Some men are born into scandal. Others pursue it with a passion. Griffin Steele, secret son of the Duke of Cumberland, is guilty on both counts. Yet somehow London's most notorious scoundrel has been saddled with an abandoned baby boy--and with the unflappable, intriguing spinster summoned to nurse him. . .
Justine Brightmore may be a viscount's niece, but she's also a spy's daughter, determined to safeguard the infant when his suspected royal parentage makes him a target. Yet how to protect herself from the rakish Griffin? Marriage might shield her reputation, but it can only imperil her heart, especially with a groom intent on delicious seduction. . .
"Has all the elements of my favorite novels--a bad boy hero, a spirited heroine, a dash of intrigue, and a sizzling romance. Put her on your auto-buy list; you won't be disappointed." --Shana Galen
About the Author
A classically trained actress in England, Veida Dehmlow has dozens of stage credits to her name. She has appeared in London's West End, national tours, and many regional repertory theaters. Her voice work includes commercials, video games, and the narration of books in a variety of genres.
Read an Excerpt
Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom
By Vanessa Kelly
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Vanessa Kelly
All rights reserved.
London, January 1815
After seven long years, Griffin Steele was a sinner's breath away from casting off the millstone around his neck, the one that dragged at the few shreds of decency in his dark soul.
"I trust everything is to your specifications," said Madeline Reeves in her smoothly seductive tones. "Lizzie, Rebecca, and I went over the terms quite carefully, and I believe we've done a more than adequate job of addressing your concerns." Her full-lipped smile offset any hint of criticism that her words might have conveyed.
Griffin glanced up from the document to the woman who managed his brothel and who had once graced his bed. Madeline was a statuesque beauty, dark-haired and sloe-eyed, with a languid sensuality that masked a keen business mind and a card sharp's instincts. She was also, despite her profession, thoroughly decent and one of the few people Griffin had elected to trust in his life.
He responded to her challenge with a nod. "I know the terms seem more demanding than are justified, given our relationship. I also know you see the reason for it." He allowed the document to settle with a whisper of fluttering parchment onto his desk. "Am I wrong?"
Madeline's smile tilted up at one corner in wry understanding. "No, you're not wrong. You're never wrong, are you?"
Griffin had to repress a bitter laugh, covering the emotion her remark had engendered with a languid smile. "My dear, you flatter me, but I trust you see the reasoning behind my insistence on your ability to meet my terms. At least in this particular instance."
"I do." Madeline's lovely features shifted ever so slightly, transforming her from one of London's most-sought-after courtesans into a canny businesswoman. "If we could not demonstrate our ability to manage The Golden Tie according to your terms, then we would never be able to maintain our financial independence and treat the girls with a modicum of decency. I know how important that is to you."
She leaned forward to place a hand on the polished countertop of his Chippendale desk, her burgundy gown, beautifully tailored to showcase her magnificent figure, rustling with the soft slide of expensive silk. "I won't let anything happen to the girls, Griffin. You have my word."
"I know I do, and I am grateful to you."
He was, too. Madeline and her new partners—all women who worked in his brothel—were a key part of his plan to achieve his freedom.
Griffin had long wanted to shed The Golden Tie. He'd only saddled himself with it because he'd been unable to tolerate the brutal treatment meted out to the girls by the brothel's former owner—a foul excuse for a man named Paulson. The pig had done nothing to protect the girls from disease, pregnancy, and beatings from the customers. The man had, unfortunately, also owned The Cormorant, the first gaming house Griffin had acquired and the foundation of his wealth and influence. Though Griffin had only wanted the gaming house, he'd found himself taking the brothel on, as well.
Not that he was a saint. He'd taken full financial advantage of the opportunity—on his terms, of course—but now he was eager to rid himself of a responsibility he'd never wanted. Too often, in the years since he'd arrived in London, he'd seen the ruination of women, mistreated and then discarded by the sorts of men who frequented establishments like The Golden Tie. His own mother had suffered a similar fate. Griffin's father had the bluest blood in the land, but to his mind the man was less than a scraping of mud from a bootjack.
