Mills & Boon, £4.99, ISBN 978-0-263-93258-4
Historical Romance, 2017
Compromised by the Prince’s Touch is the first book in a series called Russian Royals of Kuban. The thing is, Kuban is supposed to be an independent kingdom, albeit one gripped by revolution when the series take place, so I guess even Bronwyn Scott doesn’t recognize that kingdom’s independence? This confusion on my part extends beyond this – while this book contains words that resemble those in the English language, the entire thing has me scratching my head.
Prince Nikolay Baklanov is an exiled prince, and since the last six months, he’s been in London working as an instructor in a riding academy. He gets restless and all because (a) back in Kuban he spent the day doing action hero stuff and (b) somehow he managed to make it back to his opulent boudoir at night to cavort with many, many Kubanian ladies. Now that he is in London, he (a) spends his days training spoiled misses on horse-riding and (b) spends his evening enjoying the charms of many, many English ladies. I don’t know about anyone else, but the only thing different for him now is that he can no longer spend his days twirling baton, hazing newbies, or whatever it is he imagines to be “military” work (which couldn’t be serious if he could make it home in time every evening for his Ladies Go Yay with Nikolay activities) and instead actually teaching people something. I know, it’s such a sad life, I can only weep for him.
And then, he has this student, Klara Grigorieva, who is the daughter of the Russian ambassador. She makes no pretense that she already knows horse-riding – in fact, she practically flaunts it for some pointless and unnecessary show of defiance that the author believes to be a sexy display of feisty behavior. As you can imagine, his suspicions that she wants something from him – well, aside from that D thing, which he’d be happy to give – intensify, as she’s the daughter of the Russian ambassador and that man may be pimping out his daughter to Nikolay for some nefarious reasons. Actually, he is somewhat correct – the ambassador sends Klara to scope Nikolay out and report back on the possibility of securing that man’s allegiance to Mother Russia. Klara knows this… so why openly does things that make Nikolay more suspicious? Won’t it make more sense to act normal and get to know him better without riling him up?
I’m confused when Nikolay starts wondering whether the ambassador and other meanies are trying to get him to commit treachery. He’s an exiled prince! He can never go back, as Kuban doesn’t want him anymore. He is not even a Kubanian given that he is an exile, so technically he can’t commit treason. And even if he allies with Mother Russia, what difference does it make? It’s not like he can sell them state secrets. He is nothing. He has no authority, no power, no access to upper echelons of the government because, hello, exiled.
And why are the English mothers gagging for him to marry their daughters? He’s an exiled prince. Who is teaching in a riding school. He may as well be a wealthy merchant – and yet these women act as if marrying him would somehow elevate the prestige of their family. He’s a freaking exiled prince. Technically, he’s not even a prince anymore. So what is going on?
Klara, in the meantime, feels guilty about deceiving Nikolay even when it’s pretty obvious to even blind swines that her father is not inviting that man to dinner parties so that they can all become good friends. And, despite not wanting to get involved with the plot, she insists on continuing to meet Nikolay anyway. Why? Because she wants to have sex with him. I wish I’m kidding, but really, this woman really wants the D here, there, and everywhere ASAP. I’m sure you will be shocked to realize that the grand conflict of this story is our hero suspecting that her father has pimped her out all along. In fact, I wish she had willingly let herself be pimped out because of the greater good, because that will mean that she is capable of thinking of something beyond wanting the D. But no, this is just another story where the heroine’s inability to control her legs from doing a movable bridge during peak river traffic hour ends up plunging herself into a whole lot of self-inflicted mess.
The sad thing is that this one could easily be salvaged. Make Nikolay Balaclava a princely ambassador instead of an exiled turd. Make Klara Gigigogolala a cunning and willing accomplice of her father, willing to use her sex appeal to ensnare the hero into some seductive political game. There, most of the things in this story make sense now. In its current form though, Compromised by the Prince’s Touch is only best picked up by readers who read for tropes that agree with their sensibilities rather than for overarching things like coherence, logic, and such.