May Contain Spoilers
Ahhhhh. Thankfully, the taint from my previous read has been blissfully washed away. When I get into a reading slump, or I need a reading reset, I always reach for a short romance. Donna Alward is one of my favorite Harlequin authors, but I hadn’t read one of her non-HQN titles as of yet. When this appeared at Netgalley, I snapped it up. While I usually count on this author to deliver a convincing story with a cowboy hero, I was willing to accept a playboy prince. Livin’ the dream!
Rose is hired by the Navarros to be the new nanny for Max and Emilia, Prince Raoul’s young children, after a horrific accident took the lives of their mother and their previous nanny. Rose has worked for wealthy clients before, but working for the royal palace of Marazur is like a fairy tale come true. She’s surrounded by opulence, she quickly becomes fond of the children, and then there’s Prince Diego. Handsome, single, and concerned about the well-being of his niece and nephew, Diego pitches in to help the children heal from their traumatic loss. Even though Rose knows that she and Diego can never give in to their attraction, the temptation is overwhelming at times.
I liked all of the characters, even the kids. Rose has just enough quirks to make her interesting, as opposed to a twist on Mary Poppins. Diego is struggling to exert his independence and prove to his father and his older brother that he is reliable and worthy of their confidence so he can contribute to overseeing the prosperity of Marazur. Instead, they shut him out, leaving him to run the stables and turn his efforts to charitable work. I could understand his frustration with his place in the pecking order. Though he earned his reputation as a playboy, he had matured and was ready to pull his weight. His father, the king, and his brother, heir to the throne, continued to think he needed protecting and pushed him away.
Diego and Rose are immediately drawn to each other. They are both lonely. Even though Rose has a family, her nanny position have her far away from home, and her relationship with her younger sister is strained. Her brother is a pastor, and they often don’t see eye to eye, either. Diego has his problems being taken seriously by his family, so when Emilia and Max need him to offer some stability in their lives, he is determined to be there for them. Because Rose and Diego only want what’s best for the kids, they bond quickly over the shared goal of helping the kids deal with their grief.
The push and pull of their attraction was believable. Rose doesn’t want to jeopardize either her job or her reputation by having an affair with Diego. Worse, she doesn’t want to become gossip folder for the tabloids. Being thought of as a gold digger is a huge concern for her, and she doesn’t want any gossip to make it home where her family might hear it. Diego, who usually gets what he wants, has trouble understanding Rose’s reluctance to get involved. When they are featured in a speculative article, he agrees to keep things on the low down, which only makes things worse. Rose hates sneaking around, and she’s worried constantly about what the rest of the palace staff will think about her.
The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is a quick, satisfying read. It’s on the sweet side, with a tame heat factor. Think a mild green pepper as opposed to a spicier jalapeño. I liked that the emphasis was placed on Rose, Diego, and their developing relationship, as well as Max and Emilia learning to work through their grief over the loss of their mother. Throw in a third party intent on sabotaging Rose and Diego, and you have enough conflict to keep their HEA in question until almost the very end of the book.
I’m looking forward to Raoul’s book, and hope I don’t have to wait too long for his HEA.
Grade: 3.75 – 4 stars
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
Prince Diego Navarro is the “spare” to his brother’s “heir”. While Raoul performs his crown prince duties with the appropriate sense of nobility and poise, Diego’s garnered a bit of a reputation as a playboy – despite the good he does behind the scenes with his favorite charities.
But when tragedy strikes and his sister-in-law is killed in a car accident, Diego knows it’s time for the playboy to step up. If not for his brother, then for his niece and nephew, who now find themselves without a mother.
Which is where Rose Walters comes in.
Rose isn’t intimidated by money or glitz. The veteran nanny has worked for the rich and minimally famous, but a manor house is no comparison to a castle… or the handsome princes who live there. However, the worst thing she could possibly do is fall for the gorgeous playboy with a surprising heart of gold. He’s a prince; she’s the help. He lives in the tabloids; she loves her privacy. But when her two darling charges start to play matchmaker, Diego and Rose don’t stand a chance.
The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first book in Donna Alward’s royal duology.