Prince Colin has fallen very hard for Alain de Gris, a renowned scientist and son and heir to the high priestess of the Simon coven of witches. Despite being the crown prince of Sendorra, a tiny nation nestled between Spain and France, Colin wants to marry Alain. Colin is intersex, which means he can father and carry a child of his own with another man, but he’s forbidden to do so as heir to the throne. Still, he carries a supernatural gene enabling him to harness magic and Alain has begun tutoring him somewhat.
In order to properly court Alain, Colin arranged a decoy of himself, a distant cousin named Drake who resembles him strongly and who has magic enough to glamour himself a perfect double. Unfortunately, Drake is part of the Bradford coven and sworn enemy to both Colin’s family and Alain’s coven. Drake wanted to insert himself into Colin’s life completely—and then murder Colin. He succeeded in fooling Colin’s estranged fiancé, Princess Charlotte, who is now on the run with “Colin” (Drake) who believes her pregnant per his plan. With his plan to murder Colin foiled, Drake now intends to ransom back Charlotte, if possible.
Charlotte is terribly ill, with morning, daytime, and evening sickness, and Drake’s grandmother and accomplice is trying to quell the illness with her potions while they hide out in Prague. Only Alin, his mother Isabelle, Colin, and Colin’s fathers know Charlotte’s predicament—all believing Drake to be the father of Charlotte’s child. It is Colin’s familiar, the ghost of his dead twin Andrew, who learns the child’s true paternity, and he helps the put the rescue plan into motion.
A Noble Cause is a sequel to A Tangled Legacy, and I believe it is best enjoyed when read in order. The books feature magic, heavily, as many of the characters have some magical ability—even if they choose not to use it. One needs to recognize that this is a magical realm within our mundane world, like an alternate universe filled with witches, magic, and childbearing men. I liked the story very much, and the pacing was totally spot on for me. There was a little bit of reconnection to the previous book, but we were on the chase to find Charlotte from the first pages. Charlotte is rather petty, especially when she realizes that Drake had tricked her and Colin wants her only to keep his offspring safe. She wanted to be the queen one day and isn’t that satisfied with the courtly rights she’s being offered in exchange for not marrying Colin—who doesn’t want her as a wife.
Drake is a horror, an opportunist of the first order who has zero remorse about his murderous plans or activities. The only way to ensure the safe arrival is to kill Drake, if they can catch him. He’s mighty crafty and has little to lose once Charlotte is rescued and returned to Sendorra for her maternity care. Expect many lethal encounters, with lots of suspense surrounding both the pregnancy and Drake’s vendetta against Colin.
There’s a fair amount of politicking, but through it all Colin is resolute that Alain is his true partner. His fathers struggle with the situation, because it means re-writing the laws of Sendorra. They had thought Colin would cave in some way. I liked that he didn’t, that he was willing to stand up for both himself and Alain, even though there were easier and more expeditious ways to legitimize Colin’s offspring. There is a little bit of male pregnancy in this one, but it’s quickly followed by the super happy epilogue. Expect a thorough wrap up with a giant family filled with love and magic enjoying their lives to the fullest.