Title: Royal Passion
Author: Jennifer Blake
Release Date: January1985
Length: 384 pages
Series?: Royal Princes of Ruthenia #2
Genre: Historical, Romance
Mara has no idea how to seduce a royal prince, or what he will do when she betrays him…
During a grand tour of Europe, Mara’s grandmother falls prey to a gamester. When she can’t settle her losses, the enigmatic gentleman makes a chilling demand: Mara must seduce the brilliant and dangerous prince of Ruthenia or her grandmother will suffer.
Prince Roderic, dynamic son of Rolfe and Angeline from Royal Seduction, is intrigued by the Louisiana belle who comes to him in a French gypsy camp. He is also wary: France seethes with political unrest that has spread to his home country, and he must guard against assassination. Trusting kisses that come too easily would be foolish. He will take what Mara offers but guard his back — and his heart.
Dread stalks Mara as the desire she pretends turns to fiery reality. Which of the two people she loves must she sacrifice when the time comes — her grandmother or the prince?
This is the second book in the Princes of Ruthenia series and it didn’t do the same for me as the first book. It doesn’t live up to the first book, but it is by far tamer than the first book.
Mara Delacroix is the daughter of Andre Delacroix, Angeline’s original love-interest in the first book. She and her grandmother are visiting France, where her grandmother falls to the seduction of the gaming hells. Thankfully, the debtor, Nicholas de Landes, offers a simple solution: seduce Prince Roderic and heir apparent of Ruthenia in order to gain intel and then ensure he is in a specific place at a specific time. In order to get them out of this sticky situation, Mara agrees. What other option does she have? Not to mention, Nicholas has already ensured her compliance by taking her grandmother hostage and threatening to harm her. A savior turned villain in one breath.
This book relied heavily on Ruthenian politics, which wasn’t foundationally wasn’t made real clear for this made-up country. That is the reason Roderic was in Paris, allowing Mara to set this plan in action.
The plan all begins with Mara being thrown from a moving carriage into the woods near a gypsy camp for Roderic to find her. Mara isn’t really given any direction before this. So, she claims amnesia. Except she’s a terrible liar and Roderic doesn’t believe one bit of her lost memory story. In order to find out what she’s playing at, he instills her in his household as his housekeeper!
Then all kinds of things start happening. There are of course encounters between Roderic and Mara, there’s political intrigue and rebellion, as well as some additional romances that happen.
One thing I didn’t like was there didn’t really seem to be a romantic line to the story. It was largely all because of the plot line. But, the historical setting – and the clothes! – were spot-on for the time.
Not one I will re-read.