Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen Book 4) by Lexi Blake, Shayla Black
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #4
Published by Black Oak Books on September 26th 2017
DO NOT SPOIL THIS BOOK FOR YOURSELF. Avoid spoilers and this book will not disappoint.
“Dealing with any of the Perfect Gentlemen was always an intricate game of chess. Thankfully, she’d had a lifetime to become a master.”
FINAL DECISION: Hot, angst filled, dramatic and full of surprises. This second chance at love story kept me up until 3am and then all I wanted to do was re-read it.
THE STORY: Years ago Roman Calder and Gus Spencer had a hot affair. Things blew up because the passion and intensity of the relationship was something that scared Roman. Yet the two cannot completely avoid one another because Gus is the sister of one of Roman’s best friends. And perhaps they don’t actually want to avoid one another as Gus took a job at the White House where Roman is chief of staff. As the Perfect Gentlemen’s investigation takes them to London, their proximity heats up the lingering passion between them. The question is whether they have a better chance the second time around.
OPINION: This is a difficult book for me to review. Not because I didn’t love it, I certainly did. Not because I’m confused, I’m not. The problem is that almost anything gives away too much in this series now. This book was so good that I started reading it immediately upon it downloading to my Kindle and then just kept reading, without stopping, until I finished at 3am. When I got up in the morning (after only 3 hours sleep), I just kept thinking “I need to re-read _________”. And that is why I give this book 5 stars. The romance, the story, everything worked for me in this book. For me, the only part I hated is that the next book of the series won’t be out until October 2018.
On the plot, readers of the series will be familiar with the Perfect Gentlemen’s quest. Beginning with the death of the sixth of their group, Maddox, in the first book of the series, the conspiracy has expanded to include the deaths of a number of people and a connection to the Russian mafia. As book 3 ended, a number of the PG were on their way to London to investigate another suspicious death. That is the setup for this book which begins just as the prior book ended.
As I warn at the beginning of this review, this is a book that is meant to be experienced as the story unfolds. I encourage you to not read spoilers because this book is packed with secrets and reveals.
I won’t give anything away, but I assure you that the investigation continues, there is more danger and suspense and the plot continues to unfold. AND I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED how the story line continues to be interwoven and reexplained and unraveled. I generally find the plot in romance books to merely be vehicles for the romance, but here the plot is so exciting and well done that I continue to puzzle over the details between books. That continues to be true here as I keep wondering about the details and what they mean. That’s all I’m giving away on the plot. You’ll have to read the rest yourself.
Even as the plot was thrilling, what I really love about these books are the relationships: between the PG, between the heroes and heroines, and the developing friendships between the women. In the prior books, Roman and Gus were the most difficult characters for me. There was something unclear about who they were. That explodes here as the story between these character covers a lot of ground.
Gus is a strong, vibrant woman. She is brash and unapologetic, openly a sexual being, intelligent. She’s put the PGs in their place for years. What I didn’t expect was how I would fall in love with Gus because of all those qualities that I knew but also the softer side of her character that is revealed here. Both Roman and Gus present themselves as impervious and yet there are depths to them that are shown here and which I would never have expected.
Roman was also a surprise for me because he is more unsure of himself than I expected. This book tackles head on the idea that he was threatened by Gus in ways that romance books rarely address. I thought their story was thoughtful and difficult. Lots of angst and pain between these two (but totally different vibe than between Dax and Holland in book 3). By the end of this book, Roman has had to ask himself some fundamental questions about himself and I liked the journey so much.
This book is hot and exciting, but I really felt the pain and desire for connection between these characters. And perhaps that is why I felt the most satisfied with the conclusion of their story — because they had to travel so far and overcome so much to be together and yet they managed to make that journey.
WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of the series won’t be surprised that much of the overarching story isn’t resolved here. In fact, the story goes in a whole new direction.
CONNECTED BOOKS: SMOKE AND SIN is the fourth book in the Perfect Gentlemen series. This series is meant to be read in order and the book really doesn’t stand alone because it depends upon information in the prior books (although the romance is self-contained).
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.