"Griffin, is something wrong?" The keen understanding in Madeline's eyes jogged him even more than her words.
Waving a negligent hand, Griffin rose to his feet to signal an end to their interview. "Not in the least, my dear. I'll have my solicitor look the papers over later today, but I'm sure everything is in order. We should be able to sign off in a few days." With a smile, he rounded the desk to offer Madeline his hand. "I wish you the best of luck, Mad. I know you'll make a go of it."
She rose with the sinuous grace that had entranced so many. Madeline was tall, enough so that she could almost look him straight in the eye.
"Would you, perhaps, like to celebrate the completion of our deal?" she purred, her velvet-brown gaze glittering with satisfaction and invitation. "Once more for old times' sake?"
Her voice brushed along his nerves, pleasantly arousing. At one time, Griffin would have responded to that siren call with alacrity. But he'd left Madeline's bed months ago, as much from a growing ennui as a reluctance to mix business and pleasure. For a moment, he allowed himself to consider the invitation, knowing that Madeline would be more than willing to do all the work. But then that dark, dissatisfied part of him that had been pushing so hard of late, the part driving him to step far away from his current life, reasserted itself. He didn't have to say a word, either. Madeline, ever sensitive to his emotional nuance, saw the answer on his face.
"Ah, well," she said, not sounding all that disappointed. "I thought not. Truly, Griffin, you are turning into a monk. We haven't seen you next door in three nights. I do hope you don't intend to take yourself off to some dreary mountaintop in Scotland, or hole up in a ridiculous hermitage on one of your uncles' estates." She let her gaze drift down over his body. "That would be such a waste."
He grinned at her. "Now you're simply flattering me, and you know I'm immune to that sort of thing."
She was about to retort when a quick knock on the door cut her off. Before Griffin could call out permission to enter, Tom Deacon opened the door and barreled into the room.
Griffin raised his eyebrows in a pointed question. His business manager might be several inches taller and outweigh him by three stone, but Tom knew better than to charge into his office without permission. Combined with the scowl on the man's blunt features, it suggested that something had disturbed his normally unflappable right hand.
Tom came to a halt in front of the desk, practically stepping on Griffin's toes. The space was small enough that Madeline had to sit down in order to avoid getting squashed between the two men.
Griffin's office, once the room from which he'd managed the gaming hell that had graced this part of Jermyn Street, wasn't large. He'd closed The Cormorant only a few months ago, converting the building back to its original use as a private dwelling, but he'd seen no point in moving his office to a more spacious room upstairs. From here, Griffin could still monitor the comings and goings in his household and the brothel next door, connected by a small, conveniently placed passageway right outside his office door. Tom's bulky form and his obvious agitation filled the room, making the walls seem to close in.
Sighing, Griffin moved around to the other side of his desk and waited. Tom was a man of few words to begin with, and it rarely served to push him. But after several seconds of watching Tom's jaw tick under the impact of some obviously perturbing stimulus, Griffin finally lost his patience.
"Are we going to stand here like a pair of chawbacons, or are you going to tell me why you're so disturbed?" Griffin asked with some asperity.
Tom's jaw worked again, as if chewing over a gristly piece of mutton, but he finally spit words out. "It's a baby. A baby in the entrance hall."
Griffin's mind blanked for a second. "A baby?" he repeated, sounding rather like a chawbacon after all. "In my house?"
Some of the girls did occasionally succumb to that particular hazard of the profession, but Griffin always set them up off the premises. Babies weren't exactly good for this sort of business.
Tom unleashed a grim smile. "Aye. And, apparently, it's yours."
Griffin strode toward the front of the house.
"If there's one thing you can be sure of," he snapped over his shoulder at Tom, "it's that this baby is not mine. I've been very careful with that sort of thing, I assure you." Given his lamentable parentage he'd be damned if he spread his seed around with such careless abandon.
