Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kings of Cardenas Book 1 (The Third Son) by Elise Marion Virtual Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway (Ends 3/15) WW

Title:  The Third Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 1)
Author:  Elise Marion
Publisher:  Self
Length:  113,000 words
Sub-Genres:  Historical, Mystery/Thriller, Suspense
VBT Dates:  Feb 13-Feb 22





Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damien is perfectly content to spend his days drinking at the card tables, and his nights in the bed of his scheming mistress, especially since doing these things seems to vex his high-handed brother to no end. But when he steps into a glittering ballroom on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, the roguish young prince’s life will be forever changed.
Beautiful. Graceful. Sensual. When Esmeralda steps into the center of the King’s ballroom to perform for his youngest son’s birthday, every eye in the room is glued to the tall, lithe Gypsy dancer. One pair of eyes seems to burn straight through her, and though she has worked endlessly to shield her heart, she finds her defenses slowly slipping away in the presence of the handsome prince. She cannot resist his devastating charm, nor is she immune to the earth shattering desire in his kiss. As she falls rapidly under his spell, Esmeralda dares to hope for a future she would never have thought possible.
With a deadly plot against the royal family surrounding him in danger and intrigue, Damien will face a decision he never thought he would have to make. Would he step up to claim a responsibility that should never have fallen to the third son? Or will he abandon it to risk all for love?


“Tell me about that thing you were looking into earlier.”
Damien stood and grabbed the long black instrument from the balcony rail. “This? You’ve never seen a telescope before?” He smiled when she shook her head again.  
“My father told me about them,” she said wistfully, thinking of the stories her father used to tell her of his travels. “I’ve never seen one in person though.”
“Well, allow me to demonstrate how it works,” he said handing her the portable telescope and pointed out various constellations. Esmeralda noticed the way his face softened and his eyes lit up as he showed her each cluster of stars and the history behind them. 
“I would not have guessed that you were interested in something as intellectual as astronomy.” Esmeralda regretted the words the moment she said them. She had not wanted to offend him. But he merely shrugged and returned the telescope to its case.
“It is not common knowledge,” he said, rejoining her on the chaise. “My less reputable hobbies are more known than my intellectual ones. I have several telescopes, of varying sizes and for different purposes, kept in the observatory in the east wing of the palace. My personal library contains several volumes on astronomy, poetry, botany, and biology.”
“The rumors I’ve heard about you make you seem so superficial,” she said, unable to believe that this man before her who spoke so eloquently of science and poetry could be the same drinking, gambling rakehell she’d heard so many stories about. “How is it that no one seems to know of your many other interests?”
“That is mostly my fault,” he admitted, toying with his signet ring to keep from touching her skin. “I have kept these interests mostly to myself, though my family and servants know of them. Publicly though, I have only allowed people to see one side of me.”
Esmeralda nodded. “I know exactly what you mean,” she said sincerely. “Being a Gypsy who dances in a tavern gives people certain ideas about me all the time.”
Damien knew he was guilty having misguided thoughts of his own about her. “Yes but you are innocent, where I am not. People have the right idea about me.”
“Then why don’t you change it?” 
Damien shrugged. “Because for all the gossip that exists about me, people are more concerned with the heir to the throne than with me. Lionus will be king, Serge will be general of Cardenas’ military, and I will be the third son. No one really expects much from me.”
 “But surely you must want more than that? To be known as more than just the last son?”
It was like she had read his mind, Damien thought. How could she have known of his desire for a more fulfilling life? 
“Of course I want more. It is just that no one has ever expected anything of me, and so I’ve never expected anything from myself.”
“But there must be something,” she prodded. 
 “I have often thought of founding a university, perhaps even naming it for my father.”
Esmeralda smiled, and her entire face nearly glowed. Damien felt that smile tugging at his insides, twisting at his heart. “That’s a wonderful idea!” she said, her excitement contagious, sparking something in him now that he had given voice to his dream. “I see no reason why you shouldn’t do just what you’ve said.”
Damien studied her face, illuminated by the pale moonlight. “You are a marvel,” he said softly, cupping her cheek with his hand. He had resisted long enough, the urge to touch her had finally overcome his will. “Such freshness and passion,” he murmured, reaching up to slide the white cap from her head. Her hair tumbled around her shoulders; the scent of jasmine grew even stronger. She stiffened slightly when he leaned toward her, but relaxed when he pressed his face to her thick locks and inhaled. “That fragrance is intoxicating.”
“My mother makes perfumes and soaps,” she said. Or at least she thought she said it aloud. Damien brushed his lips lightly up her neck, moving up over her chin, and finding her lush mouth. The moment his lips touched hers, she was lost. 
He swept her swiftly into his arms and crushed her against him, molding her body against his from chest to hip. Though his hold on her was tight and fierce, his lips moved with surprising softness over hers. He took her mouth slowly, trying carefully not to overwhelm her with his growing ardor. He clenched a handful of her hair and tugged gently, slanting her head back to gain better access to her mouth.
He deepened the kiss, his tongue sliding achingly over hers, arousing feelings she never thought could exist low in her belly. Heat suffused through her, spreading from her middle until she was hot all over. Her hands rested on his chest, tingling at the feel of his corded muscles beneath her fingers. He brought his hands to her waist, so slender he could nearly span the width of it with his large hands. He slid his hands slowly upward over her ribcage, his fingertips lightly brushing her breasts. She sighed into his mouth and arched her back unknowingly, her body responding before her mind could rationalize what she was doing. He lowered his head, showering her neck and shoulders with kisses, working his way steadily downward. His hand cupping one breast jolted her senses, sending her blood rushing rapidly through her veins.

