I’ve read a few other books by this author and loved what she has done combining historical with sensual, hot romance while providing a strong plot and well-crafted characters. As I plunged into this new series, I did it with anticipation and I was not disappointed. Max and Tristan are just superb as is their story.
The story opens with Max closing the books on the relationship that broke his heart and his trust. Never again, he determines as he sets forth to bury himself in his responsibilities as the duke of the vast holdings his father left to him on his death. But a man has needs and even a seemingly cold-hearted duke gets lonely. When his one friend nudges him toward a discreet brothel that caters to every need ‘just ask’, he decides to take him up on it. If he’s paying a man to be with him, at least it will be the business of pleasure and he’ll know the man is honest and it’s just a business arrangement. Just a few times after being with Tristan, the man he was given the first night, Max finds this the perfect solution and Tristan more than meets his needs. He likes that Tristan seems to want to be with him as much as he wants Tristan. But then Max witnesses the darker side of Tristan’s profession and intervenes to remove him from it all when Tristan agrees to go with him. Now things get a bit tricky, but Max has learned his lesson and lays down rules.
Tristan eagerly agreed to Max’s rules that it was just physical, Max’s focus is on his business affairs in the dukedom and that further demands would be unacceptable. Becoming a kept man by just one man who is kind to him was the height of his aspirations at Rubicon’s and he not only gets to service just one man, that man is Max who he loves being with. Very soon, Tristan learns that Max wasn’t kidding about how busy and absorbed in business he is. Tristan is on his own during the day hours, but then he shares Max’s bed at night. The arrangement and time spent together help the men to learn a vast deal about each other, but there are a few bumps in their road that are dealt with as they come. They are no longer just lovers, but friends and Tristan is slowly able to wean Max from his drive to punish himself through work and enjoy his life. Then Tristan did the unthinkable and fell in love with Max who refused to trust and love ever again not that Tristan had thought a duke and a prostitute ever stood a chance at anything permanent.
The plot was both character and relationship driven. Most of the character development is for Max because of how he feels about his father’s death and how he feels about the betrayal by the man before Tristan. Tristan has things to work through too. They are both worthy men and I loved seeing them together. Though a mighty and wealthy duke, Max is so vulnerable and lonely not just because he loves men, but because he likes to dominate in the bedroom too. He reaches out and I just melted when Tristan upheld his trust and brought him out of his dark place. Tristan sees himself as always having to depend on being in Max’s good graces and doing what he can to bring Max pleasure, but there is a part of him that can’t stand back and just pretend he doesn’t see what Max is doing to himself. Tristan has the inner strength and love to speak where others in his position would remain silent so as not to jeopardize losing all that money. These two were so good together and for each other that it nearly broke my heart when they parted. I was in a sweat for Max to get up and chase after his chance at happiness and love and not sit there freaking out, but I suppose it had to happen that way so that the end was even sweeter.
I look forward to more from this series. I would love a story in the future about either Max’s mysterious driver or his friend because I saw so much to like and intrigue about both of them.
Those who enjoy m/m historical erotic romance should give this one a try.
My thanks to Net Galley for providing the book for review purposes.
Review by Sophia Rose
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