Second book in the series, this story is centers on Lady Daphne Forsyth, a unique woman trying to find her place in a world that doesn’t seem to understand her, and Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, the man that falls for her.
The suspense aspect of the story was ok, I mean, it kept me entertained but not to the point that I was unable to put the book down. There were some twists but for the most part they were kind of predictable.
It’s always interesting to read about characters with unique traits, unfortunately in this case Daphne didn’t hold my interest for long. She was described as someone on the autism spectrum and perhaps for that reason I was hoping to find a more endearing character but instead I got a character with whom I could not connect at all. I was also unable to understand the love between Daphne and Dalton. I think I would have liked it better if they took more time falling in love because to me it just felt forced and even trite at times.
I still plan to read more from this author but in all honesty I don’t think I’ll continue this series.
** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher. **
An island vacation at a 5-star resort for her brother's wedding should have been relaxing. But for single mom Lena Oserkowski, it's stress-inducing. As long as she stays away from the water, her biggest fear, it'll be okay, right? Except when her son gets into trouble at the pool, Lena ends up needing her own rescue. To her surprise—and mortification—a gorgeous stranger comes to her aid. Suddenly her trip just got a whole lot more interesting.
Elliot Debusshere is disillusioned with his wealthy playboy lifestyle and wants nothing more than to bring some meaning and purpose to the charity he runs. When he saves a quirky, beautiful woman from a case of heat exhaustion and meets her son, Tyler, he has no idea the answer to his problems might have just fallen in his lap. Literally. But pleasure has a sneaky way of mixing with their business, leaving both dazed and confused. Elliot isn't father material—except the longer he spends with Lena and Tyler, the more he wants to be. Now he just needs to prove it.
Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he’ll have the job opportunity of a lifetime…he just needs a wife to get it.
Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she’s his fiancée. Grace knows she shouldn’t fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.
Royal Affair (5 stars) -
Dylan is every woman's fantasy until he opens his mouth and goes from dream guy to tempting prospect. Royal Affair takes lust, love and royalty and gives it a modern edge with a bad boy lead. I had a love/hate relationship with Dylan. His arrogance frustrated me but at the same time he could easily seduce me into forgetting that I wanted to knock some sense into him. Never have I come across a character practically becomes real before my eyes. Parker Swift delivered a heavy hitter with her debut.
Royal Disaster (4 Stars) -
Royal Disaster picks up where Royal Affair left off and shocking developments await. Dylan is still as wicked as ever with his naughty deeds and killer looks. Lydia is his willing pupil of lust and love, yet her doubts still linger about her good fortune. Could Dylan be too good to be true? Royal Disaster took me on an escapade of lust, love, secrets and heartache. Ms. Swift works her way into a readers soul with these flawed but captivating characters.
Royal Treatment (5 Stars) -
Lydia and Dylan have led readers on a merry chase. This romance has went from the start of something new, to crazy in love quicker, than anyone can say I do. Let's not forget the dangerously in love phase that went from hopelessly devoted secret lovers to brokenhearted ex lovers. More scandalous than any gossip rag, Ms. Swift knows how to leave readers wanting more. Royal Treatment is the ending I've been craving since I embarked on this Royal Affair. Fittingly entitled Royal Treatment, we finally get to the happily ever after. If the bride's cold feet don't make this a Royal Disaster. Parker Swift served up a bewitching tale of a courageous young woman in need of a fresh start and ended up finding the other half of her heart.
Disclosure - I acquired the Kindle edition of this book on 17 January 2013, when it was offered free on Amazon. I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with her about this book or any other matter. I am an author of historical romances and other genre novels.
This book was originally published by Zebra/Kensington in 2000 as A Rogue's Kiss under the pseudonym of Molly Marcourt.
I'm reading this for research.
SPOILERS ARE NOT HIDDEN.
The book is billed as your basic Regency romance, but it really doesn't hit the Regency tropes. A few are thrown in -- the language, the fashions, the emphasis on nobility, etc. -- without actually making them an integral part of the story or even the atmosphere.
Most readers won't pay any attention to the holes I found in this story. Most readers will swim blithely through it, enjoying the romance and the dangers and the misunderstandings and the happily ever after ending. I'm not so generous.
At the halfway point, I seriously considered giving up on this. I didn't like either of the main characters -- Christian Faraday, Earl of Bedlington, and Merissa Casswell, country parson's daughter. Neither of them was believable.
Christian is a wealthy rogue who spends his days gambling and what-not, and his nights apparently wenching. He makes no apology for this lifestyle; he entertains himself and that's all he needs to do.
How he acquires the funds to live like this isn't touched on. One presumes he has a substantial estate to go with his title, but he doesn't seem to have much interest in it. Toward the end of the book Christian makes an offer to solve a financial problem for Merissa to the tune of 20,000 pounds. Based on this estimate of that value in current terms, that would be the equivalent of $1.6 million. And he doesn't bat an eyelash. So he is not just wealthy; he is very wealthy, and the source of that wealth is never explained.
Merissa is the younger daughter of the rector of a country church. But the family lives on a farm. But they do no farming. And they aren't acquainted with the gentry of the neighborhood, said gentry including the Earl and Countess of Northrup.
