Hi everyone! Last time I was here,
I blogged about the first book in my Call of Duty series, A Royal World Apart. Now I’m here to talk about the second book in the series, At His Majesty’s Request. (At His Majesty’s Request was an RT Top Pick!)
The theme of this series is definitely about duty vs desire. Or, deeper
than that, can you shut off your emotions in the name of duty, and close yourself off to love, and still be a great ruler? Or would it better to defy duty (just a little) and be able to rule with your whole heart?
That’s definitely the question for Prince Stavros Drakos. Unlike his sister Evangelina from A Royal World Apart, Stavros has embraced his duty. He wasn’t meant to rule, but after his brother abandoned the country and his father slipped into depression, Stavros had no choice but to take control.
And now it’s fallen to Stavros to make a suitable marriage so he can produce heirs and provide the country with the queen they expect.
Enter matchmaker Jessica Carter. It’s her job to find Stavros the perfect queen, but from the moment he sees her, he doesn’t want another woman.
But Jessica is everything unsuitable. Snarky, with a penchant for vintage fashion and playing Angry Birds on her iPad. Jessica is also divorced and unable to have children.
No matter how unsuitable she is, Stavros finds that he can’t muster up interest in any of the other women Jessica presents to him as candidates to be his queen, because he’s completely and totally captivated by her.
The solution? A temporary affair so he can move on and do what’s best for the country.
But he quickly finds himself in too deep with Jessica. Her wounds are deeper than he realized and he wants to heal them more than he ever imagined possible.
Stavros is a man driven by duty, a man who’s had to deny emotion and what is, really, a romantic heart, so that he could better serve his people. But Jessica makes him long for things he thought he’d let go of.
Here’s a scene where they both talk about what life they would have chosen:
“What about you, Ms. Carter,” he said. “What are you hiding?” He turned to her, studying her face in the dim light. It seemed imperative to know her secrets. And he wasn’t certain why it would be. But just like last night, he was going to let his guard drop. Just for a moment. Just to follow that heavy, aching feeling in his chest. To give it some satisfaction.
The corners of her mouth twitched slightly. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”
Warmth spread through him. In him. An alien feeling. One he was compelled to chase for the moment. “And that would create an international incident.”
“It would prick my conscience as well, so maybe I should keep it to myself,” she said, a small curve in her lips. It wasn’t really a smile, though. It was too sad for that. “Better question, if you could be anything, I mean, if the whole world was open to you, what would you be?”
He frowned. “If I wasn’t in line to rule Kyonos?”
“If you weren’t royal at all. If you could have any resource you desired, without obligation, what would you do?”
It was the thing he never let himself wonder. The alternate reality that wasn’t even allowed in his dreams. But he was cheating now. Cheating on his own standards for himself.
For a fleeting moment, he had a vision of a life that was his own. A life with a woman of his choosing, in a home of his choosing. With children who wouldn’t know the pain, the responsibility of a royal lineage depending on them. With love.
He shoved the image aside. “I would run my corporation,” he said. He had a fleeting image of sailing a ship around the world and wondered if he’d told the truth.
“Would you get married?” she asked, a strange tone to her voice.
“Yes,” he said, the answer almost surprising him. But in that little, warm hint of fantasy, there had been a wife. There had been kids. And it wasn’t hard to breathe. “Yes,” he said again.
I love a forbidden love story (as is obvious by…you know, a lot of the books I’ve written!) and this one was no exception. I loved the idea that the person who is all wrong for you on paper is all right for you in reality.
Jessica is all about algorithms. Making relationships work using stats and points of compatibility, while Stavros has a list of requirements he needs for a wife. Jessica is none of those things.
Jessica doesn’t want a relationship at all, Stavros wants a practical marriage. But it’s not what either of them need. What starts out as the lure of the forbidden turns into something so much deeper.
On paper, Stavros might need a sweet, meek and suitable queen…but could he be the best ruler possible without love? And without a wife who challenges him? That’s the question. (And I know the answer…and probably you do too.)
Stavros and Jessica’s story is on shelves soon and in ebook on January 1st.