Series: Princes of Texas #1
Published by Berkley on May 7th 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Cowboys
Tropes: Cowboy, Rich Guy - Poor Girl
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Audible
Narrator: Tieran Wilder
Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
Cimarron County knows the youngest son of the fabled Prince family as a womanizing hell-raiser, but Luca has another side to him. He intends to turn the overworked pasture land his father left him back to its natural beauty. There's just one problem—a woman with sparkling eyes and more fight than a barnyard cat is grandfathered into some acreage on his portion of Three Rivers Ranch.
After years of living in foster homes, Ella has exactly three things to her name: A dog, a pig, and the rundown house she just inherited. Luca may not remember her from high school, but she definitely remembers him. He is as seductive as he was then, but Ella isn't about to fall for his flirting—if only she could stop melting at his touch.
What begins as a game of seduction for Luca quickly turns into something more, but Ella has learned the hard way to trust no one but herself—especially when it comes to her deepest secret. Yet the closer Luca gets to Ella, the more he wants to be the one she leans on. For once, Luca is determined to do something right and give the woman he loves the home she deserves.
CHARMER IN CHAPS
by Julia London
Tieran Wilder does an incredible job narrating this audiobook. I loved the Texas drawl she had for all the characters and how she did the male voices. With that out of the way, let me get to the juicy bits.
I love Historical Romance, yet I’ve never read Julia London’s. So my first time with her is a contemporary romance – kinda odd. But cowboys? SIGN ME UP!
Luca is a wonderfully endearing hero, who was in general rather easy-going and good-natured and seemingly mild-mannered. He is all that but the depth I saw in him was so surprising! Especially towards the end, but more of that later. Luca is known for his pursuits of women. Nobody knows that he is dyslexic and almost illiterate. His restoration efforts of the land his family owns and his goal to become a naturalist are met with ridicule. For one, he can’t read. Second, that costs a lot of money. Money, the Princes no longer have, despite their elevated status of being one of the richest families in America.
Enter Ella. She had a crush on Luca back in high school, after the one kiss they shared at senior prom. She has never forgotten him so when she returns to her grandmother’s house and Luca doesn’t recognize her it stings. But that’s all right. She is poor compared to the Princes and would never fit in their orbit anyway. But Luca is intrigued and so begins a dance in which Luca pulls and Ella pushes. Ella has walls around her heart so high, scaling them will bring the reformed hell-raiser to his knees.
“Did you fall?” he asked, hearing that he, too, was a little breathless.
“No,” she said, her voice full of wonder. “But I almost did. I stopped just in the nick of time.”
I loved Luca and Ella’s connection. Luca’s persistence, watching him fall, it was beauty. There were moments that touched me deeply, especially when he told Ella about his dyslexia or read in front of an audience. I wasn’t expecting his pushing back when Ella heard him and I was actually really glad to see that he didn’t make it easy for Ella to come back into his life. Ella delivered a pretty good grovel though, so ultimately their reunion was sweet and welcome.
I loved that the author didn’t make Luca’s dyslexia his defining character trait. No, this man was so much more. He was loyal and tender, tenacious, ambitious and he stood up for himself. He loved with all his heart and soul – he was a dreamboat and I fell head over heels in love with him.
“So, are you falling for me yet?”
“Absolutely not,” she said, and kissed his chest.
“Just checking,” he said, and sighed with a contentment that had settled into his marrow.
Ella was just as lovable, although she really had a hard time letting Luca in. She was never cruel though, so I just couldn’t hate her for pushing him away. She never had anyone who stuck with her, except her foster sister, Stacey, who I really disliked. Stacey was a leech and I hated how she tried to dominate over Ella. She was so bitter that she made a relationship between Luca and Ella almost impossible. All Ella knew in her life was abandonment, though, so she stuck with the one person who’s never left her, despite Stacey being a constant disappointment.
“I’m telling you—I’ve been telling you—that I’m not walking away from you. If you fall, I am here to catch you. I will catch you, and I will hold you close.”
I loved this story so much. I was totally charmed by the main characters, their sweet banter and I’m glad it worked out the way it did. It got a little angsty toward the end which I totally didn’t expect but it fit the story anyway. Luca and Ellla have captured my heart and I can’t wait to see what Julia London has in store for Hallie, Luca’s twin sister. I’ll definitely read that one.