The Princess Problem
In real life, she’s given up on the fairytale ending...
After having her heart broken twice, Alicia Dayne has sworn off men, decided to concentrate on her career, and is delighted to win a lucrative contract to make a commercial for Highborn Mattresses.
She could make the most awesome fairytale commercial ever—except for Jonas Highborn, who isn’t exactly thrilled with her Princess and the Pea ideas, and really doesn’t want a prince in tights representing his company.
Though he’s trying to keep his grieving mother happy by letting her have charge of the commercial shoot, and though Alicia’s trying to keep in mind that this annoying guy is her boss for the moment, they can’t seem to keep from clashing.
Throw in an overly-handsome prince, a matchmaking mama, and a stunning rose garden, and maybe, just maybe, Alicia can be convinced they have a chance at something real.
Because while she might not be a real princess, sometimes an ordinary girl’s got to take a chance, even when it seems too good to be true.
When did Happily Ever After become so complicated?
“Miss Dayne? This is Willa Highborn, from Highborn Mattresses. I’m calling about the proposal you sent over. I really like it. I’d be interested in hiring you for the commercial and print ads we’d like done. Do you think we could get together soon to discuss the possibilities?”
Alicia Dayne’s heart started to pound in her chest. “That sounds wonderful. I’m free tomorrow morning if that would work for you, Mrs. Highborn.”
“Please, call me Willa. Let’s say nine o’clock? At the store on Main?”
“Nine sounds great, Willa.” Alicia did a little jig by her desk and grinned at Mike Rameriz, her cameraman/assistant, and gave him a thumb’s up. Mike’s brows rose as he waited patiently to find out what was going on, his expression cautious and hopeful at the same time. “And please, won’t you call me Alicia?”
“Alicia. A beautiful name. I’m curious, your ideas were so different from any of the other proposals that I’m wondering what inspired you?”
“Well, I believe Highborn Mattress has a royal ring to it. And people often associate royals with fairytales. The fairytale that comes to mind when thinking about mattresses is, of course, The Princess and the Pea. So I guess this idea came out of having my dad read me one too many fairytales as a child. I love them.”
Willa laughed. “Well, I love fairytales, too, and I think your idea is incredibly clever. If my son had his way, he’d simply have a man stand in front of the camera and tell everyone to come on down and get a good price on a mattress. Fortunately, he put me in charge of this one. I understand this would be your first project of this kind?”
Alicia straightened her shoulders. “Yes, ma’am.” She tried to project confidence across the phone. “Though I’ve helped on many others, and specialized in film in college.”
“Well, I like your ideas.”
Anxious to prove her worth, Alicia rushed into speech. “Thank you. If you want to expand on any of the ideas I definitely have more. With your main factory being here in Portland, we could take some shots using Forest Park, or contact Pittock Mansion to see if they’ll let us use the grounds for some of the filming. It’s such a community landmark and it sort of has that castle feel to it. And since Portland is known as the City of Roses, we might find a way to work some roses into the storyline. What do you think?”
Willa laughed. “Well, the roses we can definitely do. I like that idea. Since it’s September, all the rose gardens are still in full bloom for another month or so.”
“Maybe we could somehow fit Mt. Hood into a shot?”
Willa chuckled. “I like your enthusiasm. Let’s meet tomorrow and go over some ideas. I have to say, I like what you’ve already come up with, but if we get too elaborate, my son might nix the whole project. He runs the company now.”
“Yes. My husband and I built the mattress factory, but my son Jonas has taken the reins. My unmarried son. He would normally do this himself, but he’s put me in charge. I think he’s been worried about me since my husband, his father, died last year.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you. I just wish my son would get married and give me a grandchild. That would keep me as busy as I’d care to be. At thirty he’d better not wait too much longer or all the nice girls will be gone. Are you single, dear?”
Alicia froze, picturing a guy unable to get dates on his own. “Oh. Oh, well, yes I am, but I’m sort of focused on my career right now.”
“Well, I like your picture. You look like a nice girl. I had Tate, my neighbor, help me research you on the Internet and we found your picture on your company website. You are cute as a button.”
“Thank you.” Time to change the subject. Fast. “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I can’t wait to get together tomorrow to discuss my ideas in person and, of course, to get your feedback. It’ll be a ton of fun.
“I’m looking forward to it, as well. Do you have the address of the main store?”
“All right, dear. Until tomorrow.”
Alicia carefully set the phone in its cradle.
“Well?” asked Mike.
She turned and raised both arms into the air. “We’re in!” Alicia gave a couple of jumps. “Pinch me! No, don’t pinch me! We got it! She chose us!”
“Whoo hoo!” Mike leaned forward on his chair and lifted his hand in the air and she high-fived him. “Why’d she call you and not the old man?” Mike asked, referring to the owner of the advertising firm.
“I don’t know. She researched me on the Internet or something.” She blew out a breath. “She sort of mentioned that her desperate, single son needs a wife.” She shuddered.
Mike laughed. “Let’s go tell the boss in person, then come back and take another look at your story-board. We can work on the budget so we’ll be ready tomorrow.”
She grinned at him. “Good idea.”
As they headed down the hall, Alicia was already thinking of a few models she would inform about the casting call. She pictured the stacked mattresses she’d use, the princess dress, the prince costume; which reminded her--she needed to call a few costume shops to see what they had. This might just be a mattress commercial, but it was going to be awesome!
One thing was for sure. This was a chance to prove herself to her boss, get something impressive on her resume, and make the best commercial ever. She couldn’t help a little squeal as they headed down the hall. When Mike laughed, she winked at him. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.