New Release | Charming the Prince by @maddiejames #holidayromance #romance #newrelease #bookboost
Title: Charming the Prince
Author: Maddie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Holiday
Publisher: Sand Dune Books
A Royal Dickens Romance!
Krissy Kringle’s dream of owning her own business and settling into a community with her ten-year-old daughter, Merry, came alive when she moved to the Christmas village of Dickens. The dream happened with hard work, sacrifice, and a bucket-load of luck—but Kringle’s Diner now exists, and business is booming, even if she is beyond weary doing the work of three people. So, she hires a man who frequents the diner. He needs the work, or so it seems. Thing is, he comes with a huge Bernese Mountain dog named Prince, who takes up residence in the corner booth every day with Merry. Krissy tells herself she can deal with it—help in the kitchen trumps a few dog germs. Right? Contrary to popular belief around Dickens, Max Alexander (aka Alex Maxwell) is not homeless, but royalty. Alexander Henrik Vincent Maxwell III, Prince of Beldova, heir apparent to the throne, is searching for something. Incognito, of course. That “something” is Krissy. Twenty years earlier, as awkward pre-teens, the two shared a magical summer vacation on a lake in upstate Wisconsin. The next year, both their lives changed forever. Finding Krissy, Alex thinks, may help him ground him before he takes a permanent step toward becoming King. They happily work together for several weeks, and their attraction for each other grows, but Alex doesn’t tell Krissy he is the boy from the lake. He understands her need for community with the security of home. His future is uncertain. When he must abruptly leave Dickens and return to Beldova, he gifts Prince to Merry and Krissy, with a promise to return. A rapid unraveling of withheld truths entangles their shared reality like Christmas lights dumped in a box. Can they untangle the omissions and half-truths—along with their feelings for one another—and recover the magic of that one special summer by Christmas?
Max turned, made eye contact, and ambled toward her. She could see his eyes were misty. “I’m so sorry, Krissy.”
She lifted her chin. “It’s okay. I got through it.”
“Were you ever adopted?”
“No.” She shook her head, looking at the floor. “I aged out at eighteen and bounced around for a while. I managed to get two years of culinary school before….”
She stopped talking. Perhaps she shouldn’t go there. Yet.
She looked up and waved him off. “Before Merry. Another story for another day. But it’s why I’ve been searching for home ever since. I want that for Merry. And for me too. I want what I had with my parents before they died. I want to feel that content again. That…secure, again.”
Max said nothing else. Instead, he moved closer and gathered her into his arms, wrapping himself around her and breathing softly into her hair. It felt foreign thing to be embraced by a man—that hadn’t happened in such a long time—so she wasn’t quite sure what to do with the feelings that bubbled up inside when their bodies aligned. Her cheek against his chest, Krissy could feel his warmth, smell his musky scent, and hear his heartbeat.
Eventually, her arms went about his waist. She embraced him too, holding on tight.
Is this what emotional security feels like? It’s been so long.
For a moment, she did feel safe, protected even. Cocooned within his compassion, empathy, and… What? Friendship. That was it. Right? Friendship.
This was just a hug between friends.
“I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through,” he whispered. “Everyone deserves happiness and security.”
Krissy pulled back and looked deep into Max’s eyes. “Yes,” she whispered. “As do you.”
“I’m working on that,” he told her.
Max stroked a wayward strand of hair from her face and Krissy closed her eyes at his soft touch. It was comforting and loving at the same time.
No, friendly. Just friendly, Krissy. Nothing else.
A strong need to break the mood hit her and she leaned away from him. “Merry has a theory about you and your hiking. She says you are on a royal venture.”
He cocked his head and looked surprised. “A royal venture, huh?”
“Adventure, I think she meant.”
Krissy eyed him. “She has this funny notion that you are royalty, Max. That crazy girl and her imagination. Right?”
Max leaned back. “What?”
“She says you are a prince, that you live in a castle, and that one day you will be king.”
His eyes widened and darted about. “Um. She didn’t believe that story. Did she?”
“Well, it might explain your mysterious nature.” She teased. “So, you’re not waiting in line for the throne?”
Max laughed. “At the moment, no. I think Merry mistook my little tale for the truth.”
“I told her she was confused. Can you set her straight?”
He nodded. “Of course.”
“Ruff, ruff!” Without warning, Prince jumped up on the two, knocking them both a little sideways.
Max grasped Krissy’s biceps to keep her upright. “That dog. I guess he’s ready to leave now.”
“I guess so!” Stepping out of his embrace, Krissy glanced at the clock. “Yes. We should head to the Inn. Get your stuff and I’ll lock up. My SUV is out back.”
Max nodded and turned to the dog. “C’mon, Prince. Let’s go get Merry.”
Krissy eyeballed Prince. “This is ridiculous, but I swear he is smiling.”
Max raked his fingers over Prince’s head. “Of course, he is smiling. He loves his girl. Right, boy?”
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Whether writing flirty contemporary romance or gritty romantic suspense, Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head.
Maddie loves contemporary romance and cowboy worlds. As Madelaide James she writes women's fiction, as M.L. Jameson she pens romantic suspense, and as M. J. Ames she writes short erotic fiction. Whew!
Affair de Coeur says Maddie, “shows a special talent for traditional romance,” and RT Book Reviews claimed, “James deftly combines romance and suspense, so hope on for an exhilarating ride.” Learn more at www.maddiejames.net.
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