"I'm just telling you what the boy who brought him said," Tom retorted. "I'm not sayin' it's true, am I?"
"I should bloody well hope not," Griffin muttered. Even so, he couldn't help counting in his head, thinking of whose bed he'd been warming about nine months ago. A few moments of rapid reflection confirmed what he'd thought. He'd been sleeping with only Madeline back then, and he sure as hell had not gotten her with child.
Still, some enterprising or desperate woman might try to pin the charge on him, hoping to squeeze him for money. Griffin's reputation when it came to matters of a sexual nature was exaggerated. He was more discriminating than anyone gave him credit for, unlike Prinny and some of his other royal uncles who couldn't seem to resist an attractive bit of tail to save their lives. Griffin also made a point of never sleeping with a woman whilst in his cups. He'd learned early on that losing control of oneself only led to trouble. On the few occasions when he did indulge in drink, he generally did it in private, or with the few people he trusted to have his back.
He pushed through the baize door and into the entrance hall. A moment later he practically skidded to a halt, with Tom almost ramming him in the back.
There was a baby, all right. It was wrapped in a white blanket, resting in a commodious straw basket, which someone had plopped into the middle of the tiled hall. Griffin couldn't actually see the infant from where he stood, but he could hear its woeful crying. Its thin wail climbed up into a higher register, rapidly transforming into a lusty, keening lament that bounced off the plastered walls to make everyone wince.
"Nothin' wrong with that set of lungs," Tom observed in a sour voice.
Griffin resisted the impulse to jam his fingers in his ears as he inspected the other stranger. A small boy of not more than ten years of age, clearly a street urchin, stood by the basket, shifting uncomfortably as he rolled his ratty cap between nervous fingers. Hovering behind the boy with a pained look on his narrow features was Phelps, Griffin's manservant and factotum.
"What the hell is going on?" Griffin asked in a voice loud enough to be heard over the wailing. "Phelps, why in God's name would you let these brats into the house?"
"Couldn't really stop the boy, Mr. Griffin," Phelps said with a helpless shrug. "He slipped right under my arm before I could say nary a word."
Griffin turned to the urchin. Despite his scruffy appearance, intelligence gleamed in the lad's eyes, along with a wary curiosity. Nor could he fail to note the way the child's gaze jumped from point to point, obviously taking in the highly polished wall sconces and the brass hardware on the doors.
"Don't even think about it," Griffin said in a dry voice.
The boy's eyes widened in an imitation of innocence. "Got no idea what you're talking about, guv."
"I'm fairly sure you do. Now, tell me who you are and why you brought this child into my establishment."
Just then, the baby's cry kicked up to a deafening level. Tom actually did stuff his fingers in his ears.
"Hellfire and damnation, Phelps," Griffin exclaimed. "Pick the child up and keep it quiet. I can barely think with that racket going on."
Phelps, a wiry, capable man who once owned a rough and tumble pub in Covent Garden, backed away, putting up his hands as if warding off an attack. "Sorry, sir. I'm afraid I'll drop it. Never did go in much for babies."
"Phelps, you raised a daughter, remember? She works in this very house. Surely you held her on more than one occasion," Griffin replied, exasperated.
"Aye, and I loves her like my life, but I didn't much enjoy holding her, neither. Not when she squalled like that."
"Pro'ly just needs its nappy changed," observed the boy with the trenchant wisdom of one who had younger siblings.
Griffin turned to Tom, who backed right up to the baize door looking even more panicked than Phelps.
"Oh, for Christ's sake," Griffin muttered.
He crouched down beside the basket. It had been years since he'd held a baby, but he supposed he'd not lost the knack of it. Growing up in his uncle's vicarage in the wilds of Yorkshire, he'd spent many a lonely afternoon in the kitchen with the housekeeper, Mrs. Patterson, a kind woman and the closest thing to a mother Griffin had known in those days. She'd had an inexhaustible supply of grandchildren, and she'd sometimes enlisted his help when she had to take care of one or another of the brood. Without any siblings of his own, Griffin had never minded. He'd spent many a bleak winter's day by the fire, rocking a fractious baby to sleep while Mrs. Patterson bustled about with her cooking.
