After losing his father tragically, Prince Bernd, Prince of the Bear Shifters, has mostly hidden himself away in his palace. Being out in the world is just too painful with the reminders of his father. But when the time comes for his quest, the journey each shifter crown prince or princess must undertake, he has no choice but to venture out. If only his quest didn’t require he travel to the place he can hardly bear to even think about — the very mountain where his father died. Bernd isn’t quite sure why the engaging coyote shifter, Saer, has been assigned by the king to be his guide, but the two of them set off on their journey.
Saer has been crushing on Bernd from afar for years, but he knows the prince doesn’t even notice him. After being rejected by a former lover, Saer’s self-esteem is pretty low and it doesn’t even occur to him that someone as strong, handsome, and powerful as Bernd could ever want him. But Saer is determined to do his best to help Bernd along in his quest, particularly as he knows how emotionally challenging it will be.
As the two men journey to collect the required items to complete their task, a friendship and attraction grows between them. Even though he is an enormous and powerful bear shifter, Bernd finds himself comforted by the sweet little coyote. Saer’s confidence in him and unrelentingly sunny outlook on life helps Bernd remember what he has given up becoming such a recluse. Soon the men are falling for one another and Bernd is imagining the life he and Saer might have together. But the quest isn’t easy and when the men face danger, it is going to take all their strength and the love between them for them both to make it out alive.
The Prince and the Captivating Carpenter is the second book in Charlie Cochet’s Paranormal Princes trilogy and it is totally adorable. Like The Prince and the Bedeviled Bodyguard, this story focuses on a royal shifter and his quest, with a little matchmaking help from the king and his advisor. Saer and Bernd are sweet together (I have a total soft spot for bear shifters) and I enjoyed seeing how the endearing and lively Saer helped bring Bernd back to life. Through Saer’s eyes, Bernd starts to see his kingdom and the world around him in a new way, to remind himself how beautiful the world is and how much he and his father used to enjoy exploring it. For his part, Saer has been hurt in the past and his self-esteem has taken a hit. So at first, he can’t even imagine that someone like Bernd would want him. But slowly he comes to believe more in himself and the connection the two have. They relationship is sweet and they are an engaging couple. The quest itself is fairly low key for the most part, as the guys pick up various ingredients throughout the kingdom, but there are some thrills at the end.
The story arc for Bernd and Saer ends here, but the overarching series arc is still continuing. This book ends with an open threat that it seems like will be picked up in the final book featuring the king and his long-time advisor. They are such an interesting couple and I am really excited for their story.