Series & Title: Royals in Exile, Book 1: Royal Scandal
Author: Marquita Valentine
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Publisher: Entangled Publishing: Loveswept
Release Date: January 23, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Social Butterfly PR
Fairy tales do come true--and so do tabloid scandals! New York Times Bestselling author Marquita Valentine kicks off a juicy contemporary romance series with a novel about a prince whose best-laid plans go deliciously awry when he marries the maid next door.
Forced to flee to the United States with his siblings after their parents’ assassination, Crown Prince Colin Sinclair takes it upon himself to become the caretaker of his family while hiding out near Charlotte, North Carolina. But after a decade in hiding, the secret’s out and Parliament demands that Colin wed a princess of their choosing. Unwilling to play their game, Colin decides to marry an American instead, and he has the perfect candidate in mind.
As a home-service professional, Della Hughes doesn’t believe in storybook endings. But when her best friend and secret crush reveals that he’s a flesh-and-blood prince, she doesn’t know what to think. Still, she’ll do anything for Colin, including becoming his wife—in name only, of course. But when their plans to stay purely platonic go by the wayside, their fake honeymoon turns all too real. After a week of white-hot nights, Della can no longer deny her feelings—not with a happily ever after so tantalizingly close.
This was an interesting take on the marriage of convenience trope. The idea is the same, marry someone who's the opposite of who you are supposed to marry, what makes this interesting is there is already a relationship between Colin and Della - they're friends. They're not complete strangers or even acquaintances. They're honest-to-God friends.
That's what sets this story apart for me. They know each other in and out, through and through. Colin's secret aside, him being royalty and living in exile, they have what some marriage of convenience couples don't have: trust. Like any relationship, that's an important building block, and they already have it in place.
Which makes their romance a friends to lovers one too. Marriage might have been a huge leap from the frying pan to the fire but I think going from friends to lovers was an even bigger one. Because they had to know, maybe even suspect, that it would become more than name only once they were alone as man and wife, once attraction took root, once desire propelled them forward even just a little bit.
It's like foreplay that takes all day, you know? A touch, a whisper, a look, a kiss, a sigh. Every little thing hints at the currents running between them. Every little thing leads to bed and melt-the-paint-off-the-walls hot sex.
But where do they go from there? The deed's done. They're officially man and wife now. A piece of paper said they were; consummating their marriage made it so. But do they try to play it off as getting caught up in the moment? Or do they explore what's there but hasn't been fully touched on yet?
The idea of a royal family living Stateside without detection might seem a little far-fetched (I'm not sure how that even works), but it's a minor detail in the grand scheme of this story. Colin and Della are meant for one another, even if Della doesn't believe in fairy tales. Their friendship culminating in marriage then ending with declarations of love is a fairy tale, a well told modern day, sugary sweet with a hint of heat, fairy tale.
Marquita Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Holland Springs and Boys of the South series.
Since first taking the plunge in July of 2012 to self publish, Marquita Valentine has appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling Ebooks Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes&Noble. She's been called "one of the best new voices in romance" (Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews) and her books have been accused of being "a sexy, fun, and slightly addicting contemporary read" (The Book Queen).
When she's not writing sexy heroes who adore their sassy heroines, she enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Married to her high school sweetheart, Marquita lives in a seriously small town in the south with her husband, two kids, and a dog.