Note: This ARC was provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Royal Affair is both the debut novel of Parker Swift and is the first novel in the Royal Scandal series, which will consist of three books--for now, based on a peek at Goodreads--about the same couple. And yes, this series starter does end on a cliffhanger and there's a two-month wait in between each of the three novels. We're introduced to Lydia Bell and Dylan Hale. Lydia starts the story off as an American nanny accompanying her wards and their parents during a family vacation in Canada but she's set to leave for London to begin working at a fashion house, though she's more into the business side of it than the actual fashion. Dylan, on the other hand, is a renowned British architect who just happens to be a real-life marquess, making him first in line for a dukedom of Abingdon.
Lydia and Dylan form a connection in Canada but he walks away from her, only to leave behind a phone number asking her to call him once she arrives in London. What proceeds is a pre-arranged affair, one with no strings, no expectations. Dylan doesn't do relationships; he isn't interested in getting married and if it were possible to never have children, then so much the better. Lydia agrees to what Dylan wants, but their non-relationship already entangles them with all the complexities that Dylan's life as tabloid fodder and a storied past with other women bring. There's nothing meek about Lydia either, and while he may joke about her being a damsel in distress, she's going to have to show Dylan that he doesn't get to control everything, not when all his set rules are being broken.
I've read several reviews that have compared this book to Fifty Shades of Grey but with a royal twist to it, and yes, the control that Dylan demands be given to him and the need for dominance and kinky sex are the same things that he shares with one Christian Grey. However, Lydia isn't as much of a pushover as Anastasia Steele was in the first book, nor do I see Dylan as a sadist. There are enough differences between the two books that I'm able to enjoy this one separately from the other novel, especially if I had to base it on the quality of writing, because as much as I loved the originality of the FSoG trilogy, the writing wasn't exactly anything spectacular. I'm also going to hold off until I get to read the second book, then the third one to see if the author does go in a different direction.
Straight away, you know that a no-strings fling isn't going to fly with these two in the long run. They have too much chemistry, too much of a connection to allow it to have some sort of unsaid deadline. As much as I thought Dylan was a domineering asshat at times--manhandling various situations and having stalker-like tendencies--it was clear that he treated Lydia was reverence, awed by the fact that she wasn't some wallflower willing to keep her head down and swallow whatever he throws her way. There's a lot of sex in the book--maybe a tad too much--but there's also romance and we do get to know Lydia and Dylan well enough to keep me interested as the series moves forward. That cliffy has me eager for the release of Royal Disaster this April. I'm giving Royal Affair 4.5 stars. ♥
Release Date: 14 February 2017
Date Read: 14 February 2017
Learn more about Parker Swift.