*I received this book in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+
Cherry is a dancer forced to perform for meager money as she was sold to cover her father’s debts. In order to buy her freedom faster, Cherry enlists the help of Berlin; one of the best gladiators in the arena, to train her to be a fighter as well. As Cherry endures the brutal training and equally brutal fights, she learns she may not want to taste freedom all alone.
This book feels so clipped, it’s more of a fleshed out outline than a full story I could sink my teeth into and really enjoy. The time goes by so fast, I never really got a sense of who the characters really were and why they should even be together. If this were a fully fleshed out novel, it would be amazing. But as it stands, it is sadly lacking. 2.7 out of 5.
Plagued by gambling debts, Tristan Walsh works at a brothel; to pay them off. One night he has a client named Max Arrington; who is nursing a broken heart after a former lover tried to extort money out of him. After saving Tristan from a violent client, Max not only pays off Tristan’s debts but takes him in as essentially a kept man at Max’s vacation estate. Both men are hesitant to open their hearts but nevertheless, deeper feelings form over time and they must decide if the risk of not only heartbreak but the discovery of their relationship is worth the possibility of happiness.
Historical m/m romances can be kinda fun and the set up of a wealthy duke and an indebted prostitute was intriguing enough for me to nab this book. Max and Tristan are cute together; especially Max as he can be delightfully awkward. If I had a gripe, it would be the conflict centering around Tristan going “I needed you to stop me.” That has always ticked me off. Don’t do or say something with the intent on testing the other person. That comes off to me as needlessly manipulative; not romantic. For Tristan to pull the “I only told you I was leaving because I wanted you to beg me to stay” then to turn around and continue to test Max over and over made me like Tristan less. Not dislike him but he wasn’t as endearing to me after that. Other than that, this story is sweet, saucy, and has a good ending. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.