Caspian Drake knows what it takes to get ahead in modern-day shifter society. He is an Earl, after all, and known for his wit, style, and ability to charm the pants off of anyone he chooses. Getting his best friend Brandr, the Prince of the Dragons, in and out of trouble is only one of his many talents. When a horrible attack shakes Cas’s world, he’s forced to pair up with Saphir Vepkhia, the esteemed tiger shifter and former Captain of the Royal Guard.
Upon retirement, Saphir is granted the title of Baron Archer and, much to his dismay, becomes part of royal society. Years later, when he’s summoned to the palace, the last thing Saphir expects is for the king to request a favor that ties him to the scoundrel, Caspian Drake. Despite his misgivings, Saphir accepts the assignment, knowing it will give him the access he needs to infiltrate the wealthy and powerful while trying not to get outfoxed by the exasperating Earl.
Forced into a fake relationship by an outdated matchmaking ritual, Cas and Saphir each face the upcoming season with their own agenda. The secrets pile up as the two mates navigate the complexities of a modern world that plays by historic rules. But the closer they get to the truth, the greater the danger–and their attraction to each other–grows.
With their lives on the line and the very foundations of their society at risk, Cas and Saphir must unravel the mystery, even if it means creating a scandal more notorious than their newfound love.
This was a match made in heaven. Charlie Cochet and Macy Blake co-authored this series, this being book one. It drew on the strengths of both authors, fantasy, shifters, snark, very hot sex, intrigue and great world building. And I want more already.
They world they created, Bridgerton in contemporary times, was very unique. There was a King and Lords and Dukes and Duchesses who had a Season of parties and seeing and being seen that starts with a matchmaking for some of those that are eligible.
Thrust together in a matchmaking scheme behind the scenes, Saphir and Cassian have the same goal, to find out who murdered the Prince, next in line for the throne and Cassian’s best friend. Both determined to keep their distance, the sparks inevitably fly.
Saphir’s sister plays a fairly big role in the book as well. It is her debut season and while Saphir wants to make it memorable for her, I don’t think he is quite ready for his baby sister to be an adult. She is very funny, charming and witty and can hold her own, not only against her brother, but against Cassian or any other member of the ton.
There are a lot of characters to get to know while the mystery of the smoke beasts that were unleashed on the palace, ending with the murder of the Prince, plays out. But always Cas and Saphir can’t fight what they feel for each other. It’s pretty swoony how quickly Cas goes from stalwarth spy determined to solve his best friend’s murder without the shackles of love to mushy heart eyes guy when Saphir is there.
Even though everyone is a shifter, that doesn’t come into play all that often. We really only read about a couple of shifts, but so far that characteristic doesn’t seem to be a major plot device. Which was kind of nice. Like, yes, they are shifters. BUT it doesn’t dominate their lives. There also doesn’t seem to be much of a hierarchy depending on what animal shifter you are. Except the King who is a dragon.
Besides not mattering about your shifter animal, being gay is just as accepted as being straight and women are not treated any less than men. Pretty refreshing.
There is a HEA, but there are many unanswered questions. I eagerly await book 2.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Charlie Cochet is the international bestselling author of the THIRDS series. Born in Cuba and raised in the US, Charlie enjoys the best of both worlds, from her daily Cuban latte to her passion for classic rock.
Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found devouring a book, releasing her creativity through art, or binge watching a new TV series. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
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Macy Blake believes in unicorns and fairies, in moonbeams and stardust, and that happily ever after comes in all colors of the rainbow. She loves to lose herself in paranormal romance, living vicariously through her favorite sexy fictional heroes. These days you can often find her pounding away at the keyboard, trying to capture the magic of her own worlds while arguing with her feisty German Shepherds, Minerva and Pomona.