Am I the only one among us who googles the progress on COVID vaccinations on the daily? Sigh. I’m so glad vaccines exist and that they work, but I have never been so impatient to get a shot in my whole ding dang life. I might have been this impatient to get pain killers when I was in labor, but it’s pretty close on the ‘desperate for an injection’ scale. The point is, I know I’m at the end of the priority line, hence, I really want the line to speed up. I don’t want to jump ahead of anyone, I just want there to be more medicine available so I can get jabbed and get back to my regular level of anxiety. I’ve had quite enough of this pandemic anxiety and worrying about literally every person I know, their families, and their friends, thank you very much. But, since I’m probably going to be waiting a while, I might as well enjoy the safest of pandemic pastimes- reading romance novels. Shall we?
The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert- Talia Hibbert’s take on a royal romance? Um, yes please. Cherry works for a fancy pants school- on the admin side of things. She’s just turned 30 and is over the dating scene… except for the super hot investor type guy who shows up at her office one day. Turns out, he’s none other than Prince Ruben of Helgmøre (a tiny Nordic island kingdom. Fictional, of course, but they speak Danish.) Ruben is in town looking for candidates for his charity work, and while Cherry’s school isn’t a great fit, Ruben is immediately taken with Cherry. He invites her out for lunch, buys her cake, and then they make out in an alley. I mean, it happens. Unfortunately, they’ve attracted paparazzi attention, which is a bit of a shock to Cherry as she’s still under the impression that Ruben is a private citizen. And then, well, things get a bit wonky. In order to protect Cherry from the paparazzi, Ruben declares that she’s his fiance. Ruben is just barely on the other side of a scandal and can’t exactly appear to NOT have a fiance after he claimed one… So Cherry and Ruben strike a bargain. A fake engagement to make things look legit in exchange for a bunch of money. But, you know, it’s all pretend. Except that it ISN’T because they’re super into each other. Fake relationships are one of my favorite tropes. This book is lovely and lots of fun, but content warning to those who are bothered by child abuse flashbacks.
Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins- Warning: do not try to read this book at night hoping that it will lull your brain to sleep. It will not do that. There is entirely too much adventure when Ms. Bev takes on the Old West and I should know better by now. Alas, I found myself wide awake at 2 am after polishing off this novel. Our protagonist goes by many names, but is most notoriously known as Preacher- outlaw turned bounty hunter turned lawman turned rancher. He’s on his way back home after paying his respects to his mother’s grave in Scotland when he has a run-in with a female prisoner, a sheriff, and a posse set on lynching the woman in question. Maggie Freeman was orphaned at 12 and has been on her own ever since. In her latest position, she’s attempting to rebuff the attentions of a sleaze ball who is trying to assault her when he takes an awkward tumble, hits his head on the corner of a table, and dies. It’s CLEARLY not Maggie’s fault as she was defending herself and the injury was accidental, but that doesn’t mean much when you’re a half native/half Black woman working in a housekeeping position and the dead guy is wealthy, white, and powerful. The sheriff turns Maggie over to Preacher’s custody, asking him to take her to the next town to await trial. And so the adventure begins. Maggie is one of the feistiest heroines I’ve ever read and she is delightfully full of piss and vinegar. And hot sauce… But that’s another story entirely. OBVIOUSLY Maggie and Preacher fall for each other. I wasn’t expecting to see any familiar characters in this book, but Ms. Bev likes to interweave her narratives (all the great romance authors do, really) so it was fun to revisit the small town in Wyoming I was introduced to in Tempest (review). To add to the delicious romance presented in this book, I also learned a whole bunch of historical tidbits that were definitely not covered in school. Bless Beverly Jenkins and her meticulously researched historical romances. Fun, steamy, and I learn stuff? Sign me up for the entire back list, folks.
Samuel has essentially quit napping- I’m lucky if I get 2 a week these days. Thus, I get no audio book time to speak of. Le sigh. Still, I’m getting some words into my brain and that’s always a good thing. Please feel free to join me in sending “hurry up with the vaccine manufacturing” vibes into the universe. Until next week, Bookworms.
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