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Summary

As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before - a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant. 

After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of the true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have. 

Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’s affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way. 

As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after? 

Please note: Ever After is a romantic fairy tale - minus the magic - that features one compassionate prince, one brooding valet, and plenty of angsty, forbidden love. It’s loosely based on a certain treasured fairy tale in a wintery make-believe setting that wouldn’t be considered contemporary but also isn’t based on any specific time period and doesn’t play by any traditional rules. 

©2018 Christina Lee and RIley Hart (P)2018 Christina Lee and Riley Hart

What listeners say about Ever After

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An incredibly romantic reimagined Cinderella story

Merrick and Cassius whisked me away back to a time when royals were beloved and homosexuality was kept hidden away from others. The elements of secrecy and forbidden love made me all the more invested in their romance, and it was adorable the way Merrick and Cassius couldn't stay away from each other. Unlike the real Cinderella story, where one magical night of dancing created love from thin air, Merrick and Cassius's connection was born from shared conversations and hours of time spent in each other's company. I got to watch these two fall in love every slow, cautious step of the way, and that made their journey feel so much more real. Joel Leslie's narration was incredible--I love the accents he chose for each character and the way he so passionately conveyed their emotions.

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A beautiful fairytale

A fairytale of love and romance and thank goodness a loving caring family once they know his ways, difficult to stop listening and gives you that feel good feeling.

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So slooowww

It’s so slow, i am sorry to the authors but my god it was so slow I had to write a review. Please get something else.

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  • Paula
  • 21-09-18

Ever After: Adorable and Infuriating

EVER AFTER is a story about a prince and heir to a throne who falls in love with a commoner. That's a story that's been told in fiction and in real life many a time. The added difficulty here, of course, is that the commoner is a man, which makes the romance doubly potentially treacherous for both characters.
Cassius, the commoner, and Merrick, the prince, are lovely, kind, good-hearted guys; there's no doubt you'll love them and root for their happiness, and, as performed by the ever-fabulous Joel Leslie, the story is almost an unmitigated delight.
The infuriation came for me about 1/3 into the tale, after the two become romantically involved, and... then there was one chapter after another of torturous angst, thwarted longing, and fatalistic sighs of "this could never be" and "they would have to content themselves with this one perfect night" and "only memories they would cherish forever", for the prince must do his duty and marry someone who can produce an heir. Meanwhile, I'm over here shouting, "Dude! Have you never heard of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson? Just abdicate already!"
If this story had been pared down to a shorter novel, or even a novella, lost several unnecessary secondary characters, and streamlined the plot, it would have been magical and perfect. As it is, it's mostly lovely, with some real tedium in the middle.

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  • Belen
  • 07-10-18

3.5 Stars

So I started out a bit confused because the blurb on Audible clearly states: Please be sure to listen to the Dear Reader letter at the beginning of the book before you begin. The problem is there’s no “Dear Reader” letter at the beginning of the audio. So…was it important? Was it something I really needed to know? I don’t know!

Anyway, Ever After is a fantasy without the magic, a sweet fairytale, slow burn romance about the forbidden love between a prince and his valet that takes place in an interesting amalgam of traditional and modern (with formal language and some modern conveniences like cars).

Joel Leslie uses his best accents to bring the characters and the world to life. His pacing is good, his character voices distinct, and he provides emotional context to Merrick and Cassius’s plight.

I enjoyed the narration, but found myself frustrated with the story’s pace at times. Though, the last couple of hours really grabbed my attention and kept me riveted.

Recommended for those looking for an escape with great character and relationship development, a slow burn, and a very happy ending.

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  • Little J
  • 16-07-21

not much of a fairy tale or even much of a romance

Disappointing and dull. There's no plot, tension, or action. Doesn't feel like a fairy tale. Way too much hackneyed language. No chemistry between the romantic leads. Their intimate and romantic scenes feel hollow and boring. I rolled my eyes every ten minutes or so.

All of the so-called conflict is contrived and irrelevant. ALL of it is simply Cass or Merrick making a decision in their minds to stay away from each other for the other's benefit and then regretting that decision. None of it matters because they backtrack in the following chapter.

The author's choice to make homophobia a staple of this alternative reality is strange. It's unpleasant to create a modern alternative universe that operates in such an oppressive way (with LGBTQ+ identities stigmatized more than in modern times), particularly for a supposed gay fairy tale. But even that aside, if I accept this world's parameters, it's STILL a strange choice since it doesn't matter to the book!!! There is absolutely no one who takes issue with Cass and Merrick being together (which I am glad about but do not believe based on the book's own worldbuilding). So why on earth include it? The threat of exposure and disapproval are used to create tension, but it doesn't work because there's no real threat! This is just another example of how there's NO meaningful conflict or tension in the book at any time.

So is that because the book leans heavily into being a light fairy tale instead? No, not really. There's plenty of hackneyed language that tries hard to sound like flowery deep fairy tale poetry, but it just sounds awkward and cringey. Lots of "you are my life, my very breath!" type speech that feels ill-suited to the rest of the modern setting. It makes it hard to take the characters' affections seriously. But at no point did this feel like a playful fairy tale. It just feels like a very weak romance.

The worldbuilding (or lack thereof) is distracting at times. It's a mix between modern times and "fairy tale" historical settings, which sounds like it could be fun--but isn't. It's too vague and nonexistant to be interesting. It would have been fine if this had simply been modern. Instead, the story is confused about what it is.

Cass struggles financially to the point that if he doesn't keep his job, his sister and mother will suffer and die, yet he supports the monarchy who live off the people's wealth?! No issue with someone simply being "born to rule"?! As if! It makes no sense, and it's difficult to suspend my disbelief on this front with characters living in a modern setting.

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  • Thomas
  • 22-09-18

Loved it!!!

It is a great love story. It made me cry, laugh, and it was amazing

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diana Marie, Ph D
  • 12-09-18

So lovely and sweet!!!

I thought I was too old for fairy tales. I'm so glad to discover I'm not. This was such a lovely story! Rediscover the magic of fairy tales just as I did. You owe it to your heart to read this audiobook. To Riley Hart and Christina Lee, thanks so very much for this wonderful listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amy Begnene
  • 11-09-18

Perfect!!!!

Delicious food for the romantic in even the most broken of hearted. Joel Leslie is the best narrator ever.

1 person found this helpful

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  • casrock
  • 30-08-21

MM Fairy Tale Romance

This was such a sweet, sweet romantic read. It was about a prince and his valet falling in love and the prince choosing him for all the kingdom to see. There were supporting friends/family and the kingdom accepted them. It was such a sweet and wholesome read. I loved the UST that followed these two and when they decided to be together they truly fell for each other. I loved each of their families and the fact they had people in their corner all along even if they thought being together was impossible. Gah, I just loved this!! Also, Joel Leslie was amazing on the narration per usual!!

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  • aya knowledgegod
  • 20-05-21

so sweet!

i truly enjoyed this! just the right amount of everything. looking forward to the next work.

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  • WeAreAllDavis
  • 03-01-21

Truly heart and belley warming 💗🔥

This is a great take on the People in impossible social circumstances romance. in this case it's a fairly contemporary take on the LGBT royalty issue and it feels realistic enough without being a truly heartbreaking depiction of who these things always go down irl. great voice acting really gives HEAT and passion. it's a keeper and a good comfort book!

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  • Ron M.
  • 11-04-20

Loved it, Loved it, Loved it.

One of the best gay romance novels I’ve listened to here. Love has no boundaries.