Authors: Alyssa Cole
American release date: May 25, 2021
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Multicultural Romance/399 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Makeda Hicks thinks her life is going well… until her girlfriend dumps her, and the store she works for fails to promote her in favor of the woman Makeda trained and then fires her. She calls her Grandmore to cry on her grandmother’s shoulder, and Grandmore suggests she move back in with her for the summer and help her run the Golden Crown, her B&B. What her grandmother doesn’t know is that Makeda helped the girlfriend before this last one with a business loan which she has ended up being stuck with and she can really use the money, so why not? The downside is having to listen to Grandmore’s stories about a long ago liaison with a supposed prince (ie not Makeda’s grandfather) which resulted in Makeda’s mother and which makes both her and her mother of royal lineage. Makeda is beyond tired of hearing that fantasy, especially since her mother abandoned her because of it.
Beznaria Chetchevaliere works for the WFM – the World Federation of Monarchists – as a junior investigator. During her performance review, her pathetic excuse for a superior has many criticisms for the way she does her job, although she is actually really good at what she does. She has a feeling this review won’t end very well when he asks her about her Ibaranian heritage, and her interest in the story of the lost queen. He knows that Beznaria’s interest lies in the fact that her grandmother, who was the Grand Dame of the Ibaranian Guard at the time of the queen’s disappearance, was blamed for that disappearance and had even accused of having killed the queen, although that was never proved. Beznaria is determined to clear her grandmother’s name, as she knows Henna Jeta would never have done anything so dishonorable. Now the members of the Ibaranian heir team are swamped with claims of pretenders to the throne. Surprisingly, her pompous boss asks Beznaria to investigate and gives her some leads to follow in the United States. Of course she agrees to do so, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize these leads are all bogus. Why is he determined to keep her from discovering the truth? She decides to do her own investigations, and these lead her to Makeda Hicks.
Makeda’s first impression of Bez is far from favorable, especially as the investigator broke into the house and snuck up on her while vacuuming. It becomes even less so when she learns who she is and what she wants. Makeda wants nothing to do with this whole ridiculous theory of her being a princess, since that is what drove her mother away to begin with. Her delusions of royal blood and being more than she was and less than what she should have been, which was a mother to Makeda. But Bez is most persistent, and she takes a room at the B&B, so it’s not like Makeda can avoid her. And, if she’s being honest with herself, she doesn’t exactly want to. There is something about Bez which draws her, even if she is fighting that feeling. How long can she resist the investigator’s wish to take her back to Ibarania as their princess? And how long can she resist the $15k being offered just to show up and submit a claim, whether true or not?
The second book in the Runaway Royals series is just as good as the first. There’s a lot going on in this book, more than just about finding a princess. Makeda is generous to the point of allowing herself to be used by people. She never stands up for herself to say what she wants, as if she’s worthless unless she’s doing something for someone else. Beznaria marches to the beat of her own drummer. She is very driven, especially when it comes to those she loves. If she believes in the path she follows, then she’s not above circumventing the rules to obtain the outcome she perceives to be the right one. She doesn’t lie, but she sometimes omits some of the details. These two fit together perfectly, and watching them come to that realization was priceless.
Alyssa Cole’s characters are wonderfully drawn, whether the main protagonists or their family and friends. I loved the crew of the cargo ship they traveled on. They seemed like people I would love to know. Her stories about royalty are beautifully detailed and she has created quite the world, beginning with the Reluctant Royals series and continuing with the Runaway Royals. I hope there are many more of these stories to come. I am so on board for this! Many thanks to my kid Sarah for turning me on to them.
Highly addictive stories that you will love!