Lucien isn’t much interested in the trappings and titles associated with being a member of a royal family. He may be a prince, but there are others to take up the call of royal duty and he has now left home in order to complete his degree. There are a few skeletons in his closet, but Lucien is committed to moving forward with his life. At school no one knows about his royal title and he is able to enjoy a comfortable measure of anonymity. Then a series of bizarre letters resurrect the memory of an old danger Lucien thought was long gone. His family wants him home, but they agree to let him remain as long as he gets a full time bodyguard.
Max Connery isn’t quite sure what to make of his latest assignment. It’s not everyday he gets to guard royalty, even if Lucien isn’t very prince-like. Lucien is studious and shy and loves to swim with his local club, all of which endear him to his new bodyguard. Max is determined to see the man safe, but he can’t help admitting to himself that he wouldn’t mind having something more with Lucien.
Living in close quarters, Max struggles with the demands of his profession and his need for Lucien. When the dangerous reality of Lucien’s situation hits close to home, both he and Max scramble to find answers, while growing ever closer to one another. Max won’t risk Lucien’s life, but in trying to protect him, they may end up losing everything.
I’ve been a fan of R.J. Scott for some time and I have enjoyed many of her books. That said Max and the Prince probably isn’t going to end up my favorites list. I should start by saying the book is well written and the storyline flows along steadily enough. There are no moments of significant drag and there is a consistency of prose throughout the book that I appreciated. There is something of a small twist involving the danger that surrounds Lucien and I found that particular aspect satisfying.
Lucien is fairly interesting and certainly the more fleshed out of the two characters. He’s innocent without being gullible and there is a quiet vulnerability about him that really drew me to his character. He’s far from incapable though and seems like a man who pulls his strength from a quiet place rather than needing to prove it at every opportunity. This made him endearing and realistic rather than a stereotypical royal caricature. Unfortunately Max didn’t have the same appeal as Lucien. He never seemed to leap off the page and I walked away from the book feeling as though I didn’t know much about who he was or why I should care about him. His concern for Lucien is obvious, but beyond that he seemed rather flat and one-dimensional. As a result, it was hard to get wrapped up in the romance between Max and Lucien. It never felt fully realized and there was no spark of real passion between them, just lust followed too quickly by declarations of love.
The plot to Max and the Prince is fine, though hardly original and there aren’t many surprises, save for the aforementioned twist. I would have preferred a bit more action throughout the book and, while it seemed to possess this potential, it never really cashed in on it. As a result, the storyline was a bit bland in all aspects. Not bad, but not great and just kind of ordinary by the time it was all said and done. The antagonist and his connection to Lucien were believable, but many of his actions weren’t. Like Max, the enemy was never really developed and therefore seemed to exist as a thread that had to be wrapped up and nothing more substantial. Combined with the fact that I failed to connect with Max, I spent most of this book always wanting a bit more and never getting it.
Overall, Max and the Prince is an adequate romance, but only one of the main characters is fully fleshed out and truly approachable. The book is generally well written but it lacks real depth and as a result the story seems to possess more potential than it actually achieves. Still, if you’re a fan of R.J. Scott’s and enjoy the classic bodyguard/prince tropes, you might like Max and the Prince.