PLAYING THE ROYAL GAME by Carol Marinelli
Playing the Royal Game by Carol Marinelli
The Santina Crown, Book 8
Reviewed by Vanessa
Responsible, family oriented Allegra Jackson is out of a job because she wouldn’t give in to her sexist boss’s demands! Feeling badly, and looking for a pick-me-up, she enters a members only bar with her last bit of cash. Trying to figure out her future, she is saved from being expelled from the establishment by sexy Alessandro “Alex” Santina. Alex sees a kindred spirit in Allegra, someone who could wallow in misery with him. As both Alex and Allegra open up to one another, Alex stumbles upon a plan to redeem himself out of the marriage of convenience that he is facing, and help Allegra out with a job, too. In exchange for some money, and her time, Allegra will pretend to be Alex’s “love match” fiancée until he can get out of the situation his royal family is pushing him into.
Playing the Royal Game started off with a bang that drew this reader in and ended with a HEA, of course. However, it was all the stuff in between that threw me. I just never felt the love growing between Alex and Allegra. Singularly, they were awesome characters and the worlds that they inhabited were truly explained and filled out in Playing the Royal Game. Yet, I never felt that they could truly fall for one another with the treatment that was subjected to one party over the course of the story. I’m not even sure that I can completely trust Alex in the end. He leads you to believe one thing and then does something else. Alex seemed to be completely selfish and was willing to go to any lengths to obtain what he felt he deserved in Playing the Royal Game. The beginnings of a true romance was laid out in the opening chapters of Playing the Royal Game but, for some reason, it just went kaput for me. I get that Alex changed, but it was too little, too late and some of his actions could be attributed to normal human compassion and less to the “I love you” that I look for in romance land.
I was so looking forward to Alex and Allegra’s story in Playing the Royal Game, that perhaps I built it up to be more than it was. I did enjoy the foundational angst that was laid down in some portions of Playing the Royal Game, but the payoff left me high and dry.