Mrs. Julien, I've got another name for you to add to your list. Sevastian. And no, that's not a typo. It's Sebastian, but with a v. What? Who does that? That's like naming your kid Lesleigh. That's just a misspelled name. (No offense to any Lesleighs out there; it's not your fault your parents didn't like you.)
We start out with Sevastian, the prince of Maldania (really? Maldania? We couldn't come up with a different country name that doesn't sound quite so made up?) coming to kiss the ring of his grandfather, the king, and promise that he'll help rebuild the country after years of war have kept him away. Naturally, the way to rebuild the country is to get married, so Sev heads off to London to check out which women are on the market.
Grier Hadley is the recently recognized bastard child of the town's gambling guru (are female children considered bastards, or is there a different word?), and she's on the market. At twenty-eight, Grier is a little long in the tooth (yes, that phrase is actually used), but she's got a wicked dowry, thanks to dear old Dad.
Of course, Grier is unsuitable. She used to be the game warden back home, back before her biological dad recognized her as his, and she used to wear pants. This, I assume is done to show us how independent she is. She's also got red hair, which is so that we know she's kind of a harlot. Or good in bed, which I think is kind of interchangeable in this instance. And she reads, which means she's smart, something that evidently frowned upon in polite society.
In the beginning, I kind of liked Grier, because she hangs out behind the plants at the party eating cookies and grumbling to herself about how stupid the whole thing iss. When she overhears Prince Sev saying something not very flattering about her, she dumps her water on his head. Sev kind of deserves it; he was being a pretentious douche. But then Grier had to go and piss me off by falling for him.
Sev never really gets less douchey, and the sex isn't particularly awesome. Grier's dad never really redeems himself, and a subplot with Grier's half sister and a significantly older duke (lord, earl, whatever) just kind of fades off. There's a bit of excitement with Sev's cousin Malcom, but you see it coming a mile away.
As a romance novel, it's servicable, if you can get past Sevastian's name. (Seriously, I can't imagine crying out that name in the throes of passion.) It was a Free Book Friday download, which is good, because I would have been mad if I'd paid $7.99 for it. It was mindless reading, which sometimes I need.