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Monday, January 30, 2012

Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan

Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (343 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Thanks to the mischievous meddling of his matchmaking sister, Ashton Wilde meets a damsel in distress during the midnight magic of a lavish ball. But Maura Collyer isn’t looking for a prince—or an intimate pairing with any member of the scandalous noble Wilde family.

Intrigued by Maura’s beauty and daring, Ash is determined to aid in the rescue of her beloved stallion, gambled away by her wicked stepmother to an evil viscount. As their adventure becomes rife with peril and passion, Ash suspects he’s found his heart’s desire.

Even though her dearest friend may be her self-proclaimed fairy godmother, Maura is mortified at being pushed into a romance with a notorious rake such as Ash. Dashing and charming, he comes to Maura’s rescue just in time to help her steal back her precious horse. As they flee across the countryside, she can’t resist his sweet seduction. But is her prince playing a role in a fairy tale to test an improbable theory, or is the love awakening in her heart proof of her own happily ever after?

Maura Collyer may seem a “Cinderella type”, but in truth she is a strong woman of action in an age when women, especially commoner women, regardless of their talents and intelligence, had little power or position in society. Maura does what she has to do, according to her way of thinking, and is willing to suffer the consequences. Her innate sense right and wrong and her sense of humor and sense of self-worth help her in times of despair. However, her pragmatic approach to life is not enough to stop her heart from loving Ashton Wilde, even though she tells herself he is off limits.

When her best friend’s brother, Ashton Wilde, the eight marquis of Beaufort, rides to her rescue, partly to appease his managing sister Katharine and partly on principle, both he and Maura get jarred out of their comfort zones.

Ashton, known for his outrageous roguish ways, long ago became bored with the “same-old, same-old” English Ton society. He gets an adrenaline and testosterone rush as he helps Maura rescue her adored and prized stallion, Bold Emperor. His “take-control” ways get challenged often by Maura, since she is used to giving orders and managing her own racehorse breeding stables. Theirs is a relationship that sizzles even though they both claim it is only a temporary arrangement.

The plot develops smoothly in Princess Charming as the primary characters drive the action with vivacious, intriguing personalities, with wit, and with intelligence that outwit antagonists like the selfish step-mother and the supercilious snob, Viscount Deering. These antagonists do make life difficult for Maura. Many of the secondary characters, especially the Wilde family are compelling. A tragedy early in the Wilde clan’s lives made them a tight-knit family. Each of their personalities adds to the richness of the story. They are an interesting, wild, intelligent, and mysterious assortment of “can-do” people.

Ash and Maura’s honest, open sexual attraction to each other and the steamy love scenes are incredible “time-outs” from the social posturing, malevolent maneuvering, and family meddling. Princess Charming races along with fun, emotional upheavals, underhanded deeds, and unending social strictures.

Nicole Jordan’s “just-right” adjectives, her subtle metaphors and captivating descriptions propel the reader along in a vicarious experience that makes the heart race and often brings a smile or chuckle. But most of all, it takes the breath away with a love that promises the best is yet to come for the hero and heroine.

Delightful entertainment!