Title: Peasants and Kings
Author: Emma Slate
Publisher/Year: Tabula Rosa Publishing 10/2/20
Length: 348 Pages
My entire life has been a lie.
And then I meet a mysterious, powerful billionaire who makes me an offer I can’t refuse.
My body comes alive under his sensuous touch.
But Hadrian Rhys is a man with a dark past and a broken soul.
I never expected him to fall in love with me.
Now my secrets are coming back to destroy us.
Bloodlines, alliances, and murderous restitution lie buried deep within my past.
My name is Sterling Miller.
You won’t believe who I am.
I’m glad that I read SINS before this although i’m not entirely sure that it’s a mandate. What we do get is a reference to the Dallas Rex where this story revolves for a bit, and that’s a place where Ramsey Buchanan has spent some time. We also get a reference or comparison of our main leading lady to Barrett Campbell which is quite a compliment even if it’s not wanted. So, all that being said, we know that this is going to be a good story right?
We are circling around The White Company here -and if you recall, we know that they are a powerful Italian Mafia like family, one that is able to get things done under little observation. Barrett and Sasha went to them in the last installment of the SINS / Ember series to get Quinn back, and Barrett being Barrett, she was able to get their agreement and their respect all in the same moment.
To back up, our leading lady – Sterling doesn’t know much of her past, but she quickly comes up to speed on it when she learns that her estranged mother has committed suicide and has left information for her. A letter and $20k to stay hidden. Sterling learns that her family is The White Company and that her mother ran away from them when they tried to marry her off, she married someone else and they killed her husband. The family didn’t know that her mother was pregnant, so Sterling really needed to hide her identity. She has traits of the family that would give her away and that means that she has to go underground.
When she’s out of money and time, and her name and face are going viral because of a good deed that she’s done, she runs to her only friend, Tiffany who works at The Rex and can help her. You remember from the previous series that the Rex has several components to the business. A Burlesque club, high end businessmen traveling through, and even a brothel. Well….we quickly learn that Tiffany’s job as a concierge at The Rex really means that she works in the brothel, but it’s high end and gives her access to all sorts of things that you can only dream of. By bringing Sterling into the Rex, she’s able to secure a new identity and a means to provide for herself to be safe. Her ‘family’ can’t hunt her down if they don’t know how to find her.
That’s only the start of things to come. On the day of her interview, she meets a Scottish man who has a pull on her – yet she doesn’t act. It’s only at her first event for the Rex that she sees him again, and spends the night with him that her world changes.
What’s meant to be one night of passion turns into something deeper. for both of them. This man, Hadrian is a Scottish power of his own, rivaling that of Flynn and the others that we met in previous books. He has connections that are on par with the others, and he’s got the attraction and sexual prowess to make you all swoon.
He’s a protector and that’s what Sterling needs. She shares her past and who she is and he gives her insight into his past as well and they bond over it. It comes in handy when Hadrian has done work for The White Company in the past and knows the family ‘well’. He tries to do right by Sterling to get the past erased, but it all goes to shit when they take him out and kidnap her to marry her off in retribution and to save the family reputaiton from the sins of her mother.
We watch the insanity unfold and the archaic nature of these criminal families take form. While in the other series we’ve watched the person who’s been kidnapped find some redeeming quality of their captor, that’s not the case when the man that Sterling is now being forced to marry physically harms her and puts her in harms way for the livelihood of her future.
Blood oaths are sworn, deaths happen and future deals are made that make everyone miserable. To be honest, this story had the potential to be a great series but this seems like a standalone that offers up notions of what other spin offs could be. It’s a great story nonetheless and i’m really glad that I was able to lounge by the pool today to read it. Enjoy!