"Now, what's all the fuss about?" he murmured as he carefully peeled the soft blanket away. A very red, unhappy face peered up at him, its mouth pursed with infant outrage. The baby sucked in a breath and waved its little fists in the air, obviously preparing to let out another wail of complaint, so Griffin quickly slipped his hands under the small body and lifted, standing upright in the same motion.
"Here, none of that," he said in a quiet voice as he shifted the child to rest more comfortably against his chest.
The baby's cry wavered and then abruptly cut off, replaced by several rather shattering sobs that sounded more like a case of the hiccups. Tears clung to its dark eyelashes and it still looked miserable in that heartrending way of babies. But at least it had stopped lacerating their ears.
"Huh," grunted Tom, inching cautiously forward, as if fearing the baby might leap up and bite him. "Never took you for the motherly sort."
"It's not exactly advanced mathematics," Griffin said before turning his attention back to the lad who'd delivered such an unusual package. "What's your name?"
"Roger. What's yours?" the boy asked with a nervy curiosity that put Griffin in mind of a squirrel.
"Griffin Steele, at your service. Now, perhaps you'd like to tell me what this is all about."
Roger gave a satisfied nod. "You're the nob I was supposed to find. I've got a message for you."
"I'm not a nob," Griffin replied automatically. If there was one thing in the world he did not want to be taken for, it was an aristocrat.
Roger glanced around the hall and then raised his eyebrows, investing the look with a polite skepticism that would not have been out of place in the finest drawing rooms of the ton.
Griffin sighed. "Well, get on with it then. Who's trying to dump this baby on me and claim that I'm its—" He broke off, shaking his head. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
The boy lifted his shoulders in an insouciant shrug. "Beats me, guv."
Muttering under his breath, Griffin gently pulled up the infant's lace-trimmed robe and gingerly inched aside his swaddled undergarment. He couldn't fail to notice the clothing was fashioned of the finest lawn, nor that the matching cap was trimmed with lace.
"A boy," he said, hastily tucking the material back around the obviously well-fed body.
Everyone in the hall seemed to let out a collective sigh, as if they'd all been dying to know the answer.
"Now that we've ascertained that pertinent fact, perhaps you can tell me what you're doing with him, and why you brought him here," Griffin said, gazing sternly at Roger.
The boy opened his mouth to answer, but the words died on his tongue when the green baize door swung open and Madeline swept into the hall in all her sultry glory. Roger's gobsmacked expression was one that Griffin had seen on much older faces more times than he could count.
He cuffed the boy on the shoulder. "None of that. You're much too young to even be looking."
Madeline rustled across the hall to join them. "Goodness, is this little one truly yours, Griffin?"
"No," he replied, trying not to growl with irritation. "But if everyone will kindly stop interrupting me, I might be able to find out who he does belong to."
Madeline was staring at the baby with a surprisingly maternal look on her face. "Well, he seems very sweet." She gently stroked the now-drowsy baby's rounded cheek.
"Good, then you can hold him." Griffin swiftly transferred the baby into her arms. She looked startled, but accepted the burden without protest.
"Now, you were about to say?" he prompted Roger.
