Erryn reviews ‘Thorn in his Side’ by Helen Juliet. The ebook was published February 16, 2020 and was 320 pages.The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Kieran Flitton, released April 28, 2020 and is 10 hrs and 11 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I loved A Right Royal Affair.
The last thing beautiful, inexperienced Joshua Bellamy wants is an arranged marriage with the terrifying Darius Legrand. But if Joshua wants to save himself and his family from being thrown onto the streets by Darius’s father, he has no choice.
However, when Darius goes to extreme lengths to rescue Joshua from near-death, Joshua has to wonder if there’s more to his beastly husband than he previously thought.
Darius Legrand, a former captain, is used to being manipulated by his cruel father, but when Joshua is dragged into the feud between their families, he decides something has to change.
Protecting Joshua is one thing, but Darius knows that falling in love can’t be an option. Someone so young and beautiful could never give his heart to an older, ill-tempered brute like Darius.
Joshua is determined to bring joy to Darius’s life again, and Darius refuses to let Joshua hide his sweetness from the world any longer. Over time, it becomes clear that despite their differences, their hearts are drawing closer together.
But can happiness ever be possible for a rose and a thorn, when Darius’s father will go to any lengths to see his deadly game through?
Thorn in His Side is a steamy, stand-alone MM romance novel featuring tender bubble baths, a stubborn but loyal horse, thunderstorms, enough healing touches to mend any broken heart, and a guaranteed HEA with absolutely no cliff-hanger.
“It had been a while since Darius Legrand had begun his day contemplating murder.”
Okay, with an opening line like that, how could I not be hooked? Helen Juliet is the queen of opening lines, and I think that’s one of her best.
The premise for the book is pretty simple. Forced marriage leads to forced proximity and, eventually, forced companionship. That structure might be simple, but the execution was well done indeed.
Darius has been coasting. He suffered a devastating injury and a devastating loss in Afghanistan and he’s never recovered. He lives in his castle and only interacts with the staff. He has a nominal job at his father’s company, but he doesn’t have a purpose in life. Aside from hating his cruel father, that is.
Joshua adores his father. But a series of unfortunate events at his dad’s company means that they need an infusion of cash. Like, yesterday. Darius’ father offers a solution: your son marries mine and I give you the money.
A marriage of convenience that is neither a true marriage nor particularly convenient.
Aside from a brief ceremony, the men have spent no time in each other’s company and that’s the way Darius wants it. So Joshua lives on the other side of the monstrosity and never ventures near Darius’ quarters. He occupies himself with old VHS tapes and chatting up the staff who have some very fixed opinions about Darius’ father.
This arrangement works until the fateful night Joshua crosses the line, witnesses Darius’ temper, and literally flees the house. Darius has to rescue him, and the men begin a détente of sorts. Slowly, inch by inch, they get to know each other.
But Darius’ father is hell-bent on ensuring his son is as unhappy as possible. I mean this guy is horrible. Darius fears for Joshua, and so tries to pull back which only confuses Joshua more. There’s a lot of drama in this book culminating in a horrifying evening of violence.
All that being said, there was a lot I liked in this book. I liked Joshua’s gentleness and Darius’ eventual acceptance of happiness. I certainly liked the ending. I’m glad I listened to the book.
Kieran Flitton narrates all of Ms. Juliet’s novels and I love that. They work well together, and I thought the performance of the book was spot-on. Needless to say, I recommend it highly.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
Helen Juliet is an M/M author currently living and working in London. She’s been writing stories since she was young, and got her start publishing fanfiction of sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she discovered the world of M/M fiction and found it was just as good as the fanfiction she was reading. She fell head over heels in love with the genre and became determined to try her hand at a book herself. On December 31st, 2016, she rang in the new year by publishing her first original novel, and hasn’t looked back since.