by K.A. Merikan
Release Date: 7th of February 2017
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Historical - 18th Century Cornwall, Highwayman, Kidnapping, Forbidden love, Violence
“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.
WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.
This is my first historical m/m by KA Merikan and I hope there will be more to come in future. The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple tells a story about two men who are shunned by the society and ended up as highwaymen. What will their ending be in a society whereby either being gay or a highwaymen is punishable by hanging?
Julian Reece is the black sheep of the family and after escaping an arrange marriage by making a deal with his abductor, his life as a merchant's son will never be a same again.
Sir Evan Penhart inherited a broke family and a ruined castle. In his attempt to bring in more money for the household, he meet Julian who offer him more money if only Evan could abduct him for ransom. Seem like a crazy and dangerous deal, but Evan is not someone who had the privilege to refuse.
Julian and Evan are both flawed characters, Julian even more so than Evan. Evan act out on his desperation to save his family's home, which is honorable in a way, while Julian can't stomach the idea of marriage when he longed to be free as a bird. In the beginning, Julian plainly sounds like a brat who didn't get what he want, ie. travelling the world while daydreaming about being an author. However, meeting Evan make Julian found something he wanted more than being an adventurer.
As per KA Merikan's signature style, they never hold back in the romance department. Is an all consuming love and passion between the forbidden lovers. Despite things started on shaky ground, I never doubt I will be fully invested in Evan and Julian in no time. Julian never once feel attracted to a man, the punishment itself it enough to steer him away from the idea. But after getting a taste of the forbidden fruit, Julian long for more. While, the formidable Sir Evan had been trying to curb his desire for a long time, what with having a long time enemy watching his every move waiting to pounce on a slight misstep, but having Julian being a such a temptation at close quarter is a losing battle.
The story is pretty long with a great build up. The authors took their page time to fully developed her characters and plot. I was hooked right from the start due to the sense of excitement with Julian's predicament at the hand of his abductor. The middle portion had a slightly slower pace with Julian and Evan growing closer and closer together. However, I would say it ended up with a bang, choked full of drama and suspense until I didn't even realize that the amount of sex scenes isn't as frequent as I thought it would be. I just love the idea of both men trying their damnest to be together despite all odds and willing to make sacrifices for each other.
All in all, this story make me long for an adventure and reminds me of watching one of Clint Eastwood's production. Absolutely well done.
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.
They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of - it will be full of surprises.