Excerpted from Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly. Copyright © 2014 Vanessa Kelly. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM by Vanessa Kelly is an exciting Regency Historical Romance set in 1815 London. #2 in the "Renegade Royals" series, but can be read as a stand alone. See, "Lost in a Royal Kiss" and "Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard". What an exciting series! Meet, Griffin Steele, secret son of the Duke of Cumberland and Justine Brightmore, a viscount’s niece,and a spy’s daughter. Oh what a match they are. She is also Dominic Hunter's, (from LOST IN A ROYAL KISS), Goddaughter. For together they are unstoppable! Griffin, owns a brothel, where he is left an infant boy, no one knows who the mother or father is, this is where the mystery comes into play. Dominic, brings in Justine as the child's nursemaid, this is where the trouble comes into play, for Griffin anyway. Together, they must keep the infant safe, while they protect their hearts from each other. Filled with passion, danger, trouble, mystery, a bit of suspense, romance and some intrigue. Ms. Kelly, has once again, showed her readers she is not only capable of writing a complex, intriguing but an entertaining tale of love and secrets. Love this series. I can hardly wait to see what awaits the next Royal Renegade! A must read for anyone who enjoys a great read with engaging characters and an intriguing storyline. Well done!! Received for an honest review. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: HOT REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom is Book Two of Royal Renegades is out!! 41/2 *****! This is Griffin's book! You will love finding out his deep secrets! And as an added bonus by the awesome author Vanessa Kelly a surprise bonus will be found inside!!
I don't write lengthy reviews. I know everyone likes different things. I can say that I liked this book as well as Vanessa's other books. Enjoyed Justine pulling her gun out and standing up for others. Hoped that baby Stephen had a different ending. But, would recommend this book.
A lovely read with both sweet romance and intriguing mystery, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom was absolutely fantastic. I loved this book. It was a thrilling, romantic, enjoyable read. Another great book in a wonderful series! Justine was a lovely heroine. She was strong and definitely not someone to be underestimated. She was very clever and determined to protect those in her care. Occasionally, that led to her doing something that was a bit unwise, but, overall, I really liked her. Griffin was also wonderful. He seems rather forbidding at first, considering that he was a feared crime lord that owned a gambling house and a brothel. But, he was really a good man who made the best of his circumstances and refused to feel ashamed of it. He was formidable if you got on his bad side, very clever, and extremely protective of those he cared about. I thought he was perfect and I adored him. The romance was lovely. Justine and Griffin were so perfect together, though it doesn't seem so at first glance. For two very strong willed people, they definitely met their match in each other. The attraction between them was constantly simmering and, once they got over their hesitation, it was definitely hot. I thought they were a wonderful couple. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The mystery of the baby's background kept me hooked, though it got a bit lost in the middle underneath the damage control of avoiding a scandal. There were a couple of surprise along the way, particularly one near the end that I never saw coming. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. Can't wait to read more from this series! Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom was a fantastic historical romance. I really loved this book. It was romantic, thrilling, and thoroughly enjoyable. Romance lovers, this is a book you'll want to read. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
What romance novels are all about. Griffin and Justine are amazing!!
Vanessa Kelly is a creative genius. This is the second book in The Renegade Royals series. Griffin Steele is a notorious club and brothel owner who has decided to sell his interests and travel the world. Justine Brightmore is the daughter of former spy who died in the line of duty. She is shy, quiet and prefers to live in the country. They are brought together to protect a baby that was left at the brothel with a note that said he is danger. Justine's identity is discovered and to stop the scandal, Griffin marries Justine. During the time spent caring for the infant, their marriage of convenience becomes a marriage in fact. This is a wonderful story of a spinster/rogue love story. The characters are engaging, charismatic and fascinating.
