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From Merrimon Book Reviews
The Illegitimate King
 The Illegitimate King by Olivia Gates
by Olivia Gates

  A perfect completion to this emotional, passionate series!

With a king ailing, the kingdom of Castaldini searches for an heir to the crown.  None of the three choices live up to all the rules of succession.  Now the hunt for an heir has narrowed down to the third and last remaining choice, Prince Ferruccio Selvaggio, an outsider scorned for the circumstances of his birth and a man bent on revenge for the past misdeeds of the royal family.  Above all, Ferruccio plans to teach the spoiled Princess Clarissa D'Agostino a lesson.  Clarissa has a mission to secure the future of the kingdom by convincing the prince to return and accept the kingship.  She will do whatever it takes, endure any sacrifice, to insure the future of the kingdom.  As urgency and plotting bring Ferruccio and Clarissa together, underneath unexpected yet familiar passion inflames their hearts.  Will Ferruccio's plan for revenge succeed or will Clarissa change his heart?  Will Clarissa be able to confide in him and become the queen she was destined to be, not only of the kingdom but within herself?

In the third and final installment of The Castaldini Crown series, Olivia Gates brings a perfect conclusion to this series as she delves even deeper into the history and passions that inflame the Castaldini royal family.  Olivia Gates creates multi-faceted characters whose depth increases the emotional impact of their romance.  Ferrucio is an
intense alpha male hero with just enough wounded soul to make him much more intriguing than the typical alpha male.  Although an outcast with darker motivations, Ferrucio is a man whose rejection has driven him to make a success of his life, the very success upon which the future of the kingdom may rely.  Princess Clarissa may appear to be a spoiled princess but there is more to her than meets the eye.  Once top of her class at Harvard business school, can Clarissa close the deal with Ferruccio?  If closing the deal means revealing the secrets and hurts of the past, will she be able to open her heart to love?  In her creation of Clarissa, Olivia Gates makes a bold move that not only gives depth to her character but also to the dynamics of the royal family's emotional background history.

THE ILLEGITIMATE KING is a stunning conclusion to this series.  Although this the third book does work as a stand alone, readers of the series will find certain threads developed that were introduced throughout the series and especially in the second book, THE PRODIGAL PRINCE'S SEDUCTION.  Now in the third book. Olivia Gates brings a deeper look inside the hidden secrets as they have been passed down.  Not only does passion inflame the characters, but together, they unlock the darker secrets within, enabling them to achieve a love that transforms both the hero and heroine into a wholeness for themselves as individuals and also for the kingdom's future.  THE ILLEGITIMATE KING is not a book that coasts into a lackluster resolution.  As the hero and heroine come closer and closer to the romantic happily-ever-after, Olivia Gates ramps up the level of wonderful surprises, inner glimpses and passionate scenes. From first moment to last, THE ILLEGITIMATE KING is an emotional, passionate romance that takes the reader to the very heart of her characters. 

In this, her second Desire series, Olivia Gates brings a new look into royal passion.  The previous Throne of Judar series is magnificent with its passionate poetic, powerful language and these intense heroes and the women who capture their hearts.  In the Castaldini Crown series, Olivia Gates adds whole new dimensions.  She welds together all the background elements to create rich, legendary characters. 
In the Castaldini Crown series, Olivia Gates creates a fine mix of fairy tale themes, a realistic look at the kingdom's economic fate in focused, precise details, and a rich inner psychological secretive family history passed on to the next generation in such a way that the stakes are even higher both for the kingdom and her character's hearts, packing each book with intense emotion, drama and romantic passion.  With the Castaldini Crown series, Olivia Gates exhibits a certain maturing and growth in her writing style as her imagination creates an even more finely interwoven setting for the passions of her characters.  Olivia Gates is a romance writer to watch and hopefully one who will someday give her readers even more in a sweeping multi-generational saga.  :-)

Publisher: Silhouette Desire (July 2009)
Series: The Castaldini Crown

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

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