Oliver King. We met him in Hearts of Fire, he was an alcoholic, he was distraught, an emotional and physical mess. Homeless. This is the story of Before and After.
This book filled me with happiness, knocked me down, trampled on my heart and then gradually lifted me back up again – I am sitting here welling up at the thought of it. It was simply beautiful.
Set in the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf, one of London’s major business districts, Alexis Clark is an East End barmaid who decides to put her administration diploma to good use and applies for a job at one of the top investment banks in the UK.
Oliver King finds Alexis refreshing, she has no filter, says inappropriate things and makes him laugh and offers her the job the very next day.
King is a very educated man, is at the top of his game and is highly charming, which is why Alexis decides to keep him at arms length and despite the attraction between them they become friends and decide to attempt to resist the temptation to tear each others clothes off.
The sexual tension at this point was through the roof, it’s not long before King makes claim.
“I felt like a small animal being preyed upon by an expert hunter. He’d caught me out, and I was under no illusions that he was going to make this easy for me.”
This first half of this story is a friends-to-lovers theme which had me smiling, laughing and falling in love with these two characters, but with nervous dread as to what was to come.
When the events occurred that led to King’s destructive downfall, I was so upset, I was sad for the woman who loved him so fiercely, and I was in agony for the broken man that he became.
But never fear, because L.H Cosway has written a wonderful and loving character in Alexis and it is her job to save the man who gave her confidence and affection and unconditional love. When she receives a letter from the travelling circus, she is determined to give him back his crown and title of King of her world, as she is his Queen.
This was an emotional and uplifting story, I absolutely loved it. I loved that it was set in my city, and that Alexis was so relatable; she was funny and kind with a sense of humour and a heart of gold.
King was absolutely charming, he was sexy and confident and adored Alexis. It was heartbreaking to see such a strong man fall.
“Shame. Pain. Loss. Fear. More shame.
So much fucking shame I could barely breathe with it.”
His recovery was tough but King was strong, and along with the people he loved close by, he found the path to happiness once again.
The writing was stunningly beautiful, and the emotions that this story brought out of me has definitely placed this book on my top 10 favourite shelf of 2015.
ETA – I forgot to mention the epilogue! It was so clever, and lovely. It was told in King’s POV and covered his perspective of all the best bits. So, so good.
This is a standalone contemporary romance written in Alexis’ POV. It is not necessary to have read the previous books in this series, but I highly recommend them, or at least to have some insight to King’s character in Hearts of Fire.
ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review