Here is a saucy, roguish, sex- and semen-filled romp through post-revolutionary France. Two men slowly but inexorably seek each other and come together in a final gasp of deep desire and heartfelt love. Passion doesn’t get much better than that! Talbot Sauvageot is, to any who know him socially, a rake. He is a lover of bawd-halls and ladies’ boudoirs who hides the fact that he is attracted to men . . . especially one man, his childhood friend. His lifelong friend Maxime LaRue is likewise a rake, one who sardonically holds festive overnight orgies for friends of like mind. All the while these two old friends are pretending to delight in the flesh of females, each secretly longs for the other but cannot bring himself to betray the deeply held truth. The story of Talbot and Maxime is full of twists and turns. Talbot, exposed as a sodomite, must seek a hideaway. But when he is invited to one of Maxime’s patented soirées, he throws away caution and seeks out the only man who fully impassions him. Maxime finds himself being drawn physically into Talbot’s embraces and ready mouth, and the two find some relief by means of a secret passageway. All two soon the lovers find that Maxime’s father Marcel has a bride for him, and he is to be married immediately. Marcel, almost at death’s door, learns of Talbot’s sexual proclivities and declares that he must face his son in a duel. The action gets a bit melodramatic as the old father, coughing blood into his handkerchief, nevertheless proclaims that his beloved son must face this degenerate over dueling pistols. The writing itself starts out with great promise, as the author plays with words as though they are sensuous playthings: “The hall . . . curved and warbled in his drunken eyesight.” In the brothel, “squeals of pleasure leaked out of the sliver at the bottom of each door.” When the young Talbot was being pleasured by a partner, he remembered how “Shame and ecstasy . . twirled in a sinful ballet at gazing on another man feasting on his manhood.” Sadly, the metaphoric language dwindles to a stop. Still, the novel is a beguiling look at homoerotic love in an era when such “depraved” sentiments are met by the cold blade of the guillotine. The love scenes between Talbot and Maxime, especially at the end of the novel, are full-bodied and fresh; and the ending is as satisfying as their exhilarating pleasure together.
Talbot Sauvageot has kept his wicked lifestyle underground for several years, going from one lover to the next. Decedent rake to females by day, passionate lover for his latest male companion at night. When he is forced to flee Paris or face the guillotine, Talbot realizes none of the men he has bedded over the past years burns at his soul like his dear friend Maxime LaRue.
Forced into seclusion in the forest of Bois de Lunor, he receives an invitation from Maxime for their yearly gathering at his estate in Varanguebec. One that Talbot has avoided the past few years. Refusing to submit to a life without love, Talbot schemes to discover if his childhood friend shares the same taste in pleasure as he.
Will Maxime submit to Talbot’s ploy or cast his friend in the shadow of death?
Be Warned: m/m sex, forced seduction, rimming, multiple partners.
At the end of the hall, Talbot leaned against the stone wall. He teetered to one side as he down the last of the amber liquid in his bottle. Maxime frowned. He wanted his friend sober for their conversation. His friend’s head swiveled and Maxime stared into Talbot’s icy blue eyes.
The oppressive heat of the upper level accented by the high sun had Maxime sucking in a deep breath. He tried to rationalize that the thick air left him short of breath and not the way Talbot’s shirt lay open. Beads of sweat glistened on his bare chest.
“You cannot marry her, Maxime.” The bottle slipped from Talbot’s fingers. It clanked on the floor but did not shatter. He stumbled along the wall.
“I have no choice.” He tensed as the smell of alcohol hit his nose.
“There is always a choice.” Talbot came inches from his face.
Maxime pressed against the wall, his gaze never leaving Talbot’s. “Non, my friend. I must marry. It will not lessen our friendship. I will always welcome you under my roof.”
“Even if a rake like me invades your bedchamber?”
Maxime let out a nervous laugh, the heat of Talbot’s skin searing his flesh. “I trust you, mon ami. You have been in many beds but none were married women.”
“It is not your future wife that should be cautious.” Talbot claimed his mouth and Maxime groaned against the invasion.
The taste of the cognac mixed with the sweet elixir of Talbot, and Maxime deepened the kiss. It was a maddening urge, one Maxime wanted to resist, but he couldn’t deny the intense desire his longtime friend sparked within him. All the women they pillaged together as they toured the countryside, the gentle camaraderie slaps of congratulation at every plucked maiden, nothing compared to the need Talbot drew out of him. Maxime jerked away, gasping for air.
“This is not the way of it, Talbot. We are heavy with drink.”
“You are not drunk, mon ami. You never were.” Talbot’s hand slipped down the front of Maxime’s pants. “The wine was always for me so that I could love you as you wanted to love me.”
Maxime, his member thickened from their sinful kiss, responded to his friend’s intimate touch. He palmed Talbot’s hand to urge his friend on. All the women he had entered to prove his manhood to his father and friends, in the presence of Talbot his thoughts wandered into more decadent flesh. When he thrust into the mewing offerings of the willing daughters of men, he never saw the wondrous glow of pale fleshy orbs but the soft downy hairs gracing Talbot’s chiseled chest.
