Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damien is perfectly content to spend his days drinking at the card tables, and his nights in the bed of his scheming mistress, especially since doing these things seems to vex his high-handed brother to no end. But when he steps into a glittering ballroom on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, the roguish young prince's life will be forever changed.
Beautiful. Graceful. Sensual. When Esmeralda steps into the center of the King's ballroom to perform for his youngest son's birthday, every eye in the room is glued to the tall, lithe Gypsy dancer. One pair of eyes seems to burn straight through her, and though she has worked endlessly to shield her heart, she finds her defenses slowly slipping away in the presence of the handsome prince. She cannot resist his devastating charm, nor is she immune to the earth shattering desire in his kiss. As she falls rapidly under his spell, Esmeralda dares to hope for a future she would never have thought possible.
With a deadly plot against the royal family surrounding him in danger and intrigue, Damien will face a decision he never thought he would have to make. Would he step up to claim a responsibility that should never have fallen to the third son? Or will he abandon it to risk all for love?
©2011 Elise Marion (P)2013 Elise Marion
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
I had read this book back in 2012, and found so much to appreciate in the author’s writing, the premise and the twists taken as Damien finds his way to happiness and love. I love that Elise Marion started her royal tale with the third son: in royal families the third son is often the one who is left to his own devices without great expectation. Damien is no exception to this stereotype: content to gamble, drink and womanize his way through life, living without responsibility or obligation that he doesn’t fine enjoyable.
A daunting debut offering, Marion has created a world that is familiar yet fresh, characters that were richly detailed and emotionally honest, and uses the threat of a conspiracy to overthrow the royals all wind together to present a book that is hard to put down: and was an in-one-sitting listen for me for the AudioBook review.
Esmeralda enters the story in a perfect moment, just as Damien is struggling with his own feelings of inadequacy with some late revelations just before his birthday. A beautiful gypsy woman, his intentions were not honorable: women were not forever, but for the moment. But, Esmeralda’s inner goodness and depth of kindness work their magic on Damien, and while he is still less than pleasant to his mistress Davina, his walls are starting to thaw around her.
Mixing in the love story, and some super steamy sex scenes, the ominous twists from the plot-makers against the royals, the inner dialogue of the characters that reveals honest feelings and concerns, and the descriptions that create imagery with certainty and make this a great listen.
Not to be missed is the narration provided by P.J. Houry was a delight. His tone is masculine yet not overly loaded with bass until he adjusts his voice to present an ominous moment. With a smooth accent that isn’t quite distinctly British, yet not as nasal as Australian accents can be, the timbre and pacing of his delivery, and clarity of the enunciation is stellar and I would heartily recommend titles he has narrated.
I received an AudioBook Copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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