Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.
Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous— client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.
When I started this book I didn’t realize that it is the second in the series. Even though it could probably be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the series in order. I haven’t read the first book and I as sunk into A Rose By Any Other Name I felt as if I missed something. It wasn’t until I was more than half way through that I realized this was book two.
That being said, the beginning of this story started off really slow for me. The time period is post WWI in the roaring 1920’s and the care for the details gave me a clear picture of the setting for the club. Told between the alternating point of views between Edward and Julius. Their romance was sweet but I didn’t connect complete with the two of them. I think because I didn’t understand Edward’s attraction to Julius.
This didn’t pick up for me until the villain, Ares, made his move to stake his claim on Julius, adding a dangerous air to the storyline. Even then, I didn’t become completely engrossed until later. However, Edward’s cousins and their side romances I almost skipped portions of the story to get more of them. Loved those two and wished for their own stories.
It was kind of fascinating watching them investigate without the amenities that we are used to nowadays. The details of that era were interesting and told in such a way that I could easily see it. Edward’s confrontation with his father was endearing, especially for the time period. All in all, I did enjoy the story.