Author: Fyn Alexander
Publisher: Loose Id
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Rating: 2.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/03/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Gay Romance, Trans*
When Scarlet and Ronin, two very beautiful individuals, approach Julian May, he cannot believe his luck. Having albinism and being somewhat shy, he doesn’t usually get attractive people approaching him. Julian’s attraction to Ronin is immediate, and he is very flattered by Scarlett’s interest. Being gay, he falls in love with Ronin…only to find out that Ronin and Scarlett are the same person and that they made a play for him as part of a honey trap, set by the very agency that employs them both: the Secret Intelligence Service.
All hell breaks loose as an angry and betrayed Julian refuses to have anything more with Ronin/Scarlett. Meanwhile, Julian needs to rescue an old lover who is stuck in a prison in Afghanistan, and the only person willing or able to help him is Ronin. Despite Ronin’s jealously when he sees Julian and his former boyfriend together, he does not give up on trying to win Julian’s heart. Little does he know, he already has it.
I really wanted to like this book. In fact, I tried really hard to enjoy it enough to at least give it a three star rating. However, there were just too many things here that either didn’t make sense or just plain WTF?
Julian May works at MI6 as a writer but his association with a childhood friend currently incarcerated in a foreign prison makes his superior suspicious. In order to prove or disprove Julian’s loyalty MI6 agent Ronin is ordered to do whatever it takes.
Ronin is genderfluid and also dresses as Scarlett, a woman. The genderfluidity of a character is what drew me to the story but I’m not sure the character was properly portrayed here.
My first issue is that both Ronin and Scarlett approached Julian and he isn’t able to see they are the same person. These weren’t quick encounters either, we’re talking in-depth conversations and, in Ronin’s case, a sexual encounter. I was willing to overlook this but this was just the first of my issues.
In the beginning of the book Ronin is in an abusive relationship. He gets beat by his boyfriend and even gets raped. And then the assault is never mentioned again. He moves on with Julian, even having anal intercourse, with no emotional or physical issues resulting from the attack. Rape should never be used as a plot device, especially not one that is then forgotten about.
This story had MAJOR insta-love. It happened so fast I practically had whiplash. Ronin and Julian had slept together just a few times before they were both in love. At the time Ronin hadn’t come clean to Julian that he was also Scarlett. Deception, yeah that’s a good way to start a relationship.
The final straw, there are other issues I didn’t mention, is how Julian finally realizes that Ronin and Scarlett are one in the same person. Despite Julian being gay Scarlett seduces him and performs oral sex on him. Later, after sex with Ronin, Julian reflects on a certain tongue trick Ronin uses during oral sex and remembers that Scarlett did the same thing. Yup, that’s how he figures it out. Because both Ronin and Scarlett dipped their tongue in his urethra while giving him a blow job.
The rest of the book involves an unbelievable prison escape but by then I’d already made up my mind. This just isn’t a book I can recommend.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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