With the death of their father, the King, either Princess Katerina or her brother must marry very soon - an unfortunate situation considering neither has any likely prospects. At least, no prospects that are in the least palatable. They throw a ball, with the secret purpose of finding a spouse for one of them and protecting the throne from their dastardly uncle.
The mysterious Duke that appears at the fete instantly intrigues Katerina with his roguish charm and arrogant manner. How ironic that the only man who she wishes to consider as a husband and King seems to have no interest in marrying her. Oh, she is certain he is attracted to her - he more than proved that at the ball - but he has no interest in her or the crown.
Dax is there for one reason - to protect his country at all costs, even if it means seducing a contrary spitfire like Katerina. He knows just how to get to her, but his seduction doesn't exactly go as planned when he finds himself falling under her spell... But there is no doubt about his feelings after her life is threatened, and he determines to protect her himself, even if it means kidnapping the feisty princess!
I admit it, I am a huge fan of Brenda Williamson's. There is no shame in that; she writes wonderful stories. It does not even matter to me what genre she is writing in, which is a very good thing seeing as how she dabbles in a wide variety of sub-genres including everything from westerns to paranormals to historicals, like her new release A Beautiful Surrender.
As it happens, I am partial to historicals, so this new book is right up my alley! Pairing a spitfire like Katerina with a maddening man like Dax makes for a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, even when the sparring is merely verbal. Of course, Williamson includes some action scenes that show Dax's mettle as protector as well as showcase his noble heart, rather than just the rake he portrays at the royal ball.
Katerina is commonly misunderstood by her people, having no patience to suffer fools and evildoers. She is highly intelligent and perceptive, and is never hesitant to speak her mind. Still, she is ill-prepared for the effect the dashing Duke has on her and is even less equipped to deal with it, making her an easy target for his machinations. Still, she has some surprises of her own, and isn't completely without defense where he is concerned. She gives as good as she gets, and proves she is more than a match for him.
If you love a story with some great twists, then you will be very happily surprised with this one. I managed to figure out one of the big twists in this plot before the story revealed it, but I am not certain most readers would. The author lays the clues to this secret with skill, and those with a mind for mysteries will be able to piece them together if they are watching for the clues.
Williamson throws some challenging obstacles at our couple, but just when the problems seem insurmountable, she wraps the story up with a very satisfying ending!