Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
After spending years behind bars, King has found his place at the Carnal Tower, serving as the embodiment of Greed for his clients. It has been hard for King to open up and accept the friendship and support of his fellow Sins, but he is slowly getting more comfortable letting others in. He has also formed an incredibly close friendship with Hen, the receptionist for the Tower. Hen is everything sweet and bright and he brings such joy to King’s life. King knows he is no good for Hen; trouble seems to follow King and he feels like he tarnishes everything good. But deep down, King can admit he has fallen hard for Hen.
King has finally worked up the nerve to show Hen a bit of how he feels and, to King’s surprise, Hen seems to share his interest. However, just as it looks like there may be a chance for something more for the men, Hen is attacked and traumatized in the aftermath. King would do anything for Hen, and he doesn’t hesitate to give him the space he needs. However, seeing what happened to Hen, and questioning if he could have done something to stop the attack, just validates for King that he is no good for someone like Hen. But when Hen makes clear that he would like to try for more — not just with King, but spending time with Greed as well — King has to trust that he can be the man Hen needs. If the pair are willing to take a chance, they can finally have everything they want with each other.
Taste of Greed is the third book in E.M. Lindsey’s Carnal Tower series. The books feature a group of men who all work at the Carnal Tower brothel; most are sex workers who embody the Seven Deadly Sins, while Hen works as the receptionist. We meet both King and Hen in prior books, but their story stands alone just fine, as long as you are ok with the side characters crossing over from other books. I really enjoy the lovely sense of found family in these stories, and that is particularly true here as we see King come to realize that he is a part of things and worthy of the friendship and affection the men show him. There is a nice sense of camaraderie among the group, with a combination of friendship, support, and tough love when needed.
As the story begins, we can see that King and Hen have already formed a really special bond of friendship, and there is a clear attraction between them (even if each is not quite sure of the other’s feelings). Things are just starting to move forward for them romantically when Hen is attacked and needs time to recover physically and emotionally. In addition, the guys have to figure out if and how they can make their way back together in the aftermath. The attack isn’t shown in detail on page, but <spoiler><spoiler> if it hadn’t been stopped in time. So not only does Hen have to find a way to regain his sense of self and the confidence he once had, but King is also dealing with self doubt about his own perceived failings in stopping the attack. It also re-opens those wounds for King where he begins to doubt he is good enough for Hen and worry he is somehow tainted. So there is a really strong sense of connection between them right away and it is clear these guys are meant for one another, but it’s also a slow burn as they find their way back together.
At one point, Hen realizes that he wants to connection with his sexual side again and so we see him together with King as Greed, exploring that dynamic and finding his boundaries about being sexually active again. There is a nice heat between them, as well as a sense of protectiveness and caretaking from King. The story also explores a little about Hen being intersex, and I think that is nicely incorporated. I read so few books featuring intersex characters, it was nice to see that diversity here.
Overall, this is a sweet, romantic, and sexy story. I really enjoy this series and particularly the found family element. We get some a nice lead up for the next book, and I am finding the set up so interesting, I can’t wait to see what is coming up for this series.