‘I don’t know what exactly she is to me or where we’ll go from here. But I know one thing for sure. Gwyneth is now mine.’

It started with a kiss and exploded from there. We do love a good age gap, forbidden romance, and Empire of Desire was certainly that. An age gap of 18 years to be exact between thirty-eight-year-old Nate Weaver, and his best friend’s daughter, twenty-year-old Gwen Shaw. Talk about passion…. these two ignited once their attraction took hold.

‘That’s what Nate does – he steals attention. He’s a thief. Because every time he’s in sight, I’m robbed of breath and other things I don’t want to put a name to…’

Years of crushing on her dad’s best friend lead Gwen Shaw to take control and plant a kiss on Nathaniel Weaver on her eighteenth birthday. It throws a curveball at Nate, knowing Gwen is off limits and her dad, Nate’s best friend Kingsley Shaw would kill him, so he does his best to avoid her at all costs.

That is until, a terrifying and tragic event throws them together, forcing them into a fake marriage, and yeah, we all know how they turn out right? These two can’t keep their hands off one another! Gwen now has the power to stand up to him, much to the dismay and amusement of Nate as his feelings for Gwen go way beyond platonic! They may have married out of necessity but those feelings, especially for Nate, soon became something else – something possessive, raw, and all consuming.

“It’s a fake marriage.”
“Fake is an illusion, but this is real, tangible, touchable.”

Rina Kent delivered an overbearing, cynical, sexy hero with Nate, and of course, we fell for him. But, as domineering as he was, this man was very much in tune with Gwen’s feelings, her emotions, and her vulnerabilities. We knew he’d do anything in his power to protect her, he was crazy for this girl!

‘The best way to become a king is to slaughter one.’

There was angst from all angles, a bit of mystery as we slowly uncover the mysterious woman who abandoned Gwen when she was a baby, leaving her to be raised by her loving and overprotective Dad Kingsley. What a credit he was – bringing up a baby singlehandedly whilst going to college and building his hugely successful string of law firms Weaver & Shaw with Nate.

The repetitiveness of some things grated on us – the vanilla theme for instance– we were overloaded with it in this book, and it did become tedious towards the end. We got it, she loved vanilla milkshakes, vanilla ice cream…we just didn’t to be constantly reminded. A couple of things didn’t add up or seemed ‘convenient‘ for want of a better word, which had us scratching our heads.

Told mostly in dual POV from Gwen and Nate, we also loved the sporadic POV’s from Kingsley. This book certainly delivered what it said on the tin – Empire of Desire is a sexy, passionate, crazy forbidden age-gap romance.