Title: Ever After
Author: Riley Hart and Christina Lee
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 28th 2018
Genre(s): Fantasy, Gay Romance
Page Count: 262 pages
Reviewed by: Lili
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before—a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant.
After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have.
Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’ affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way.
As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after?
***PLEASE NOTE: EVER AFTER is a romantic fairy tale—minus the magic—that features one compassionate prince, one brooding valet, and plenty of angsty forbidden love. It’s loosely based on a certain treasured fairy tale in a wintery make-believe setting that wouldn’t be considered contemporary but also isn’t based on any specific time period and doesn’t play by any traditional rules.
Ever After by Riley Hart and Christina Lee is a sweet, magical, and passionate story all wrapped with a happily Ever After. No pun intended. It’s a fantasy story about a young prince being pressured to chose a bride, but he instead finds himself falling in love with his new valet. Although Merrick, the prince, and Cassius, his valet come from different backgrounds, they are very similar. They’re both simple men who enjoy art and nature and want nothing more than the freedom to live and love openly.
There was so much to love about this book, some highlights:
-Exquisite relationship development.
-The dialogue. The way Merrick and Cas spoke to each other would hit me right in the feels. I’d find myself sighing or grinning.
-The characters were lovable- even Merrick’s dad, the king, who could come across as gruff.
-Forbidden love. There’s something about secret rendezvous that always make my heart and race and deliriously happy.
-And the was Happily Ever After.
I’d also like to give kudos to Riley Hart and Christina Lee for trying something different, outside their comfort zone. It paid off because this was such a joy to read. I’m hoping there will be more stories- maybe the Duke of Lexington?
I’m giving Ever After 5 “Magical” Stars!!