Read my reviews of the previous books in the Carnal Tower series:

Shades of Lust (#1) | Waiting on Forever (#2)

Though previous readers of this series have met both main characters beforehand, new readers should have no trouble with this installment as a stand-alone. In the prologue, Lindsey sends us briefly back in time to King’s initial arrival at the tower, which is also when he first meets Hen. I loved that their “meet cute” represented so many new beginnings. Unfortunately, the nature of their characters means they settle into a solid friendship and assumed unrequited pining. Both characters were too adorable about the other, and Lindsey plays with the “soft boys in love” trope in a manner I enjoyed, especially since neither character necessarily fits the “type” invoked by that trope.

Speaking of characters, Lindsey dives into a less-represented element with Hen as intersex! As usual, they prove that their grasp of character means Hen is so much more than his biological parts while also making sure that this facet of him is not exoticized when revealed to other characters. It is also not there to be a plot device either externally or in regards to the relationship that develops between him and King.

Instead, the external plot intertwines nicely with the relationship arc in this book in that it is not particularly nice at all. Lindsey layers acute and chronic trauma appropriately on all sides, along with featuring a realistic recovery period for the mental side of things that I find is skipped over in so many books. This blend results in a book that I did not find “high angst” but instead filled me with genuine anguish for the circumstances while I simultaneously cheered for every metaphorical step they took toward each other. (It also made me need to go hug the spouse once I finished, which is not a typical reaction I have to romance books.) This story’s unique friends-to-lovers path also involved King’s sex work as an integral part of the relationship building that doesn’t have the end goal of “saving” him from it (an element I support that is shared by all the books in this series).

This book features a happily ever after I have no trouble believing while also neatly seeding teases for the next book in the series that I am already looking forward to. I also find myself intensely curious about two other “sin” characters of the Carnal Tower that we know so little about. Though I know Lindsey is currently balancing multiple projects that I am also anticipating, I selfishly find myself putting this one at the top of my wish list for new releases.

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars
Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.