Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Clio has been betrothed to Piers Brandon for eight years and after inheriting a castle and that promise of freedom that comes with it she’s done with waiting and has decided to break the engagement. The only problem is she has to go through Rafe Brandon, Piers’ little brother to do so with her fiancé out of the country, his work with the government keeping him away.
When his brother’s fiancée comes to him asking for his signature to dissolve her engagement Rafe can’t let it happen so he springs into action to plan a wedding to change her mind and show her that the thing she wants most in the world is to be married to his brother. His intense desire masks another, Rafe has been enamored with Clio since as long as he can remember and as he plans her wedding he struggles in vein to push away the thoughts of taking her as his own.
After I started my Tessa Dare journey from booktube recommendations, I followed said recommendations saying to skip this book. I was so very wrong. This was perfection. The chemistry between Rafe and Clio, childhood friends with obvious feelings for each other after all this time too bound by duty to others to speak the words aloud and an absent fiancé.
First of all I appreciate that Clio is a curvy girl. We don’t really know how curvy, but there are moments where we realize what this really meant for someone historically and how Clio’s family went to lengths to “fix” her and not accept her like Rafe did immediately.
On the flip side we have Rafe who feels he disgraced his father becoming a prize fighter and seemingly holds the weight of the world on his shoulders feeling like he can’t have any happiness for his own. He’s snarky and sweet but also brooding which I do really enjoy in a hero. If you ask me, Rafe deserves the world.
Now let’s talk about Clio’s independence which I love about this series as a whole. Each book shows a woman with the security to go after her dreams even with the security of having a castle. I guess that part is very much wish fulfillment, but still none of the women want to fall into the role as a regular housewife and give up their dreams.
Clio really is an amazing example of this because she recognizes that the security she has isn’t guaranteed and wants to go into business running a brewery. I loved it!
All and all after completing the series I will forever recommend it. I can say without a doubt for me each book got better and better.