cover image The Royal

The Royal

Susan Stoker. Montlake, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-66250-966-7

In Stoker's addictive, drama-filled follow-up to The Protector, former soldier and Prince of Liechtenstein Cal Redmon is conned into playing bodyguard to his cousin’s social climbing new girlfriend, Carla, when she falsely claims she has a stalker. The silver lining is that, due to this ruse, Cal meets Juniper “June” Rose, Carla’s badly mistreated stepsister. Carla’s mother tricked June into signing away her inheritance from her father 17 years ago, and, with no formal education and no money, she’s been forced into virtual servitude to the family ever since. When Cal learns of her situation, he offers June a new life with him in Maine, where he runs a tree service business with his former military teammates. Both struggle with body issues: Cal’s entire body is scarred from his time as a POW, and June is self-conscious about her weight—but they only see the beauty in each other. When June’s family seek revenge on her for leaving, Cal and his team join forces to save her. The way these two wounded souls support each other will have readers swooning, while the romantic suspense elements keep the pages flying with sky-high stakes and palpable danger. Forgoing the fairy tale trappings of royalty and the lightness of Disney, this dark, sensual Cinderella story delivers deep emotions and unwavering love. (Aug.)