Ranch owner Darby Landon had never been able to refuse her baby sister anything. So when Pepper calls, begging Darby to take her place in Washington, D.C. and stand in to escort a business colleague of their father’s, Darby agrees reluctantly. But her long self-imposed absence from the social scene in D.C. means that cowgirl Darby needs a crash course in schmoozing, impressing and fitting in with the rest of the upper crust folks, as well as a beauty makeover. So Pepper sends Darby to Glass Slipper, Inc., whose three experienced owners are famous for transforming Cinderellas into princesses. Almost immediately upon landing in D.C., Darby meets the irrepressible and charming Shane Morgan and, surprisingly, sparks fly between them.
Himself a prodigal son returning home to inherit a multi-billion dollar business empire, Shane is no more comfortable with his new mantle of tycoon than Darby is with her Barbie transformation. In this artificial world of wealth and greed, they find a kindred spirit in one another. But soon the sexual aspect of their fledgling relationship takes over. Then a new person enters the story – Stefan Bjornsen, the aforesaid business colleague, who turns out to be a Viking god in the flesh. Soon Darby finds herself the sole focus of attention of two of the sexiest and richest men ever. An intriguing love triangle is in the offing, but how will it be resolved? And when a deadly secret comes to light and skeletons come tumbling out of closets, will love win the day?
Written with spirit and sincerity in a style that is an equal mix of love, laughter and seriousness, author Donna Kauffman’s The Cinderella Rules is certain to immerse readers in its unfolding saga. Darby is a salt-of-the-earth kind of woman, and her inner turmoil and the emotional discord with her father are poignant. Shane is also a torn character; his dilemma is somewhat similar to Darby’s, yet different. Their mutual passion is hot enough to set the pages ablaze while the bond they form through mutual understanding and proximity is realistic and enjoyable. Stefan is the unknown and unstable factor in this story. With his coming, a tone of suspense and tangible excitement jumps into the narrative. The many side characters are equally appealing, but none more so than the three godmothers who are wisdom, grace and fun personified. Their Cinderella rules, which preface each chapter, are not only thoughtful gems of acute perception but also greatly inspiring. From the first half of the story, it’s just not possible to guess at the surprising plot developments to come. Kauffman also weaves a welcome thread of humor into the fabric of the story.
The strength of this book lies not just in character or plot development but in the emotional bonds, commitments and legacies which qualify each character, making them deeper and better.