Title: Broken Prince, Mismatched Eyes
Author: Layla Dorine
Genre: Gay romance, fantasy, historical
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
All of his life, Caden DeMott’s mismatched eyes have made him the target of superstition and scorn. Though he is the son of a nobleman, he’s been allowed to run free over the hills and moors, mostly ignored by his family. No one ever thought to inform him that he had been betrothed since infancy, until the day his fiancé, Prince Rhys Gwyther arrived to marry him.
Rhys is the prince of the small island country of Mauritania, a land rich in gems, rose oil, and pearls, but poor in skilled artisans and seeds to grow crops. In order to further cement the trade route to the mainland, he’s been sent to marry a man he’s never met, and bring him back to Mauritania. Unfortunately, an accident years before has left Rhys with a lot of emotional baggage and very little trust in strangers.
But trust is exactly what Caden and Rhys are going to need if they are to make a life together, and help unravel the mystery of who’s been smuggling valuable gems and pearls off the island. Add in the realization that Caden’s stepmother, Mildred and her island representative, Maxwell, have been importing inferior goods for years, forcing Mauritania to become more dependent on them, and trust becomes even more difficult.
Caden possesses the knowledge to finally allow Rhys’ father to unravel the plot to ruin Mauritania, but only if the king and his son are willing to put their faith in Caden’s loyalty to his new home. Something that is difficult to do after Caden is accused of cheating on his marriage vows to Rhys with his guard, Luc. Will Rhys believe him innocent? Or will their marriage be over before it truly has a chance to begin?
Rhys paused his rubbing to extract the shirt from Caden’s hand. He placed it back on the trunk and picked up the shirt Caden had tried on first. “There was nothing wrong with this one,” he commented, handing it back to him. “It matched your eyes.”
“But….” Caden frowned, glancing over his shoulder at Rhys, confusion in his eyes.
“You didn’t like that shirt on the ship,” Caden reminded him.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t like it.” Rhys sighed and slid his hand down Caden’s back. “It was just that I wanted you wear something more extravagant the first time the people saw you.”
Caden ducked his head. “I’m sorry if I embarrass you by not having many fancy things.”
Rhys felt the tension in his husband’s body and knew he was a big part of the cause. Caden had come such a long way from home, all alone, without even a familiar guard or manservant for companionship. It hadn’t really hit him until he’d woken that morning to find Petyr laying out his clothes. It was odd, now that he thought about it, that Caden’s father hadn’t sent one single servant to attend to his son. He could only imagine how much he’d added to his husband’s discomfort by constantly harping on about everything under the sun.
“You don’t embarrass me,” Rhys told him gently as he slid his fingers through Caden’s hair. “I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. Father Martin was right. I haven’t given you many reasons to want to stay with me, have I?”
“Not really,” Caden replied sadly.
“I’m sorry,” Rhys repeated. “I’ll work at doing better. I promise.”
When Caden turned and gave him a small smile, Rhys hugged him. He was taken aback when his husband stiffened at first, before relaxing enough to hug him back. Rhys stroked his hair lightly, enjoying the feel of the warm body pressed against him and the patchouli scent of Caden’s soap that still clung to his skin.
This is a historical/Fantasy Romance set at a time where horses are still used in the daily grind and ships have sails. I enjoyed this book immensely, but I recognize that some people will have a good number of issues. I’d like to address them.
The biggest issue people will have, I think, is there is a good number of POV jumps. Most of it is clearly delineated either in a chapter or section, but not always. There is also an element of an omniscient narrator. I like the omniscient or semi-omniscient way of writing. It allows the reader to imagine things no one could possibly know, such as consequences of someone’s actions even though no one actually saw it being done.
The main premise behind this story is of an arranged marriage between two men. None of the characters seem to care that these types of marriages are not only to ensure a current link between parties, countries or great families, but also to ensure future heir. Meaning, procreation needs to be possible in some form. This isn’t explained, although it could easily have been. I was able to suspend that missing logic. Some may not.
There are two other logic problems. One, is the reference to a mine. In the beginning it’s mine four, at the end everyone refers to mine three. The other problem is that Caden, one of the main characters, who can’t read, only a week after stating this, is given the responsibility of overseeing a merchant ledger.
There are also a few grammatical errors and missing words.
One might wonder why I’ve given this book such a high rating if there are problems and potential pet peeves for people. The answer is simple. The writing is freaking fantastic, the character development is top notch, and the story flow was good.
One of my criteria for rating is whether I want to reread the story. I’ve read it four times. Each time I get something. I’m an emotional reader. I need to connect with at least one of the characters. I did this in spades, to many of the characters, even the protagonists. I wanted things to work out, and they did. I wanted Caden and Rhys to finally let go of their own issues and love each other, and they did…um, belated spoiler alert I guess, on that one…
It was a great read and deserves all 4 stars I gave it.
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About the author
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
Layla Dorine can be found at: