Title: Royal Cocktail
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: Martini & Olive Publishing 7/12/21
Length: 143 Pages
Sparks fly between a playboy prince and an idealistic lawyer, but when the demands of the throne call, can they get a fairy tale ending?
Prince Leopold of Avelle-am-see is destined to rule his small European country. But he doesn’t want to. His entire life, Leopold has rebelled against the inevitable, gaining a reputation in Europe as a bad boy royal with a chip on his shoulder.
Skye Porter jams on researching complex legal issues, but with her lifelong speech impairment, she’s happy to pass the briefs off to another lawyer to argue. Just the idea of being in the spotlight makes her cringe. Two years ago, she dodged a bullet when her intense college fling with charismatic Leo ended when the bastard ghosted her. At the time, she’d had no idea he was a prince, or she never would have fallen so hard.
Now Leo is back, and the chemistry between them sparks just as hot. With his promise of secrecy, Skye surrenders to one more wild night. But when the press finds them together, Skye is tossed into a nightmare of tabloid photos, graphic memes, and a life in the public eye.
Can a reluctant royal and the girl next door find their happily ever after?
I always love a story that ties back to another one that I read ages ago, and surprisingly, I do even remember a bit about those story lines even though it’s been a minute. We spent quite some time at The Fix in the Man of the Month series, so we’re back at the bar, but not for the same reasons. No more saving of the bar is needed, and instead, it’s just a back drop for where 2 people meet, and fall in love, and then realize that things are far more complicated than they seem.
We start this story two years in the past when Leo is in the US studying Physics which is something that he’s passionate about, and something that his father the King allows of him if he 1) keeps a low profile, 2) uses it as a means to further his home land and 3) realizes that this is a reprieve before he’s to take the throne in a few years. Leo is the rougish bad boy royal that we expect, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.
Skye has her own dark story. She’s a law student in the beginning of this story – and we know that her struggles in life are due to a car accident that she was in when she was little, the accident killed her mother and left her with a brain injury that impairs her speech. It’s something that she’s struggled with and learned to live with but also something that makes her uncomfortable.
When she meets Leo, it’s lust at first sight for sure, but he also doesn’t seem affected at all by her speech and it’s because he quickly informs her that he has an uncle who suffered from the same impairment and it was something that they lived with and moved on from.
We watch these two fall in love, even though Leo knows that he can never be with her. SKye isn’t a citizen of his country and that’s all that he’s allowed to marry. In fact, he hides his identity entirely and we know from experience in reading stories – when you aren’t the one to reveal who you are, it blows up in your face.
Which happens – the night after they first sleep together. Leo leaves with no note or explanation, and Skye is left brokenhearted. She only learns after the fact that he’s a prince and that he had to go home because his father suffered a heart attack, but when he also doesn’t reach out to her after the fact, things go from bad to worse.
We then fast forward two years later – when Skye is established in her family’s firm and she’s thriving, doing what she’s able and comfortable doing. She wrote an international legal paper for a law review to graduate and that same content comes back to haunt her when it brings a person from her past back to Austin for her help.
The story from here is one where we see forgiveness, yet we see tentativeness. They both don’t know where to go from the first words now since there’s so much anger and hatred, love is a hard thing to overcome. All Skye wanted was the truth and a genuine apology and it’s a shock to see that she gets it.
While Leo being back is one obstacle in Skye’s life – we also watch as her father forces her to present her international review at a symposium since it’s content that can grow the firm and it’s an opportunity to push Skye to be more than she think she can, and Skye’s terrified. She hates the idea of speaking in public and that means that she’s hit two times with painful challenges.
The balance of the story is watching how both story lines play out as well as watching how things at home need to evolve for Leo. He has an older sister who’s capable of leading their country, who wants to lead, but yet she’s a woman so she’ can’t. That’s part of what brought Leo back to the US to talk to Skye, but we also watch how things aren’t that easy.
The ending of this story is a bit of a surprise – we don’t expect revelations to come from various places, but what we get is an ending suited for the beginning of this story. I feel like there could be even more of a link and tie into the Man of the Month series, but I get why it’s a standalone. So on that note, enjoy this short story – and now i’m on to the next. Enjoy!