Cris Reads | Say Yes To The Marquess (Castles Ever After) by Tessa Dare

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?
  • He starts with flowers. A wedding can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
  • He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
  • He doesn’t kiss her.
  • If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.
  • When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
  • And no matter what—he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

When Clio Whitmore inherits her own castle, she feels it's finally her opportunity to take charge of own her life. No more waiting around for her absentee fiance to return and finally find her worthy. The only thing standing in her way is the burly, dismissive prizefighter, Rafe Brandon. All she needs is his signature on some paperwork and poof, her eight-year engagement to his brother is no more. But Rafe has his own motivation for making sure Clio makes it to the alter, even if he's always desired her.

As Clio works to prove to Rafe that she can turn her castle and her savvy business sense into a sustainable income, Rafe tries to convince Clio that she really does want a wedding with all the cakes, gowns and flowers money can buy. Their interactions make for sweet, funny moments that lead these two further down the road to seduction.

Clio is my favorite kind of heroinesmart, curvy and kind but with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. A chip which the charming, considerate and wonderfully muscular hero is all too ready to remove (along with a few key bits of clothing). As always, Tessa Dare just knows how to write deep, complex characters you can't help but become engrossed by. As more and more elements of their pasts are exposed, you just want to devour the story, like a delicious literary layer cake.

Even the secondary characters left you wanting more! The comedic relief brought by Rafe's trainer Bruiser is only eclipsed by the brilliant, eccentric mind of Clio's teenage sister, Phoebe. I can't wait to read more about her and see her (hopefully) find her own match in a future novel. Plus, I'm a huge fan of pets having larger roles in romances, as they're often a big part of our lives with their own distinct personalities, and Ellingsworth is definitely quite a character.

I've been an enormous fan of Ms. Dare's from the very beginning and Say Yes To The Marquess definitely doesn't disappoint. It's a sweet, straight-forward historical romance with intricately developed characters that keep you laughing, crying and sighing. Clio and Rafe are a fantastic couple and their bickering and banter make for hilarious moments and lots of heat. Tessa Dare's characters are what make this book, and so many of her others, shine and I can't wait for the next book in the Castles Ever After series. 

Disclaimer: As an Avon Addict, I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.


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Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twelve historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in a dozen languages. A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kitties.

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