An arranged marriage leads to unexpected desire, in the first book of Alyssa Cole’s
Runaway Royals series…
When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.
Cole (A Princess on Paper) launches the Runaway Royals series with this thoroughly modern firecracker of a romance about a "trial marriage" between near opposites. No one expects a love match to grow from the hasty pairing between King Sanyu II of the fictional African kingdom of Njaza who was raised to rule but struggles with debilitating anxiety and doubts his own fitness for the crown and Shanti Mohapti, an ambitious former farm girl who believes she was born to be a queen. Though Shanti's confidence and political savvy are just what Sanyu needs, Sanyu's upbringing in a deeply sexist society hasn't prepared him to value an educated, outspoken woman, much less to know how to woo her. Sanyu longs for love but is afraid to go after it, and Shanti's more wedded to her political agenda than to their relationship. Luckily, Cole provides a brilliant cast of secondary characters to prod them toward each other while enhancing the plot with humor and wisdom. Genre traditionalists may balk at the abundant attention to politics and slow emotional burn, but the vivid prose, lively characters, and steamy encounters will keep readers hooked, and the intersections between politics, gender, and ideology will resonate the world over. This strikingly feminist saga raises the bar for contemporary romance.