Clio Whitmore is tired of waiting for Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville, to finally come home and set a wedding date. Eight years of the nickname “Miss Wait-More”, listening to the ton make bets on whether she’ll be a bride and living her life in limbo…. she’s done. Eight years is enough. After inheriting a castle from her uncle she’s finally making plans for the future and the only thing standing in her way is a signature on a piece of paper dissolving her engagement. Which is why she takes a trip to the wrong side of town to enlist the aide of Rafe Brandon, prizefighter, ladies man and brother to her fiancé. Surely he’ll help.
There is no way Rafe is going to sign those papers. Even if he has to go out of his way and take time away from his training to regain his championship title, even if he has to help plan the wedding himself, his brother is going to have a bride waiting for him when he finally gets home. Forget the fact that he has always had a thing for her himself. Or that she tempts him at every turn. This wedding is going to happen. He already has too much to feel guilty over, stealing his brother’s bride just can’t happen. So he shows up to her estate, determined to woo her with wedding plans.
“Let’s say I agree to this plan. I allow you to stay for a week. I keep an open mind about marriage. You promise to keep an open mind about me. If at the end of the week, I still wish to break the engagement… what then? Will you sign the dissolution papers?”
He inhaled slowly. He was putting a lot of faith in the power of lace, silk, and Bruiser’s competence, but he didn’t seem to have a choice. The preparations couldn’t sway her if she didn’t take part.
“Very well,” he said. “It’s a bargain.”
Say Yes to the Marquess is the second book in the Castles Ever After series by Tessa Dare. I absolutely adored the book one, Romancing the Duke and couldn’t wait for book two. If you haven’t read the first book, worry not, Say Yes to the Marquess can most definitely be read as a stand-a-lone as there aren’t any continuing characters and the storylines are only connected in that both heroines have inherited a castle. That’s about it as far as I could tell anyway.
I tend to adore Tessa Dare heroines as they are written as strong, smart, independent women and Clio is no different. She’s been alone for so long that she has come out of the shell society and expectations have forced her into since birth and has a well thought out plan for her future. She knows exactly what she wants to do and how to go about doing it. She puts up with her family’s small put downs and the little ways they tend to ignore her wishes, but she isn’t a pushover. Clio takes all the things she’s learned over the years in preparation for her marriage and turns them into something that will work for her. She has her own mind. Her only real vulnerability is with her looks. But really, what woman can’t identify with that?
Rafe is strong, yet vulnerable. Always coming in second to his brother and being a disappointment to his late father have left him with a feeling of never being good enough. Prizefighting became a way for him to do what he was good at and embrace his own way of life. He’s always had a thing for Clio. She is the woman who is his ultimate fantasy and yet he doesn’t want to be the one that steals her away from his brother. He does everything he can to create a matrimonial spark of interest in Clio, but with every bite of cake or new wedding dress presented he can’t help but fall under her spell even more. The things he says to her …. swoon. So, so romantic.
“Your body”– he closed the distance between them– “is my every raw, lusting, carnal dream. I’ve spent years wondering what you look like under all that.”
I know right? Talk about telling a girl how sexy she is. Rafe and Clio’s romance is a slow build that had many, many sigh worthy moments. Remember me saying Clio has some body issues and insecurity with her looks? Well, Rafe does a positively brilliant job of making her see herself as he sees her.
This was her body. She had learned to take pleasure in it, even if no man had ever done the same. It was curved and generous and womanly and strong, it was formed to do more than decorate a drawing room, or transfer wealth from one gentleman to another.
She was made to tempt, labor, inspire, create, sustain.
I think each of these characters are a study in finding your own way through love and acceptance. Their connection was easy to see and that made their happily ever after incredibly gratifying. Surrounding them are a cast of supporting characters that alternately make you laugh and want to smack them upside the head, but then that is one of the things that make Tessa Dare historical romances so addicting. She always gives a well-rounded romance that satisfies on all levels and leaves me looking forward to her next release. Final Grade-B
“There,” she breathed. “See? I win. You make cake sounds too.”
“Those aren’t cake sounds.”
They were Clio sounds.
It wasn’t cakes he craved. It was this. This closeness. This softness. This sweetness that came not from spun sugar and candy floss, but from her.