The ecclesiastical structure of the Church of England, at least as I understand it, would indeed allow for the rector of a financially independent parish, i.e. not supported by the noble who owns the "living" of that church, to live on a farm, but would it necessarily be his own/his family's farm, or one belonging to that specific church? This sort of historical research would be important to me . . . . and it seems it would have been important to the plot of this story.
Anyway, Christian discovers himself in bed with a friend's wife and escapes to the country to avoid scandal. There's something going on behind the scenes with this, but the whole issue is pretty much dropped for the rest of the book until the tail end. On his way to Darton Park, where his friend Devon, the Earl of Northrup, resides, Christian almost literally runs into Merissa. She's a shrew, he's a rogue, what more could you want?
Well, I'd want believable characters. Merissa seems to have reason to be a bit of a shrew, but wouldn't she have been brought up to at least have decent manners?
And Christian, true to his station, falls in insta-lust. He forces kisses on Merissa even though he knows they aren't welcome. Of course, he arouses her insta-lust, so I guess it's okay? Um, no.
So then there's a ball, to which Merissa and her sister Elizabeth are invited. Um, no. They make over a couple of their (deceased?) mother's old gowns, but all I could think of was good ol' Carol Burnett and the green velvet curtains. Of course their gowns are out of fashion, which is crucial to anything Regency. And of course they're ridiculed.
But Merissa gets trapped in a bedroom with Christian, whose baser desires have been inflamed by a veritable caricature of an Other Woman, Lady Diana Fortescue. The image of this Other Woman "jiggling her breasts" to entice him was so ludicrous I nearly laughed aloud but it would have scared the dogs. Though he escapes Diana's clutches, Christian can't control himself when he encounters Merissa a few moments later -- and neither can Merissa, the parson's daughter -- so he performs oral sex on her. Then whisks her home without achieving any kind of sexual satisfaction for himself.
The next day, Merissa and her sister Elizabeth learn that their beloved brother Charles, who has disappeared into the evil world of London, is desperate to stay out of debtor's prison. He has somehow managed to get himself 20,000 pounds in debt, and needs twenty pounds to cover the interest "for a few months."
Merissa decides to sell her virginity to Christian for the 20,000, but he turns her down. So she takes the fifty or so pounds Elizabeth has found and hies off to London alone to see if she can't get dear brother Charles out of the mess he's gotten himself into. She fails at that, but nothing happens to her in London even though she's in the worst part of town and blithely goes hunting for the evil wizards who are threatening dear Charles.
Never mind, though, because Christian comes to her rescue and gets the evil wizard to cancel Charles's debt, but gets himself challenged to a duel, until Merissa overhears that it's all a plot to murder him so his wicked uncle can inherit. Duel is cancelled, apparently, and wicked uncle's plans are thwarted by Merissa seducing Christian so they can start producing an heir. And then they get married and live happily ever after.
Nothing about this book is believable. From Christian racing his priceless horses in the dark then leaving them unattended in the woods after an accident, I kept rolling my eyes at what an idiot he was. Merissa's shifts from prim and proper hater of all things noble to writhing wanton were just silly. But Christian's ignoring her rejection of him and -- and -- his dismissal of his own actions made me just dislike him. ("I ate her out against her will but it's okay because she's still technically a virgin.")
I very nearly gave up on this at the halfway point and only kept going because it was for research. Whether this Kindle edition is a transcription of the original Zebra version, I don't know. The digital copy has a lot of minor typos that may have come from an OCR scan, though even that wouldn't account for the frequent missing words, especially "I" and "to."
There's no excuse for that kind of sloppiness, but I was more concerned with the actual quality of the text, which I found lacking.
One of the big issues is this business of Merissa's believing she's been ruined as a result of her sexual encounter with Christian. While it's quite possible she doesn't know a lot about other forms of sexual activity, she lives on a farm, for crying out loud. She would know the basics of copulation, and should know she's not therefore been deflowered. And if she then decides to sell herself for a single night to Christian in return for twenty thousand pounds, she knows full well she's still a virgin. Can't have it both ways, kiddo.
She would also know that the price she's putting on herself is extraordinarily, outrageously, obscenely high.
She also ruminates on her options. She expects her older sister Elizabeth to eventually marry, leaving Merissa to care for their father. Merissa has no plans to marry, in part because she doesn't like "the idea of being at a man's beck and call." Um, no. That is exactly what she'd have if she stayed behind to care for her father, and she'd also have the prospect of being too old for virtually any kind of marriage after his death.
That's why the whole issue of the farm is important. Is that an estate that will be left to her, or to Elizabeth, or to dear brother Charles? What kind of income does it generate? How is it tied to the church?
But when Merissa turns down Christian's offer to simply pay off Charles's enormous debt -- an offer he makes to save her reputation even though he really wants to take her to bed -- she flounces off because she thinks he's not attracted to her. So we get a Big Misunderstanding . . . over nothing.
There are other absurdities, such as Caroline, Countess of Northrup, feeding her own toddler son and getting baby food all over everything. Um, no. She'd have a nurse to take care of feeding small children. Such as driving back and forth between the farm and Darton Park, a distance of ten or twelve miles, as though it were a quick jaunt to the corner convenience store in 2018. Um, no.
There's no meat to this story, so if you're looking for just something with which to while away your time, this may work, but there are better Regencies out there.