Tessa Dare does not disappoint in this second installment of her Castles Ever After series. I really loved the first book, but if you haven’t read it, don’t worry. This book stands alone just fine.
The story follows our heroine, Clio, as she tries to break off her engagement from her betrothed of eight years. You see, Piers asked her to marry him when she was only 17 and then he scuttled off to be a diplomat, leaving her the butt of society’s jokes. I absolutely love this premise. Not that Piers abandoned Clio, of course, but that she doesn’t take it like some wilting flower. She not only decides she’s worth more, but she takes action to create a new future for herself.
Her path to freedom begins with Rafe, her would-be brother-in-law. With Piers out of the country, a simple signature from his brother would dissolve the betrothal and allow Clio access to her dowry. Unfortunately, Rafe only seems interested in training for the boxing bout that will restore his championship. It seems that way, that is, until he shows up at the castle Clio has been bequeathed, determined to make her reconsider crying off. He goes after his goal with a single minded focus, until he is totally sidelined by the attraction he feels for his brother’s intended.
If you’re worried about this being a cheater story, don’t be. There is really nothing between Clio and Piers. He has never so much as kissed her. But the chemistry she has with Rafe is undeniable. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a tortured hero, but he does have some emotional hurts and a pretty hefty lack of self-worth. I loved watching him realize the esteem Clio holds for him. I love watching his walls and best laid plans crumble to dust when he’s around her. I love how he makes her feel beautiful and how she makes him feel worthy. It’s quite romantic watching him shower her with all the attention and gifts she’s never had. Of course, it starts as a pretense to sell her on marrying Piers, but his gestures are all so telling of how he really feels inside.
I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed Clio as a heroine who knew her own mind and heart; one who is smart and brave, but never comes off as a Mary Sue. I just liked her. And Rafe was such a great match. Plus — I liked the fact that Piers was nothing like I thought he was in the end. I’d like to get to know him a little better. A good love story. Very satisfying.
*ARC Provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
Say Yes to the Marquess
by Tessa Dare
Release Date: December 30, 2014