This book does a wonderful job of prepping any readers who have not read the first two in the series, but I sure am glad that I read them first. They give this book deeper meaning and I was able to enjoy it so much more. So, while I highly suggest this story for all romance readers, my advice is to start with book one.
This one picks up right after book two, with the humorous introduction of our couple. It was a fantastic start that only got better. Officer Risen arrests the darling of the Crown empire, China. You can’t get better than that. Through a heartbreaking, yet entertaining encounter at the courthouse, he’s assigned to be her jailor for a month. Needless to say, that leads to a lot of tension, both emotional and sexual.
I had already fallen in love with China through the other books, but picking this one up without prior knowledge will not stop readers from appreciating her fiery attitude and her desolation over the tragedies that have befallen her family. Careen follows her in the immediate aftermath and how she copes, and doesn’t cope, with her hardships. Risen is fantastic. He’s a mystery and has more depth than is originally alluded to. He knows when to give her distance and when to push her towards addressing her problems. They are truly a perfect match. Unlike in many other novels, their friends are more than simple walk-on-walk-off characters. Her girlfriends are funny and touching, while his best friend is a riot. They all added beautifully to this story.
While this book is not the end of the Anchor & Crown series, it is a fantastic happily-ever-after for China. I love the book and the strength of the characters. The build-up is wonderfully done, providing background and personality to the main characters. Their relationship is electric and is more than lust-at-first-sight, although there is a lot of references to excited nether regions upon their meeting and subsequent interactions. I was so involved that I hated for the story to end, and end it did. Very abruptly. It felt a bit rushed and tied up too nicely at the very last second. I would have loved to see more of what became of them after her house arrest and his duty as her jailor was finished, but the future is not seen past a few weeks of increasing infatuation and, dare I say, love.
For the grading:
- Genre and general reading age – Romance and only for mature adults. If it was a movie it would be NC-17.
- Level of sexuality – Extreme. Not only are there many lustful moments that require cold showers, but the actual deed is graphic and beyond steamy. This is one story that made me blush while reading it.
- Is there graphic language? Of course. China swears like a sailor and Risen mumbles obscenities under his breath throughout. It’s built into the rough exteriors of the characters.
- Did I cry? No, but my heart hurt for her.
- Did I laugh? I chuckled a few times. It’s extremely entertaining, but has serious undertones that make it more drama than ha-ha.
- Is this part of a series? This is book three in the Crown & Anchor series. Next up, Whiskey gets his turn.
- Level of character development – Both of the main characters are highly developed. They are loveable and remain consistent all the way through. It would have been great to see a little more of Risen and his decision about what his future holds beyond the story, but watching China accept what has happened and try to move on was a joy. She goes from a spoiled kid to a more mature adult who is ready to listen before making judgements.
Out of the three books currently available, this is by far my favorite. I’m relieved that I read the others and I believe other readers will find a greater appreciation for China if they read those, as well. That said, it is a wonderful book with characters that are relatable, aside from the obscene wealth, and are a pleasure to watch evolve. If there had been just a little more end to the ending it would have been a solid five. Even though I could have stood more, I’m happy to award it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars. All romance readers, especially those that love the hot moments, should pick this up.