The Prince's Christmas Vow

The Prince's Christmas Vow

by Jennifer Faye

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460387344
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 11/01/2015
Series: Twin Princes of Mirraccino
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 560,833
File size: 297 KB

About the Author

Award-winning author Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming, contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages, she is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. She has also won the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, been named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

Read an Excerpt

The plan was in motion.

Though suddenly, it didn't sound like such a good idea.

Demetrius Castanavo, the Crown Prince of the Mirraccino Islands, shrugged off the worrisome feeling as he stepped out of the air-conditioned black limousine. Nothing was going to go wrong. He glanced at the clear blue sky, appreciating this last bit of good weather before it cooled down in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Demetrius buttoned his charcoal-gray suit jacket, gave each sleeve a tug and then straightened his shoulders. Today he must look his best. It was imperative.

A bright camera flash momentarily blinded him.

He blinked, regaining his focus. The media coverage had begun. He restrained a sigh. Instead he lifted his chin and forced his lips into a well-practiced smile.

Demetrius, the royal playboy, was no more. His days of nonchalance and bucking the system were over. Now he was intent on becoming a proper and worthy heir to the Mirraccino throne. It was, after all, his birthright—whether he desired it or not.

And now he was about to participate in a very important interview that would help shape his new, improved public image—one he hoped would sway the residents of the Mirraccino nation to support his inevitable rise to the throne.

His gaze settled on an impressive set of steps that led to a historic mansion. At the top was an expansive landing with large, white columns amid the backdrop of blue shuttered windows. The place was a timeless beauty. He was glad they were going to save this building by revitalizing it.

There was just one snag in his well-thought-out plan—Zoe.

His estranged wife.

But that situation would be resolved soon—very soon.

The head of his security detail leaned in close and whispered, "The reporter is waiting for you on the landing, Your Royal Highness."

Demetrius shoved the disturbing thoughts of his estranged wife to the back of his mind. He'd deal with her tomorrow. "Good. As soon as I meet with him, we have to get moving if we're going to stay on schedule today."

"Sir, the reporter, it's a woman."

"Si. I remember now." Demetrius needed to keep his head in this game instead of wondering how Zoe would react when she saw him again.

Demetrius swiftly climbed the steps that fanned out, covering a large area while adding to the building's charm. He'd definitely made the right decision by insisting the all-access ramp be constructed on the side of the building, readily accessible yet not losing the building's aesthetic appeal.

His vision was to marry the building's beauty with functionality. They were doing well with the functionality. The beauty would be Zoe's area of expertise. And tomorrow would be her first day on the job.

Off to the far side of the landing stood a short, slender brunette. Her makeup was a bit heavy for his tastes, but he reasoned that it must have something to do with spending so much time in front of the television cameras. Interviews were one of his least favorite tasks, but at times they were a necessity—like now.

When his advisors had unanimously agreed this was the best way for him to overhaul his scandalous youthful past, they had also assured him that agreeing to the one-on-one interview would be the best way to give the citizens access to him—to let them know that he was serious about being a caring, involved ruler. Though he'd rather keep his distance from the paparazzi, Demetrius had to admit that in this one particular instance, they may in fact come in handy—quite handy indeed.

He reached the landing and turned to the reporter. Greetings were quick and formal. Demetrius had every intention of keeping things moving along at a brisk pace. He knew the more time he spent with the media, the more they'd learn. And in his experience, that was never a good thing. He wanted to control the flow of information, not the other way around.

Ms. Carla Russo, the face of Mirraccino's entertainment news, held a microphone. "Before we begin, I wondered if you might have an announcement for our viewers."

"I do have news—"

"Oh, good. We've been hearing all sorts of rumors, and the viewers would really like confirmation that you've decided upon a princess."

What?

The cameraman moved closer. Demetrius's throat constricted. They knew about Zoe? No. Impossible. The reporter was on a hunting expedition. Pure and simple. Anything for a sensational headline. Well, he wasn't about to give her anything to chase. Nothing at all.

With practiced skill, Demetrius forced his lips into a smile. "I can assure you there is no princess in my near future."

