The Boss's Demand

Prince of Midtown
by Jennifer Lewis
(Silh. Desire #1891, $4.75, PG-13)  ISBN 0373-76891-5
Ah, the fairy tale – a young poor woman meets a prince and he carries her away to a land across the sea.  They live Happily Ever After.  Well, as we all know, there are often barriers before they get the HEA, but it is worth the fight.  There we have Prince of Midtown in a nutshell.  This is part of the 721 Park Avenue series, but other than the Prince having an apartment there and a few brief glimpses of the other tenants, it really could have been a standalone book.

The Crown Prince of Caspia, a tiny country on the Mediterranean, lives in New York because that is where he needs to be in order to promote his country to retailers and he also runs all the many conglomerates that operate out of Caspia, such as clothing manufacturers, wineries etc. Sebastian Stone acts like a prince in his demeanor and sense of entitlement, yet he is kind at times and enjoys the freedom of living in America.

His right hand woman and assistant of five years is Tessa Banks.  She is a wonderful assistant, always anticipating his needs and running his office in a most competent manner.  She is beautiful to boot.  She organizes his business life and helps to deflect the pains of his private life, putting off the beautiful starlets and women he dates by monitoring his calls. Tessa is attracted to her boss and as the years have gone by, she has fought her attraction to him. She finally realizes that he will not ever turn to her as she wants, and since she is getting older and wants a family, she will start to date others.  One man in particular seems to fit the bill, an attorney named Patrick. He is getting ready to move to California and she has decided to go with him.

When she gives her two-week notice, Sebastian is determined to keep her with him, especially since he is ready to confront the men who run the many divisions of his country’s company. He wants to modernize and make changes. He decides to take Tessa with him to Caspia in order to coordinate the meeting. In his mind, he is certain that once she sees the beauty of his country, she will want to stay and help him build it up.

When they go to Caspia, Sebastian treats her as a date rather than an assistant. She falls for him and he actually finds that he is more attracted than he realized. He is rejuvenated by her freshness and energized by her sensuality and passion. Ah, but there are those barriers. She is a poor girl from Connecticut who only got to the best private schools and college on scholarships. She knows what it is like to be amongst the “haves” and be seen as a “have not.” She is determined to build her own life and knows that Sebastian cannot sink to marry her, a commoner and foreigner. An old family friend who has been waiting for Sebastian adds to that sense of futility. 

This story was fun, because of the likelihood of a poor girl doing well. It was fun because the love story heated up quickly, taking both of them, but particularly Sebastian by surprise. It was familiar in that one could bank on the heartache and the ending from the start. Well written but certainly no new ground.

Sebastian is a good hero as he sheds his royal aura to recognize that he really wants to be just a man in love. Tessa is a good heroine because she knows who she is and has had the gumption to work her way to the top. She doesn’t just lose that even though she is dazzled by all that could be. The ending is a tad sentimental but hey, it is a fairy tale.   

--Shirley Lyons

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