Summer Welles wants the fairy tale.
The illegitimate daughter of Reginald Summerhill, the Earl of Amberlin, she listened to her mother’s stories about the Summerhill girls all her life. In her mind, Summer was part of the stories too—living in the castle, wearing fancy dresses, and falling in love with Prince Charming.
Her wish came true. Mostly. She lives in the Summerhill mansion. She has stepsisters—nice ones who don’t make her clean the chimney. She even has a magical wedding dress waiting for her special day. The only thing missing is the perfect man.
She knows exactly who he is, and she’s going to confront him at the annual Midnight Masquerade Ball. What Summer didn’t count on was mistaking a masked frog for her prince.
Once she kisses the mysterious man, he won’t go away. And he’s not sweet or charming or princely. He seems more interested in ravishing her rather than riding off into the sunset with her, and—worse—she’s tempted to let him.
Her fairy tale at stake, Summer’s faced with her own quest that neither frog nor prince can rescue her from: sacrifice her Happily Ever After, or turn her back on the one man who makes her feel alive?
Summer Welles is a well-appointed attorney by day and a dreamer by night. Since she was a child, her mother (Reginald Summerhill’s mistress) told her she would one day find her prince charming and when she did, the first kiss would tell her everything. For her entire life Summer has lived and believed in the fairy tale and she has finally found her prince charming. Too bad she can’t drum up the courage to talk to him.
Ryan Huber is everything Summer wants in a man: he is well dressed, well mannered, intelligent, successful and, dead sexy. He works just down the hall from Summer’s law office and though they have shared an elevator (sorry, lift J) on more than one occasion, they have never spoken a word to one another. Summer’s courage is on the rise though and once she convinces Ryan that he is meant to be hers, the fairy tale will be complete and Summer will finally have her HEA. The plan is in motion and with the help of her Summerhill (half)sisters, Summer will bag her man in one magical moment.
Jon Smith has lived a dangerous life since he was a child and now it is time to get out. Jon’s job has been lucrative, at times exciting, mostly dangerous and, above all else solitary. Jon’s dream of retiring to Thailand is within reach and with just one job left on his schedule, he can be on his island within the month. All he has to do is prove, irrefutably that Ryan Huber is lying, scheming criminal who has been embezzling money from his clients for years. Jon’s mission is clear and simple and once it is done he is free. What Jon doesn’t count on, on any level is Summer Welles. But, in one most unforeseen moment his identity is mistaken, Summer is kissing him and, everything in Jon’s world is turned upside down.
For Summer the moment of mistaken identity is both the best and the worst moment of her entire life. The kiss told her absolutely everything she needs to know about her prince charming. Unfortunately, that kiss told her everything she needs to know about the wrong man and that man is out to destroy her true prince charming. Determined to prove Jon wrong, prove that Ryan is actually not a slimy bastard and, have her HEA, Summer begins to tag along behind Jon in an attempt to “help” him. In yet another unfortunate turn of events, Summer finds herself more and more drawn to Jon and just doesn’t know how she can possibly salvage the situation. What’s more, her sisters keep trying to convince her that maybe, just maybe her prince charming isn’t the guy she thought but someone altogether un-prince-like.
The Bottom Line: Since the beginning, the Summerhill series has been a favorite but Once Upon a Dream just didn’t really do it for me. I certainly don’t mind that Summer has been brought into the fold and when she is being a lawyer, a sister or with Jon, I was OK with her. Unfortunately, there was just too much of Summer’s ridiculous prince charming business. Given Summer’s general personality and insistence on manners and professionalism, I would have liked and expected to see a bit more maturity regarding her dreams and expectations. Her general naïveté and childlike insistence that her fairy tale will come true just doesn’t fit with Summer’s personality – a personality we have had glimpses of in each of the previous four reads. On the flip side of Summer are all the other characters that I once again very much enjoyed. Jon is a delight and it is always nice to see a hardened and cynical character changed by a new and exciting love. The Summerhill girls were also in fine form with Imogen sweeping in is dramatic fashion (oooh! The epilogue!), Titania snapping photographs and being a general smartass, Bea taking care of everything (and refusing to acknowledge Luca), Ros dressing everyone, Viola trying to find herself (baker, bartender. . . ) and, Jacqueline discovering love again after so, so many years without. In all, Jon and the secondary characters really carried this story for me and though I was a bit disappointed in Summer, I was still able to like the read.
Kate has tangoed at midnight with a man in blue furry chaps, dueled with flaming swords in the desert, and strutted on bar tops across the world and back. She’s been kissed under the Eiffel Tower, had her butt pinched in Florence, and been serenaded in New Orleans. But she found Happy Ever After in San Francisco with her Magic Man. Kate’s the bestselling author of the Laurel Heights Novels, as well as the Pillow Talk and Guardians of Destiny series. She’s been translated into several languages and is quite proud to say she’s big in Slovenia. All her books are about strong, independent women who just want love. Most days, you can find Kate in her favorite café, working on her latest novel. Sometimes she’s wearing a tutu. She may or may not have a jeweled dagger strapped to her thigh…