"That's not what we've heard. There are rumors floating about that someone special has caught your attention. Could you share her name with us?"

Maybe the reporter did know something about Zoe, after all. Though the palace employees had all signed confidentiality agreements, there could still be a leak. A delivery person? A guest? There was always room for someone who'd slipped through the cracks. But obviously, whatever this woman knew wasn't much or she'd be throwing out names and facts.

He couldn't lose control of this interview. It wasn't just the building that was about to get a fresh lease on life. If his plan succeeded, their futures would both have makeovers. After all, he'd been putting off getting on with his royal duties long enough now. He'd grown. He'd learned. And now he was becoming the man he should have been all along.

With his twin brother, Alexandro, now married and spending a lot of time abroad in his wife's homeland, more responsibilities had befallen the king. But the king was not in the best of health. The physicians kept warning him to slow down. And that's why Demetrius's plan just had to work. He didn't want his father to have a heart attack or worse.

The first part of his plan included gaining the public's trust. The second part was a bit more delicate—getting his estranged wife to quietly sign the annulment papers. The question that needed answering was why had she ignored the papers for months now?

By the time the revitalization project had finally gotten off the ground, so had Zoe's career as an interior designer. She'd worked on some of the most notable buildings here in Bellacitta, the capital of Mirraccino. With the public enthralled with her work, he knew he needed to hire her. His advisors, knowing his history with Zoe, said he was foolish. But Demetrius insisted he had reasons for this unorthodox approach.

His first reason was that she had a flare with colors and arrangements—a way to make people sit up and take notice without it being over-the-top. And the second reason was to be able to get close to her without arousing the press's suspicions. With her close at hand, he'd be able to work the answers out of her that he needed to put his short-lived marriage to a very quiet end.

Demetrius struggled to maintain his calm and easy demeanor. "Today, I'd like to focus on Mir-raccino and in particular the South Shore redevelopment. It's very important to me and to the king. It promises to bring new homes and businesses to the area as well as create new job opportunities for the local residents."

"So the rumors of a new princess are false?"

Drawing on a lifetime of experience of dealing with the media, he spoke in a calm, measured tone. "You will be my first call when I have a marriage announcement. But I believe right now the viewers would like to hear more about the project."

The reporter's brows rose and her eyes filled with unspoken questions, but he met her gaze head-on. If she dared to continue this line of questioning into his personal life, he'd wrap up this interview immediately. It wasn't as if she was the only reporter on the island, though she did host the nation's most popular entertainment show.

Color infused her cheeks as she at last glanced at the camera. "The South Shore project is going to benefit quite a number of people. How exactly did you come up with the idea to revitalize this area?"

"This endeavor is something that has been of interest to the crown for some time now. However, it wasn't until recently that we were able to gain the last of the property deeds in order to push ahead with the plans."

The loud rumble of an engine caught his attention. He sought out the source of the noise. It was a taxi that had pulled to the curb near his limo. A tall, willowy brunette emerged from the blue-and-white taxi. She turned and leaned in the passenger window as she handed over the cab fare. If Demetrius didn't know better, he'd swear that was his wife. But he refused to let his imagination get the best of him and upend this interview.

He turned back to Ms. Russo. "Residenza del Rosa is our first project. We will have it up and running by the beginning of the new year."

"So you have plans for more than just the mansion?" Ms. Russo sent him an expectant look.

"Si." Demetrius swallowed hard and forced his thoughts back to business. "Residenza del Rosa is already well underway. As soon as we have the necessary funding secured, we will start on phase two, which will be to build affordable housing." The clicking of heels caught his attention. He refused to be distracted. Security would handle it. "We intend to make the South Shore accessible to both the young and the young at heart. This area will once again be a robust community."

The head of his security detail approached him. Demetrius held up a finger to pause the interview. The bodyguard leaned over and whispered in his ear. "It's a Ms. Sarris. She has a pass and she says she works here. Should we let her through?"

"Oh, look." Ms. Russo's face lit up. Too late. She'd caught sight of Zoe. The reporter's eyes sparkled as though she'd been given a special treat. "Isn't that the interior designer, Zoe Sarris?"

