The Drakon Baby Bargain by Tara Pammi
Perfectly Presents' beginning, from the heroine’s strong characterisation to the yummy hero, exciting first meet and regal backdrop, compelled me to buy when I read it on the M&B website.
Tara Pammi’s strong Presents’ voice sets the scene beautifully and includes some gorgeous phrasing. "The king of arrogant ruthlessness" failing at being a father to his newly-discovered, motherless daughter broke my heart. You feel his frustrations and so want him to connect with her.
Towards the end of the beginning, I loved how Princess Eleni turns the tables on Gabriel and on my expectations! Some lovely character, emotion and relationship depth here.
Gabriel’s daughter being the primary motivator for their marriage works. And juxtaposing Eleni’s childhood with how his daughter is feeling deepens this emotion/characterisation.
At first, I really liked and empathised with the heroine, but there are times when her conflict becomes muddled--maybe there are too many conflict threads?--and times when she comes across as unheroinelike. The first is when she lies to Gabriel.
The Royal House of Drakos is more than a backdrop; life is breathed into it by Andreas and Nik, her 2 brothers, her sister-in-law, Mia, the hero’s daughter, Angelique, and Mr Unfinished Business, Spiros. They all have on-page time with either Gabriel or Eleni, and entertaining as these interactions are, they rob the hero and heroine of some important scenes, I think.
In the same vein, a plot-device is used to break the impasse and to prise open the hero's emotions, where I would prefer these important moments to be more character-led. This book should carry a warning that a horse dies in the making of the plot device. And forgive me, but I can't resist saying that poor Shadow isn't foreshadowed.
Despite it being another scene with a secondary character, I adored the meeting between Gabriel and Andreas and felt a bit unfaithful to this book’s hero in the Crown Prince of Drakon's presence.