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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ever After (Forbidden Love #1) [Merrick & Cassius] by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

I LOVED this one, thought it broke my heart to pieces too many times to count. This love story was SO beautiful and endearing and yet there was so much sorrow with two men who are destined to remain apart not only because of their difference in station but mostly because the combination of that with them being gay. 

The feel of the story was simply incredible. I labeled this one "Contemporary" but it's not. It's a Fairy-Tale without the "magic" part or rather it's a timeless romance novel. There are things that might be considered "modern" but maybe not so much, there are things that are "missing" from modern times but they didn't feel necessary or even relevant. It really gave the whole story a special vibe that made it about the story, the couple, and not specifically of a time and place, which also made it more relate-able. It's not JUST a fairy tale, it's a story that happens and happened before and possible would keep on happening (until we evolve past labels and positions, hopefully..).

Prince Merrick Davendall of Evergreen is at the right age to be married. His parents are weary of his bachelorhood, he should meet a lovely girl, get married and work on producing an heir, sooner rather than later.. Merrick is more than just reluctant. He had known all his life that he preferred men and so marrying someone he knows he cannot love breaks his heart. Not feeling he can confine with his parents, he mostly stalls... 

Cassius Havendale have one duty - his family. When he is suddenly promoted as the prince's personal valet his attraction to him means nothing. Ever since his father died, and actually even before he made his best efforts to help support his family. With his father gone and mother unable to work, it's up to him to keep food on the table for her and his two younger sisters. Cass isn't interested or impressed with royals in general but working as a valet means more money and for THAT he is willing to endure the close proximity to the prince.

Merrick and Cass couldn't have guessed what would happen between them - the companionship, friendship, (secret at first) attraction - that build little by little as they grew to know one another. It was totally heart breaking to read. Merrick and Cass found in one another true happiness. The one thing they couldn't even believe they could have, not only in one another but generally in life. Cass, obligated to his family even beyond his personal wants and needs and Merrick obligated to his parents, his country. While in this time and place gay men aren't prosecuted, they are also not truly accepted. If they were both commoners they might have found a way, but Merrick being the Prince with a very public position, and Cass being a mere servant things are bound to be literally impossible for them.

I loved how much both men shared even if everything about their lives have been so different. They are both artistic (Merrick draws and Cass writes), they are both quite secretive, having very few people they trust in their lives. For Cass it's his friend Valor and his family, for Merrick it was mostly his sister who knew he desired men and was heart broken for him for not being able to act upon his true desires. They are both very generous and giving, putting the ones they love and care about above themselves. They were surely MADE for one another even if Merrick is the prince of the land and Cass a mere commoner.  

~sigh~ I was holding my breath, throat soar and bleary eyed with the amount of heart ache both endured (me with them). Seeing them fall for one another while realizing just HOW impossible the situation is between them made this a hard read and mostly difficult to put aside. I wanted them to find their HEA SO MUCH! I waited, aching for them, wanting them to somehow find a way and I gotta say, though I had my guesses NONE were correct :) I loved that as well. 

I could ramble about this one for hours I feel like, but I think I rather stop here. If you are a fan of those kind of timeless romance novels, or fairy-tales, if you are a romantic at heart (even if you aren't usually a romance reader ;)) you've GOT to grab this one. You'll probably need a lot of Kleenex, but it's going to be SO worth it! 

Christina and Riley were GREAT together, but I already knew that ;) Having read their previous collab - Freefall - (Riley writing as "Nyrae Dawn") you should check those out as well! 

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This book is out TODAY 28 February 2018 - Grab it now through the link bellow 

(also available on KU).

If you loved this one check out the second in the series "Forever Moore". Like this one - a total stand alone and it's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Read on:
26-28 February 2018

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