Before answering the reporter, Demetrius gave an affirmative yet reluctant nod to his man to allow Zoe to join them. That woman certainly did have bad timing—first when she walked out on him just hours after saying "I do"—and now. How did she do it?

He could feel the reporter's gaze on him. He cleared his throat. "Yes, it's Miss Sarris."

"I wonder what she's doing here?" The reporter sent him a speculative look. "Did you arrange this?"

He resisted the urge to frown at the reporter's fishing expedition as well as the fact that his estranged wife was about to crash his very important interview. "No. It appears she's here to work. We've been lucky enough to obtain Ms. Sarris's exclusive services to create a welcoming yet relaxing environment for the future residents of Residenza del Rosa."

"And what features will it provide?"

"This long-term care home will be able to accommodate different levels of care from assisted living to skilled nursing."

"And Ms. Sarris is here to make this mansion into the beauty it once was?"

"We're hoping she'll be able to take what is here and give it a fresh feel."

"I'm sure she will. Is Miss Sarris signed on for the other buildings in the revitalization project?"

"Not at this point. We want to see how this first building goes and then we'll reevaluate, figuring out what works and what doesn't."

Ms. Russo nodded in understanding. "How splendid that she can join us and give our viewers an idea of what she has in mind for the place. I've seen her work before and it's fantastic. In fact, we can do before and after shoots of the mansion, both inside and out, with your permission of course."

"That sounds like a good idea."

Demetrius followed Ms. Russo's gaze to the woman in question. Zoe's clothing choice was nothing out of the ordinary, a short black skirt and a pink blouse. But on her, it looked fantastic as it nestled her curves perfectly—curves that he still knew by memory. She lifted her black sunglasses and then shook out her long dark curls before resting her shades atop her head like a hairband.

No matter what had gone down between them, there was no denying the obvious—she was a knockout. He should glance away—check his phone—continue the interview—anything but continue to stare at her.

Her legs were long, toned and tan. He couldn't have turned away even if he'd have tried, which he had no inclination to do. It'd been months since he'd laid eyes on her. Visions of her in his dreams didn't count—they couldn't hold a candle to the real thing.

Zoe moved one strappy black high heel in front of the other. The classic ZZ Top song "Legs" started playing in his head. This girl definitely knew her strongest attributes and she worked them—no wonder he'd fallen for her hard and fast. Was it possible that she was even more gorgeous now than she had been when they'd met more than a year ago?

"It's warm standing here in the sun. Perhaps we should move to the shade." Ms. Russo signaled to her cameraman to take a break. "Prince Demetrius, are you all right?"

The concern in the reporter's voice startled him out of the trance he'd fallen under. He drew a breath of air into his straining lungs. With effort, he turned his gaze from Zoe to the reporter who wore an inquisitive expression.

Not good, Demetrius. Not good at all. Stay focused.

He cleared his throat. "Sorry. I just remembered something that needs my attention. Let me just make a note of it." He pulled out his phone and made the pretense of typing something while he got his brain screwed on straight.

The same question kept playing over and over in his mind. What in the world was Zoe doing here? Surely she hadn't come to see him. No. That was impossible. His schedule was kept under wraps for security purposes. Even Ms. Russo had not been alerted to the location for this interview until this morning. So that still left the question of why Zoe had crashed this important interview?

Demetrius slipped his phone back in his jacket pocket. "Okay. Where were we?"

"I thought we might want to wait for Ms. Sar-ris to join us."

Her comment had him instinctively turning back to the woman who'd gained the reporter's attention. Zoe climbed the last two steps in those sky-high black heels that made her legs look as though they went on and on forever. His mouth grew dry and his palms became moist.

He should have had his men turn her away. How was he supposed to concentrate on the interview when all he wanted to do was confront Zoe?

He only had one question: Why?

Okay. So maybe he did have a couple more questions. Like, when did she start dressing like that? Were her skirts always so short? How was a man to make intelligent conversation when all he could think about was her bare, tanned legs?

