The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones
Filthy Trilogy: Book 1
Publication: November 14, 2018
I’m the bastard child, son to the mistress, my father’s backup heir to the Kingston empire. He sent me to Harvard. I left and became a Navy SEAL, but I’m back now, and I finished school on my own dime. I’m now the right hand man to Grayson Bennett, the billionaire who runs the Bennett Empire. I’m now a few months from being a billionaire myself. I don’t need my father’s company or his love. My “brother” can have it. I will never go back there. I will never be the mistake my father made, the way he was the mistake my mother made.
And then she walks in the door, the princess I’d once wanted more than I’d wanted my father’s love. She wants me to come back. She says my father needs to be saved. I don’t want to save my father but I do want her. Deeply. Passionately. More than I want anything else.
But she’s The Princess and I’m The Bastard. We don’t fit. We don’t belong together and yet she says he needs me, that she needs me. We’re like sugar and spice, we don’t mix, but I really crave a taste. Just one. What harm can just one taste do?
Lisa Renee Jones took what I thought would be the standard rich girl/poor boy romance and made it pretty darn interesting. To start, she weaves more than one standard romance trope into the story. You have the rich girl/poor boy (though he’s not poor anymore) combined with the enemies to lovers (though they were never REALLY enemies) with a dash of the step-sibling taboo (because they didn’t become stepsiblings until they were adults) and just a touch of second chance (because they only hooked up once). Oh…and then she says, “What the hell, make it a suspense.”
I think the thing that really impressed me about this book was Jones’ ability to find balance. This is probably closer to erotic suspense than it is romantic suspense…but it WORKS. It doesn’t feel like somebody decided a porn would be better swallowed in written form. There’s a TON of sexy time and I didn’t always feel the sexual tension, but it was never as over-the-top as your standard porn. There was always this understanding of there being more. The suspense and the romance were not supporting the erotica, but it did all meld together into one cohesive unit.
The characters were surprisingly well-rounded. They have their secrets (and I could have done with a little less harping on the fact that they had secrets), and they have stuff you just KNOW about them, but mostly, they’re flawed humans. The judgement and jumping to conclusions are real human character traits…and even though the MCs are CRAZY attracted to each other, they do not, under any circumstances, believe they are actually in love with each other. It’s actually refreshing. Insta-lust, not insta-love.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, even though it ends in a bit of an overly angsty way. I am looking forward to picking up the next one. Word of warning–it ends in a cliffhanger. Bonus? The trilogy is complete and available. Grab your copy by clicking the link below.