Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Mason James is driving home after a long shift at the firehouse when he sees a old man stumbling down the road. Mason stops to help the man, wanting to take him to the hospital, but he instead insists Mason take him home. When they arrive, Mason encounters what looks to be some sort of commune, where things seem to be kind of off. There he meets the gorgeous Luc Toussaint, a man who immediately captures Mason’s attention, despite the fact that Mason is past the point of exhaustion. But the weirdness continues at the compound and Mason decides he is better off getting out of there.
When the two men meet again, the heat between them flares even hotter and Mason is determined that this time he isn’t going to let opportunity pass him by. The connection between the guys is intense, and Mason definitely wants to see where things go between them. But he is surprised when Luc reveals that there is a lot more going on than just the attraction between them. He shares secrets, both of the others at the compound, as well as secrets about Mason himself, things Mason didn’t even know about his own past. The revelations open up a whole new world for Mason, and an opportunity for an even greater connection to Luc. But there are those that are not happy to learn about Mason’s presence, and his life may be at risk just as he is learning more about himself and hoping for a future with Luc.
Romanus was a fun, sexy story that had me engaged right from the start. I listened to it in audio form, and I actually played it straight through I was so entertained. I’ll admit, a lot of my attention was drawn to the insanely hot connection between these guys, but I found the story very unique and the premise creative.
I don’t want to get into too much detail on the secrets revealed, as things are disclosed fairly late in the story so I think it is nice to come in a bit fresh. The abbreviated version is that there is a paranormal world that Mason didn’t know about and of which he is directly a part. There are some unique elements here for a shifter story and I was really curious to learn more about it. I did wish for more detail here as not much is explained beyond the basics of the shifter type and Mason’s connection. But the specifics aren’t really explored and I was left with more questions than I would have wanted about how things work and what Mason’s role is. I also think Mason’s total non-response when presented with not only the existence of shifters/magical creatures, but also his own role in it was kind of hard to accept. It is even acknowledged in the book, but I still felt like there is no way any sane or normal person would be completely indifferent to all of this and I wanted some more realism here. So I definitely think from a world building end, things could have been expanded here quite a bit. That said, this is the first in a series, so I am hopeful more is to come in the next book.
I also think the conflict/threat at the end kind of comes out of nowhere. Again, I think if the world building had been more developed, we may have seen the conflict coming. But although it is explained just why the bad guy is mad at Mason, there isn’t a lot of foundation here to understand the issues and the overall conflict they are facing.
Where things really worked for me is in the connection between Luc and Mason. As I said, they are on fire together and the chemistry is intense. I liked that even though there is an element of “fate” to their connection, that Mason is reasonable about wanting some time to get to know Luc before making a huge commitment and Luc is accepting of that need. It makes the speed and intensity of their connection much easier to accept and I liked both of these guys together. There is just a hint of vulnerability to each of them, and it is rewarding to see them both so happy with one another.
Once again narrator Greg Tremblay has done a wonderful job with the audio. He handles the voices for Luc and Mason quite well and they feel distinct and appropriate to the characters. Several of the characters have accents and Tremblay reads them quite well and everything sounds smooth and natural. The pacing and tone are good, and as always, Tremblay gets the intensity and yearning of the sex scenes just right.
So as I said, I really enjoyed this one and couldn’t stop listening once I started. It is a quick read/listen and the story is engaging from the start. I think there was some missed opportunity to really develop this world and clarify Mason’s role, but overall I found this to be a fun, sexy story and I am really excited to continue on with the series.
P.S. The original version of this story was released in 2010 (thus why it is a Throwback Thursday post), but it was recently rereleased and the audio is based on the newer version.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.