Title: The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple
Author: K.A. Merikan
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Count: 471
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
“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.
“I only hate you because I cannot have you.”
Antiheroes are my favorite kind. Sir Evan Penhart is a baronet who ends up being a highwayman in order to save his estate. Julian Reese is an aspiring writer, and his family’s disgrace. Their story starts under uncommon circumstances, with an agreement that suited both of them, but didn’t go as planned. They will fight and bleed, they will become friends and make love, but most of all they’ll love each other so hard, maybe to the point of death.
“Can you feel that? I’d build you a castle in that sky if you could only want me the same way I want you.”
There’s something truly beautiful in Julian’s character. From the moment he gets “kidnapped”, there’s a journey ahead of him that leads to self-awareness and self-acceptance. His first heated glances towards Evan, his self loathing for the way his body reacts to another man, his realisation of what his lack of interest in women means…it all clicks into place, and Evan is the catalyst. And then the way he not only embraces it, but wants to find more people “like him”, a safe community of sorts, was pretty brilliant! It felt real and natural and perfectly explored.
“You don’t get to take this kiss back. It’s mine.
“It is only yours. I was not prepared for the thunder when it first came over me. It scared me, and lightning burned my hands, but I still chased you. Now my eyes are clear, and I finally see that my place is in the eye of the storm…”
The scene at 89%…I really believe that this scene showcases K.A.Merikan’s best feature; the perfect blend of romance and action. It’s amidst chaos, and with the threat of everything ending, that the love and connection of the characters really shine. Everything ceases to exist and it’s just the two of them. And me glued to my kindle. It’s this type of scenes that I find the most powerful and intense, even more than the sex scenes. Like the RV scene in the end of Homicidal Instincts, or the very last scene of Guns n’ Boys: He Is Mine.
As for the steam, if you ‘re afraid that there’s not much of it because it’s a historical…don’t be. There are enough sex scenes here, but very integral to the plot. I can almost name the purpose each one served. Oh, and there’s a spanking and discipline scene too. Just saying.
The setting, Cornwall in the beginning of the romantic period, is magnificent! It’s always a great place for a historical romance and a favorite of mine. I loved the cove scene in the end.
It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of this author duo, but I can honestly say that this is one of their best books. It’s pretty long but it never dragged. It’s gritty and raw, but at the same time sweet and romantic. Sometimes brutal, some others gentle, with a wonderful and very fitting HEA.
“…How does one start a relationship with another man when it’s something so forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for. And then you take a leap of faith.”