Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
After three years away, Lord Maxamillian is happy to return to his home only to discover his sister has run off without word, leaving behind a fiancé Max knew nothing about. Now it’s Max’s responsibility as per the Runaway Clause to find the man a suitable replacement. That might be easy for any other man, but Kelcey Moore is stubborn, bossy, and rude. He was also born into a family of traitors, with an entire family killed for their roles in the plot to kill the Prince—save for Kelcey, the only surviving Moore.
When Max tells Kelcey he intends to find him a new fiancé, Kelcey declines the offer, but Max is not so easily dissuaded. Max knows what it’s like to have people look down on him. His study of magic and the Goblin Wars win him no popularity among certain circles. His saving grace is that his sister is Duchess and no one wants to anger her. So instead of shunning Kelcey for his family’s poor choices, Max befriends him and soon learns there is more to Kelcey than what meets the eye.
Having an extra ticket to the theatre, Kelcey invites Max, but when Max arrives to pick him up, Kelcey informs him he’s being followed. Before they can act, they are attacked and taken to small brownstone where they meet Myles Pennington, Lord Ridley’s companion (Lord Ridley being the man Max’s sister ran off with). As Lord Ridley was engaged to the Princess, it is Pennington’s duty to find a replacement fiancé—Max. But Max is not interested but is given no choice—it’s either marry the princess or be arrested for treason. Until Kelcey makes him an offer he can’t refuse. It’s the romance Max had always dreamed of, and just when he thinks his life couldn’t be more perfect, secrets and half-truths threaten to tear apart everything he loves.
What happens when a capricious woman leaves her fiancé and runs away with another man? Her brother has to find the poor abandoned soul a new love. But—oh!—what happens when the brother falls for the stubborn, rakish, hard-headed ex-fiancé? Well, then we have a fabulous story written by Megan Derr. A Suitable Replacement, the fifth book in the Deceived series, is a story of circumstance and sexy romance. I adored this story.
I’d categorize this as a romantic fantasy, maybe historical fantasy with the mention of magic. I love the combination of a Regency-ish era and a fantasy world in this series. This world is vast and beautiful and interesting and complicated and complex and ever so perfect. I love the addition of the Runaway Clause and its reality to the lives of Max and Kelcey. It adds a whole new level of intrigue and depth to the world and to its rule. Then there are the Goblin Wars and Max’s theories as to magic. It’s all very detailed and leaves an opening for more to come in this world/series.
As for Max and Kelcey, well, I’m head over heels for both. I adored Kelcey from the beginning when he came stomping in demanding Max give up the location of his errant fiancé. He’s pushy and brazen and hot-headed. Gah! And not only that, but we find out just a little bit later that he is the lone survivor of a family who was killed in a plot to assassinate a royal when he was only ten. The black cloud of his family follows him around and Max’s sister was the first to ignore it, to see Kelcey for who he really is. Then there’s Max, all good intentions and big dreams. Max is a powerful man because of his sister’s status but is pretty much an outsider for his work. Both men are more comfortable on the fringe of society and find comfort and acceptance in one another.
There is a twist to this story and, oh my god guys, it is gut-wrenching. The secrets of Kelcey’s past and the half-truths are hard to weed through, but Max’s self-punishment, the guilt and penance he puts himself through… my heart broke more than once. But in true Megan Derr fashion, this story is turned around in a way that leaves a smile on my face and almost brought tears to my eyes.
I absolutely adored this book. The emotional quality is powerful, the characters are engaging, and the story is captivating. I dearly hope there will be more additions to this world. I highly recommend A Suitable Replacement by Megan Derr.