I love trying debut authors. This book, while I have some issues with it, was very page turning. If I had to title this review, I would call it 50 Shades of Royalty. It relied heavily on 50 Shades of Grey – right down to Dylan Hale’s aloofness, his controlling ways, his many secrets, even not liking pubic hair. I’ll dive into all the details in just a bit.
As a first book I loved this author’s voice. While it reminded me of another book, she did make it her own. It’s always nice when you have a British aristocrat chasing after the American girl. I can’t lie, I couldn’t read this book fast enough. It was like catnip. I do want to tell you, though, this is Book 1 of a three-book series about Dylan and Lydia. There is a cliffhanger at the end, but not a cliffie about their relationship. More like a dubious email.
Lydia is babysitting twins while she’s on vacation. Her dad just passed away from cancer and she really needs to get out of Brooklyn, NY for a few months before she takes off to London and her new job for an up-and-coming fashion designer. It’s while she’s staying at this very old mansion she has the pleasure of meeting the heir apparent. Dylan Hale is a marquess in line for the dukedom. He doesn’t announce that to Lydia. She’s instantly attracted to him from the moment she sets her eyes on his handsomely chiseled face, add in the British accent and she’s a goner. Lydia’s life, up until this point, has been bad boyfriends, one-night stands, and bad sex. She takes Dylan’s good looks in and her uterus stands up and pays attention. She gets to meet him again at a cocktail party. She’s looking for a drink, and this is what ensues:
“It’s for drinking,” he said, eyebrow raised, cracking a wry smile, still holding out the drink for me. “So that’s what it’s for,” I said, and our fingers touched around the sweating glass. I brought the rim to my mouth and took a tentative sip. “Thank you. That’s amazing. You’re like my alcohol-delivering knight in shining armor, riding in on a white horse, gin in hand.”
By this time her two wards are needing rounding up and she has to take off. Dylan follows her to her SUV and asks if she would be interested in meeting him for dinner. She, of course, accepts for the next night.
Dylan picks up Lydia for their date and they order some drinks. This is where he tells her that he doesn’t do the relationship thing. He wants to be up front with her immediately. At this point Lydia is like, “Well, then what do you want?” She’s getting vibes from Dylan, so she’s kinda confused by his actions versus what’s coming out of his big stupid mouth. He tells her in a whisper-soft voice he wants to fuck her, just after he kisses her nice and sweet. He goes on to tell her that he hopes she’s not insulted, but that’s all he has to give right now. You see, they’re going to do things his way or no way. Have I mentioned he’s very controlling? Just when he’s convincing Lydia of this great plan and what a great lover he is, he drops another bomb. No one can know.
Our asshole lead is very private. While Dylan is charming and hot, while he’s attentive to Lydia and lives up to his promises, he has a lot of baggage. But mostly he has bad excuses for bad behavior. Only he knows what’s best. That’s a huge flaw for me as a reader. At this point naive Lydia is going with the flow and telling Dylan she would be in London shortly. So he gives her his business card and tells her to call him when she gets into town. When Lydia arrives in London, a car is there to pick her up. What she doesn’t realize right away is it’s Dylan’s driver picking her up and not her new company she’s working for. Dylan is a borderline creeper. I still think Christian was far worse, though.
They have the talks about other women in his life, what kind of men were in hers. He’s adamant about secrecy up until 90% of the book and some of the things he did to her were down right cruel and I am going to be honest, he has a lot to make up for. Lydia and Dylan embark on a kinky sex life. While the sex is smoking hot, I really do feel there’s perhaps too much. I feel it took away from the meat of the story. I wanted to know what makes Dylan tick. This book is told by Lydia and I missed knowing what’s going on with Dylan. The sex definitely moves their story along, but I just wish there was more dialogue as well. There is a scene straight out of 50 Shades where he pulls her pubic hair and tells her he wants her to shave it off and that he wants her to go on birth control. I may have rolled my eyes. At this point Lydia is submitting to all his wishes and it kinda made me sad and her look like a doormat at times. She acknowledges these things, but she still went along with all of his wishes. What I love the most about this book is Lydia’s friendship with her BFF, Daphne.
“That’s complete and utter horseshit, Lydia. Maybe you both thought that’d be fine, but no one has any business setting the parameters of a relationship like this in advance.” -Daphne
The entirety of this book was Lydia dealing with being a secret. Things finally come to a breaking point and Dylan sees the error of his ways. He didn’t really meet my threshold for begging forgiveness, but we have two more books to look forward to. The dialogue is fantastic, it’s witty and smart. At times it’s real and sad too. I enjoyed this book very much, except for when portions of another book made its way into it. It was a distraction that truly wasn’t needed. I love the aristocrat with a commoner theme. They have chemistry off the charts, hot sex, and bits of secrets are revealed. I know now that Lydia lost her dad, her mother will somehow make an appearance after twenty-five years of abandoning her. I’m hooked. I’m not so thrilled that Dylan is a dickhead sometimes, but I am holding out hope that he gets better in the other books.
ONE SEXY SON-OF-A-DUKE
Behind the posh British accent, Dylan Hale possesses a down-and-dirty sexiness. Off-the-charts gorgeous, a ruthless architect . . . and did I mention he’s a future duke? Every time we touch, it’s wildfire. All need and lust and heat. But Dylan has rules: just sex, no one can know, and in the bedroom he gets complete control. All I have to do is follow the rules, because falling in love with Dylan Hale is all it would take to screw everything up . . . royally.
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Other books in this series: