Title: King of Hearts
Author: L.H. Cosway
Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW!
SYNOPSIS: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.
When I think of LH Cosway, I immediately think of quirky, eccentric characters and an outside-the-box plot. Cosway consistently crafts such unbelievably well-developed characters and sets them inside the most fantastical, layered circumstances and she makes me just want to sink right down inside her stories and never come out. King of Hearts felt different... oh, believe me, I still felt like I wanted to wrap myself up in this story and never come out of it. I fell in love with these characters immediately, with their story and I was so consumed with where this would all go that I couldn't think of anything else. But Oliver King and Alexis Clark didn't feel so odd to me, they didn't feel so eccentric... or maybe they did and LH Cosway just exceeded my expectations by making them feel very real in all of their peculiarity. Oliver King is a successful businessman but he's also a gifted pianist and he comes from a family with tightly locked up secrets. Alexis Clark is his new assistant and everything from her fashion sense to her innate curiosity to every hilariously unexpected word that comes out of her mouth makes her a character the likes of which I've never read before. These characters might not be strange and different in the traditional LH Cosway sense of the word, but they are refreshing, they are original and they're fraught with interesting, magnetic personalities demanding that I loved them more than I ever expected to love two characters when I opened this book.
Oliver King was first introduced in Hearts of Fire as the drunkard brother of the circus owner who obviously had a story to tell. As that story unfolded it became clear that King was a classic case of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen," but one could only speculate on what his life must have been like before he became the belligerent, homeless ghost of a man following the circus. The biggest question in that book was what on earth had happened to Oliver King? What caused the catastrophic downfall of such an enigmatic man? When King of Hearts opens, and all through the first half of the book, it's still impossible to fathom how this charming, sexy, powerful, successful businessman went from being the Oliver King he once was to the King he's come to be.
This story is told in two parts... the before and the after. The 'before' takes place six years prior to the events in Hearts of Fire, giving us the entire backstory of who Oliver King was before his world crashed down around him. When I read Hearts of Fire, King was barely on my radar, as I'd been so consumed with the story of Lille and Jack. I thought King was a nuisance, really. I barely connected with him, with his drunken, belligerent behavior, hurting himself and in the process tearing others down with him. I didn't know him or understand him until now. The journey through the before and after in King of Hearts just made Oliver King my most beloved Cosway character yet.
King of Hearts is aptly named because this character completely owned my heart from beginning to end. I fell in love with Oliver King, the powerhouse with the world at his fingertips who played chess with his alluring assistant in his opulent bathroom, and I fell in love with the Oliver King who had nothing but dirty clothes and greasy hair and an alcohol addiction. I fell in love with Alexis Clark, this confident, quirky, smart, self-assured woman who captivated me with her story from the first page. I loved how real she is, how authentic and honest both of these characters were, but more, how fantastic they are together. The chemistry between these characters was edible, if that's even a thing, whatever, I'm making it one. I wanted to sink my teeth into this storyline, these characters, this perfectly paced course of events, there's just no better way to describe it. Cosway plotted out this story so exquisitely, building and building and building the connection, the attraction, the sexual tension, drawing me in so completely that there was no finding my way out. I'm still not out. My thoughts and my heart are still in that book and I doubt I'll find my way out anytime soon.
I love a good office romance. I love a friends to lovers romance. I love angst and sexual tension and a decadent slow burn. I love second chances. I love plot twists that feel believable and consistent with the rest of the story. I love raw, tangible emotion and fantastic writing. I love a meaty, layered plot and characters that consume me. I love authentic dialogue and witty banter. I love and appreciate stories that step outside the box and don't follow the mundane formula of everything else out there. I love everything about King of Hearts and I love every single word, every sentence, every miniscule detail, every choice LH Cosway made in executing this perfectly unforgettable story.
He gave me a wan smile, and there was something in his expression that struck me as sad somehow. Rubbing at his chin, he answered, “Hmmm, when I’m stressed out…a nice glass of top shelf whiskey usually does the trick.”
“That makes sense,” I said and walked around his desk before taking a seat in front of him. “You know, I always thought it was poor people who did drugs, to escape the bleakness of their realities. Now I’m thinking maybe the practice is most common at the top and the bottom of the ladder. Perhaps the best place to be is somewhere in the middle.”
“Not necessarily. I’m at the top. Do I look high to you?”
The deadpan way in which he said it made me laugh. I leaned forward and teased, “I’m not sure. Let me have a look at your pupils.” Surprising me, King rose from his seat, walked around his desk and came to kneel in front of me. Before I knew it his face was mere inches from mine.
“Go ahead,” he said, voice low.
Whoa, Oliver King’s face right up close…I wasn’t sure what to do with that. I guess he didn’t realise the effect he had on this very non-gay lady, because he seemed entirely unselfconscious. His eyes were beautiful, his lashes long and golden, his skin smooth with a hint of stubble around his jaw, and his lips were just…I had no words. Sculpted and masculine was probably the only way I could think to describe them.
I realised I was staring at those lips a little too closely when my eyes flicked back to his. A moment ago he was smiling, but now that smile was transforming into a thoughtful frown.
I cleared my throat. “Your pupils look fine.”
King exhaled a small breath and I watched as his attention went from my eyes to my cheeks, nose, chin, and then finally to my lips. He looked like he was about to say something when suddenly Gillian’s voice filled the room.
“Mr King, Jenson Gellar is on the phone. Shall I put him through?”
L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.
She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.