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.
Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa DarePublished December 30th 2014 by Avon
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed on August 11, 2015
This review can also be founds on Goodreads.
I instantly fell for the cover and description when I first discovered Say Yes to the Marquess. However, when I had started the book a few weeks back, I couldn’t get into it and ended putting it down.
Nonetheless, I’m glad I gave this book a second chance. Like it always is with Tessa Dare, Say Yes to the Marquess was a delightful read. It’s the second installment in the Castles Ever After series and it was as cheesy as the first book Romancing the Duke.
With this series, the genre feels more like Romance Comedy than Historical Romance and it probably explains why I can never give these books full 5 Stars. However, with Say Yes to the Marquess, the HR vibe was more potent than in Romancing the Duke.
What is Say Yes to the Marquess about? Read the following excerpt for yourself and you’ll get the gist of it:
”Then do me a favor, Rafe.”
She turned to face him. “Look me in the eyes and tell me, honestly, just how eager you are to call me your sister-in-law.”
He cast a wistful glance at the stone floor below. Was it too late to plummet to his doom and make it look like an accident?
Rafe and Clio were adorable. The teasing. The playing. The humor. The cleverness. It was all fantastic! But I just feel like they were missing . . . something. Yes, their interactions and chemistry were definitely off-the-charts steamy and romantic, but they didn’t really click for me. The spark wasn’t there.
So what is this “something else” they’re missing?
”There’s a flower to serve as a declaration of war?” Clio plucked one of the yellow, puffy flowers from the ground and turned to Rafe. “How very interesting. I wonder if we sent a bouquet of these to Napoleon. Or maybe it’s like calling a man out with a slap of a glove?”
“If a man slapped me with a tansy,” Rafe said, “I wouldn’t take kindly to it.”
“What if a woman did?”
“Well, then I’d pay her double.”
That must be it. War. Challenge.
I expected Peirs, Rafe’s brother and Clio’s intended, to return and become a problem for the couple, but he was nonexistent throughout the book and it was quite disappointing to see his character shoved into the last couple of pages. All in all, even though the ending and the beginning were lackluster (and maybe even chunks in the middle), I swooned and burst with happiness over some parts.
There was (view spoiler).
She held out the fork and lowered her voice to a sultry whisper, doing her best imitation of Eve in the garden of Eden. Offering Adam not an apple, but a slice of sinful lemon cake.
Then there was Bruiser, Rafe’s friend, who was a constant comedy relief, especially when the group was “rehearsing” the ceremony. I swear, they were like little kids playing dress-up.
”A vicar,” Bruiser muttered to himself. “We need a vicar. Someone solemn, dignified, wearing a collar . . . Aha.”
He plucked Ellingworth from the carpet and lugged him up the altar, depositing the old, wrinkled bulldog in the place where a vicar would stand.
Daphne said, “Now all we’re missing is a groom.”
“A sadly familiar sensation,” Clio replied.
Clio gave in, walking down the aisle of the chapel— toward a bulldog, in time with the strains of tuneless humming, draped in a tablecloth and clutching a handful of wilting, dripping flowers. Halfway down the aisle, she started to giggle. By the time, she reached Rafe at the altar, she was laughing out loud.
Also, there is the intelligent Penelope, Clio’s younger sister.
”So four-and-twenty bows,” Daphne said. “And then a swag for each window. How many windows, Phoebe?”
“Fourteen. With thirty two panes in each.”
Rafe said quietly, “You didn’t even look up.”
“I didn’t need to.” Penelope peered at her string through a fringe of dark hair. “With numbers, counting, shapes, chances . . . It’s always like that, you know.”
“What’s that like?” he asked. “To just know things, without trying.”
“What’s it like to have the power to knock a full-grown man to the ground?”
“It means I have to be careful how I carry myself. Especially around new acquaintances, or people I don’t like. But it’s useful in certain situations. And sometimes, highly satisfying.”
For the first time, her glance flitted in his direction. “Then I don’t need to explain it.”
Oh, and let’s not forget the time when Penelope discussed the “mechanics” of sex.
”And the words they used were ridiculous. All this talk of folds and rods and buttons. Are we copulating or sewing draperies?
Oh, I’m not nearly done yet.
”Am I interrupting anything?”
“No,” Clio said, much too hastily. “No, you didn’t interrupt anything important. We were just discussing . . .” She felt her face go pink. “. .. draperies.”
Penelope is not a force to be lightly reckoned with. Not at all. I hope she gets her own book.
”I’ve made a thorough survey of the mechanics and prepared some diagrams. Such as I should define them, I created a taxonomy of terms such as ‘lust,’ desire,’ arousal,’ ‘climax.’ For the emotions and sensations attached, we shall have to rely on Daphne’s reports.”
Clio’s brother-in-law had been chewing the same bite of toast for several moments now. And with Phobe’s last comment, he choked on it.
“Oh.” Phoebe looked at him. “I didn’t mean to exclude you, Teddy. Did you wish to contribute something helpful from the male point of view?”
Yep, sometimes, the humor did make me cringe, but it made me laugh too. I could tell Tessa Dare was enjoying herself when she wrote this book, and since the characters were having fun, it was contagious and I had fun too :)