Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Helen Juliet

Genre: Gay Erotic Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (18 Years), BDSM (Sir/boy), Fairy Tale Retelling, Insta-Love/Lust, Opposites Attract, Romance

Length: 215 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

Blurb –

Little thief. Big problem.

JACK When some billionaire tries to mess with my family, I decide to take personal revenge and break into his London penthouse when he’s abroad to steal some compensation. The issue? He’s not only very much home, but he’s huge. Even worse, he’s gorgeous and too bloody cheerful. Rather than call the police, he suggests that I stay until I’ve fixed what I’ve damaged. It’s only for a few days, but I start to realise this guy isn’t the villain I thought he was. In fact, he might be everything I’ve ever dreamed I could never have.

FELIX It’s only a little light kidnapping, so I don’t feel too bad. Besides, this small, grumpy thief I’ve caught is too adorable. I’m drawn to his broken soul. I want to protect him from his troubles and dominate him in the bedroom. We’re perfect for each other but he’s determined to believe that he doesn’t belong in my world. Can I convince him to stay? Or is this fairy tale doomed before it’s even begun?

Jacked Up is a super steamy, standalone MM gay romance novel featuring one hell of a size difference, a romantic date in the clouds, a singing and matchmaking parrot, past wounds long overdue for healing, and a guaranteed HEA with absolutely no cliffhanger.

Review –

This my third book by Helen Juliet, with Golden being one of my favorite books of 2021. I love a good retelling. I definitely wasn’t disappointed with this one.

Jack Spriggs, 30, is a thief, having even served time years before. He gets by doing cash jobs and others that aren’t quite on the up and up. The last thing he wants is to go back to prison, but he has to take care of himself and his widowed mother, so does what he can. It’s not like people are lining up to hire him with his record.

Now his mother has been laid off from her longtime job with no severance. To say Jack is furious is an understatement. The owner of the company she worked for is billionaire Felix Fagiolo. Felix lives in his penthouse above the clouds and has likely never wanted for anything a day in his life. Jack and his mother, on the other hand, have always struggled just to make ends meet.

Jack decides to break into Felix’s penthouse, steal a few things that belong to the man, and then use whatever cash he gets from what he steals to keep his mother afloat for a little while. For Jack, who would never survive another stint in prison, to do this is major. If he’s caught, there’s no keeping him out. Even so, he’s determined to hurt Felix in some way because the man hurt Jack’s mother. He enlists help from a tech guy he met in prison and puts his plan into motion. Felix is supposedly on a trip to New York, so Jack should be able to do the job and get gone rather quickly.

Only things don’t quite go as planned.

Jack makes it inside the building (appropriately called the Beanstalk) and into Felix’s penthouse without issue. He even makes it inside the huge vault. The problem? Felix didn’t go on that trip to New York, and he catches Jack in the act. Instead of calling the cops as anybody else might, Felix works out a deal with the thief. Some display cases were broken during Jack’s surprise of being caught, and some expensive coins ended up on the floor. If Jack agrees to stay in the penthouse long enough to put things back to rights in the vault, then he’ll be free to go, and no cops will be called. Knowing it’s the only way to stay out of jail, Jack reluctantly agrees.

Nothing at all could’ve prepared him for what happens next.

Felix knows he should call the police on the little thief, but there’s something about the much younger man that gives him pause. He finds himself wanting to take care of Jack, to spoil him. A Dom, it’s in Felix’s nature to be nurturing, to want to fix things. Not only is he wanting to fix all the wrongs in Jack’s life, but he’s wanting him in every way possible.

He scoffs. “So you’re kidnapping me?”

I try and fail not to grin. He’s fucking adorable. I haven’t felt anything stir in me like this for years. I know this isn’t a date, but still, it’s nice to know I’m not completely dead below the waist.

Jack’s no dummy. He knows that he’s being given a major out, but is it normal to start falling for his captor?

Okay, so technically, he’s not a prisoner, but if he tries to leave the cops will be called.

Things happen pretty fast with these two. It goes from being caught in the act of stealing, to an entire wardrobe being bought for Jack, to some seriously hardcore sex. There’s a lot of hardcore sex, but there are also romantic dates on the balcony and sweet words and actions.

This is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, so of course there has to be a size difference between Felix and Jack. Jack’s around 5’6″ or so, where I think Felix was described as a foot, foot and a half taller. I know he’s much bigger than Jack everywhere else too, including exactly where your mind just went. 😉

The three beans from the original fairy tale are also in this book, but in a different way.

I absolutely loved Felix. He isn’t at all the man Jack believed him to be. He was just a caring sweetheart all the way around. He didn’t give a damn how he and ‘his little thief’ met. He only knew in his heart that Jack was the piece of his heart that had been missing since he lost his first love decades ago.

Jack has fallen and he’s fallen hard. But he also knows that with their differences, they could never be a true couple. Even so, everything is perfect… until it’s not.

While Felix is perfectly fine with their differences – age gap, their financial statuses, etc. – Jack isn’t. Oh, the age gap doesn’t matter one way or another to Jack, but the fact that Felix is ridiculously wealthy when he barely scrapes by is something he can’t get past.

That’s all I’m going to say about the book because I don’t want to give the whole thing away. But I will throw out a few other things that I loved.

Felix is 48 and Jack is 30. I LOVE a good age gap in the books I read, seeking them out more often than not.

Then there’s Goose, Felix’s parrot. Goose was a blast, repeating things he most definitely should not be repeating. 😉 He added a little bit of comedy relief to the book that was a little serious in some places.

I love Jack’s mother. I even liked the shady guy who’d been his cellmate once upon a time. I especially loved how romantic Felix was, and how he wasn’t ashamed to put all his cards on the table early on, so to speak.

There’s quite a bit of BDSM slash erotic sex scenes – spankings, bondage, etc. – but, unlike some books I’ve read recently, I never felt that it was too much. I will say this, though… I know I’ll never look at a feather duster the same again. *snort*

Everything just came together beautifully.

A very good book.