“Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense.” ~ Helen Rowland
On their way to a well deserved respite from their positions as musketeers, Aristide, Leandre, and Perin, of 'All for One' by Nikki Bennett and Ariel Tachna, run across a wounded man, Benoit, who turns out to be a messenger carrying a note accusing the head musketeer, M. Orville, of treason. Incensed at the thought of it, Perin and Leandre are ready to skewer Benoit on the spot, but Aristide has more compassion for the injured man. He decides to take the messenger to a nearby inn and nurse him back to health so he can figure out whether he is in on the conspiracy or merely a messenger with no idea what the communication says.
Aristide is soon convinced that he isn't involved in the conspiracy to dishonor M. Orville and begins to trust him. As he gets to know him better, Aristide feels an attraction to him that isn't shared and acts honorably, never forcing his attentions upon Benoit who has just lost his wife and unborn child to a plague. Under the guise of his boss wanting to question him further, Aristide brings Benoit back to Paris with him, much to the dismay of the other two musketeers. Since Aristide seems to trust him, they are somewhat obligated to do the same, although they are jealous of their lover's obvious interest in Benoit.
Benoit is a good catholic man who has never even imagined being in love with another man, but he finds himself with mixed feelings when it comes to Aristide. He tries to chalk it up to admiration and appreciation, but that doesn't cut it. He knows his feelings run deeper, but he just can't seem to overcome what has been a lifetime of teaching telling him being with another man is a sin. Benoit tries to accept his growing love for Aristide but his actions lead to a huge misunderstanding between them. In a blind rage, Aristide rides out, not knowing where he is going. When he doesn't turn up for duty the next morning, his friends, especially Benoit, are thrown into a panic and ride out to find what has become of him, not knowing whether they will find him dead or alive.
Historical romance is probably my favorite genre and of those stories, ones about musketeers have to be near the top. There were enough similarities in the book to that of Alexander Dumas's work for the plot to be familiar; Nikki and Ariel's musketeers are just as brave, loyal to their calling, and as excellent with their swords as the original musketeers were but in addition, they are in a ménage relationship. Off duty, they are randy, unruly, and crude at times. Their main focus off duty is in using their “swords” in a completely manner leading to hours of abandoned sexual pleasure. The story is well written with an interesting, complex plot and unique, new characters as well as five others from the first book in the series. There is a lot to keep up with. In my humble opinion, there is an overabundance of sex which distracted me from the plot and had me rolling my eyes a few times thinking: Not again! It's quite graphic and erotic and I'm guessing that people who love to get down and dirty may love it. I have to admit that I enjoyed the first book in the series a lot more. If you like political intrigue, musketeers, sword fighting, and falling in love, you may enjoy this book. Thanks, Nikki and Ariel, for the exciting adventure. I look forward to the next book.