Title: Renegade Royals #3: How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Historical, Military, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
Whether as spies or lovers, the Renegade Royals—illegitimate sons of England’s Royal Princes—are bold, skillful, and a force to be reckoned with…
A war hero returned from Waterloo should be able to indulge in a bit of bad behavior. Instead, Captain William Endicott is summoned by his father, the Duke of York, to investigate an assassination plot. The unlikely suspect: William’s former sweetheart. Will can’t believe that innocent Evie Whitney could be mixed up in anything so nefarious. Then again, almost everything about Evie has changed—except for his body’s instinctive response to hers…
Other books in this series
Okay. The ending for this story just threw me. I mean, it was a jaw-dropping, "You've got to be kidding me!" moment that doesn't happen often enough for me in historical romances. The way Ms. Kelly saved that delightful twist for the end was just... Wow!
But before all that craziness, there is a story that gets told about two childhood friends and former sweethearts Will and Evie. It was touching how well Will knew Evie after being away from her for so long. He knew her looks, her sighs, her huffs. He could tell if she was happy, sad, frustrated, or mad. What he couldn't tell was how much she loved him. It might've seemed obvious to Evie's sister, maybe even to the reader, but it wasn't to him. The vast majority of this story was spent watching Will bounce back and forth between jealousy toward Evie's almost-fiance, frustration with himself, and desire to prove his father wrong about her. Amusing? Um, hell yeah!
I loved Evie. Really, she was beautiful in and out. Her capacity to love and give made her so attractive. I think those traits, along with beauty that only Will seemed to see, made her the perfect suspect for Will's investigation. I was happy to discover that those traits weren't superficial or for show or to gain a suitor's attention, but it also puzzled me as to how she could possibly be capable of assassination.
The saying "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for" didn't apply to her at all.
As I said earlier, the twist in the plot was completely unexpected. My money was pegged on one person, and to throw a curve ball from left field was a brilliant move by Ms. Kelly. She managed to entwine suspense, intrigue, and a second chance at love into a story that kept my attention, had me wanting to know more, and had me hoping everything worked out for Will and Evie despite the obstacles they faced.
Will insists on taking Evie for a drive:
Will drove a beautifully matched pair of grays, expertly wheeling them in a neat circle to the front of the house. As she might have expected, he handled the rig with skill and confidence, his impressive masculine form on full display since the warm September day obviated the need for a caped driving coat. His perfectly cut, form-fitting blue coat showcased his broad shoulders, and his biscuit-colored breeches clung like a second skin to his long, muscular legs. He rested one booted foot against the gently curving dashboard, smiling down at her as he brought the horses to a smooth stop.
“Your carriage awaits, my lady,” he said, sweeping off his hat with an uncharacteristic flourish. His smile widened into a grin as roguish as one of Captain Gilbride’s.
Though she’d been immune to the Scotsman’s attempt to charm her, Will succeeded in raising a flutter of nerves in her belly. Evie realized, with no small degree of dismay, that no other man’s smile—not even Michael’s—held anything like the same power.
As she struggled to respond to this unfamiliar, debonair version of Will, his smile faded into a puzzled expression. “Evie, are you all right?”
“Um, yes, of course,” she said.
Trying not to appear as flustered as she felt, she gathered her skirts and reached for Will’s outstretched hand. But Michael had dismounted and rushed over to help her.
“Please, take my hand, Evelyn,” he said in a kind voice at odds with the nasty look he directed at Will.Will regarded Michael as if he were a lower order of species. Evie was sure his father, the Duke of York, could not have looked more arrogant than he did glaring down his nose at the other man. It almost appeared as if the two were marking their territory, for lack of a better term, and she was apparently the territory.
Kensington © 2015 Vanessa Kelly
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.