The Third SonThe Third Son by Elise Marion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not sure what I thought of this book in the beginning. (It seems I begin many of my reviews that way!) It had all the classic elements of a romantic story--the royal rake with no responsibilities, the commoner Gypsy girl who was so beautiful and caring, the evil villain from within. And it basically followed the classic love story with a bit of intrigue thrown in. And lots of lovemaking!

I did not care much for Damien in the beginning, but I cannot say I cared much for any of the royal family until time went on in the book. Esmeralda, however, was enchanting from the first time she entered the book. And it is clear that Damien would agree with my affinity for her. Davina was harsh, cruel, and crass--typical of her kind indeed. No one else caught my eye but Nicolai. He seemed very likable.

By the time I was about a third of the way through the book, I was thoroughly mesmerized by the plot. I knew who the villain had to be, but I often found myself second-guessing myself. The author painted the villain's character extremely well and covered her tracks impeccably.

While I was thoroughly enchanted by the book, there were some minor thins I could have done without. I wish that the author had not quite had things work out in just the way they did. I don't want to give away the story, but it just seemed a bit gruesome in places. I also wearied of the intricate lovemaking, and all between unmarried people. That always does bother me. I could have done without the profanity that was used in the book. I felt it entirely unnecessary in most instances where it was used.

For me, the greatest flaw in her book was the addition of the prologue. I think it would have been a much more mystifying book without that information positioned where it was. I think that the villain would have been more terrifying and kept me more on edge without it, but that is merely my opinion.

One thing about which I am grateful is that the book shows that your past will find you out. I also liked that Damien was a man of principle when it came right down to it. I will be reading the sequel to this very soon, and I think I could find it just as intriguing if not more so!

This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

As a child I always had my nose in a book. From R.L. Stine to Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, I read it all. When I started Junior High and found out that the school library had over 400,000 books, my goal was to read every single one! Of course I didn't achieve that particular goal, but I sure had fun trying!
In high school I developed a talent for writing and discovered romance. Needless to say I combined my love for both and am now a published Indie author. After almost a year of peddling my book from agent to agent with no success I decided that my work was good enough despite the constant rejection. That's when I discovered the world of indie publishing through e-books. I couldn't have made a better decision than stepping out on faith and doing something for myself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.
A litle bit more about me: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 4 years and have two beautiful children, Haley (4) and Gavin (4 months). We are a military family, which means I spend a lot of my time alone with two children. People often ask me how I deal with the military life. I simply say, someone's got to do it, right? I am proud of my husband for serving his country.
When I'm not reading (which is almost always) or writing (I try to every day), I am watching movies (which I love), cooking (which I love even more) or watching someone else cook on TV (love me some Paula Deen). I have been singing my entire life and enjoy being my church's choir every Sunday. My large, extended family is close and means the world to me.


Now, I did say there would be a giveaway, and I have decided to use rafflecopter this time for these e-book giveaways to see if the response increases.  I am done taking the easy way out.  So one of my international readers will received a PDF copy of The Third Son.  Place your entries in the rafflecopter form by 9 P.M. Pacific Time on March 15.  Best of wishes to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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