by Jill Shalvis

October 2002
ISBN: 0-373-44151-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #85
Mass Market Paperback

Princess Natalia Brunner has seen better days. First she has been bumped from first class to coach on the flight to a friends wedding in Texas. Once she arrives in Texas she is robbed and left stranded in a downpour of a rainstorm with nothing but the clothes on her back. Tim Banning to the rescue. He was Natalia's seatmate and drives by on his way home to his ranch and sees her standing in the downpour. Never one to leave a lady in distress Tim stops and offers his assistance.

Tim thinks the lady has lost her mind when she tells him she is a princess...yea right. He needs a cook for the ranch so he offers Natalia the job and she accepts despite the fact that she can't cook......well not food that ranch hands like anyway.

Natalia is trying to prove that she can make it on her own without her royal title to help her along. She will earn the money to get to the wedding by working on the ranch. Oh, one other thing... Natalia is afraid of animals of any kind so a ranch is the last place she really wants to be stranded.

Both Tim and Natalia are loveable characters who slowly become attracted to each other despite their different backgrounds. Sally, Tim's sister adds some really comical scenes to this story as for her and Natalia it's hate at first sight.

This "fish out of water" story has some really laugh out loud scenes. Many of the best scenes are between Natalia and Sally though. I really loved the mud fight...and so did the men on the ranch.

Ms Shalvis really shows her flair for physical comedy with the characters in this story. If the story has one flaw it's that Tim seams a little too nice. Of course, he is someone who has spent his life always taking care of someone else so it is somewhat understandable. If you are in a down mood, pick up a copy of A Royal Mess and Jill, Tim and Natalia will have you laughing out loud in no time.

Reviewed in November 2002 by Barbara.

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