Elijah’s a killer. An assassin. And more recently a bodyguard for the heir to a huge media conglomerate. He’s been trained his whole life to be a weapon. So he never expected to find love in the arms of his protectee, Bastian. Sebastian lives a prince’s life. He’s got responsibilities. Obligations. The last thing his straight-laced father wants is for him to fall in love with someone unsuitable. And in his father’s mind, Elijah is definitely unsuitable. But Bastian is unwilling to give his love up. But he and Elijah are willing to let someone else in. So long as they can find the perfect princess to make their duo into a trio. Ashe is living a fairy tale life. Only it’s the kind of fairy tale that features familial abuse, neglect, and horrible step family. She’s constantly belittled and berated. Her only escape is land surrounding her magnificent family home. After another argument, Ashe is in need for some relief when she encounters two smoking hot men by her favorite lookout. The sparks fly. Passions soar. But there’s parental machinations in play. And will the former assassin, the media prince, and the neglected stepdaughter get their happily ever after?
This is a very steamy erotic romance. It’s also one of my favorite kinds of romance to read – an equal, polyamorous triad. There’s lots of heated sex scenes, and yes, swords do cross in this. There was a lot of great consent in this, especially when it came to Ashe and her choice in being a part of the relationship. There’s lots and lots of sex. Like so much sex. It’s not badly written, but I was not really okay with mouth to anus stuff without some clean up first. That’s a good way to get e. coli. Be safe about your butt and remember that a little bit of clean up can go a long way. Also condoms are more than just for birth control and bare backing in the butt before going into the vag is not really a good thing. You might regret that.
As for the story, you can definitely see hints and call outs to Cinderella. Ashe even loses her shoe at one point. There’s call outs to the ball. There definitely an evil stepmother and evil stepsister. But it’s far enough away from the fairy tale that there are still some surprises. I was actually fairly surprised by parts of the ending. Pleasantly for the most part. Ashe was very much involved with her salvation, which is a good thing.
Character wise, I liked Bastian and Elijah a lot. Especially Elijah. He was far and away my favorite. Bastian is okay. A bit vanilla in places, but okay. He’s a fine romance hero – a little alpha and a little beta. Not memorable but that’s not a bad thing. I didn’t warm to Ashe quite as much as I did the boys. I found her a little too much of a “Poor little rich girl.” She did things that were a bit thoughtless toward the staff. I also wasn’t really happy that she didn’t walk away. Unlike the historical version of Cinderella, Ashe had a skill. She had a social security number. She had the ability, especially after she met Elijah and Bastian, to walk away and get out. But she didn’t. Now this could be because she was so abused, but considering she was conspiring with the boys that became less of a thing. I don’t know. I didn’t love her.
It was one reason for the drop in the star. The other was that there was a lot of ending fatigue. Like there were literally 5 or 6 different endings. A few could have been cut. That’s all I’m saying. I kind of was like… let’s just skip to the end, but now.
But ultimately I enjoyed this novel so it gets: Four Stars.
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. Thank you to Entangled for letting me read it.