Astin Noelle du Pris is on the run from his home country and the palace where he’s the crowned prince because he doesn’t want to rule. Traipsing across America, hiding out in small towns and doing everything that he can not to draw attention to himself is how he’s spent his past few months. And then, at a grungy hotel where he just has to stop, Astin meets Delaney Dey. The young man is emerging from his hotel room and Astin has heard him having sex all night. Delaney says he’s a professional and Astin is surprised. But what really shocks him is the way he’s drawn to Delaney’s scent. It’s possible Delaney is his mate, and he wants to get to know the man better. And Astin is willing to pay whatever price Delaney names in order for that pleasure.
The two men spend the better part of week together, only during the day as Delaney works at night, and they grow closer. When Astin finally convinces Delaney to spend the night with him, it seems like their finally making progress. but the next morning, Astin’s bodyguard finally tracks him down. Astin’s father, the king, is very ill and Astin is needed at home. Unfortunately, just as Delaney finally believes Astin is a prince, it is when Astin has to leave Delaney to head back home. Parted, Astin can’t stop thinking about Delaney. When Delaney shows up, Astin is thrilled. but the royal family isn’t too happy with Delaney’s presence and Astin lashes out childishly. Now Astin is forced to reevaluate his life and make the changes necessary to be the man who deserves Delaney.
This novella had the potential to be wonderful. An interesting premise, coupled with an interesting twist, and I should have enjoyed it immensely. Sadly, that was not the case at all. Immediately, I found the writing style to have a bit of a juvenile air to it that made this story difficult to read. On top of that, the characters were one dimensional and unbelievable. The plot was underdeveloped and too much had to be taken on faith. While there was the potential for it to be a “sweep you off your feet” fairy tale, it was just too far out there to even let me make that jump. Ultimately, I didn’t care for this story at all, and it completely missed the mark for me.
The story is told completely from Astin’s POV. He’s supposed to be sort of a spoiled brat, but a sympathetic one. His life growing up wasn’t exactly easy, he doesn’t want to lead, and he’s being forced into a life he doesn’t want. So the reader is supposed to sympathize with him and be glad he’s found his mate, albeit in a professional escort. Except he read flat and boring, and I didn’t care about him. From the moment he met Delaney, he was just so unbelievable that I couldn’t relate to him. He wants to get to know the man, so he agrees to pay for the privilege of spending time with Delaney. But their exchanges were ridiculous, and I found myself rolling my eyes at times. Not to mention, Astin said time and again how he was drawn to Delaney, but then he left Delaney in the States and went back to Europe without any sort of promise or fight because his father was sick. If Delaney’s his mate, and Astin didn’t want the throne anyway, how did he just shrug his shoulders and shuffle off home? It didn’t make sense and felt very inconsistent for the character.
There’s no connection between the two men, so I couldn’t understand why Delaney answered honestly when Astin asked silly questions. I couldn’t understand why Delaney kept going back to Astin. There was no money exchanged, though Delaney kept naming outrageous prices for his time, so there wasn’t even monetary gain to keep Delaney there. So when Astin seemed strange and weird, Delaney, by all accounts shouldn’t have given him the time of day. And yet they kept interacting. I didn’t understand it and I didn’t feel it. It felt like they were together because the book made them be, not because there was any sort of connection between them. Their lack of chemistry was prevalent in their every interaction.
So on top of the two inconsistent and uninteresting characters, there was a lackluster plot. It should have been engaging. All the elements were there. But they were so underdeveloped that I didn’t care much for that either. A rich guy swooping in to get the prostitute off the street, royalty and commoner, with the commoner having more sense than the spoiled prince, both of these elements could have been used to great satisfaction. There was also the paranormal aspect, which again, could have been developed wonderfully. The whole mates thing was the reason I picked it up in the first place. But it was woefully underdeveloped, with different threads picked up and dropped without notice and on a whim, so I wasn’t invested in any of them. And then the ending…all I’ll say here is that the big thing that drove them apart at the end couldn’t be resolved as quickly as it was, and the ending left much to be desired.
Ultimately, this story wasn’t for me. Too little character and plot development left me dissatisfied with this story as a whole. I can’t recommend it, and suggest you give it a pass.