Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Love Meghan and Harry? We have the perfect list of royal romances for you to enjoy

May 31, 2018

By: Miranda Owen

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
― William Shakespeare, HENRY IV, Part 2

“Hail to the king, baby.” – Ash, ARMY OF DARKNESS

Royalty-themed romance is a fun fantasy, and not just limited to historicals. Reading a few books in the Royal Wedding Archives series, by various authors, I got to thinking about all the varieties of romances featuring royalty – contemporary, historical, and paranormal. Some stories have fairy tale aspects, and some characters are realistically flawed even though they may be royalty.

I admit that when I think of books about royalty, historical romance immediately comes to mind, but I recently read some fabulous contemporary romances with royal heroes. After binge-reading new-to-me author Alexa Riley, I came across her story THE KING’S INNOCENT BRIDE. Even though it has a contemporary setting, THE KING’S INNOCENT BRIDE has an old-world fairy tale feel to it. Kate is isolated and virtually a prisoner of her wicked uncle. After bravely making an escape attempt, she comes face-to-face with the king. James is instantly smitten with Kate and he spends the rest of the story dispensing punishment to anybody who has crossed Kate, and catering to her every desire and dream. As with any story by Alexa Riley, the hero is super protective and possessive, with an out of this world intensity when it comes to the heroine. The heroine is sheltered and virginal. This is an erotic fantasy that may not appeal to everyone, but to others (like me) it is a thoroughly enjoyable naughty good time. In ROYAL MESS by Jenna Sutton, there are two stories of royal brothers finding love with commoners. In “Royal Match,” Prince Leo donates part of his kidney to florist Tessa Lulach. The organ donation is a PR attempt to make Leo’s popularity rise before taking the throne from his father. Even though he was given the nickname Polar Prince, Leo isn’t cold-hearted. Tessa can see past his reserved exterior and get the Leo who makes her laugh and is a royal hottie. Although their courtship is a quick one, I like how Jenna Sutton shows how Leo and Tessa gradually fall in love and enjoy spending time together. Leo makes Tessa feel special and cared for, and Tessa makes Leo feel desired as a man rather than for his royal status. There’s also a hedge maze in this story – yay! “Royal Catch” is about how Leo’s brother Marco and Tessa’s sister Cassie fall for each other. Marco and Tessa meet in one of the absolute best ways – at a masquerade ball. Marco is the bad boy who makes good and finds what he never knew he needed most. All of these stories have epilogues that check on the main characters after months or years.

In PENELOPE AND PRINCE CHARMING, Jennifer Ashley tells a fairy tale about a woman who discovers she’s a long-lost princess and a prince who has a few secrets and a supernatural side. I love paranormal historical romance, and PENELOPE AND PRINCE CHARMING is a good example of how entertaining this sub-genre can be. This is a story of prophecies, conspiracies, and true love. Penelope and Prince Damien are tested over the course of the book and must decide how much they mean to each other. Two books that are utter and divine fantasy, but with a historical flavor are THE KING’S SPINSTER BRIDE by Ruby Dixon and DRINK OF ME by Jacquelyn Frank. Both stories are set in worlds and time periods that are hard to pinpoint but don’t seem like modern times. In DRINK OF ME, Reule finds a woman with no name and no memory half dead in the woods, but there is a feeling of kismet. Mystique finds with Reule the kind of compassion and love that she has never had before. As she eventually gets her memories back, she feels extremely lucky to find a man who accepts her, protects her, and loves her so fiercely. In THE KING’S SPINSTER BRIDE, the story opens with Princess Halle of Yshrem saving a young boy from certain death. As that boy got older, his idolization of that princess turned to more sinful fantasies. Years later, fate lands Mathior a golden opportunity to make Halla his bride. Although initially uncertain about their age difference of a few years, Halla is swept away by Mathior’s passion. Although some regard Mathior’s people as barbarians, he and Halla have a mutual respect for each other’s culture. Ruby Dixon shows how mixing cultures can be extremely hot. These are all must-read stories for romance fans, but especially for readers who enjoy royalty-themed romance. A more traditional historical romance is HER HIGHNESS, MY WIFE by Victoria Alexander. In Alexander’s story, Avalonian princess Tatiana Marguerite Nadia Pruzinsky goes to her commoner husband when she needs his help the most. Tatiana married and ditched Lord Matthew Weston, but over the course of the story they rekindle the love they always had for each other. As with any Victoria Alexander story, HER HIGHNESS, MY WIFE is told with an abundance of charm and humor.

Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, and J.R. Ward write sensual paranormal romances about warrior kings who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and eviscerate their enemies. In THE DARKEST PROMISE and THE DARKEST WARRIOR by Gena Showalter, the king heroes rule with an iron hand in bizarre, brutal, and strangely beautiful lands and love the woman they choose for their queens with the same ferocity that they exhibit in battle. In THE DARKEST WARRIOR, Gillian Shaw is a young woman pining for the love of an older man. Gillian can’t have the man she wants for all sorts of reasons but ends up loving the man she eventually gets. When fate brings her Puck the Undefeated, and she finds herself queen of a foreign realm and left to essentially fend for herself, Gillian grows up and becomes a warrior queen fit for her devoted warrior king. THE DARKEST WARRIOR is perhaps my favorite Lords of the Underworld story so far because of the journey of self-discovery Gena Showalter sends her heroine on. Gillian earns her role as queen, as well as earning the perfect man for her. Whether good, bad, or ugly – Kresley Cole’s books elicit strong emotions whenever I read one. One of my favorite books in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is KISS OF A DEMON KING. In KISS OF A DEMON KING, Rydstrom Woede and Sabine, the Queen of Illusions meet under the worst circumstances. Things aren’t helped when, after being tortured, Rydstrom takes Sabine captive. Kresley Cole excels at taking a relationship starting out with antagonism and lust and transforms those emotions into love and admiration. Rydstrom and Sabine have the regal bearing and sense of responsibility down, but the struggle for these two damaged people is to trust each other and accept love. It’s rare that I’ll read a series in order, but that’s what I did with J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The hero of the first book in the series, DARK LOVER, is the utterly delicious blind vampire king Wrath. Wrath is a hero with almost superhuman strength that’s matched only by his love for the woman he makes his queen, and his worship of her. In THE KING, J.R. Ward explores Wrath’s internal conflict and mixed feelings about his ability to satisfactorily be a king to his people. THE KING is a thoughtful and intimate character study of a flawed monarch who is able to regain his confidence and sense of purpose, while strengthening his marriage.

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