Review: Royal Pain by Tracy Wolff

Reviewed by Joanna

Prince Kian of Wildemar is a horny goat. He’s a tattooed woman-magnet, and has enjoyed more than his fair share of the ladies. The book starts with his hands inserted in places, and ladies strewn all over him as he enjoys his freedom. Roll forward three months, and his older twin, Garrett, next in line to the throne, has vanished. Kian has to step up and give up his wild life to take on the role of Crown Prince. He does not fit nicely into the job.

At a boring reception one evening, a waitress spills champagne on him as he’s being accosted by some awful society ma with her social climbing daughter. The waitress drags Prince Kian away to clean him up, and they end up kissing on a balcony.

Kian stalks, I mean locates, said waitress after the event, to convince her to go out with him. However, Savannah ‘Savvy’ has history he can’t possibly know about, and she thinks it best not to let the hunk of princely love too near.

Undeterred, Kian continues his pursuit, charming boho Savvy into bed, but in the meantime he gets news on his missing brother. The nation’s security services believe a band of anti-monarchists have captured him. As they murdered the body guards, things don’t look good for Garrett.

And that’s when Kian finds…

SPOILER – a picture of Savvy and Garrett together in his twin’s room.

Yet even finding out Savvy’s secret, he can’t not pursue her. Though he does think quite a lot about what happened there.

There are lots of books where a, basically British, prince dates a ‘normal’ American girl, and the usual tropes follow – he can’t marry a commoner, they can’t go public with their relationship, he’s never known anyone like her etcetera. This was better than many others I’ve read, and I kinda like the usual tensions, with the idea of breaking the rules of the stuff old monarchy. It’s a nice big obstacle that love has to overcome.

Kian and Savvy don’t spend that much time together before they are all-in, which didn’t make me feel a strong connection between them. They had one date and a couple of nights at her place, but there were gaps and signs the relationship wasn’t all that sturdy, as, he particularly, didn’t go on much of a journey to get there.

Far more time was spent on long sex scenes with lengthy, repetitive internal dialogue. For example, Savvy is thinking about what kind of lover Kian is, as he’s loving her, and imagining having sex with him, while they are having sex. Then Kian is thinking about his and Savvy’s previous sexual experiences, about how much he misses his brother, how he’s not good enough, about how much he wants her…when he has her. Of the first 30+ page sex scene, I reviewed 21 pages before I, well, stopped counting, and found 12 pages were mostly action, and 9 were mostly internal dialogue.

That’s a lot of being in the characters’ heads, and it lost the pace of the scene. Sometimes less is more, and I’d like to have taken a red pen to this scene and cut it back to a much more dynamic set of actions, leaving the thinking at the door.

The book ends with a HFN, as there are so many threads left untied, which I guess must conclude in book two. I spent a fair bit of time anticipating events that didn’t happen, like:

1) Savvy to get picked up by the royal police, as she (and I half-expected her parents) was hinted to be linked to the organisation that kidnapped Garrett. She was the person who reported the guy with the tattoo which led the search to the bad guys, right? If not, that was a big old red herring seeing as they shared her description. 2) Even if she wasn’t arrested for that, they’d surely question her once they knew she used to date Garrett? They are the world’s worst security services. 3) The king to know about Kian’s serious dalliance, and try to prevent the prince returning to Savvy as he did. Kian to get in trouble for ditching royal engagements, as he didn’t seem to do many. 4) A revenge force to bring Prince Garrett’s kidnappers and torturers to justice. This storyline just ended with the man slowly recovering enough to encourage Kian in what he wanted to do. 5) To get a final agreement, at least between the brothers, on who is now the Crown Prince. 6) To meet Felicity. Who is she? She must appear in another book. 7) To meet Ana, their sister. She was called home but never showed. Is she missing too? Security probably have no idea.

Overall I liked the story, and there were some lovely romantic moments, but the loose ends were frustrating. The next book could easily be about these same two characters, as there is so little concluded between them and so much that can break them apart. If it’s about Garrett, there would have to be a strong thread of his brother’s relationship, which could dilute his own story.

Rating: C+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Royal Pain
by Tracy Wolff
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept

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