Is this a royal doc's holiday fling…or the real thing?
Texas is the perfect place for holiday heat -- exactly what Dr. Anastazia St. Sebastian needs before making the biggest decision of her career. Enter hunky shipping billionaire Mike Brennan, who insists on buying her dinner after she saves his nephew. But one night leads to more. And even three days of fun in the sun -- and in Mike's bedroom -- aren't enough. This doc of royal descent wants to fall in love…but how can she when what Mike wants is the one thing she can never give?
Good book. Zia is on vacation with her family in Galveston over the Christmas holidays. Nearing the end of her three year residency in New York, she is faced with the need to make a decision. Should she go for a pediatric practice, or accept a very tempting offer to continue a medical research project that she is involved in. While out running on the beach one morning, trying to think through her options, she saves a little boy from drowning. His oh-so-sexy uncle wants to take her to dinner to thank her, and Zia is willing to be distracted for a little while.
I loved their meeting. Zia's protectiveness over the little boy she saved is evident in her anger over the apparent carelessness that put him in danger. That anger dissipates rapidly when she learns the truth about what happened, and then she notices Mike as a man. The zing of attraction is pretty strong, but getting involved isn't possible. Once Mike got over his fright, he was intrigued and attracted by Zia. He was determined to get to know her, and wouldn't take no for an answer. Mike really impressed me when he arrived to pick her up and didn't avoid meeting her family. I loved the surprise that Zia felt when her brother-in-law knew him, and the reevaluation it caused her to do. Even more impressive was his willingness to accept the Grand Duchess's offer of a drink - especially since I had seen that particular test in previous books.
Zia and Mike quickly connected over their dinner. Mike's obvious interest in her, and the certainty she had that this was a one-time thing, made it easy for her to share her dilemma with him. I loved how he gave it the attention it deserved, and gave her some new perspectives to consider. That connection continued after dinner, when their attraction flared and they gave in to it. Though Zia considered it a one and done, Mike was too intrigued to want to give up. I loved seeing how determined he was to see her again, and he made no secret of it to Zia.
Zia is more cautious because she has a bit of baggage that she feels prevents her from being anything more than a fling for him. Even though she was upfront with him about it, she still believes that it is a deal breaker. She is determined to end things, and Mike is just as determined to see where it goes. I loved Mike's optimism that they could make it work.
Though he was in Texas and she was in New York, thanks to modern technology they were still able to continue their connection. I did love Mike's attempts to romance Zia, and how he slowly broke down her attempts to resist him. The final blow to that resistance was actually struck by the Duchess who has no trouble with plain speaking when it is needed. I loved the way she called Zia out for her reasons for pushing Mike away. Things should have been smooth sailing from there, but there was still trouble lurking for them.
Zia's desire to continue the research project is realized when the doctor in charges asks her to expand on the study. Encouragement from Mike and his brother-in-law have her working on a grant proposal, and contacting a consultant who helps with the raising of funds. It's obvious from the start that this consultant is going to be a problem, especially once Zia discovers a secret the man has. There's also a pretty amusing scene when Mike meets this guy, and has a typically male reaction. A problem with the proposal and Mike's investigation leads to a surprising result, and Mike's protectiveness kicks in. His intentions are good, but he makes a couple mistakes that land him in hot water with Zia. The confrontation with the consultant is intense and dangerous, and I loved seeing Zia's strength throughout the ordeal. I also loved Mike's refusal to back down when faced with the danger she was in. The various reactions to the events are great and I loved seeing how it affected each one. Once again it is the Duchess who is the voice of reason and who points out where Zia's reactions are perhaps a little extreme. I loved Zia's big moment at the end, and how she and Mike make their relationship stronger.
I loved the various family relationships. The Duchess is amazing as always, especially with her obvious love for her family and their love of her. I liked her subtle ways of helping them through their crises. I also enjoyed the crazy fun of Mike's Irish-Mexican family. Mike's sisters are especially terrific with their protectiveness of him, and also their acceptance of Zia in his life.