Can a unique FAIRY GODDUDE bring together a fashion challenged wallflower & a NOTORIOUS BAD BOY? I guess y'all will just have to READ it for YOURSELVES to find out! Justine Brightmore is the daughter of a spy & after her mom's death, her blue stock quirky aunt helped to raise her & her younger brother. Her father was always off on 1 dangerous mission after another, but soon Justice found herself as his homebound agent & spy helper. Her life was always controlled chaos, but her father did love her & her brother. Justine did have her godfather, Sir Dominic Hunter, who was the head of England's Intellect Agency & was the only dependable person in her life & she would do anything for him. After her dad's violent death at the hands of another spy, she became a paid companion & finally had a normal & non chaotic life she always CRAVED! Griffin Steele is the illegitimate son of the royal Duke of Cumberland & his mom, Chloe, was the 14 year old seduced daughter of the royal tutor. Chloe was banished to her vicar uncle until the Griffin was born & then he became the abandon & unwanted ward of his great uncle. He was raised to atone for his sinful beginning & when he learned that his mom die, he was devastated. At 14, his great uncle told him on his death bed that his mom was not dead, so when his great uncle died, he went looking, but never found her. Soon he found himself on the cold & dark streets of London & only survived by his wits, quick hands & the only true kindness he has ever known, by Mr. & Mrs. Phelps. Griffin soon became the errand boy of gaming den, The Cormorant & worked his way up to become the owner of The Cormorant & the brothel next door, The Golden Tie. Now he has surrounded himself with his adopted & trusted family filled with whores & the Phelps family, but he does have Sir Dominic Hunter as the PITA of his life, as he tries to make Griffin into a pillar of the Ton! Griffin is in the middle of selling all he owns in England, so he can leave for light & warm in Egypt & India, but all is halted when a veiled lady leaves a screaming & possible royal baby named Stephen at his front door & he has to beg Sir Dominic for help. Sir Dominic brings help in the form of the uppity, prim & proper & completely fashion challenged Miss Justine Brightmore as a nurse. Justine doesn't want to live in a former gaming den that is attached to a brothel, but her godfather needs her help with protecting the mysterious & endangered Stephen. Soon Justine life is filled with the chaos again & the yummy & moody Griffin is driving her girlie parts into overdrive & making her brain want to whip out her trust pistol & taking aim! All Griffins wants to do is find out the mystery of Stephen & sail to warmer climates, but his body wants to strip off Justine's ugly caps & clothes & take her hard against any available surface! Soon all London learns of Justine living next to a brothel by her wielding her pistol in defense of girls, but when Griffin arrives to save the day, he announces that Justine is now Mrs. Griffin Steele. Now they need to get married & Dominic is pleased as punch now that Griffin is married & needs to kiss up to London Society for Justine's reputation. Justine demands a marriage of convenience, but Griffin has other ideas & soon begin a campaign of SEDUCING his reluctant bride. So they must solve Stephen's mystery, derail break ins, kick more than 1 baddies a$$ & find the veiled woman, while Justine's heart must survive Griffin's toe curling kisses, undies scorching moves & all her screaming ORGASMS! Can Griffin prove to Justine that she wants his kind of yummy chaos? Will Justine prove to Griffin that she is all light & warmth he needs? Who is the veiled woman? Will baby Stephen ever be truly safe? How much PIXIE DUST will Dominic sprinkle on these 2 crazy kids? Now this Renegade Royals series sucked me in with the first novella, Lost In a Royal Kiss, which just so happen to be my introduce scrappy Dominic & pregnant Chloe. I love myself some yummy & naughty BAD BOYS & Ms. Kelly has a whole new twist with her illegitimate sons of royal dukes. Griffin was scarred by his past & had a crappy childhood, but he didn't let it define him. He always CRAVED light & warm & he didn't trust easily, but he collected a unique & loving family that knitted his bruised heart a soft, warm & huge cozy! Ms. Kelly outdid herself with Griffin's quirky family filled with loving & giving women of ill repute & the Phelps clan, but they were what Griffin's heart needed. Now poor fashion challenge Justine grew up in her dad's crazy & surprise every minute spy life, but she truly blossomed in chaos. She was a girl after my own heart because she would do absolutely ANYTHING for her family, but she NEVER let her loved ones do for her until Griffin. Ms. Kelly made her h/h complete opposites, but they both CRAVED absolute pure love, but didn't think they DESERVED IT! They both made 1 another better & also compliment each other. Ms. Kelly can write some scorching romances & HELLO Griffin was a owner of a brothel & a complete NAUGHTY BAD BOY & she built up such great sexual tension between her h/h, but I was disappointed in the lack of NAUGHTY scenes. That was my only complaint with his tale & she did make up for it with her outrageous PIXIE DUST sprinkling Sir Dominic. Dominic is my absolute favorite Fairy Goddude to date & he loves to protect his little clan of royal BAD BOYS & wants them to be better men, but he has no problem with screwing up their lives with their perfect female! I am super excite to read her next book starring Dominic & his lost love, but I don't to do a SPOIL ALERT! Ms. Kelly totally earns my score of 4 fingers up & 8 toes for this royal opposites attract romance filled with OUTRAGEOUS!
