Planning on Prince Charming

By: Lizzie Shane

(Reality Romance, Book 4)

Chapter One

Sidney Dewitt was a coward.

On any other night she might have been ashamed of that, but after two mini-bar vodkas she was rapidly coming to terms with her cowardice and was well on her way to acceptance.

Sure, if she refused to appear on Marrying Mister Perfect now her business wouldn’t get any of that lovely free publicity to catapult them to an elite place among wedding planners, she would never meet the man who might very well be the man of her dreams, and her mother would invariably shake her head and mutter disapprovingly about her lack of follow-through.

And then there was the bajillion dollar breach of contract suit the producers could bring against her.

But surely that was better than parading around on national television in a cocktail dress that made her look like a stuffed sausage.

Auditioning with her best friend for Marrying Mister Perfect had been a dare. Being chauffeured down to LA for the follow-up interviews and screen tests had been too good an opportunity to pass up—an actual look inside one of her all-time favorite television shows.

She’d never thought they would actually pick her.

When she’d gotten the call, her friends had screamed loud enough that the producer on the other end of the line assumed she was screaming right along, but instead of excitement, all she felt was her internal panic level being revved up to Def Con One.

She’d told herself it was just jitters. Nerves. Perfectly natural. How many nervous brides had she talked down over the years? If anyone knew how terrifying leaping into love could be, it was a wedding planner.

She’d kept telling herself it was normal to be nervous. As her friends were helping her shop and pack for the show, she’d pretended she liked being called Cinderella as they dubbed themselves her fairy godmothers. She’d played the part.

But now it was the night before the show was scheduled to begin filming, the night before the romantic adventure of a lifetime, and Sidney was facing facts.

She was a coward.

How had she thought for even a second that she could go on national television and compete with twenty-nine insanely gorgeous women to actually get the guy? The one thing she’d always been good at was being invisible—which was an asset at weddings where she could fade into the background—but she’d seen enough seasons of Marrying Mister Perfect to know the invisible girls went home the first night.

The show favored bold women with big personalities. She knew that and she’d thought she could do it—take a risk, jump in with both feet, be daring—but reality had set in as soon as the door to her hotel room shut.

The producers had taken her cell phone and tablet. No more contact with the outside world would be allowed until she was kicked off the show. Which meant no more Parvati and Victoria goading and teasing her into bravery. No more late night strategy sessions where Parvati told her to follow her heart and Victoria told her to guard it—and made her vow to stay away from the alcohol lest she become famous as the girl who puked on Mister Perfect’s shoes on national television.

Just hours alone in a room with her fears.

She couldn’t do it.

The show would have to go on with only twenty-nine Suitorettes vying for Mr. Perfect’s heart.

She might get sued for breach of contract, but what was a lifetime of debt? She wasn’t brave. She wasn’t daring. She wasn’t Cinderella. She was more comfortable as the fairy godmother herself—making bridal dreams come true with a wave of her magic wand.

But now she was supposed to be the princess and it felt odd, a glass slipper that didn’t come close to fitting.

It didn’t help that she still wasn’t one hundred percent sure who Prince Charming was going to be.

The show always closely guarded the identity of Mister Perfect until filming began, but it had to be Daniel. He seemed so genuine. So sweet and real. If it was Daniel, maybe she could do it.

Maybe even she could be Cinderella this time. Meet her Prince Charming, who would take one look at her and know she was the one. The television show would become a record of their romance…which would also boost Once Upon a Bride into the national spotlight and give them the kind of success that even her mother couldn’t scoff at.

The business would flourish and she would finally have a ring on her finger and a fiancé who looked at her as if he couldn’t believe his luck… the way the best grooms always looked at their brides. It would be a dream come true.

If it was him.

If only she could be sure. Mister Perfect had to be staying in this same hotel. Sequestered in his room just like all the Suitorettes. If she could just catch a glimpse of him…