Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Love can be dangerous!
Valentin Bychkov, rising star of contemporary Russian ballet, appears to have everything: wealth, talent, success, and a face and body to match. Not that anyone can get close. Bypass the entourage and there’s still Valentin’s sharp tongue and acerbic wit to deal with. He may give his body freely, but his emotions are kept tightly locked away.
Max Farley’s life is a simple one. All he’s interested in is work, drinking, and picking up the latest in a long line of one-night stands. The way he chooses to live may not be to everyone’s taste but it suits him down to the ground. He’s never met anyone who’s made him want to confront the demons from his past. Until now.
A show in London brings the two together. Lust brings them closer still. But if rumors of Bratva connections turn out to be true, then dangerous men wait in the wings. One dangerous man in particular, who’s used to people following his orders without question.
Difficult choices need to be made on both sides. Valentin and Max need to stop playing with fire and let each other go, or face the consequences. But letting go isn’t that easy where love is concerned.
And some things are worth the risk.
Warning: This book contains a snarky ballet dancer with an aversion to clothes, a little too much wall sex and an overabundance of Russian heavies.
Well, this is a first, but I’m starting my review with that cover. It’s extraordinary! From that gorgeous, arrogant, and yes, mysterious visage, you are pulled towards him and his story. That lace covered forehead and matching collar! Those lips, that metallic blue eyeshadow and that side glance! Tell me you aren’t hooked? Well, author H.L. Day was. From the moment they saw that photograph, a character was born and then a story created, and then a series.
That unforgettable picture launched Valentin Bychkov and the name suites perfectly.
The story? Let’s get to that.
I just loved both characters. Author Day has two complex men who could each fill a novel with their back histories alone. Valentin’s, when it is revealed, is steeped in his parents romance and then mysterious death that left him an orphan of easy prey, especially since he was a boy a great talents and ambitions. Valentin remains someone who keeps evolving, as layer after layer is lifted, showing new aspects to his personality and story.
Max Farley’s life has also been one of pain and disillusionment, betrayal actually. Something that will emerge later in the story. I thought this element was dealt with far too quickly and easily for the topic which accounts for the 4 instead of 5 star rating. I realize that there were other issues at hand here for the characters to deal with but to throw this in here at this stage of the story and in this manner and not bring it up again just struck me as a less than responsible treatment. Especially given that underage boys, sexual slavery, and pederophilia is a business for the Russian mafia and has had its effect on Valentin.
The story was well written, full of suspense, lots of action, hot sex, and finally love and romance. If it feels like the love flows between Valentin and Max too quickly I think it’s because we forget how the time flew over the course of the story. Still the chemistry rocked between the pair.
Did I buy that Valentin was a diva ballet dancer? Absolutely! The ballet seemed to pour out of this character, it was a part of him, and it grounded him even further in my mind. Did I get that Max was a sound engineer? Not so much. We only saw him briefly in that role. Once in the sound booth and then it was only one more time after that. He’s supposed to be so great at what he does that he can swagger into his booth late, smelling of sex and in dirty clothes and not get fired. He’s as much a diva in his profession as Valentin is in his. That’s the way the music world works yet I never got that from him. Nor from the lack of repercussions from the events that happen later on. So that never rang true. While we had a entire foundation of work and passion from Valentin, we were missing that from Max and it made him a little less substantial.
Of course, I’m thinking of this after all the fast moving events are over, the drama is done, and the boys are now safely together. For a while there, the author had us questioning everything!
Which made this a wonderfully exciting, sexy, and romantic read.
Valentin poses some questions for himself and us at the end of the story. The next book will answer them. I’m already on it. And loving it.
But for now I’m recommending you stare at that cover…a long, long, time. Then go pick up the story and get acquainted with Valentin and Max. What a ride awaits you!
Cover art: H.L. Day. One of my favorite covers this year. See my opening statements above.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 245 pages
Published February 15th 2019
SeriesToo Far #1