I’ve not read many Kat Martin books, but the ones I have gotten to have been satisfying reads. They haven’t blown me away, but, as with this book, I end up with a good story and characters I wouldn’t mind visiting with again if Ms. Martin had a mind to include them in another story down the line, which I’m hoping is the case in her latest trilogy.
It’s been years since Royal has been home to England, choosing instead to stay in Barbados on the family plantation he’s turned into a resounding success. But his father is dying and it’s time for the heir to come home. Expecting his father’s passing and then taking over as duke somehow turn out to be the easy part of his homecoming. On his deathbed, the Duke of Bransford receives a promise from his son to marry the heiress he’s chosen so that Royal will be able to bring the family coffers and estate back to their former glory, shedding a good light on their name once again.
The day finally arrives for Royal to meet his betrothed, to make plans for the wedding he is not looking forward to but will go through with because he gave his word. Coming upon a carriage accident on the Bransford estate, Royal finds his fiance injured but thrown clear of the wreckage. Lifting the beautiful woman in his arms to care for her only reinforces his immediate attraction. Perhaps marriage will not be such a terrible state after all.
He is in for a surprise, however, when he later learns it is his betrothed’s cousin and companion, Lily, he’s brought into his home. She’s come to make sure all is ready for Jocelyn when she and her mother arrive for their introduction to the Duke. Lily is as attracted to Royal as he is to her, but she knows he can never be hers. And then before she can stop herself, she’s offered the help of her uncle and his cronies, criminals all, but they do play a convincing confidence game, and that’s just what Royal needs to get the justice his father deserves after being expertly swindled, thus leaving their coffers dry.
I enjoyed Royal and Lily. They try to be so very good when in each other’s presence, but their longing for one another gets in the way every time until finally they go too far. But Royal cannot marry Lily due to his promise to his father, a vow he will not break, even for Lily. I cheered for her each time she succumbed to Royal’s loving because her cousin is one selfish bitch, even though it ate at Lily to be so brazen and disloyal. Jocelyn and her mother do not deserve such loyalty, and it’s a terrific comeuppance Jocelyn receives in the end.
The confidence game they play in the second half of the book is a lot of fun, plenty of players to make the sting possible and very successful, though it does come back to haunt them slightly afterward.
I did want a little more of Royal’s brothers throughout the story, but we get only a smidgen of Reese, the hero of the next book, and a tad more of Rule, who we’ll see in the third. I do hope we get a good update on Royal and Lily in Reese’s Bride. But overall she gives just enough to keep your interest in the characters alive and to make you have the next two books in hand as soon as possible. Which I plan to do.
Though he is a titled nobleman, Royal Dewar is singularly unlucky … forced to choose between his soul mate … and his salvation.
After years abroad, Royal has returned to Bransford Castle to find his father dying and the family treasury nearly empty. Then the old duke wrests a final promise from his guilt-ridden son: that Royal will marry heiress Jocelyn Caulfield and restore the estate to its former glory. However, it is not his fiancee who quickens Royal’s pulse, but rather her beautiful cousin Lily Moran.
Penniless Lily knows that nothing can come of their undeniable attraction―but there is a way she can help Royal. Enlisting some questionable characters from her past, Lily concocts an elaborate ruse to recover some of the Bransford fortune from a notorious confidence artist. As the dangerous scheme unfolds, Lily and Royal are thrown together in pursuit of the very thing―money―that keeps them part.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: