Maximillian “Max” von Hansburg, popularly known in the tabloids worldwide as “the Depraved Duke”, is in fact, merely a baron. He is the eldest son and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, however, and he doesn’t really mind his playboy reputation very much. While in New York to fulfill family obligations and meet a prospective bride that his parents might approve of, he decides to have some fun instead and contacts Dani Martinez. Dani’s best friend Leo now lives in Eldovia (the fictional European country that Max hails from) and is due to marry its crown princess Marie. Before meeting Leo, Marie was going to marry Max and they had a whole plan for a marriage of convenience. So it’s not like Max is pining for his lost love. While he knows Dani finds him a bit insufferable, Max really enjoyed spending time with her before (in a past story that I assume all happened in A Princess for Christmas, Holiday’s previous romance involving the fictional Eldovia) and would like to see her again.
Dani, a New York English professor, is in the middle of going through a thorny divorce (her fellow English lecturer spouse ran off to Spain with one of his students) and isn’t exactly looking forward to the faculty Christmas party where her cheating spouse and his potential childbride are also going to be. However, Dani needs to impress the heads of faculty if she ever wants to get tenure, so she has to appear. When Max texts her out of the blue, she initially tells him to sod off, but when he offers to accompany her to her dreaded faculty do, the thought of showing up to the Christmas party with one of the most famously handsome men on the planet (Dani likens him to the handsome Swedish vampire on True Blood, and Alexander Skarsgård is certainly a snack) makes her change her mind, despite being firmly post-men, post-romance now.
Dani finds herself having a surprising amount of fun with Max, who is self-deprecating, charming, and very attentive to her and when Max leaves to go back to Eldovia, the two keep texting and exchanging messages, building a real friendship. Max is supportive of her when she decides to try her hand at dating again, giving her advice and funny anecdotes about his own love life. Dani is supportive of Max’s challenges with his family and finding a meaningful pastime besides being an international playboy and minor European aristocrat. As the royal wedding gets closer, Max invites Dani to come for an extended stay on his family estate, so she can find peace and quiet to work. By this point, Dani’s been on a bunch of failed dates with over a dozen men, while Max has found himself strangely celibate for a very long time. Could it be that neither is really interested in anyone but the other?
Full review on my blog.
Bingo #4: Cold (Shards of Earth), Heart (Heartbreaker), Star (She Who Became the Sun), Hot (Hot Rabbi), Holiday (this)