Alta Hensley-Beasts & Bourbon

It’s been a while since we saw one of Alta’s Top Shelf books, and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been thirsty for one. And this is the one I’ve really been wanting since all the way back to the beginning of the series. That’s because Beasts & Bourbon is basically the start of the series. Well, sort of, at least.

Way back when, like 2017, I think, there was an anthology called Royally Mine. (Sorry, it’s not available anymore.) In that series, Alta wrote the original story of Cheri and Roman, and thus introduced us to the world of Spiked Roses and Top Shelf. We’ve had 4 other books between now and then, and now we’re getting back to Cheri and Roman’s story, with it fleshed out and expanded. And yummm. It was worth the wait.

So, Roman is a bona fide prince. He has 2 older brothers, so there is very little risk of him actually taking the throne, but still. Prince. He’s done a lot of things, but he’s currently one of the 7 owners of the premier and exclusive gentlemen’s club, Spiked Roses, in NOLA. He gets to do all kinds of dark, dirty, depraved, and wonderful things there. But now, it’s time for him to marry. That means it’s time to fetch his wayward bride.

Cheri, pronounced sherry not cherry, has been betrothed to Roman since they were children. She may not be a princess, yet, but she is part of the nobility. Her mother is a countess, which means her father was probably a count, but could’ve been an earl, but definitely means that she’s a Lady, at the very least. Not that we ever find out, and I’m only guessing, so take it as you want. Anyway, she felt stifled in the whole royal lifestyle, so she ran away as fast as she could. She’s been living in Costa Rica writing poetry and winning prizes. Right up until Silas Roope, His Highness’ attorney comes to drag her home so that she and Roman can get married, blackmailing her with her mother’s welfare to make sure she actually goes to NOLA.

Roman starts out as kind of a dick in the beginning of the story. To his benefit, at least he realizes it and can fix it, and doesn’t have to have his head smacked for him to see what he did. After being a dick, he gets sort of sweet until he has to be not sweet. So, for like 5 whole minutes or so. LOL. I like Cheri, but I think that a lot of her strength is bravado, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can mean that when things shift, it can take her a hot minute to figure things out and to get her footing again. OTOH, for all that I think that, I also think that she bends fairly well, more like a willow than an oak, if you know what I mean.

I understand why Roman does certain things the way that he does and that they have to be done that way. Doesn’t mean that I like them or anything, but I understand why he does them. He doesn’t necessarily like them either, but needs must when the Devil drives.


After our last run-in with the ICB, I was hoping that we were completely done with them, but I guess we aren’t. I’m kind of mad at Roman for taking Cheri there. Like I said, I understand why he did it, but I sure as hell didn’t like it.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check out this one! Happy reading!