Once Upon a Royal Christmas
by Robin Bielman
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Colliding with a prince while walking four dogs isn’t how Rowan Palotay pictured meeting royalty, but then lately her life hasn’t gone according to plan. With one teensy tiny mistake, her job as a news reporter took a turn for the worse and now she’s lucky to have a small pet column in the local newspaper. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and magic, but she feels like she’s forever stuck on the naughty list.Prince Theodore Chenery is in Marietta shortly after the death of his mother to meet his grandparents for the first time. When an accidental run-in—literally—with Rowan leads to an unexpected friendship, he finds himself enchanted with the outspoken, feisty country girl. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and her special brand of kindness and honesty make it harder and harder to keep temptation away.
Giving into the passion and deep-rooted emotions between them, Theo and Rowan discover what matters most. But when their relationship makes worldwide news, Theo must decide whether or not to follow his heart or his royal duty.
Rowan slipped off her coat and hung it on the iron wall rack in her small entryway. She took Theo’s coat and hung it up beside hers. Then she slipped her hand inside his much larger one and led him down the hallway to her bedroom. They didn’t talk and the silence acted like a form of foreplay, heightening the air around them, letting her mind wander to all sorts of sexy scenarios.
All night. She had all night with him.
At her silent maneuvering, Theo sat on the upholstered bench at the foot of her bed. “Stay,” she whispered into his ear.
Her sleepover. Her rules.
She’d left on the small bedside lamp, but the soft lighting wasn’t enough. She wanted to feast her eyes on him, not guess, so she walked over to the standing lamp in the corner and turned it on. Better.
His heated gaze ate her up as she stepped back into his personal space. “The way your body moves in that dress makes me crazy,” he said.
“Good crazy?” She slid her hands inside his tuxedo jacket, around his shoulders, and slowly slipped the coat down his arms, stopping halfway and trapping his arms behind him.
Excitement and I’m-game-for-whatever-you-want flashed in his eyes. “Unbelievably good.”
“I like that.” She undid the buttons of his white dress shirt, pressed her lips to his neck. He smelled so good she hoped his scent lingered on her skin and her sheets for days. “Know what else I like?”
“What?” he asked, his voice husky.
“I like you, too. Let me show you how much.”
“After I show you.” She unbuttoned the rest of his shirt. With each open clasp, she placed an openmouthed kiss to his hot, smooth skin. A light dusting of blond hair covered his muscular chest. She moved lower to hard, sculpted abs. He must do at least a thousand crunches a day. The muscles there jumped when she kissed below his belly button.
“If you’re planning to continue progressing this slow, it’s going to be a problem.”
She’d noticed his “problem.” It was hard not to.
“Are you laughing at me?” he goaded, his voice full of fun.
“No, no. I’m laughing at my own silly joke in my head.” She put her hands on his thighs. “Sorry,” she added, suddenly realizing she was nervous and that was why she’d decided on a slow seduction.
This night with Theo meant more than a quick trip between the sheets.
“You never have to be sorry when you’re with me.” His hands cupped her jawline, and he leaned forward to brush a kiss to her lips.
“You freed your arms.”
“I’m taking over.”
She stepped back. “Really?” It wasn’t so much a protest as a challenge. One she had every intention of letting him win. Her rules were overrated.
A cute and sexy story!
Once Upon a Royal Christmas had a slow start–it took me a bit to warm up to the characters–but soon I just didn’t want to put it down. It’s a holiday story-slash-Cinderella story, so chances were good that I was going to like it in the end. Fortunately, Ms. Bielman did not disappoint.
Rowan and Theo are adorable together, and I appreciated that they took the time to get to know each other before jumping into anything. (Plus, Theo was almost-engaged at the beginning, so it would have been doubly wrong to do otherwise.) Overall, things did move pretty fast in this one–not quite instalove, but kind of close–but it didn’t feel too fast, which makes a difference. By the time we get to epilogues #1 and 2, I was completely invested in their romance 🙂
Once is loosely related to Bielman’s story in the Bachelor Auction series, Falling for Her Bachelor –Rowan is both Nick’s sister and Cassidy’s BFF. I’ve somehow missed reading that one, (how did this happen? No idea) but no worries, this one worked just fine on its own. Though of course my TBR has just grown…again…. 😉
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
ABOUT ROBIN BIELMAN:
When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.
She is a 2014 RITA Finalist, loves to frequent coffee shops, and plays a mean game of sock tug of war with her cute, but often naughty dog, Harry. She cherishes her family and friends and loves to connect with readers. Get the scoop on Robin, her books, and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.
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