I was sixteen when I vowed I would never marry him.
We shook on it. Pinky swore. Even put it in writing and all but signed our names in blood.
It was the one and only thing we ever agreed on.
To the world, he’s Prince Ian, Duke of Montcroix, second in line to the Chamont throne. Panty-melting accent. Royal charm. Hypnotic presence. Blindingly gorgeous. Laundry list of women all over the world who would give their first born for the chance to marry him. Most eligible bachelor in the free world …
But to me, he’s nothing more than the son of my father’s best friend—the pesky blue-eyed boy who made it his mission to annoy the ever-loving hell out of me summer after summer as our families vacationed together, our parents oblivious to our mutual disdain as they joked about our “betrothal.”
He was also my first kiss.
And my first taste of heartbreak so cataclysmic it almost broke me.
I meant it with every fiber of my soul when I swore I’d never marry him.
But on the eve of my 24th birthday, His Royal Highness has the audacity to show up at my door after years of silence and make a demand will forever change the trajectory of our lives: “We have to break our pact.”
“Ms. Belleseau,” he says before moving aside. “Welcome. Won’t you come in?”
Her eyes lift across the small space until they find mine, and her hands clasp in front of her waist. She’s in jean shorts, a white tank top, sandals, and a wildly colorful cardigan. Her long hair is piled on top of her head—hardly the look of a queen, but I like it nonetheless.
My all-American sweetheart …
“I’ll do it,” she says as Harrison locks the door behind her. Emelie takes a few more steps closer, until we’re only a few feet apart. “But I have terms and conditions.”
“No sex,” she says.
I hide my disappointment with a smirk. “Glad we’re getting that one out of the way. What else?”
“Limited public engagements,” she adds.
“I’m afraid that one isn’t up for negotiation,” I say. “But you’ll be pleased to know that we aren’t allowed to demonstrate any public displays of affection, so any and all public engagements will require nothing more than a smile, a curtsy, and a few kind words.”
“Fine.” Her arms fold across her chest, like she still isn’t comfortable with the idea of this arrangement. “You get me until my twenty-ninth birthday and not a day longer.”
“Oh. And I’m allowed to see my family at any chosen time, regardless of schedule or engagements,” she says.
I hesitate—logistics and all of that.
“That’s my non-negotiable,” she says. “My mother and my sisters are my everything. If I want to see them, you’re going to make it happen or the deal is off. And my friends too. I want my friends to be able to visit.”
That’s her non-negotiable? I figured it would’ve been the sex …
“All right,” I say. “Shall we pinky swear on this as we did with our last agreement?”
She fights a smile—a good sign—but her poker face returns in an instant, rendering her back to unreadable.
“You have my word if I have yours,” she says, not moving so much as an inch closer. Her chin lifts and her shoulders straighten as she looks me dead in the eye. I can’t tell if she’s feeling good about her decision or giving me her best poker face.
“Apparently pinky promises aren’t as binding as we thought now, are they?”
My joke falls on deaf ears. She isn’t amused.
Her arms lower to her sides, as though she’s feeling slightly less defensive than when she first walked in the door.
“You’re going to make an amazing queen, Emelie,” I say, envisioning her in my great-grandmother’s glimmering Belcast tiara. “Welcome to the royal family.”
|Winter Renshaw is always good for a surprising read. I’ve had books of her that sounded good when reading the blurb – but later ended up being “only” 3 stars in my rating (which is not a bad rating but still a difference to 5 stars) – and then there are these books from her – and I have had quite a few of them – that were simply 5 stars from the first chapter I read.
So when I started to read “The Marriage Pact” I really had no idea where this journey would take me. As I truly could not imagine how she would tackle the genre of “royal romance”. Well and again I was in for a surprise and in this case because of the really fresh and different approach to a well-known subject.
But let me start by saying something … I wished the author would have placed her dream cast at the beginning of the book. Because reading it as the last pages went was a real waste #sigh – I could have been dreaming of these eyes the whole book long. …. I fully agree with you Dear Author – he would be a great choice … as a child I was mesmerized by his father’s eyes the first time I saw them ( I am an “EYE” girl ) and when I saw him for the first time in an add on TV I directly knew that this guy had the same eyes and I actually googled him to find out who he was ( I know I know you are wondering who that person is … well you have to read the book) – Oh and I would put switch the position of “her” assistant with the female lead – because I really like that actress and she would be wasted on the position of the “assistant” as she could be the right sassy opposite for our male lead – gosh – sigh – this is really a dream cast …
Back to the plot – well well well – as far as predictable plots go … well let’s say if you want them – go look elsewhere because this is NOT your book. The story starts unusual – follows then the known paths for a while and ends as unexpected and unusual as it starts – so you are in for a treat if you love royal romances. The thing is – I cannot tell to much because the strength of this book is really the unexpected plotline and it wouldn’t be that anymore if I told you about it.
And you get great leading characters along the way. I loved my time with their banter and how their relationship progressed during the story. It was well developed and fresh because of the unusual turns the story took.
Suffice to say THIS was again on of the great reads by this author. I would say a 4.5 with a little extra for the unexpected plot. I can really recommend this book.