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The Prince's Christmas Vow 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
The Prince's Christmas Vow is a story of new beginnings and second chances at love. I was immediately hooked with the story the minute I read the synopsis, it's one of those stories that I knew I was going to love and it didn't disappoint at all. When Crown Prince Demetrius Castanavo used to still be in his playboy ways he met a young interior designer, Zoe Sarris who he secretly got married to without anyone of his family knowing about it. Needless to say, it was an scandalous event that completed changed their lives, especially when Zoe was forced to leave the prince for good by his family. Now she has come back to his life after he requested her interior design services. With the hopes that they can put their personal past behind them, she shows up at the palace only to find that she still has feelings for the Crown Prince. But then she realizes that she will never make a good princess, and the secret that she managed to keep away from him could damage their relationship all over again. Soon she focuses on staying on task, only to find the shocking news that she is still married to Demetrius and that's when the story really takes off and Zoe has to decide whether staying married to the prince is worth it or not. Demetrius Castanavo has been trying to fix his public persona for the good of the country, but now as a Crown Prince things have started to get harder to hide from the press. But when he finds out that he is still married to Zoe, he promises to do anything to protect him, even letting her go once again. I really loved this story, it was filled lots of holiday spirit and romance that had me reading until the very end. It is evident that both of the characters have a lot to grow now that their lives have changed. Zoe tries so hard to hide the secret that could damage her relationship with the prince, but in the process she realizes that she loves him and doesn't know what to do about it. On the other hand, Demetrius is going to be king one day and he needs the public to see that he is serious about taking on the task, but his secret elopement could damage his reputation, and he is willing to fix the problem once and for all. Things start to get shaky when the both get word that someone knows their secret, and that's when the story gets twists and turns that will definitely keep you reading. The overall plot was great, although I wish we could have seen a separate chapter on how they met. It would have tied everything nicely, but it all ends up great at the end. The epilogue was sweet and it really felt like Christmas all over again. I highly recommend this book, I will most certainly be reading more from the author in the future. :) ***ARC provided by Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Demetrius Castanova, Crown Prince of the Mirraccini Islands, can no longer be a playboy. He must now show himself as the heir to the throne because the King is not in good health. Demetrius’s estranged wife, Zoe, is an interior designer on the island and she has been hired to do the work on a large, long-term care housing project. She is thrilled to have won the job as she is hoping it will help her mother. Currently visiting a relative, her mother’s health is rapidly deteriorating as she declines into early-onset Alzheimers. When Zoe’s mother was diagnosed, Zoe fears that she too may carry the gene for the disease and that to remain married to the Prince would be wrong. She fears that she may pass the gene on to future generations of royals and may also succumb to the disease at an early age adding further burden to Demetrius. They were married privately and their marriage remains a secret. Zoe was to have signed some annulment papers and sent them to Demetrius but he never received them. It turns out that she had entrusted her mother to mail them and, instead, the woman had just placed them in a drawer. Zoe has been hired to paint some murals and that business deal brings her into constant contact with Demetrius. When she finds herself the target of a persistent photographer intent on finding out more about their relationship, Demetrius insists that she stay at a cottage on the palace grounds. As Zoe and Demetrius see one another more, they realize that their love for each other is still strong. Will they be able to complete the business deal they are working on and then go their separate ways? This is a sweet story that I enjoyed very much. I’m sure other readers will as well.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I want to give the story 5 stars - because I love Jennifer Faye's books, BUT ... I can't quite give it the 5 stars because if only the heroine had actually shared her thoughts with her hero ... then they might have been living happily ever after sooner. BUT ... then again ... maybe they needed that time apart from one another to grow and be ready for the happy ever after ending when it came. I still found the story sweet.
Sandra0808 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story just in time for the holidays. Zoe Sarris walked away from her brief marriage to Prince Demetrius for personal reasons, though she never told him why. The marriage was never made public and an annulment was to occur. Now the Prince has requested her interior design services on the new South Shore revitalization project which entails restoring an old mansion into a care home facility. As Zoe works with Prince Demetrius again, old passions flare, and when she learns the annulment papers never arrived back after she signed them, she’s shocked to learn they are still married. Demetrius wants his princess back, but will the secret Zoe is hiding from him ruin their chances, or will she open her heart and give love another chance. A beautiful story with touching moments and two characters that will have you rooting for their happily ever after.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