A mysterious infant left on the steps of his brothel forces Griffin Steele, bastard nephew of the Prince Regent, to halt his plans to leave England and turn to his mentor and former guardian, Dominic Hunter, for help to figure out exactly who this child and why his life is in danger. Dominic, spy and puppet-master extraordinaire, enlists the help of his goddaughter, Justine Brightmore, to safeguard the infant. When Justine is discovered in the brothel, a quick marriage of convenience silences any wagging tongues. But now Griffin has yet another tie to the English Isle and Justine has a husband who is everything she didn't want. As Griffin and Justine work together to keep the baby safe from the men searching for him, they grow much closer and begin to realize that perhaps their sham marriage shouldn't be so sham after all. Justine is a woman used to taking care of herself. Her father was a spy for the British Crown, always craving the next adventure until he was sadly lost on an assignment. As a result, Justine grew up very independent and longs for a quiet life in the countryside married to a quiet, unadventurous husband - or better yet, no husband at all! She's quite content playing the Lady's companion. Her motherly instinct to care for others is useful when she is thrust into Griffin Steele's household and throughout all the ensuing turmoil, Justine remains calm and levelheaded. She's a realist with an aptitude for picking up on others' nonverbal cues and an eye for detail. Griffin Steele is everything Justine doesn't want for her life. He runs a gaming hall and a brothel, has ties to the British spy network, and have definitive plans to leave England for far away places such as Italy, Egypt, and the Asian continent. He is anything but "a quiet life at home." His past and rough upbringing makes him gruff and defensive. He values his independence - something he did not have growing up - and is near-violently evasive when it comes to discussion of his family or heritage. This was certainly a complex novel, which I think was handled quite well, but was rushed at the end and wrapped up far too quickly. The mystery surrounding the infant was intriguing and was the catalyst for bringing Justine and Griffin together, but the ultimate climax and reveal came in the last 20 pages. Given the intricacy of the plot and all the character development earlier in the novel, I would have liked to see this major plot thread paced a little better. Overall, a good read if you enjoy gruff, brooding heroes and introverted, independent heroines with a dash of mystery. Originally posted at Plot Twist Reviews [dot] com
Griffin Steele, the most notorious scoundrel in all of London, has a bit of a problem. An infant boy has been delivered to his door with a cryptic message to keep him safe, and Griffin knows for certain that he isn't the father. While he waits for an old friend to identify the child's family, he must deal with the presence of a spinster summoned to serve as a nursemaid. Justine Brightmore knows that she has to be careful when she enters the home of Griffin Steele. She's well aware of his reputation and the trouble it can cause for her. Marriage shields her from the gossip. However it only brings Justine closer to a man she's quickly falling for and who's intent on getting her into his bed. I struggled to get through the first couple of chapters because of the period language. I understand that the author wanted to establish the setting, but it seemed really thick to me. Once I got used to it, though, the story flowed so well that I had trouble putting the book down. Justine and Griffin struck me as more realistic than a lot of other romance heroines and heroes who are just characterizations of stereotypes. Justine as a spinster isn't at all confident when she's being romanced by Griffin. Her doubt was much more obvious than I usually see, and I really enjoyed that. Griffin seemed to have more of an edge than other heroes. I never felt quite sure that he would ever show Justine his softer side. The chemistry between Justine and Griffin had me rationalizing that I could read just one more chapter before putting the book down. Of course I ended up reading another chapter and then one more. Though that chemistry alone couldn't have kept me so interested. The way that the secondary characters, especially the prostitutes, added a layer of realism to the world. They each had such interesting personalities that I didn't feel like they were just included to move the story along. Overall, this would be a great book for someone who enjoys historical romances that include an interesting mystery. Rating: 5/5 Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly will be published by Kensington Books as a paperback on April 5, 2014. **I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
