Can a boss on a royal mission mix business with pleasure?
Diplomat Alex Ramon's Miami mission is on the rocks. Convincing the exiled Montoros to give up their American life and return to Alma's throne has become personal. Not only is his trusted aide Maria Ferro flirting with a potential prince, but Alex is actually jealous! So jealous, he might sabotage his goals so he can take Maria to his bed…a prize more tempting than any commission from the crown.
But Alex doesn't know that Maria has a longtime crush of her own -- and it isn't on the playboy prince…
Very good book, intense on a couple levels. First is the mission to convince the Montoros family to return to Alma as its royal family. Second is the relationship that develops between Alex and Maria. Both are full of emotional turmoil.
Alex and his delegation have been working for weeks to draft the documents that would convince the family that their place is in Alma. One member of the delegation is Maria, who used to work for him before she got promoted to another department. When they worked together they had an excellent working relationship, even a friendship of sorts. Being thrown together as much as they have on this trip, the attraction that simmered between them before has begun to boil over. Both try to resist because mixing business with pleasure is never a good idea.
It was interesting to see this relationship develop. Maria and Alex had known each other for a long time, and unknown to Alex she had had a crush on him for just as long. But besides the problem of having a relationship with your boss, Maria's upbringing was far different than his. Maria never knew her father and her mother had had to work multiple jobs to support them. She has worked hard to get where she is, but she has no illusions about the differences between her and Alex. Alex had also been aware of Maria as more than a coworker, but has been able to keep himself under control. That is, until one of the Montoro princes seems to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to her. Suddenly he finds himself unexpectedly and almost uncontrollably jealous.
When the attraction between them gets to the point where they can no longer resist, each of them seems to have a different outlook on it. Maria is of the opinion that it can only last while they are in Miami. Their country's old fashioned attitudes make it impossible for her to believe they can have anything once they are home. Alex is far more open minded and interested in pursuing more. But things get complicated when Alex misreads the growing friendship between Maria and Gabriel and says some very hurtful things to her. Maria is devastated by what he says, because she had fallen in love with him. I loved her response and her actions in the days afterward. She had tremendous inner strength and I loved seeing her stand up to him. It was especially great as Alex soon realized that he was in love with her and it was jealousy that had made him act so stupidly. I enjoyed watching him try to figure out how he was going to win her back. I liked the ending and seeing that Maria isn't too quick to give in to him.
The other part of the story is the mission to convince the Montoros family to return to Alma to rule. It isn't an easy decision and a good portion of the book is devoted to the task. I liked getting to know each of the members of the family and seeing their reactions to the request. They are very happy with their lives in America and not sure they want to leave it behind. I am really looking forward to their stories.