HER ROYAL CHRISTMAS SECRET
Princess Sasha of Sergenia was born to rule, not change dirty diapers. But after threats force her family into exile, Sasha becomes "Sara," a nurturing nanny in Chantaine. Now, rather than having servants wait on her during holiday festivities, Sasha is caring for construction specialist Gavin Sinclair's children for Christmas. Baby Adelaide and five-year-old Sam win her heart, but their father makes her pulse pound…
For Gavin, "Sara" is a holiday miracle. Since his late wife died in childbirth, Gavin has struggled to keep his life afloat and his family together. This unexpected addition has brightened his world -- and made him wonder if love might be on the horizon. He knows the mysterious nanny has secrets aplenty. But is true love enough to create a fairy-tale ending under the mistletoe for the sexy single dad and the lovely royal?
Very good story. Sasha and her sister were forced to flee their country and have taken refuge in Chantaine. In order to maintain their anonymity, both she and Tabitha have taken on fake names and the Chantaine royal family have helped them find jobs. So instead of her career as the princess concert pianist, Sasha has become Sara the nanny. The book opens as she arrives to take her first position as nanny to American construction specialist Gavin's children. She's a bit worried about how she'll do, but is determined to do her best.
I really liked Sara. She's worried about her brother, who is missing, and her sister, who is having a hard time with their exile, but she tries very hard to keep a positive outlook. I loved the way that she wanted to make things better for little Sam, who was struggling so hard with his grief for his mother. She seemed to know just when to push him a little and when to just let him be. I also loved seeing her cuddle with baby Adelaide. As the days went on it was obvious that she was falling for the children. But it was her growing feelings for Gavin that had her in turmoil.
I also liked Gavin. He hasn't had it easy since his wife's death, with trying to take care of his children and keep on top of his construction business. Because of his hours and the children's challenges, he has been through multiple nannies, and doesn't have much confidence that Sara will be any different. It doesn't take long before he realizes that she's making a huge impact on his children's lives, but that's nothing to the impact she's having on his.
I loved the development of their relationship. They are very attracted to each other, but Sara knows that it can go nowhere because of who she is and her need to keep it a secret. But the more time she spends with him, the more she wants to take a chance and just live a little. She didn't expect her heart to get involved so quickly. With Gavin it starts as simple attraction, a desire that he hasn't felt since before his wife died. He's carrying a load of guilt because the marriage had been in trouble and he felt that he was responsible for it. He's not so sure that he deserves any happiness because of it. I loved seeing how Sara's frequent comments on how good a father he is begin to lessen those feelings and open his eyes and heart to the idea that he could love again. I hurt for him when he let her know what he wanted and she refused him. He's hurt and angry that she won't trust him with her secrets.
There's an interesting twist involving Sara's sister, though what it is wasn't hard to figure out early on. The question becomes one of what effect it is going to have on Sara's future. I loved seeing her face the issue head on, and then finally be able to share the truth with Gavin. What he does with the information and what he says to Sara shows how far he has come. The ending is sweet and romantic, and left me anxious to see what will happen with Sara's sister and brother.
Young Sam was adorable and I loved how Sara's love helped him through his grief for his mother. He was so quiet and sad at the beginning, then his natural mischievousness began to emerge. I loved the scene with him and his sister and the green magic marker. It was so realistic that I could picture it as I read it. I loved his part in the epilogue and how it showed how far he had come.