“Do not deny me again, Maxime. Your cock will always tell the truth.” Talbot breathed into his ear and flicked his tongue along the lobe.
Maxime reared up and shoved Talbot away at the sound of Marcel’s voice. His father had come home before the ink even dried on his letter. Shame bore into Maxime’s flesh as he adjusted his clothing. “I must go greet him.” His gaze stayed to the cold stone floor, unwilling to peer into Talbot’s eyes. His footfalls echoed off the walls. At the bottom of the stairs, Maxime forced a smile at the sight of his father. Beside him stood two stocky men—both bearing the mark of the magistrate from Paris. Maxime’s father started forward but halted in his tracks.
The light step of Talbot sounded behind Maxime and his father’s demeanor changed.
“What is he doing here?” He pointed a frail finger toward Talbot, venom spewing from his lips.
“He is my guest, Father, as he is most summers.”
“I should have come home at once when I heard this whore disappeared in Paris.” His father hacked and wheezed. The physical signs of his failing health were etched in the lines cut deep in his face. Even so, the old man bore an angry red glow on his cheeks. “This man is wanted in Paris for sodomy. I hope you did not let the lecherous fool get you cup sodden so he could to defile you as if you were a woman.”
“He has done no such thing, I—”
“Enough!” Another bout of lung-jarring coughing rasped from his father’s chest. “I will hear no more. At dawn, you will defend the honor of this house against this fornicator in a duel.” He gestured to the two men beside him. “Take him upstairs in chains and lock him in his room for now. The guillotine is too clean of a death for him. I will have a word with my son alone.”
Maxime’s heart lodged in his throat, threatening to constrict what precious air he could suck in. If Maxime had the choice of his friend’s death, Talbot would be whisked away back to Paris to face the guillotine rather than die at the hands of his new lover. Instead, his father demanded his son gun down his dearest friend. The long buried longing for his best friend throughout his childhood thundered in his chest. He had to find a way to save his friend from his fate.
Talbot Sauvageot has kept his wicked lifestyle underground for several years, going from one lover to the next. Decedent rake to females by day, passionate lover for his latest male companion at night. When he is forced to flee Paris or face the guillotine, Talbot realizes none of the men he has bedded over the past years burns at his soul like his dear friend Maxime LaRue. Forced into seclusion in the forest of Bois de Lunor, he receives an invitation from Maxime for their yearly gathering at his estate in Varanguebec. One that Talbot has avoided the past few years. Refusing to submit to a life without love, Talbot schemes to discover if his childhood friend shares the same taste in pleasure as he. Will Maxime submit to Talbot’s ploy or cast his friend in the shadow of death? Be Warned: m/m sex, forced seduction, rimming, multiple partners. Review: This is the first book I’ve read by Kastil Eavenshade and it definitely won’t be my last. I loved the author’s descriptive writing skills as well as her interesting and humanly flawed characters, immediately swept this reader up into the story she wove and held my attention until I finished reading the entire book in one sitting. First, let me say that I had a love/hate relationship with the main hero, Talbot. He’s a selfish, self-centered rake that definitely looked out for his own self-preservation before putting anyone else before him. During his time, it is a crime by death if any man gets caught doing any homosexual acts, so Talbot does the delicate balance between having a reputation as being a ladies man to his family, friends and acquaintances, and having male lovers when he can without being discovered. Unfortunately when his male lover is discovered and considered a sodomite, he gives Talbot’s name up before he is sent to the guillotine. Because of this, Talbot must flee his home and family and he must keep hidden from authority figures or he’ll be condemned to die just as his lover was. But, when Talbot finds out his best friend, Maxime is having one of his infamous get-togethers at his country estate; Talbot knows he must take a chance to see his friend again. Talbot has always secretly loved and desired Maxime, and becomes determined to have some love and happiness with his best friend, even if it is short lived. I really liked this book. I thought the plight Talbot found himself in was very well-written and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. I kept wondering if Talbot was going to get caught, and if he did, would he be able to charm his way out of the serious situation he found himself in. Even though I had a love/hate relationship with Talbot, in the end I really started to care about what happened to him. Now, at times I thought he was a cold fish and callous about the capture and death of his lover, but in a way I understood why he had to be this way. Talbot really lives his life on the edge. Between his love for men and being in love with his best friend has caused him to live much of his life as a lie. This would mess with anyone’s head. Also, even though I felt sorry for Talbot’s doomed lover, I kind of understood why Talbot was sort of flippant about his death. In my opinion it was a defense mechanism for him to get through such a difficult time, including the betrayal of his lover and being hunted down because of his homosexuality. So, at first I didn’t care for him, but as the story progressed and as his feelings for his friend, Maxime came to light, I started to care about him and hope that everything turned out okay for him. I also enjoyed the chemistry between Talbot and Maxime. I liked the camaraderie the two men had together and enjoyed the sexual tension between them. As a whole, I really enjoyed every minute of this book and thought it was a refreshing, but somewhat bittersweet tale of what homosexual men went through during Talbot’s lifetime. I’m looking forward to reading more books written by Ms. Eavenshade in the future and recommend this book to any historical fan who wants a grittier, well-written romance.