It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.
Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.
Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.
Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.
But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.
Yaaaay! I got my merman fix and the story completely pulled me in. : )
I mean, how could it not, when the very first few paragraphs had parolee Leigh Hurley plunging to the depths of the river, with concrete cinder blocks shacked to his feet.
Then, as his last breath of air was running out, in addition to seeing his life flash before his eyes, he also saw something else. A beautiful man floating toward him, then bestowing upon him the gentlest of kisses.
Tolomeo, aka "Tolly", was a member of a savage, brutal, and cruel race of merfolk, but fortunately for Tolly, his parents ran away with him and nurtured his more kind and caring ways, although lonely, after losing them because "they couldn't swim fast enough". : (
Both men were lonely, but after a very naked Tolly grew legs and went in search of Leigh, they fell into an easy friendship, with Tolly wanting more and Leigh firmly applying the breaks.
The main drama of the story was the repeated attempts of Leigh's mobster boss' competition to put him back in the river again, but this time for good.
However, with Tolly as his willing bodyguard, they were a formidable pair, because although Tolly may have looked meek and mild, under his smaller, twink'ish figure... there be monsters. Literally.
The one thing that concerned me when getting this book was the gangster aspect, not a genre I usually care for at all. As in AT ALL, folks.
But the story did have plenty of action and intrigue. And even a little bit of shape-shifty, healing, siren song magic, which were all huge selling points that kept me completely invested.
The plot was also well-paced, in part due to the persistence of the murdery thugs, but also because Tolly only had until the new moon for Leigh to confess his love, or Tolly would be put to death at the merciless hands of his fellow merfolk.
I absolutely loved the cast of side characters, too, who were loving, funny, and loyal. They were also Leigh's chosen family, although he'd never thought of them as such until closer toward the end of the book, when they unquestionably had his back over and over again.
The steam was moderate, but present, it just didn't really go on for page after page, the way that sexier stories tend to do. It was nice, though -- except for description of the freaky mer pene. 'Cause I coulda done without that, TBH. heh
The book ended much as I'd suspected it would, but I honestly didn't care one single bit. Once the main Big Bads were defeated, I don't know, the last bits seemed a teeny bit flat, but I think that was just me being used to the previously-quick pace.
The story was well-written and I enjoyed the hell out of it, so I'd rate this one at around 4.5 stars, because Tolly was too adorable for words.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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