The Midwinter Mail- Order Bride by Kati Wilde
Some might call Princess Anja of Ivermere brave for offering herself up as a bride to Kael the Conqueror, a barbarian warlord who’d won his crown by the bloodied edge of his sword. It was not courage that drove Anja from her magic-wielding family’s enchanted palace, however, but a desperate attempt to secure a kingdom of her own—even if she has to kill the Conqueror to do it. She expects pain beneath his brutal touch as she awaits her chance. She expects death if he discovers the truth of her intentions.
Raised in the ashes of the Dead Lands, Kael fears nothing—
Raised in the ashes of the Dead Lands, Kael fears nothing—certainly not the beautiful sorceress who arrives at his mountain stronghold. But no matter how painful his need for her, Kael has no use for a bride who would only tolerate his kiss. Yet the more of Anja’s secrets he uncovers during their journey to return her home, the more determined he becomes to win the princess’s wary heart. And Kael the Conqueror has never been defeated…
This. Cover. Kati Wilde barbarian/warrior woos ambitious heroine trope.
The Scandal of the Deceived Duchess by Hannah Hamilton
Tortured hero, you say.
Being auctioned to the highest bidder by her greedy father who is desperately trying to elevate his social standing, Amelia’s fate seems tragically predetermined: trapped in a horrible marriage of convenience with a man she despises.
But, while on her way to Canada boarding a Royal Navy’s frigate, Amelia and her maid get captured by a Yankee pirate ship, in charge of the ferocious but dashing Captain Jonathan Mitchell.
The Captain is not only a man of nobility and an honored patriot for the Service of his country but also a man with deep darkness hovering over his heart; one that only true love can forever amend…
I knew him by his handle, “August,” but he knew me by a flirty, nude selfie attached to an email. One lewd phone call became the first of many passionate exchanges. His voice made me burn for hours, but he was just a fantasy.
Until he proposed.
I’ve never kissed him. We’ve never had a date. I haven’t seen my fiancé, but I fell in love with him long before I saw his face.
And when I finally met August, I realized he was the strapping, handsome ex-soldier he promised. Protective, loyal, and all mine… All I have to do is say yes…But there’s a catch. There always is. Even the perfect man comes with a price.
*Something* about The Secret Arrangement is simultaneously compelling and repelling me. It is billed as Beauty and the Beast trope, which sings to me- so for better or DNF, it’s firmly on my” TBR in June” list!