A crown prince and an interior designer. Both Demetrius and Zoe are driven in their chose fields, perhaps both use it as a way to forget their secret elopement. They were so well described that you couldn’t help but root for a happy ending. I enjoyed visiting this island nation. Both the beauty of the Mediterranean Coast and the descriptions of the newly renovated Residenza del Rosa come to life so well with author Faye’s descriptions. And although a Christmas ball highlights the end of the story, it can be read any time of year!
blackcrys More than 1 year ago
I received this in exchanged for an honest review. I love that fact that takes place at Christmas as this book is about family. Her mom his family and the fact that they are married. I love the part with them decorating the tree and the house. I love that they both love each other so deeply that either of them wants to hurt the other. I can understand the part how she feelings about the Alzheimer, it is really scary. Prince Demetrius is a strong man who knows when family is needed but also wants the woman he loves back but respected her wishes and let her go. the ending is the best. this a great book and I recommend it to anyone who loves a great romance.
RobynKFLNJ More than 1 year ago
Zoe Sarris is an interior designer who is sought out by Prince Demetrius to revitalize the area with the South Shore Project. He wanted it to be perfect because he knew Zoe was the best, and the project was going to help out a lot of people. When Zoe arrived, she hadn't expected the Prince to be there. She thought she was going to be working for someone else. Zoe and the Prince have a complicated past. They secretly married and since the marriage was annulled, or so she thought, she was apprehensive to work in close proximity with Prince Demetrius. There was a problem with the annulment and even though she signed the papers and sent them back, the Prince never received them. He thought she had a hidden agenda, expecting more money or trying to blackmail him. That was the furthest thing from the truth since she's the one who walked out on him after only 48 hours of marriage. Zoe's mother is the only family she has and she's extremely close with and very protective of her mother. When Zoe found out her mother's health was deteriorating, Zoe had to leave her marriage to be with her mother. She didn't have time to explain anything to Prince Demetrius. She thought leaving would be the best thing for the both of them and she didn't want to burden him with her problems. When Zoe found out they were still married, she wanted to make things right and get the annulment over and done with so she and the Prince could get on with their lives. The problem with working with the Prince was that old feelings started to resurface and Zoe only wanted to give her mother the best life she could. When Zoe finally figured out what happened to the annulment papers, she handed them over to the Prince and he realized she didn't have a hidden agenda. He needed answers as to why she ran off without an explanation and she finally, begrudgingly, told him the truth. He realized he still had feelings for her as she did for him, but she still didn't want to get close because she was afraid that her mother's health issues were also going to affect her and she wanted the Prince to be with someone who was truly a Princess, who wasn't a commoner and who didn't have flaws. Prince Demetrius wanted to be with Zoe, protect and care for her, and he would always be there for her no matter what. They worked closely together and the project was a huge success. Jennifer Faye is a wonderful author who writes amazing stories. I highly recommend this series.
Peachey04 More than 1 year ago
Unique writing, great story line and interesting characters make this a delightful read. Zoe and Demetrius come from two very different worlds which makes things difficult but with understanding and growing love they work out their difference. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to more from this author. Don't miss this one!! Gifted copy for an honest review.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
An awesome story that gripped me from the very first page. Superbly written with great characters make this one for the reread shelf! Crown Prince Demetrius Castanavo takes his position very very seriously so when he requests Zoe Sarris' interior design services she's shocked. Even more shocking is the fact that their secret marriage was never annulled and he plans on getting her back! This is one I recommend for everyone!
gdsnv More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Even waiting a year for this second book, I so very much enjoyed revisiting the Castanavo royal family. And no worries, this is definitely a standalone book. This story is about Zoe Sarris and Crown Prince Demetrius Castanavo. No recapping of the story here except to say that it begins with these two finding out that they are still married, after all this time. They make a great couple, are crazy in love with each other, and throw in a holiday background? LOVE IT! Seriously, it is a great holiday read about their journey back together and Ms. Faye does an excellent job of giving us an update from the first story as well. I highly recommend!