King of Hearts by L.H. Cosway
Series: Hearts #3
Published on July 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Welcome to the City, London’s most prestigious square mile, where finance reigns and Oliver King is a rising prince.
I used to rule the world.
There might be wolves on Wall Street, but there were crocodiles in Canary Wharf. Some of us craved money. Some of us craved power.
I liked money, and power had its advantages, but what I really wanted was to excel, to surpass the men who came before me. I never cared much for love and romance until I met Alexis.
I could feel it the very moment she walked into the interview, with her outspoken charm and vivacious personality. She cast all the others in shadow, made me laugh when life held no humour. Our friendship should have remained professional, but it wasn’t long before the lines started to blur.
You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, I never foresaw where my plans would lead, and only in my darkest hour did I finally see the light…
You can have all the money and prestige in the world and still be the poorest man alive. And love, well, I hate to use a tired old cliché, but love can be the thing that truly sets you free.
“I never stopped loving you, not even in my darkest hour”.
6 huge stars
This book! OMG, this book! Epic banter, phenomenal UST, drama, heartache and sensational romance. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and my heart was pounding the whole time. It was perfect.
This is the third book in L.H. Cosway’s ‘Hearts’ series. This series features standalone books which are closely interconnected and I would highly recommend reading the earlier books in the series because not only are they fantastic reads, but it will make this story all the more intense.
King is introduced as a side character in Hearts of Fire, where he has hit rock bottom as a barely functioning alcoholic and is clearly struggling to cope with his life. I was really curious about how his story was going to be told. What could have possibly happened to him to destroy him so badly? Would my heart be shattered watching him through the hell that he is clearly in when we first met him? What happened to Alexis, the woman that he has never forgotten and clearly still has intense feelings for? Would he ever find peace and redemption?
Well, I’m happy to say that L.H. Cosway absolutely smacked it out of the park with this one. She has given King an incredible story that answered all of my questions, and had me totally invested from page 1 right through to the very end. I sat and devoured this book, unable to put it down and it instantly became a favourite.
The structure of the story is perfect, split into ‘Before’ and ‘After’ (that would be Before and After King’s downfall). The story of the past takes us back to meet King in all of his glory where is the master of his world, a highly successful investment banker – wealthy, smug and arrogant, but totally charming and sexy as all hell.
The book is written entirely from the POV as Alexis who is hired to be King’s PA, and from the moment I met her, I absolutely loved her. She’s a straight talker with no filter, she says it like it is, and is totally inappropriate. King likes this about her, and the two of them soon strike up a friendship where they banter, share quips, and are completely open and inappropriate with each other, and it’s awesome!
“Did you just call me King?” he said, cutting me off.
“Oh, yeah, sorry, I…”
“Don’t apologise. I like it.”
But underlying all of that, the two of them want each other badly and the UST is off the freaking charts! It’s a rare and special thing when you feel this level of intensity between a couple while reading, and seriously – every single moment is sizzling with chemistry. And with each little step they move towards ‘more’, my heart was pounding and I was pretty much hyperventilating with anticipation (one particular scene actually had me squeeing out loud).
A long sigh escaped him before he said, “We’re in something of a predicament, love.”
I turned my face to look up at him. “We are?”
Reaching, out, he stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. “Yes, my darling, because I very much want to fuck you.”
It builds and builds, until it all explodes into a passionate encounter that is supposed to be a one off, but which they both instantly recognise will never be enough.
He sucked in a deep breath, his eyes travelling back and forth between mine as he swiped his thumb across my bottom lip. His voice was husky when he spoke, “The way you come is fucking devastating.”
We both seemed to understand that we were completely and totally screwed. No way was this going to be a one-time thing. Already I wanted to crawl beneath his skin and never leave.
Their relationship is easy and natural, passionate and intense, and they both fall and fall hard.
“I could lose the run of myself inside a woman like you, Alexis.”
