Cheeky Royal by Nana Malone (Royals Undercover #1)
Released: April 2, 2018
Reviewed by Mandi
I’m all about the royals these days and when I read this blurb, what stood out to me is the heroine is in charge of guarding the royals (aka the hero). This is a really cute, super sexy story and I definitely recommend it. But let me also tell you that it’s part one of a two-book series and it ends in a cliffhanger. The second book, Cheeky King, comes out April 30 – so you don’t have long to wait.
I actually appreciate the fact that this romance is not rushed. How many books have I read recently where the hero and heroine meet and four days later they are in love and getting married? Too many!
In Cheeky Royal, the heroine and hero actually have known each other since they were kids, but haven’t had contact since they were eleven. Penny’s family has been guarding the royals of the Winston Isles since the 1700’s.
My ancestor was one of the indigenous people of the Winston Isles. He’d fallen in love with a slave that worked in the plantation houses, and all he wanted was freedom. So he joined Jackson’s cause and eventually became one of the king’s trusted advisors. And ever since then, a member of my family had been in the Royal Guard.
My grandfather was Royal Guard. My father was Royal guard. Hell, my mother was Royal Guard, as was my older brother. It was sort of expected that I would be Royal Guard as well.
Penny loved the training and studying to become guard. But she has had some bad luck in guarding people recently. She is truly talented, but everything always seems to go wrong for her. When the king asks her to come to his office, she is sure she is going to be reprimanded. Instead, he has a special assignment for her. His son, Prince Sebastian, has gone missing. Sebastian has sent his body-doubles all over to thwart the media and his family. Penny’s dad thinks he knows where he is, and the king wants Penny to go undercover for two reasons: keep Sebastian safe, and convince him to come home. The king is worried that if Sebastian is confronted directly, he will just flee again. Although Sebastian and Penny grew up together, he has not seen her since she was eleven – so he has no idea what she looks like now that she is an adult. The king wants her undercover, and to not tell Sebastian she is Royal Guard. So Penny, along with her best friend Ariel, head to New York City, rent an apartment next to Sebastian and start to “pretend” to run into Sebastian at various locations, and befriend him.
First let me say that Penny and Ariel’s friendship is a hoot. They are so much fun together – as they work to flirt and mischievously spy on Sebastian, keeping him safe and trying to start a friendship so they can convince him to come home. Sebastian is actually searching for his missing half-brother, a brother his father recently admitted existed. This is why Sebastian fled the kingdom.
The majority of the story is Penny and Sebastian, now neighbors, getting to know one another but also keeping secrets. He doesn’t know that she is Royal Guard, and he thinks she doesn’t know he is a prince. They have really good chemistry, but both hesitate to act on it because of the secrets. Oh – and because technically Penny had a boyfriend when she left, but they had kind of broken up and it’s messy. But trust me – I never felt like she was cheating or anything. I will say, I’m not a fan of taking a relationship to a serious level, and starting a physical relationship, when you are keeping big secrets from the other person. And that happens here. This will be addressed in book two I assume.
I also thought once Penny becomes friends with Sebastian, she really doesn’t make a ton of effort to convince him to go back home. That storyline kind of stalls. It just becomes more about her conflicted feelings with falling for him.
Nana Malone writes two really cute characters. Penny is very outspoken, and a little awkward. She is funny and due to her training, can take down any big, drunk dude who tries to take advantage of her while out. I loved her.
Sebastian is more of a playboy, and really wants treat Penny well. He struggles with trying to keep his attraction at bay, but he is truly enamored with her. They get into crazy situations together and they spend a lot of time just getting to know one another and eventually a romance sparks. And it’s hot. Like when a man won’t leave Penny alone at a bar:
“Listen to me. She’s a friend of mine. If I see you near her again, I’ll make your life very difficult. What she did to you on accident will seem like a walk in the park.”
When he pulled me closer, I tipped my head up to glance at him, eyes wide. I was unprepared for what happened next. Sebastian squeezed me tightly, and I could see the muscle in his jaw twitching. He leaned over and brushed his lips against mine.
Holy. Shitballs. On. A. Cracker. Pussy down. Pussy down!
The kiss was electric, hot, and quick. And then it was over so soon I couldn’t be sure it had happened. His electric blue gaze bore into mine before he whispered, “Like I said. She’s mine.”
Something big happens to end the book – something I wasn’t expecting. Now I’m even more curious to see how it all plays out in Cheeky King. Looking forward to it! A light-hearted, fun royal read.