Yes! I really enjoyed this historical romance by Vanessa Kelly. I have to confess that I was not particularly fond of the first book in the series but “Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom” did not disappoint! Griffin did not disappoint and Justine did not disappoint! Ms. Kelly delivers unique and interesting characters. The mystery surrounding the identity of the baby was perfectly paced throughout the story. For me, Griffin stole this story. He was such a fantastic character. Griffin Steele is the illegitimate son of the Prince Regent. Griffin grew up without his mother or father. Under the guidance of his uncle he lived a miserable childhood. Through his street smarts and gambling he became a rich man and owns a brother and gaming house. One night a baby is left and abandoned. He calls on his friend and spymaster Dominic. Dominic was also in the previous book. Dominic brings his goddaughter Justine to help Griffin with the baby. Griffin and Justine buttheads from the first moment they meet. Justine was not afraid of Griffin and he was captivated by her. I thought that both Justine and Griffin had great chemistry. They had to face different challenges as the story unfolded. Although Justine was a great heroine I thought that she was the character that least evolved. Griffin is a rough character at first. He had a tough childhood and has only had to worry about himself. When Justine and the baby come along Griffin has to shift his priorities and change his perspective on his life. I thought that grew into a gentleman and really provided himself. Justine was harder because she refused to see Griffin for who he was instead of who he was rumored to be. Griffin was protective and devoted to Justine. She was hesitant at first and even towards the end. Although I really enjoyed this story I thought that there was a lull in the middle of the story and then everything unfolded very quickly at the end. The surprise character at the end was completely unexpected. I also thought that the identity of the baby and his true identity was a little anti-climactic. But overall, this was a fun romance with a twist of adventure and mystery. I look forward to the next book in the series!
Love, love, love this series! I was already anticipating Griffin's story when I was introduced to him as Aden's cousin in Confessions of a Royal Bodyguard. Vanessa Kelly did not disappoint! This is a great series by a very talented author. I'm looking forward to reading book 3!
I enjoyed this book but it did slow down some for me, but did not take away from the over all enjoyment of the book. The characters were well suited to each other. I felt they both saw themselves as different people then others saw them and they hid behind that personality. Griffin is a strong alpha male who takes care of those he cares about and Justine is a gentle soul who sees people for who they really are and excepts them at that. Each sees a future for themselves but an unexpected guest and a break in changes everything. This is a really good series and I highly recommend it. I received this book from the author for a honest review.
This is book 2 in the Renegade Royals series. Griffin Steele is finally putting the life he has lived behind him by selling off his gaming hells and brothel. He is ready to leave London and start a new life by traveling the world. That is until a mysterious lady drops off an infant at his door step. Griffin's first course of action is to contact Dominic Hunter, the man how is always trying to reform him. Dominic brings in his god-daughter, Justine Brightmore, to take care of the baby. Justine is not only Dominic's god-daughter, but she is the daughter of a spy. Who better to take care of the mysterious baby? But while Justine is taking care and protecting the baby, who will protect her from the notorious Griffin Steele? I've been looking forward to Griffin's story since the last book in the series and Vanessa Kelly did not disappoint! Having been abandoned by both his mother and father as a child, Griffin has let no one into his heart. I think that he felt like he didn't deserve any love. He feels like his parents didn't feel enough love for him to keep him, so why would anyone else? Justine was the perfect woman for Griffin. With her, we see a different side of him. With all of her "proper" ways, we see that under his rough exterior is a "gentleman". Even if he would never call himself one. The next book in the series is Dominic's story. Will he be reunited with the love of his life, Chloe? Thanks go to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.