Read an excerpt: here
Would you dare defy a dying man's last wish? The Dewar Family's financial situation has been inconsistent for a long time. When the Duke of Bransford, standing on death's doorstep, secures a promise from his eldest son and heir, Royal, to restore the family finances, he had no idea the turmoil he would leave his son in. A year of mourning has come and gone, and Royal is prepared to follow through on his promise to marry the Caulfeild heiress, Joycelyn, and begin fixing his family's financial problems. The marriage was arranged by his father, prior to his death, and looks to be the solution to all of Royal's problems. So why does he feel so hesitant?
On the day his intended is expected to arrive, he decides to take a refreshing ride and clear his mind. On his way back home to face the music, he stumbles upon the scene of a carriage accident and immediately inspects the damage. He quickly realizes it is the carriage of his intended that lays on it's side and is missing its occupant. When he finds a gorgeous woman sprawled in the snow, he believes its his soon-to-be wife and fears for the worst. The woman is a little battered up, but otherwise not too worse for wear. On his way back to his lack-luster castle, as he converses with the lady and detects her gentleness and likability, Royal begins to resign himself to the idea of marriage to her. It is a shocking and unexpected blow to find out the woman he saved from the snow isn't his intended, but his intended's cousin, sent ahead of everyone else to ensure the accommodations meet with her picky relatives expectations. Royal tries to suffocate his infatuation with Lily Moran, but the allure is too compelling.
But Lily isn't at all what she appears -a shy, book-worm, millinery shop owner-, and believes that not only is Royal's near-affiance to her cousin grounds to stop any further attentions, but her sordid past as a con-artist. It doesn't stop Royal's desires in the least, and when they both succumb to desire, it leaves Royal in an unenviable position. The engagement to Jocelyn can be the means to an end, but what becomes of blooming love to the wrong girl?
After hearing about Royal's investigation which traced the swindling of Dewar family fund that left them in debt, at the hands of a notorious con-artist, Dick Flynn; Lily offers her (previous guardian and the person who taught her how to con)Uncle's assistance in helping Royal procure some of his family's lost funds and exacting revenge. The plan and deception is dangerous and will leave our hero and heroine in harm's way; but only then will the importance of the almighty dollar take a backseat to the importance of love.
Rating: 3 1/2 Aww's
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Royal first finds Lily in the snow and thinks she is his intended. He just happened upon her carriage accident, which was caused by highwaymen, and he doesn't expect to find the one person he thinks he was trying to avoid. There is an instant connection and Royal's gallant ways doesn't cease to play court to my feminine sensibilities =] ! It was a sweet scene and then turned into bitter irony as it is learned that Lily is the cousin of his soon-to-be-bride and not actually her. It also bites because Royal, who was so hesitant and reluctant to follow through on his father's dying wish, was beginning to relent to the idea of the arranged marriage; if it was to be with Lily.
'Royal's Bride' starts off the series wonderfully. There's a lot of inner and outer conflict which amp the forbidden quality to our main character's attraction. The plot is one that has been re-created many times by many authors- falling for the relative of the person your suppose to be marrying- but Kat Martin did it well enough to have me wanting more. The deception required to get back the Dewar Family's fortune is one that could of read tedious and bothersome, but miraculously didn't do so. I think this is a book worthy of a introduction to your bookshelf!
*Check out the next book in the series, 'Reece's Bride', which follows the recently wounded and home from war Brother, Reece.
*Also check out the final brother's story, 'Rule's Bride'.