Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review Tour ~ The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan ~ (Review + Giveaway)

Title:  The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple:
Author: K.A. Merikan
Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.
Release Date: 7th of February 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 140,000 words
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Historical - 18th Century Cornwall, Highwayman, Kidnapping, Forbidden love, Violence

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is the kind of book that just needed to be written, despite our already tight schedule. The idea first came to us when we watched a documentary about highwaymen, but we promised ourselves to wait. And then we went to Cornwall for a month, and initial plans collapsed. As we walked through the woods, watching the lush nature and the old stone cottages peppered on both sides of a valley where we were staying, the characters and story steadily came to us. Our aim was to write a historical book that provides as much excitement as readers learned to expect from our contemporary romance.
RELEASE DATE: 7th February 2017
If you want to see our inspiration photos for this book, check out the ‘Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple’ Pinterest board:
The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is our baby. It’s been a year since we started working on this book, and to celebrate its release, we’re organizing a quiz for readers who follow The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple blog tour. Answers to all questions will be provided in the blog posts, and we will then randomly pick the lucky winners. You can win:
  • a signed paperback of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple + a selection of Cornish treats (main prize - for one person)
  • 3 ebooks of choice from our backlist + a surprise treat from Cornwall (will go to 3 more people)
For a chance to win, follow the instructions in blog posts and solve the quiz, which will be published on our website on 1st February 2017. Please, send answers to with ‘Black Sheep Quiz’ in the subject line of the email.
Winners will be randomly chosen from readers who sent us correct answers by 17th February 2017.
02/01 THE QUIZ
02/12 Bayou Book Junkie


While to some degree celebrated for their bravery and rebellious nature, some highwaymen aren’t remembered solely because the audacity of their crimes. Juraj Jánošík was the leader of a gang of highway robbers active in the early 1700s around modern-day Polish-Slovakian border, which at the time was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. An Ethnic Slovak, he became a symbol of the fight against Hungarian oppression, even though the real-life robber likely wasn’t as clean-cut as his legend suggests.

He is said to have mostly targeted Hungarian nobles and merchants and, much like the more famous Robin Hood, supported local communities with the loot. Regardless of the truth behind Janosik’s legend, he is remembered in central Europe as a freedom fighter first and foremost. Poems about his bravery are part of Czech and Slovak high school curriculums, and he was even used as a symbol during the Nazi occupation of Slovakia.

As all legendary heroes, the young Janosik (he was only 25 when he was executed) needed to go in style. Official documents state he died on the gallows, but he wasn’t hung by the neck. A hook had been stabbed into his side and pushed under his ribs before the executioner pulled him up. Legend has it Janosik threw himself at the hook when he was offered grace, because the terms would require him to serve in the Hungarian army.

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”
Cornwall, 1785
Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.
Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.
No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.
When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.
Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.
But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.
Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes
Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)
WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.

5 Stars!!!

Sir Evan Penhart is a desperate man and desperate times call for desperate measures. After his older brother dies and he comes upon the baronet title and Tredele, his ancestral home, he realizes his brother has left very little riches (if any) for him to keep it running and pay his servant's wages, so he decides to resort to highway robbery in order to get the money he needs. 

Julian Reece is on his way to London to marry the girl his father wants him to, even if it's the last thing he wishes to do. He prefers to spend his time with his friends and writing. His carriage gets detained on the road by a highwayman and he convinces the robber he should abduct Julian so his father gets him the money he needs and give Julian half of what he gets to go away to Italy or somewhere else where he won't be forced to marry against his will. 

Things don't quite work according to Julian's plans and suddenly he has to pay the handsome baronet with something that he never expected: his body, unleashing a response in him that leaves Julian confused and aroused in equal measure. 

However, even if he were to give in to his desire for Evan, Julian isn't quite certain it will be worth braving the possibility of being hanged up if they were discovered.

"What I just did is irreversible. I cannot blame anyone else for what I feel about you. It might be forbidden, or even sinful, but I've never known passion like this before. If that makes me a bad seed, so be it."

Evan is dashing and romantic, but also willing to do what he needs to do to rescue Tredele and not bring more disappointment to his family name. He's known from an early age he prefers men and suffers because of it, having to see his lover die after they were discovered and being despised, even if not disowned, by his father. His attraction to Julian gives him hope at first, but when Julian rejects him time and time again, he is certain he won't have the chance to find the love he longs for. 

Julian is a writer, even if his muse doesn't seem to be too keen on helping him. Meeting Evan opens a whole new world for him, first by feeling attracted to Evan and then when he finds himself submitting to him and his dark desires, which arouse him in a way that no lady ever has before. He's confused, though, and scared out of his mind of the consequences of their actions if they were to be found out. The longer they spend together, the less he cares about the repercussions, though. And while he hurts Evan at some point with his rejection, and I really wanted to slap him then, he more than makes up for it later in the book.

K.A. Merikan did such a fantastic work with this historical novel! The language and the descriptions transported me back to the 18th Century. Evan was the perfect antihero, which is something these authors excel at writing and Julian was his perfect counterpart. They were just amazing together and their chemistry was off-the-charts. The story is well-paced and it has a little bit of everything: intrigue, suspense, romance, hotter than hot scenes and two main characters that while flawed, you can love and root for, plus it has that underlying darkness that K.A. Merikan are so good at. A warning, though, if you read this novel, please read the warnings, this is a dark romance and as such, you'll find some scenes that might offend some. If you've read some of these authors MC or GnB books and loved them as much as I did, you know what you're getting into and you'll be just fine. 

Highly recommendable!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

Meet the Author
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.
They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of - it will be full of surprises.

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