ARC review: Royal Scandal by Marquita Valentine

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After their parents are murdered in a royal coup, Prince Colin Sinclair and his siblings flee to the United States in exile.  Barely old enough to raise himself, Colin assumes the role of patriarch and sets the family up with a new life in rural North Carolina.  There they live, uninterrupted and anonymous, until Parliament decides that Colin should return to rule his country – but only if he marries a woman of their choosing.  Colin can avoid this arrangement if he very quickly finds another woman to marry, but the only woman he knows is his best friend and neighbor, Della.

Colin and Della have been secretly pining for each other for years.  Both good-looking people, both perpetually single, and both blind as a bat when it comes to seeing what’s in front of them.  Della has no idea that Colin is royalty, and Della’s occupation (she’s a maid) is sure to ruffle some feathers in Parliament.  When the two decide to enter into a marriage of convenience, the lines between friends and lovers begin to blur.  But can Della handle a royal life?  Can Colin juggle his new wife and his new responsibilities?  What happens when their marriage contract expires?

This isn’t my first book my Marquita Valentine, but it is my favorite so far.  Despite the three-star rating, I did really enjoy this book.  I read it while on vacation, and I’m pretty sure that laying out on the beach while enjoying zero responsibilities helped me to enjoy the book more.  Colin and Della were great characters, and their chemistry was off the charts.  (These are some of my favorite steamy scenes in recent memory.)  I love romances where the characters start off as best friends, so this was right up my alley.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from the typical cliches of romance novels.  The characters, although best friends, hide things from each other.  There are misunderstandings that could easily be avoided if they had just talked like normal people.  There seems to be unwarranted angst for angst’s sake, and that doesn’t float my boat.  The ending also seemed rushed after so much time spent hemming and hawing.  Keep in mind though that I did read an ARC, and it’s possible that some of this will be edited by the time the final publication date rolls around.

I will say that I am very excited for the next book in this series!  I loved Charlotte, although we only got a few brief glimpses of her throughout the book.  I can’t wait to read her story next.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