The Lady of Royale Street by Thea deSalle
NOLA Nights, #3
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Pocket Star Books
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I won’t judge you for your coffee choices.”
When Sol DuMont asks his brother Alex to be his best man at his wedding to socialite Adrianna (Rain) Barrington, Alex is at a loss as to why but reluctantly agrees. Alex and Sol are like oil and water; Alex is uptight, devout, serious, and regimented in his professional and personal life while Sol is…Sol. Alex figures he can keep from killing Sol for a week before heading back to Dallas and his life.
Theresa Ivarson is Rain’s best friend, maid of honor, practicing Catholic, and professional photojournalist. She flies into New Orleans with the intention of celebrating her bestie’s nuptials only to discover she and the best man are tasked with sorting out all the wedding details after the wedding planner sells them to a tabloid then is hit by a bus; leaving them in a lurch.
Alex and Theresa’s relationship starts out on a rocky note and only goes downhill from there, and being forced to work together doesn’t help matters. When Alex finds himself torn between his attraction to Theresa and his faith, he will have to make a decision before he loses everything.
Thea deSalle continues to delight and entertains their readers with their strong and unapologetic characters who grab onto life and all it has to offer with both hands. Lively and erotic, I enjoy the energy that flows through this series. That being said, the couple in here didn’t enchant me as much as the first two did. The story takes place in a week’s time, causing the romance to feel rushed and the characterization under developed to a certain point. deSalle only scratches the surface of this couple’s potential, giving us the bare bones and using sex and manufactured drama to push forward their agenda.
Alex DuMont is a dye in the wool Catholic whose intense faith and strict lifestyle helped him cope when his father passed away but is also used as an avoidance tactic. He broke up with his long time girlfriend and quit medical school after she let him know in no uncertain terms that his problems weren’t hers. The youngest of three boys, he is easily wound up and repeatedly puts his foot in his mouth with everyone he comes into contact with. I like that he is different from the other man we have met in here. deSalle does an excellent job of diversifying her characters in personality to ensure we aren’t inundated with the same person over and over.
If I click my heels three times, do I get to go home? No, I’m not that lucky
Theresa is also a devout Catholic though she has a better balance between her life and her faith than Alex does. Born into a large family, Theresa had a wonderful childhood and grew into a well-adjusted adult with a fulfilling career. Engaged to be married, she broke it off when she fiancee was cheating on her. His repeated apologies lost their meaning after evidence of all his affairs came to life one after another. Theresa, like all deSalle’s heroines, is strong, opinionated, and more than aware of her self-worth. She tries to understand Alex’s issues but refuses to allow him to lay his issues at her feet.
“I don’t want anyone watching out for my soul. I watch out for my soul, and that has to be okay. It’s nonnegotiable, Alex. You make decisions for you and your soul. I make decisions for mine.”
The sparks fly when Theresa and Alex meet. Similar in all the ways that matter, their chemistry is a combustible and heady mixture that explodes in all the best ways. No squishing this time around. I enjoyed the path deSalle takes in helping Alex find a comfortable balance between his spiritual and sexual love. Religion and sex are touchy subjects but often go hand in hand and it’s nice to see more authors embracing it in romance. This couple has no issues in the bedroom and deSalle has a gift for writing steamy intense scenes that reveal organically.
We fit so well together, she and I. We’re a matched pair….it’s been so long and she’s so perfect. My God, if this is wrong, I never want to be right.
Alex sees the potential for so much with her but screws up left and right as he attempts to wrangle his sexual attraction to her under control. Theresa has no idea of the intensity of Alex’s internal turmoil and thinks that she’s to blame for his hot and cold attitude. Both Theresa and Alex have been hurt by those they thought they loved, fracturing their trust. They used their faith to help them through the pain only Alex seems to take his religion more at face value. His anger and rigidness speaks of intense past trauma yet nothing in his background reveals that-his father’s death aside. His brother Nash, a very interesting figure, helps Alex see that God end game is our happiness. That bothered me a little. The impression given is Alex has been in a crisis of faith for years yet all it took was one conversation with his brother to help him sort it out?
“There’s only so much God’s going to do for you, my man. He helps those who help themselves.”
What helps to save this story for me is the inclusion of the secondary characters and storylines. Sol and Rain’s attempts to get their wedding back on track are hilarious, aided by cameos from Maddie, Darren, and various other familiar faces. I enjoyed meeting Nash DuMont, Rain’s brothers, and various friends. The humor flows freely and with the effervescence of expensive champagne as everyone pitches in to help get the engaged couple married and offers advice to Alex and Theresa as they struggle to move over the speed bumps Alex keep putting up.
“Are you alright? Do I have to kick him? I will, you know. Right in the dingdong. Hos before bros. Bro-in-laws. Whatever.”
The Lady of Royale Street certainly entertains though the main storyline and those involved was rushed. Especially at the end. While deSalle convinces me of the sexual attraction of Theresa and Alex, she never fully develops them for me and never convinces me of the romance or why they fell in love. I am looking forward to reading more in this series in the future. I hope Nash DeMont’s story is next.
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