by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #2
Pub. Date: Dec. 30, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio / Avon
Narrator: Carmen Rose
Length: 9 hrs 39 min
Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?
After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.
Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.
So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?
- He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
- He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
- He doesn't kiss her.
- If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.
- When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
- And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.
The Castles Ever After series continues with another delightful and independent heroine inheriting a castle from her uncle and taking charge of her future, while a rakish hero is turning the table on the typical marriage scheme.
Clio Whitmore has been betrothed for eight long years while her fiance, Piers Brandon, has been on the continent serving as a diplomat. She has been mockingly dubbed "Miss Waitmore" by those snobs around the Ton. But when she inherits her very own castle with income potential, Clio decides she is done waiting and will run the castle along with her own brewery. Dare did a good job establishing an emotional connection with Clio, particularly when discussing the ridicule she suffered in society and from her own family. I think I would have killed Clio's married sister... but I absolutely loved the youngest, who seems to have a touch of Aspergers or high-functioning autism.
Rafe Brandon, prize pugilist and renowned rake is younger brother to Piers Brandon, Marquess of Something or Other. Always being envious of his elder brother, when Clio comes to Rafe requesting to break the betrothal to his brother, Rafe is determined to ignore his attraction to Clio and convince her go through with the marriage. This begins a period of courtship, only Rafe is courting Clio on behalf of his brother. This was definitely an interesting take on a historical where we usually have the marriage-minded mamas scheming for their daughters. Rafe was a great hero. Despite trying not to covet his future sister-in-law, his feelings for her shone through with his efforts to court her (for Piers). I loved that he worked to build up her self-esteem which had been so damaged by her mother, sister and the Ton. While he could have had a huge ego due to his success as a pugilist, it was tempered by the shame he felt for never pleasing his father.
The romance between Clio and Rafe unfolded nicely. Because he was determined that she would marry Piers, it slowed things down so that we didn't have an insta-love situation. With each step they take toward Clio's unwanted wedding, the two move closer together until things come to a head toward the end. I loved the push-pull of Rafe's attraction to Clio, and her sweet longing for the younger brother. I liked the way things played out with the brothers in the end, and the wedding scenario was spectacular.
I listened to this one in audio as well, and the narrator, Carmen Rose, did a great job of keeping me entertained and engaged in the story.