A Royal Kiss and Tell by Julia London
Tracy’s rating: 2.5/3 of 5 stars
Series: A Royal Wedding, #2
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Caroline Hawkes and Prince Leopold met long before her dearest friend and his brother wed, but clearly the introduction meant more to Caroline than it did to Leo. Caroline is used to being admired and pursued, so she can’t seem to accept that Leo not only doesn’t remember her, but isn’t interested and finds her to be annoying, conceited and ill mannered.
A royal prince in Alucia, Leo is the younger son and has never had any real responsibility, he is well liked, well received and welcome everywhere. But lately he has been discontented and bored, he enjoys his life in England, but wants more. While attending his brother’s wedding, his father tells him that he has arranged a political marriage for Leo and that he can return to England to button up his affairs and then return to Alucia by summer’s end to announce his betrothal. Leo is not happy with this turn of events, but will do his duty. He is preparing to return to England when he is approached by a man and told of a serious and concerning situation involving several young women from Wesloria (the neighboring country to Alucia) who have gone missing. The man askes Leo to look into it because he thinks the men involved are members of the upper echelons of society.
Caroline is miffed that Leo doesn’t remember her, it is unacceptable and she goes out of her way to make him acknowledge her. But it isn’t until they return to England that things between them begin to heat up. Leo is having a hard time with his “mission” thanks to gossip written about him in the Honeycutt Gazette – gossip supplied by Caroline. But even as his reputation is tanking, Leo doesn’t give up trying to save the women and bring the men responsible to justice. As Leo continues his investigation, he begins to rely on Caroline for help and they both begin to develop deeper feelings, but theirs is a love that can never be, or can it?
I have to admit, I didn’t like this book as much as the first one, it is a decent read, but I just never really felt the connection between Leo and Caroline. The book itself is well written and the “mystery” portion is well done and paced nicely, but unfortunately, the romance definitely took a backseat and didn’t develop at the same pace. The book does have a bit of witty dialogue, a hero who is misunderstood and underestimated, a very conceited, yet likeable heroine, warmish love scenes, cameos from previous characters, a decent mystery concerning slave trade and some surprising twists and turns that make an impossible HEA, possible. The incorrect title use that annoyed me in the first book is sadly still running rampage in this book and the romance leaves much to be desired – so for me, this was an “OK” read, nothing to get excited about, but still entertaining. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone title with no problem at all.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*