It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.
Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.
Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.
Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.
But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.
This was a wonderful fairytale retelling! There were some unique twists on the original that gave added depth to the story as well as a really delicious dose of angst.
Instead of a prince we get a low-level criminal trying to survive a conflict between two gangs, while also attempting to stay on the right side of the law, or rather, out of sight of the law. This gives the story a grittiness and complexity it otherwise wouldn’t have had and really ratchets up the tension level. Leigh is so kind and obviously meant for better things than thieving or worse, but he doesn’t see a way out of that kind of life.
Tolly saves Leigh from drowning and firmly believes Leigh is the one for him, risking his life on the strength of that conviction. I loved Tolly’s quaint way of interpreting certain words or expressions. He’s super endearing, sweet, protective, self-effacing… and he has a secret.
True love never did run smooth, and it doesn’t for Tolly and Leigh either. At one very low, low point, the emotional anguish and despair of the MC’s actually brought tears to my eyes and I started to panic about their chances of getting to their HEA. Cruel author!
This was an amazing, well-written story. The secondary characters were great and really helped build a world around the MC’s, especially Alvin and Cary, but also all of Leigh’s friends from his apartment building.
I hope Amanda Meuwissen will try her hand at other fairytale retellings, because this one was incredible!
Number of stars out of 5: 5