Disclaimer: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book from the author.
A strong fictional tradition exists of rich men “collecting” people to serve their particular purposes. James twists this trope to showcase her specific talents as a writer by creating a family of adopted psycho/sociopaths trained by their father to serve a purpose in society—a necessary evil. Oh, and it’s also super gay, super sexy, and in turn tragic and hysterical.
One of my biggest pet peeves about romance fiction is the “insta-love” trope. After thinking about this book for a bit after binge-reading it in a single amazing sitting, I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy reading about characters with emotional attachment issues because they are particularly intentional about who they decide “their person” is going to be. I don’t presume to understand all of Adam’s motivations in choosing Noah in this book. However, I adore how Noah’s trauma-induced jagged edges line up perfectly with what Adam is able and wants to offer him in a relationship. Though Adam’s brothers are slightly less enthused with this development in the carefully curated impression they give the rest of the world, Noah is a man on a mission (this is the tragic bit). He has no problem with dragging the Mulvaney clan along for the ride. (In the end, they don’t complain all that much, which is where a lot of the humor comes in.)
Due to the subject matter of both who Adam is as a character and Noah’s personal history, this will not be a book that appeals to all readers. James treats these topics with the respect they deserve and provides enough information to flesh out the characters without emphasizing anything unnecessarily. The romance arc is strongly intertwined with the external conflict so that both support each other rather than it ever feeling like one could be left out and still function as a complete book. Along the way, James does wonderful work in creating interest in the other Mulvaney siblings and setting up how the future may look for this series.
Readers who especially enjoyed James’ book Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2) and the Wages of Sin series should not miss this first installment to this exciting new world.