped to their, uh, strapping chests…and arms…and legs, and, well, you begin to get my drift. Especially when one of them is all yours afterward. Little Debbie, eat your heart out.

What is your favorite quote?

Actually, I just saw this today. I think it sums up my belief on the best way to make a relationship work for the long haul.

From Tony Snow (FOX News guy) to men in relationships: “Cave early and often.”

  • Dear Prince Charming by Donna Kauffman
  • August 03, 2004
  • Fiction - Romance - Contemporary
  • Bantam
  • $14.00
  • 9780553382358

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