Review: Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders by Cornelia Grey

Benjamin Pepperwhistle has one overriding desire: to handle the glorious machinery that is a gun. So when he decides to run away to join the circus, it's only natural that he should seek out the legendary pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp, and beg to be his assistant. Life in the circus has definite ups and downs, but as Benjamin settles in to his role, he finds that some perks are even better than he'd anticipated.

WOW, this was WAY more than what I expected. I kind of thought it would be a quirky and interesting little diversion, but other than that I really had no expectations. The cover and the title sucked me right in. Now, if someone would have told me yesterday at this time that I was going to read a book about gun play and it was going to be off the charts sexy I would have said, “Ha! Yeah right, I’ll do dirty all day, but I don’t do crazy.” Well, well, well, guess what? I can totally do this crazy!

I’m always impressed when an author can take a taboo kink and make it work because of the great characters and their connection. The dynamic between Cole, Benjamin and the guns was so intense and their physical reactions to the show they were putting on for the circus was damn crazy good. That’s what got me here and what the author did so well, it ultimately is not about the guns. The guns are a tool to get at the emotions of control, trust and release and all of that pushed both of these guys buttons hard.

There are a few editing niggles that I wanted to fix. Inconsistencies with the time that Benjamin had been with the circus (see below*) and at a critical moment when he should have been out of bullets, but the scene continued without him reloading. I was so into it though I just said to myself, “OK, 2 days, 2 weeks, whatever.” And, “We’ll just pretend he just reloaded to get on to the goodies.”

I would love, love, love to see a couple more chapters of this story. Not that there is anything missing, it is a pretty short story after all and the balance was pretty good with background and buildup. The sex in the story wasn’t even that physically intimate, but the emotional and mental aspect of their sexuality was so damned well done, I didn’t want it to be over. What really got to me was the roles in their power play that were unexpected, but written so fluidly they added to connection between Cole and Benjamin. It made the open ended HFN happy enough that I can completely buy into them having and HEA.

*I saw on GR that the author had made some expansions from the original story and has corrected the time frame - check it out. Thank you Cornelia!


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