Bacchi Lefi Dharhn lost his twin, his other half and his heart, when they were children, and he has lived a shadow of a life ever since, missing her every day. He has chosen psychotherapy as his profession and does well, even with his sexually-based clientele. Then there’s Inspector Teris. Lefi could uses his Somian pheromones to seduce the Valoran, but the act of seduction with Afton is so much sweeter.
Inspector Afton Teris, a Valoran, cannot fall for Lefi Dharhn. Lefi is a Bacchi, a whore, and besides all that Afton is male. As a Valoran he chose his sexuality at an early age and has always oriented male. Except he doesn’t remember choosing. And the more he is with or thinks about Lefi, the more confused Afton is. Even more so when Afton has to face the truth. He is gen—a Valoran with both male and female genitalia. Something Lefi already knows.
In the midst of their flirtatious dance and Afton’s confusion, one of Afton’s cold cases is reopened. A Bacchi and Am-were have gone missing and Afton has been asked for help. Part of his help is to find a Bacchi willing to help with the investigation. He knows just the Bacchi to call upon.
Going undercover a pleasure ship was meant to bring Afton and Lefi answers. Instead they find themselves in the middle of a rescue mission with more questions. Afton also finds himself falling for the Bacchi who has forced him to discover new things about himself, the Bacchi who is certain he will never know love again. When Afton becomes the focus of a crime, Lefi begins questioning everything about himself. Discovering his true feelings, Lefi can only hope to be able to find Afton and tell him. If Afton can be saved at all.
The Bacchi is a spinoff of McBride’s An Uncommon Whore series. Dear Lefi was introduced as the doctor who saved Griffin and the people of Neo Domus in When I Fall. This book actually falls between book two and book three of that series.
I actually picked this book because a reader at Joyfully Jay suggested it after I fawned all over its mother series. I’m so happy I did, because Lefi and Afton and their story are very much worth it. The Bacchi are an interesting people, a people made for sex and pleasure. They are sensual and beautiful. So I’ll be honest in admitting that I wondered how the author would make Lefi more than a pleasure worker. In true form to both the Somian and Valoran people, this story is sensual and sexy, but it’s also heartbreaking and sweet. There are so many layers to this one that the author keeps readers captivated from beginning to end.
Where Lefi is a pleasure worker of sorts, his work is more in the business of psychotherapy. He mostly treats patients who have suppressed sexual issues. Lefi is more than the whore he is portrayed as in the beginning. The reason he is who he has become is because of the loss of his heart. In the building of this world, we find out that all Somians are born as a twin set. Lefi and his twin were unique and were to be special. Then he lost her. It broke him and most things he does throughout this book can be attributed to that loss. Then Afton comes into his life. Afton is supposed to be a conquest but becomes so much more. And in turn, heals more than Lefi ever thought possible.
Afton is a being who amazes from the beginning. His internal conflict is striking. It’s emotional. As a child, Afton was told he was one thing, cutting himself off from his full potential, his full life. I love that it takes Lefi—a Bacchi, a position Afton despises—to show him his true self. The way Afton blossoms into himself is very three-dimensional and not without its difficulties. Thankfully Lefi is there to fix it all, to help, to push him.
I really liked that this story was set in the same world as An Uncommon Whore and even had similar aspects—the pleasure ship being the largest commonality. The greatest thing about this one is that McBride worked it in a completely different manner and expanded both the Somain people while humanizing and softening the position of a Bacchi and the Valoran people and world as a whole. There is so much in this story that is impossible to put down in a review without telling you everything, like the Valoran’s highly addictive tendencies and what it happens when a Somian loses their twin. The world is so vast and spectacular that you really must read it to understand it all.
Believe it or not, this story is more than one man discovering himself while the other discovers he’s not lost everything he once thought. There’s a mystery and suspense line to this story as well that delves into the seedy life on a pleasure ship. It also adds to the world and gives readers visuals of different, less fortunate beings stuck in the trade. It’s an exciting story and truly wonderful.
I loved this book from start to finish and I can only hope McBride will continue to add to this world. I highly recommend The Bacchi by Belinda McBride.