Book Reviews

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan at Acerbi & Villani

Genre Gay / Historical / 18th Century / Royalty/Nobility / Mercenary/Robber/Highwayman / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 07-February-2017

Book Blurb

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

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.

Book Review

A story featuring “the black sheep of a rich family” and a scoundrel of a man who can only be called a “bad apple” by people who prefer well-behaved members of society definitely has my interest. Set it in the 18th century, when men loving men was illegal and a perilous undertaking in the best of conditions, throw in a power-obsessed father opposing his very willful son, and ensure both characters are a match where devious plans are concerned, and you have me sitting up and paying attention. By the time you add the fact that K.A. Merikan is the author of this adventure, you can be sure that I’ll be extremely interested.

As it turns out, having K.A. Merikan try their hand at a historical novel ensured that I find this story particularly interesting: the main characters, while sort-of-evil, are just a little “softer” than some of the contemporary badasses they have come up with. They are still deliciously devious, don’t get me wrong, but for anyone (like me) who prefers to read about people a little closer to “nice guys” than to antiheroes, this book is a treasure trove of hilarious moments, suspense, mystery around how the heck they are going to get themselves out of the mess they have created, and a level of erotic naughtiness between them that is on a par with that of contemporary guys.
Julian seems to be a well-adapted man of good breeding, until you try to cross him. When his father decides he needs to get married for the family’s sake - which Julian has no intention of doing – he enters into an agreement with a highwayman instead – and one that made me laugh and shocked the highwayman. Of course, this “plan” doesn’t work and both men spend the rest of the book trying to get out of the hole they dug for themselves.

Evan may be a baronet and a seemingly upstanding member of society, but his family’s fortune has been wasted, his financial trouble knows no end, and he is desperate enough to have turned to robbery to try to fix things. His motives are sort-of noble – he is trying to save his family from dishonor, after all – but his methods are highly questionable. Add the deliciously twisted imagination he has where bedplay is concerned and his determination to “corrupt” Julian, and you’ve got a total winner.

Between the two of them, the many twists and turns the story takes, the secondary characters, and the sheer pressure they find themselves exposed to, I was well entertained. With all the complications and obstacles they encounter it was a miracle they made it to “The End” alive! What an adventure!

If you like historical settings for morally somewhat dubious characters, if you want to see behind the façade of two men who seem perfectly normal at first glance, and if you’re looking for a read that is suspenseful, hilarious, and very erotic, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. Recommended for anyone interested in a good laugh, shady characters with hearts of gold, and a romp inspired by late-eighteenth-century history.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 364 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 07-February-2017
Price $5.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback
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