“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?” “One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”
Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.
Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel.
Penniless. No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.
When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.
Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.
But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.
Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes
Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)
WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.
Let me start by saying I'm totally a fan of K. A. Merikan this writing duo is amazing. In general they are one of my go to for stories that have a darker, edgier undertone to them. Their 'Guns 'n Boys' series is just so much book crack for me and this one sounded like it was a guaranteed win. Sure it was historical which isn't my favorite time frame but it's not a deal breaker by any means either and I mean...really, who doesn't like a sexy highwayman?
I know it wasn't too dark for my taste. Hell I loved ICoS (In the Company of Shadows), willingly sobbed my way through 'A Little Life', 'When All the World Sleeps', 'Into This River I Drown', Avril Ashton's 'Run This Town' series and on and on...so not too dark, in fact compared to some of those it was practically fluff and no that wasn't the problem either because I like fluff too (I won't bother with a list for that).
I can't even fault the writing because I was impressed by the writing. The attention to detail was for me just right not so much that it bored me and definitely enough to keep my in the historical setting. So just right from my perspective.
I actually finished reading this one a couple of days ago and have been pondering things and trying to see if in hindsight it would become clear as to why I didn't love this book the way I had thought I would and so far I have to say "I got nothin'."
I think at the end of the day what it came down to for me is that just like we sometimes love a book and can't really explain why...we just know we do. The opposite can also happen we read a book it's good and we feel like we should really love it, we should have devoured it and been over the moon with the story, we aren't. Something just didn't fall into place...maybe the stars weren't in alignment. Who knows...I don't.
What I do know is I'm still a fan of K. A. Merikan. There is no chance that I won't be making grabby hands for the next 'Guns 'n Boys'...oh, wait I've already done that and I look forward to the day that I can dive into some of the other books that I have diligently hoarded on my TBR list waiting for the time when I can just curl up in a corner and fall into a dark, edgy marathon of Merikan goodness with their 'Sex 'n Mayhem' series or 'The Werewolves of Chernobyl' or maybe some 'Zombie Gentlemen' as a rule I don't do zombie books but I'm totally willing to make an exception with this author.
So this one was good just not great for me and I don't know why, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, however, if you like historical and don't mind your stories a little on the darker side from time to time. You need to give this one a good look because it may just be the next read that you're looking for.
********************An ARC of 'The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple' was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Buy this book:
Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or booksellers listed.