There is a great build up to the big event that changes everything. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s not annoying. I could understand the reactions, and the fall out is what leaves us with King at his lowest. Thankfully, the story then skips ahead to six years later so we don’t have to watch his suffering, what we’ve seen in Hearts of Fire is more than enough!
And then there is the ‘After’ part of the story where Alexis is bought back into King’s life. The reunion is one of those moments where I was glued to my kindle, holding my breath and revelling in the feels. The intensity between them is still very much there and you know where the story is going to go, but the way it all unfolds is just beautiful.
Even though it had taken years, finding him had been the easy part. Healing him would be the greatest challenge I’d ever faced.
The feel of the second half of the book is different from the first. It’s a lot more emotional, but the heart-pounding sense of anticipation is still very much there. Obviously Alexis and King are both in completely different places in their lives, and the character development is fantastic. They have a lot that they need to overcome to move forward – not only does King have to struggle his way back to real life View Spoiler » Is it possible to detox that fast and that seemingly easily? Who knows. But you know what? I didn’t care. I was too swept up in all of the emotion to think about practical things such as that « Hide Spoiler, but he also has to catch up on all that he has missed and find who he is again. And it’s all interwoven into a beautiful and highly emotive second-chance romance. It’s heartbreaking but beautifully hopeful, and again, I loved every moment of it.
“I never stopped loving you, not even in my darkest hour”.
Jay, Matilda, Jack and Lille are all an important part of the story, fiercely protective of King, they all stand strong behind both the reunited couple, doing what they can to help. I loved checking in with them, and loved their involvement in all that goes on. We are also introduced to the couple that will feature in the next book in the series – Alexis’ best friend (a police officer), and her smartass, bad boy criminal love interest. Should be interesting!
The story ends beautifully, with a gorgeous epilogue from King’s POV that not only finishes the story off but also gives us glimpses of the key moments from book from his perspective (nicely done, Ms Cosway!).
I absolutely adored this book. I love that we get to see all of the build-up to the relationship, as well as the reconnection between these two amazing characters. I was absolutely enthralled from start to finish, and ended this book on a total high.
6 massive stars.
I’d almost forgotten that King and I had anything even resembling a friendship until he sidled into the office on Friday morning looking like the cat that got the cream. And all of that smug delight was being firmly directed at me. He said his usual hellos to both Gillian and Eleanor, then came to stand in front of me, arms folded, a gigantic smile on his face.
“You’re looking particularly lovely today, Miss Clark,” he said with a flourish.
I glanced at him for a second, frowned, and then continued typing. What was his game? Eleanor got up from her seat and went to use the bathroom, and still he remained standing there like a complete and total oddball, as Gillian’s voice talking on the phone filled the room. Finally, I gave in.
“Can I help you with something?”
“I could fucking kiss you right now,” he beamed and I sucked a breath.
Okay. Trying to play it nonchalant, I replied, “For what exactly?”
“That social media start-up we discussed the other day? Well, immediately after we spoke I lined up one of my clients as an investor and guess what?”
I stared at him. “What?”
“The site has gone viral overnight. Apparently, a couple of celebrities started using it and now they’re getting new sign-ups by the bucket load.” He leaned forward and braced both his hands on the edge of my desk. “This client was an important one and he currently thinks I shit daisies. And I have you to thank for it, Alexis. You’re a flipping genius!”
I couldn’t help my smile. He really was laying it on thick and heavy. “Shall I whip out my cock for you to suck now or later? Jeez Ollie, tone it down a little.”
He blinked at me, and then a second later he was laughing. It was good thing Eleanor wasn’t around and that Gillian was too preoccupied with her phone call to hear what I’d said.
“Did you just call me Ollie?”
Supressing a smirk, I nodded, still typing. A beat of silence passed.
“Did you also just refer to me sucking your cock?”
“Well, you’ve already opened the button and pulled down the fly, you might as well finish the job,” I quipped and amusement lit his eyes.
He stared at me for so long that I began to get uncomfortable. His smile naturally faded, and now his expression grew serious. “I’m going to put a bonus in your first pay check at the end of the month. Think of it as a consultant’s fee.”