A Nordic King by Karina Halle
Publication Date: September 21, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When I first applied for the job I thought it would be like all the others: working as a nanny for an aristocratic family.
Then I got the job and found out how wrong I was.
Now I’m the new nanny for two adorable little girls who happen to be princesses.
Their father is the widowed King of Denmark.
And my new home? The royal palace in Copenhagen.
Adjusting to my new life isn’t easy but the hardest part hasn’t been the girls who still grieve over the loss of their mother.
It’s their father.
Cold, mysterious and moody, with an icy stare that seems to penetrate your soul, King Aksel may have hired me to take care of his daughters but he wants as little to do with me as possible.
Yet the longer I share these palace walls with this man, the more that I’m drawn to him. His chiseled face and sexual swagger are only part of the package. It’s in the long, intense glances at the dinner table, the way we’ll brush up against each other in the halls, the rare glimpses of the man deep inside, like the sun passing through clouds.
But no matter how I feel about him, we can never be together.
You think it’s bad enough being in love with your boss?
Try falling in love with a king.
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I had the extreme pleasure of beta reading Aksel and Aurora’s story, and right from the start, I knew these two characters were something special and that despite the fact that they came from much different worlds and experienced much different lives that the Nordic King and his nanny were going to find a way to bring light into each other’s lives, even if it meant they got their hearts trampled on in the process.
The first thing that is made abundantly clear to Aurora from her employer is that she is nothing more than the help. She has a job to do and will be held accountable to do so while ensuring that she doesn’t do anything to embarrass the royal family or herself. What’s also clearly illustrated from the beginning is that Aksel is a man’s man…a King’s King so to speak and because that moniker carries clout and power, he wields it without thought to anyone else, especially a certain American beauty who is way too appealing for his sanity and for her own good, not to mention that she doesn’t hold her tongue when he’s acting like an ass or making comments that are both presumptuous and downright mean.
As the story continues and Aksel and Aurora’s lives further intersect, it’s quite obvious that they’re attracted to each other, despite their brains knowing it’s a useless attraction – one that can never be acted on – due to their differing circumstances and statuses. But the sexual tension that exists between them will never fully dissipate and it’s a point of contention, unknowingly, for both of them, seeing how Aksel’s mistreatment of her and intolerance for some of the things she does is the way that he copes with his ‘unwanted’ desires for her.
Something has to give between them, though, if Aksel and Aurora are expected to be constantly around each other and when that breaking point hits, the repercussions may be too much for them to bear given the fact that they’re both harboring secrets that could not only change their perception of each other but also lead to further complications if the information got out to the wrong people or person. But the flip side to that is that once Aksel and Aurora finally give into their need for one another perhaps, together, they’ll find something that’s always been missing from their lives, making it absolutely necessary for both of them to endure the more than bumpy ride it may be to be seen as a couple in love not just a King and his nanny.
Karina Halle did an outstanding job of layering her hero and heroine in a way that is obvious to readers; there’s a depth to these characters that force readers to truly see Aksel and Aurora as more than complex people in a complicated situation. These two have gotten so used to wearing masks, pretending that they have their shit together when, really, they’re both a bit of a hot mess underneath. But that’s what makes it easy to connect to them because they’re human beings just like anyone else, which means that regardless of titles and power, they make mistakes…they feel guilt and grief…they yearn for a true sense of family and love – ones that have no ulterior motives…no agenda or duplicitous plans, and somehow, Aksel and Aurora find that in each other, indicating that despite the outside world…despite Aksel’s mercurial demeanor and kingly status, these two belong together, not just as King and the nanny…not just as the boss and the help…not just as the ruler and his subject, but as a man and woman who transform when they’re together into someone they haven’t been in a long time or maybe even ever.
There is an amazing support cast of characters in A Nordic King, and many of them help both Aksel and Aurora see themselves for who they are and what they need. Aksel’s two princesses are so pivotal to the story line as a whole because not only are they the reason that Aurora is hired, but they also are there to remind Aksel that life goes on…that living in the present and truly experiencing all that it has to offer does not necessarily lessen the grief or the guilt but it helps to prove just how much Aksel’s daughters need and want him to be more present in their lives and Aurora’s definitely a part of that package and while that complicates things, it also brings life, laughter, and happiness back into the castle and into the hearts and souls of so many people.
Aksel and Aurora’s individual journeys as well as the one they take together is vividly illustrated throughout the entire story, and while, at times, I wanted to throttle Aksel for his Jekyll and Hyde actions/reactions, I knew that it would be a process for him to change his ways…change the parts of himself that had been closed off for so long, but what I also knew was that Aurora’s presence, the way she treated his daughters, and the way she stood up to him would prove just how much he needed and wanted her, which makes their bumpy start and the uphill battle that the go against worth every minute of anger, frustration, and even heartbreak.
5 Poison Apples
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
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