|Alexander, Lord Iversley; Marcus, Lord Draker; and Gavin Byrne—the Royal Brotherhood of Bastards, three of Prinny’s least favored by-blows, are hatching a plot to bring success to all of them. Draker has been an outcast of society for years, and the Prince of Wales has refused to acknowledge Gavin as his son, despite the man’s success at running a gaming club for men. Alec, the newly newly-minted earl, has returned to England after a ten-year absence to find that the man he’d thought was his father hadn’t been, and that before he’d died, he’d spent his entire fortune, leaving Alec only a pile of debts. Alec lacks money, Gavin lacks legitimacy, and Draker lacks acceptance from society. If they formed an alliance, they could help each other get what they most desire. This is the premise of Sabrina Jeffries’ “The Royal Brotherhood” series, of which this is the first installment.
In the Prince’s Bed is Alec’s story. He needs at least seventy-five thousand pounds to restore Edenmore, his family estate. The only way he can get it is to marry an heiress. Gavin can help him find a suitable one, Draker can loan him a carriage, and they can both help him hide his penniless state until he is well and truly wed.
Katherine Merivale is Gavin’s suggestion. She will inherit thousands when she marries, but she thinks her long-time friend and escort, Sydney, is just days away from proposing. Alec is determined to change that as quickly as possible. With her red hair and flamboyant style, Alec wanted to meet Katherine even before he knew who she was. And while Sydney’s overbearing mother thinks that Katherine and her family are crass and vulgar, Alec appreciates her frankness and spirit. Katherine may not like the situation she’s in—she must marry as soon as possible to gain her fortune and pay off her eccentric family’s debts—but she is determined to deal with it.
And of course, both are instantly attracted to each other when their eyes met across the requisite crowded dance floor. There’s no way this couple is not going to end up uninvolved! Katherine has yearned for a rake, secretly reading the scandalous A Rake’s Rhetorick and comparing it to Alec’s actions, and he certainly seems to be a successful one. Alec wanted a woman of fire and passion with the determination to go after what she wants rather than some vapid society miss who will bore him to tears in only minutes. They are well-matched, but of course, a plethora of problems await them before they can enjoy their happily-ever-after.
Jeffries’ characters, both major and minor ones, are well-drawn and full of life, with personalities and actions that move the plot along swiftly. The three bastard brothers are especially appealing, and Alec and Katherine’s efforts to keep their real financial situations from each other are amusing. None of the characters are stereotypical, and the reader quickly becomes involved in their adventures and problems. Jeffries’ descriptions of Regency England are lush and detailed, and her plot twists unexpected and interesting.
Quotes from A Rake’s Rhetorick at the chapter headings give hints of the contents to come. I’m already looking forward to Lord Draker’s story, To Pleasure a Prince, excerpted in this volume, but sadly not due out until next spring. A minor quibble is the title, since none of the characters actually end up in the Prince’s bed. I spent the entire time I was reading wondering where the title came from and why.
Overall, In the Prince’s Bed is an amusing and intriguing start to a promising series, and it’s easy to recommend.
--Joni Richards Bodart