RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: A Royal Without Rules by Caitlin Crews


Title: A Royal Without Rules
Author: Caitlin Crews
Publication Info: Harlequin Presents August 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book A Royal Without Rules This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Zulma. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Series Romance category.

The summary:

The most debauched man in the kingdom of Kitzinia— if not the entire world!

Royal PA Adriana Righetti is no stranger to scandal. But Prince Pato takes it to a whole new level. His infamous liaisons make for exceptionally disreputable reading!

Her latest assignment, keeping the playboy prince out of the headlines before his brother’s wedding, is mission impossible. Particularly as Pato is intent on ruffling her seemingly uptight feathers!

But when the cameras aren’t looking, Adriana sees behind his careless facade, and wonders—is there more to this rebel royal than the world knows?

And here is Zulma's review:

While I had some issues along the way with the characters and the development of A Royal Without Rules by Caitlin Crews, in the end I understood why it was a book I had saved in my to-be-read again pile. In A Royal we find a modern day fairy tale prince, warts and all, and the commoner, working woman trope developed so well by some Harlequin Presents authors.

We meet HRH Prince Patricio “the most debauched creature in the kingdom of Kitzinia—if not the entire world” sprawled naked across his bed with not one, but two naked women. Our heroine, Adriana Righetti, has been given the task of keeping him in line during the two months prior to wedding of the future king, Crown Prince Lenz, his brother.  The prince is also described as an “international manwhore,” the “biggest waste of space alive,” and the “black sheep of the Kitzinia royal family.”

Adriana’s job includes handling Pato’s “inevitable messes.” She’s attracted to Pato, but resents it fiercely. He, of course, knows this and taunts her. She’ll do anything for Lenz, whom she worked for previously as a personal assistant before he sent her over to Pato, who calls her “my favorite brother’s favorite lapdog.” She had never interacted closely with him before this and is both attracted and repelled by his swoon-worthy in your face manli-sexiness. This constant denial of her sexuality—whenever she is in his presence she wants to jump his bones—is something I cannot abide in my romance novel heroines, yet is rife in HP books. For most of the book she berates herself for this attraction and her how can I be attracted to this manwhore whine got on my nerves. He teases her, tries to rile her up, calls her a “little beige hen,” and is attracted to her because she fights their attraction. But of course Prince Pato is far from a dissolute playboy—there are hidden depths to him that are slowly revealed to both the reader and the heroine and in the end redeem him.

Adriana’s family has a dark past—a betrayal to the crown, including traitorous ancestors and promiscuous female relatives. Tabloids gossip about her, link her to the females in the family and accuse her of trying to entice the royal princes. I didn’t like that Adriana constantly put herself down—she was so full of self-loathing—referring to her supposedly slutty ancestors and treacherous blood throughout most of the book. I hated the “blood will tell” castigation.

In an early scene Adriana and Pato wake up in bed together—she got drunk the night before during a royal shing-ding after overhearing a reference to her supposedly inherited slutty nature—and he, hero that he is, chastely puts her to bed – his bed. She’s horrified and embarrassed the next morning, going on an extended diatribe blah blah blah about her supposedly slutty nature. I have no patience with female characters who are in denial about their sexuality and desires and who are doormats! While Pato is attracted to her outer prickliness and sharp-tongue, and of course her beauty, I found her internal dialogue frustrating and so wanted her to show me some backbone way before she finally does towards the end of the book.

I liked Prince Pato’s development as a character. I liked him more than I did Adriana. He turns out to be the complete hero despite his debauched past, which of course had a larger noble purpose—a secret plan between the brothers to ensure the succession to the crown. While this sounds trite, Crews manages to imbue our prince with depth and panty-dropping alphaness. My catnip!

In the end, I was mostly satisfied with this quick read—a modern fairy tale with a tarnished, motorcycle-riding prince who redeems himself in the end. While the heroine could have shown more self-awareness and gumption earlier in the book, she finds her inner goddess eventually. That satisfied my romance-loving heart.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

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