Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vespar by Thianna Durston

Special-ops-turned-professional-killer Vespar McKauley is hired to take out Marcolm Rogers, son of his employer’s worst enemy. But Marc isn’t like any hit he’s ever done. He’s just twenty-one, he goes to a private university studying English Lit, and for fun, he plays computer games with his friends. No drugs, no partying, no crime. The day Vespar bumps into Marc and looks into his azure eyes, the world drops out from under him.

With his father in the Chicago crime syndicate, Marc and his mom have stayed out of the limelight, hiding from those who might harm them. He figures he’s safe at a small liberal arts university, all the way across the country. But midway through his senior year, he feels eyes on him and the shadows encroaching. Just as he’s about to run, he meets Vespar and experiences an instant attraction. When Vespar tells him he’s in danger and offers to protect him, Marc wants to believe him. But he’s been hunted before, and this time he isn’t sure he’ll get away. Especially when he finds out he is Vespar’s target.

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Book 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is classic cheesy romance. The old-soul/ancient curse concept gives this story the feel of a paranormal romance even though both characters are actually young humans. The hitman falling for his mark is a familiar trope but Vespar’s curse gives it an original twist.

Marcolm is a college kid who also happens to be on the run from his mobster family. Vespar is given the contract on his life.

We learn a great deal about Marcolm, but he didn’t ever feel completely real to me. He sounds too old to be a college kid and he feels too clueless for someone who has spent his life on the run. We learn very little about Vespar in his current life and he remains a vague Alpha male throughout the story. He does have lots of pretty muscles and cool skills. In the film version, he’d be played by a monosyllabic Arnold or a confused looking Jean-Claude Van Damme.

This is a m/m romance but it doesn’t always read like a relationship between two men. Marcolm is very much a young innocent in distress and Vespar is the conflicted Alpha male who comes to his rescue. I prefer more balanced couples in my romance and to me, this relationship felt very dated as the characters adhered to slightly offensive traditional gender roles.

Some of the sex scenes in this story are completely cringeworthy. Earnest confessions, adorable pet names, and a graphic step-by-step guide to gay sex just didn’t work for me. These two didn’t feel like men and they didn’t sound like a college kid and a hit man. There were a few moments of banter – their arguments over fast food felt somewhat realistic but there were too many breathy sighs and angst filled musings for me.

I enjoyed the adventure and suspense elements of this story but I struggled with the characters and the romance. The concept for the series still interests me and I’m curious to see where this series goes next.

THIANNA DURSTON is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Vespar (Order of the Black Knights #3) by Thianna Durston to read and review.

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