I have really enjoyed other books by this author and I was totally curious what she would do with modern fairy-tale princess story. This was a cute and enjoyable story about the lost princess living in poverty discovered by her prince. I liked how it wasn’t all hearts and rainbows and Alyx Dagmar was a gal easily related to as she went from obscurity to the world’s notice. A little My Fair Lady ala Cinderella ala contemporary romance and all good.
From the moment self-made billionaire, Daniel Voldakov, spotted Alyx Dagmar working as a waitress, he knew the outlandish scheme he had laughed over with his lawyer to get in good with the European market for his software company wasn’t so outlandish after all. When he saw that Alyx was living out of her car, it was no longer strictly business for Daniel and he was willing to go to any length to convince Alyx to work with him.
Alyx hadn’t had an easy life from the moment her parents died in the car accident. She was whisked into the foster system bouncing from home to home and now she was putting herself through school to become an actress. Her waitressing job pays for the classes, but she must sleep in her car to do it. Alyx is startled from sleep when a man knocks on her car’s window to offer her a crazy deal. Pretend to be a princess and his fiancée to help him get an in for his software company in Europe where bloodlines are everything? He’s nuts and she fingers the trigger on her Taser prepared to use it. But then Daniel proves to be genuine and he offers an opportunity that she is not in a position to refuse.
And so the princess lessons commence and the charade engagement begins. Both are uneasy at first and Alyx finds the task more than daunting, but slowly things start to come together. Daniel and Alyx become friends as well as partners in the endeavor. It becomes harder to believe that it is all just business. Alyx soon starts to forget it isn’t real particularly when Daniel does sweet things for her that have nothing to do with their contract and when she gains so much respect for the self-made man who works long into the night to make things happen for other people. How long can they keep up the charade when they both start to wonder if they really want success or just each other?
The plot is unapologetically that of a modern fairy tale and I loved it. From the hero discovering the heroine and rescuing her from near-poverty, to the princess lessons, to the growing romance and finally the big finale before those who would claim or repute her as family, this was engaging. The pace slowed down a bit when the preparations were going on, but it wasn’t long enough to cause boredom and it was nice to see how much work Alyx was putting into her new role. I liked that there were some bittersweet moments and it wasn’t all easy-peasy.
Alyx had more going on than just learning to be a princess- this is a chance to attain her dreams of being an actress. This is a chance to train for a role and her chance to make a name and be recognized so she’ll get a leg up in her career knowing she needs this sort of break if she is to make it onto a stage. Alyx’s time in foster care and losing her family left her indelibly marked by all that. Alyx doesn’t dare hope or believe when the relationship becomes more than just a business arrangement or that she is really a part of a family who never came looking for her.
Daniel isn’t just some greedy or power mad business guy. He comes from humble hardworking blue-collar origins. He took the refusal of the aristocratic Europeans led by the Grand Duke Armande as a personal slight like he and his product is not good enough- like he isn’t good enough. This does not mean that he ever thought to cold-heartedly use Alyx. Daniel fell for her right away, but must exercise great caution because she is like a scared, cornered animal that will run if he handles things wrong. In the end, he must make a decision of what is most important to him. And hey! It’s a fairytale so we all know what he will choose.
Like I said, its a fairy tale, but it’s an adult fairytale so there are some sexy times included. For a geeky genius, Daniel knows how to get a female hot and bothered. And Alyx’s playful flirtatious nature has Daniel struggling to keep his hands to himself. There was a nice slow build up to Daniel and Alyx’s relationship. I loved that while they both felt attraction that it wasn’t instant gratification. They got to know each other first. The cute late nights sharing a favorite TV show and ice cream and early breakfast moments sharing the newspaper probably did as much to cement their feelings as the later times when they gave in to their passion.
All in all, this was another good start to a new series by a favorite author. I look forward to what is to come. If you like the idea of a modern royal romance, give this one a try.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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