This novel is one of those books that would probably have better reviews if the back-cover description was a bit more comprehensive. Some aspects of this book that verge strongly into light BDSM territory are not going to be for everyone. The early chapters showing the characters as they age together place it firmly in the “slow burn” category. I had no problem with either of those elements, and I adored this novel. Yuri is a brat, and Angelo is kind of a dick, but they are perfect together. Add the bonus political intrigues from their respective nations and I’m hooked.
Despite what the back cover implies, I believe that this is not a “gay for you” romance. Because of how fraught the discourse around sexuality and sexual orientation can be, I don’t blame authors for attempting to keep it simple in their fiction to avoid unnecessary censure. The closest Van Dorn gets here is in her delightful chapter headings, specifically the one that refers to Angelo as “Yurisexual.” Angelo’s evolving feelings toward Yuri are much more complicated than “huh, that guy makes me have funny feelings I usually only have for women,” which were a delight to explore (and incredibly sexy, to boot).
This is a stand-alone novel with no need for a sequel, but I wouldn’t complain one bit if the author wrote a companion piece featuring one of Yuri’s brothers. Especially if it let us peek in on this fun couple again!