Prince Xaviero is the most offensive Harlequin "hero" I've encountered. I only finished the book so I could review it. I enjoy books with jerky alpha male heroes who have some redeeming qualities and are gradually transformed into better men by their love of the heroines. Xaviero doesn't have any redeeming qualities, and his transformation in the final pages of the book is ridiculous. Even worse, there's nothing remotely interesting about the heroine, a spineless nitwit.
Xaviero, the prince of a made-up island country, desires Cathy but is disgusted by her sexual desires (which are, of course, inappropriate for a woman), her lack of education, and her lowly position as a maid. The only quality he values in her is her submissiveness; he tells her he wants to marry her because she is "wonderfully compliant." I didn't find much to admire in her, either. We're supposed to sympathize with her because she lost her parents at a young age, and we're supposed to think she has hidden talents (and a personality) because she gardens and has a nice bedside manner with Xaviero's comatose brother. Instead, she's a shallowly-drawn character who lets Xaviero emotionally abuse her. Every time I thought she was about to stand up to him, she backed down or was swept away by his kisses. I felt tricked again and again.
After Xaviero undergoes his sudden and unbelievable transformation and claims to have loved her all along, we're told the lesson of this awful story is "that love truly could conquer all." (i.e., Stay with that demeaning, manipulative, abusive s-o-b and eventually the power of your love will turn him into a kind, generous, loving prince.) The lesson I learned from this book is that there are more enjoyable ways to spend time than reading books by Sharon Kendrick.