Doing it at: 46%
Catnip: Circus, Second Chance Love, Forbidden Love, Family, Strong Female Lead, Dual Narrative, Beta Hero, We’ve Got Issues, Russians, Center Stage
Shame Scale: Shameless, there are some dirty parts (praise Allah), but the cover is more YA than bodice ripper.
Fantasy Cast: Yara Shahidi and Douglas Booth
What do we smell like: citrusy, but mostly like peppermint
Some love is infinite
“Don’t have a best friend that’s a girl” — this was the advice from my older cousin. I didn’t take it. Because he followed with, “friends don’t f*ck friends. And you’ll want to f*ck her.”
It was terrible advice.
My cousin should’ve told me that being best friends with Baylee Wright — since she was twelve — would be the best and worst decision of my life.
He should have told me to protect her from what was coming.
He should have told me that when a darkness crawled towards us, there’d be no safety net.
Now I’ve signed back on to the same Vegas acrobatic show as Baylee, working together for the first time in years. And she tells me that she’s having trouble in a certain “area” of her life — because of our past.
“You can help me fix it,” she says.
And then she hands me a list.
Infini is the second book in Krista and Becca Ritchie’s circus series, and I have been eagerly waiting for it since I finished Amour, Amour. I adore the Ritchie twin’s books, which all happen in the same universe as their Calloway characters. It’s truly it’s own universe with product brands and tv shows and casinos– much like Tarantino and his Red Apple Cigarettes. The Circus books take place inside the fictional Masquerade Casino’s Cirque- De-Soleil-like Aerial Etherial circus troupes. And inside the Kotova family, a sprawling clan of Russian acrobats who have grown up in the circus and know no life outside of it, for the Kotova’s circus is family.
The first book focused on Nikolai and circus newcomer, Thora, and Infini is the story of Nik’s younger brother Luca, and circus juggler Baylee Wright. Luca and Baylee were childhood best friends, who became each other’s first loves. Secret first loves because minors are forbidden from having relationships with each other within the circus– my assumption is to avoid a whole bunch of teen pregnancies. Because 16 year olds can’t juggle flaming clubs twice a day if they’re seven months pregnant. So, Luka and Bay snuck around; being each other’s first everything, until they were caught backstage having sex in a costume rack (points for creativity and difficulty!) and made to literally sign a contract that they would stay away from each other.
The contract is serious, and cruel. The two are literally not even allowed to look at each other, and if they ever pursue a relationship there will be dramatic consequences for the entire company and every minor in it. Baylee and Luka have their realtionship ended without even being able to say goodbye to each other, and for nearly five years they uphold their contracts of seperation to the letter. Until the circus moves them into the same show, in the same act, in the same breathing space. And its suddenly impossible to maintain any distance.
He’s older. I see how much older again.
I see how much time I missed.
My feet gracefully meet the trampoline, and his hands stay still on my wrists, warming me. Skin-to-skin. We breathe deeply. Inhaling raw breath.
I feverishly soak in his chiseled, charming features, afraid this is the only time I have with him.
Afraid it’ll all be taken away again.
The thing that I love most about the Richie’s books is the total world building aspect, Mary will tell you that I am terrible at reading series. I skip around, I skip books, and generally once a couple has gotten together I am done with them. Just kiss and be happy and let me do this all over again with the next couple! However the characters in these series (Circus and Calloway) are so fully fleshed out, and intertwined, and real that I find myself 100% invested. Luka and Baylee are fully realized humans, they both have deeper issues than just their forbidden love affair and you find yourself caring about what happens to them, past that first kiss.
Which is not to say that these are “issue” books, everything I enjoy in a good dirty romance is in full play. In Infini, under the premise of a list, Luka and Bay need to reunite and go through all the bases all over again. In closets, and showers, and hotel rooms, and up against brick walls in alleys. Its all very hot and wonderful. Luka is a beta hero, who is gentle and never pushy- but will also blatantly tell Bay that he is about to fill her with his hard cock. Bay is sweet, a little shy, and struggling with depression. She still wants to get fucked into next week. The balance of sweet and heartfelt to hot and dirty in these books is just right.
My lips against her ear, I whisper, “in a minute you’ll be fucked harder than you’ve ever been fucked before. My cock” —I have to hold her tighter as she trembles more forcefully—“will be buried so deep inside of you, you’ll cry at the feeling of being completely, entirely full.”
See? El fuego. All of the conflict for the couple is external, the reader is never subjected to any push and pull made up emotional distress. Or even one minute of DBB (Dumb Book Behavior), the characters may be young, but they’re mature adults.
And I have to mention how much I adore the Kotova family. If I do not get a book about Camilla and Dimitri I may self implode. And I’m still team Timo, Luka’s hilarious, ray of sunshine gay brother- who is dating the crankiest poker dealer in all of Las Vegas. I strongly encourage you to pick up Infini, and anything else by the twins that might pique your interest. Do it for the Center Stage references if nothing else.
Check it out:
Amazon • iBooks