Shauna Laurence is a clumsy and awkward girl, far too nervous to have much success in romance, but she has always dreamed of living a fairy tale life — literally. Ever since she was young, she has had mysteriously vivid recurring dreams of a dashing prince and a beautiful woman he was to marry. When she uses these dreams as the basis for some writing she posts online, she raises the interest of the royal family of a faraway country in Europe, who are intrigued by the story’s similarities to their own history.
Soon, Shauna learns, the dreams are more than just that — she is the reincarnation of Prince Henrik, who died just before his wedding over twenty years earlier. With his memories awakened, the Prince finds himself awkwardly navigating the world he left behind as an outsider, and now a woman to to boot.
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Outside the bedchamber, four figures waited: The Crown Prince, a hale and hearty man of 40, his wife, and his mother, along with another young noblewoman, a beautiful young lady with golden tresses of hair and sea-green eyes. All wore looks of concern and fear.
“It will be all right, my heart,” the Prince said in his native tongue. He took his wife in his arms and stroked her hair comfortingly as she buried her head in his chest. Tears streamed from her eyes, wetting his garments. With every sob, he held her closer.
“Oh Henrik, Henrik,” the Princess sniffed, “I just don’t know how I could go on without him!”
To the side, the older woman frowned. She had seen much in her time, and this disease, she knew well. It treated young and old alike – a man could be in the prime of his life, and still be struck down within days. She said nothing, out of fear of robbing her son and his wife of their only hope.
As the Princess’ sobs echoed through the halls of the limestone castle, the bedchamber door opened and a Doctor emerged, in white coat and stethoscope.
“The young Prince would like to see you all,” he said in somber tone.
The four all went in. The old women and young lady stayed at the back of the room while the Prince and Princess knelt by their son’s bedside.
He was not the man he had been only a few weeks prior. This man of 19, ready to come of age, was a vibrant and handsome youth, full of life and a magnetic energy. His people – his future subjects – loved him for his charisma and verve. Today his face had sunken and become sallow, his eyes grey and nearly lifeless. He lay on his back, his head angled toward the company. Wires connected him to machines monitoring his vital signs. His eyebrows shifted as he managed to wheeze in acknowledgment of his guests.
“Mother… father…” the Prince choked. “I’m sorry I have failed.”
The Princess erupted in tears again. “No, my son, no! You haven’t! You could never!”
“I was supposed to lead this country one day… I was supposed to be your… your legacy…” he managed to say. “I was supposed to… I wished I could have married…” he lifted his finger toward the young lady at the far side of the room, her hands clasped over the lower part of her face.
“Agatha,” he said, slowly motioning as best he could. “Come to me.”
The young woman came and knelt by the bedside, next to the young Prince’s parents.
“I wish I could have been your husband,” he said feebly.
“You still could!” Agatha pled, “You are not gone yet!” She fought back tears that were forming in her eyes.
“They say my time is short,” the Prince repeated.
“You are strong!” young, beautiful Agatha said, “You can get through this!”
“Perhaps,” he said. “We can speak more about it when I… when I wake up… now I must sleep…” he muttered. His eyes closed and his body seemed to rest.
The Princess’ face froze, twisted as she watched her son drift into a deep, deep sleep. He could feel her holding his hand tightly.
The Prince’s eyes fluttered open.
The room was dim, the sun just coming up through the window.
He pressed himself upright. How long had he slept? It must have been hours, maybe days. But he was alone now: no doctor, no monitors, nothing.
He seemed to have been having the strangest and longest dream, but the details had faded.
He shook his head. He did feel woozy, like there was some drag there, but he could tell he was awake. He breathed deep. His breath was heavy, as though there were a weight on his chest, but it was a clear, deep breath.
He looked around uncertainly.
He thought he was supposed to die, but he had lived.
It was a miracle.
He slipped his feet over the side of his bed and stood. He was a little unsteady on his legs – it seemed like he had been bedridden for months – but he gained his balance, even if his equilibrium, his centre of gravity, felt distinctly “off.” He had barely walked in days, if not longer.
But he was standing, he was breathing, the heart in his chest was beating. Against all odds, he was alive.
He had to find his mother and father, his grandmother and Agatha. They had to know that the Prince had returned. It sent a shock of delight down his spine to think of the reaction they would have seeing him up and about.
He could tell from the sunlight outside the window, it would be breakfast. He was famished and excited to join the meal. He left the bedchamber and crept down the hallway, disappearing around a corner.
Long moments passed.
Then, heavy footsteps.
The Prince was dashing back toward his room as fast as he could.
He entered and quickly scrambled to place himself before the mirror.
He couldn’t believe it, but the evidence was right before him.
This was not his face. His face was square-jawed, with piercing blue eyes and well-defined cheekbones. This one was rounded and soft-featured, with dark, searching teddy bear eyes. The hair from his head – long and dark — was not his short-cropped sandy-brown scruff.
His clothes – not his own, but a woman’s nightgown.
And heaving from his chest, a pair of breasts too large for his hands to even hold, as he cupped the sensitive flesh loosely.
He looked back toward the door as his visitor arrived. He looked at her with an open-mouthed expression of shock and confusion – What had happened to him?