Title: The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple
Author: K.A. Merikan
Length: 342 Pages
At a Glance: I highly recommend this book. I actually thought it could have been a little darker, a little edgier; there were definitely boundaries that could have been explored more; however, the attention to detail in this is spot on and the writing is well done.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Cornwall, 1785
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.
Review: Everything and more you can expect in a K.A. Merikan book! This book covers a whole spectrum of emotions within its pages—from start to finish we are taken on a ride of passion between two desperate men, men desperate in circumstance and with their love for each other. We hit initial attraction, dubious consent, acquiescence, lust, friendship and finally love. The writing duo of K.A. Merikan knows how to produce an edgier story, and this one does not disappoint.
Sir Evan Penhart is a Baron. A broke and penniless Baron. He’s a man reduced to living in one room of his ancestral estate because he cannot afford the upkeep on the property. But he’s proud—Tredele has been in his family for three hundred years, and he still has a few loyal servants he is responsible for. Resorting to highway robbery was supposed to be a one-time thing to help save his home and his legacy. He is a man driven to extreme desperation. Always considered the black sheep of his family because of his inclinations, Evan has learned life’s lessons the hard and brutal way. He is a morally dubious hero shaped by his experiences. But all that passion comes out in lots of glorious ways with the people he cares about and the way he fights against a life that wants to swallow him whole. He is a bit of a rogue, his moral compass is somewhat skewed, and he is the bad boy you fall in love with.
Julian Reece is a bad apple. Just ask his father. When Julian gets kidnapped by a highwayman in a robbery gone wrong, his father throws his hands up in the air and jumps for joy. Pay a ransom for him?! No way. Good riddance to the lout. Julian is a poet, a writer, a wastrel sure—but just until someone takes his dreams seriously for once. He has no wish to marry the girl his father has picked out for him, so when he is kidnapped on the way to marry her, he throws his hands up in the air and jumps for joy. That is, until he meets the dark and brooding man who has become his jailer. This is a man of dark passions, and what does it say about Julian that he begins to discover how much those dark passions appeal to him?
The kidnapping doesn’t solve the issues Evan has, with Julian’s father refusing to pay a ransom. So, what to do with the man now? He knows what he wants to do to the man now, but will Julian let him? From here in the book, the relationship between the two men develops rather organically and slow. Julian has to come to terms with what he wants from Evan, and both men have to decide if their love is worth dying for. The main antagonist in the story is a man named Pascoe who is determined to bring Evan down any way he can. Evan and Pascoe share a past that is devastating in its raw brutality. Pascoe has made it his life’s mission to see Evan hang. How these two authors work these men and their circumstances around to a HEA is as convoluted as it is endearing, and I couldn’t put it down. It does lag in the middle, so beware, but it is for character and story building, so I didn’t mind the change of pace. I am a huge fan of historically accurate stories and yeah, gritty and edgy novels, and, like I said before, this one doesn’t disappoint on either front.
Evan’s fingers inched all the way to Julian’s hip, and he moved closer, making Julian dizzy when the scent of wine mixed with Evan’s own. “I am not a monster. Nor am I a ghost. I am made of flesh and bone.” He moved his other hand over Julian’s, and pressed it harder to his own chest. “Can you feel that? I’d build you a castle in the sky if you could only want me the same way I want you.”
I highly recommend this book. I actually thought it could have been a little darker, a little edgier; there were definitely boundaries that could have been explored more; however, the attention to detail in this is spot on and the writing is well done. If you like your stories a touch on the dark side and are in the mood for a “different” kind of historical, then this book is for you. I loved it!
You can buy The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple here: