Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert
by Katee Robert
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book 3 in the Dark Olympus series
She was the face that launched a thousand ships,
The fierce beauty at the heart of Olympus,
And she was never ours to claim.
*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that's as sinful as it is sweet.*
In Olympus, you either have the power to rule...or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city's inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.
Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize...or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.
Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can't keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?
Greek Mythology Retelling
Wicked Beauty is the third book in Katee Roberts Dark Olympus series, and centers around Helen of Troy, Achilles and Patroclus. Helen knows she is known for her incredible beauty, her parties, and being a spoiled, aimless woman. And she is sick of it. Being used as a trophy, and being passed off to be the prized wife to the winner of Ares' position isn't what she signed up for. What she does sign up for is a spot in the highly dangerous competition for the position of Ares. What she doesn't know yet is that two of her competitors is Achilles and Patroclus. Achilles has had one goal his whole life: become Ares. With his lover Patroclus at his side, he knows he can get through the trials. But will Patroclus obvious desire for his childhood friend Helen get in the way of his dreams - and their relationship? Can Achilles get over his own ache for the beautiful and unexpected Helen?
Now this is what I'm talking about! Neon Gods was good, Electric Idol was meh, but Wicked Beauty? My favorite so far. And not for the reason you think. Neon Gods and Electric Idol were both fake relationship tropes. I was bored by the time I finished Electric Idol. The romance felt convenient. But Wicked Beauty we move away from that. The plot is instantly interesting. We have three trials (cliché, but oh well), with the winner getting a position in the twelve - a position of power. If the trials themselves weren't enough, we get invested in three different competitors. Helen, who wants to be an equal among her siblings, and be more than a trophy wife. She wants to be known for more than her beauty. Then there is Achilles. Born and left at the door of an orphanage, all he has worked towards is getting higher in the ranks, so that one day he can be Ares. To be in a position of power. Finally Patroclus, who admittedly, is only in the running to support Achilles as long as he can before he is eliminated. What I ultimately enjoyed was my inability to pick a side. I liked both Helen and Achilles. So the whole time I was left nervous for the fallout - much like all three of them were. Because they knew, one of them would have their dreams dashed. It was a very interesting dynamic - especially when it came to the romance.
The romance. The sex. I wasn't sure how this throuple was going to work, seeing as Patroclus and Achilles were an established couple for years at this point. I wondered how that would work, emotionally of course, adding Helen in the mix. Katee making it clear that while Achilles and Patroclus were lovers, and quite a serious couple, they purposely didn't label their relationship, helped considerably. Their open relationship, yet the obvious love they had for one another, for the most part worked and felt authentic. Katee was able to wedge Helen in there quite well truthfully. That childhood friendship between Patroclus and Helen gave them a connection that could grow into what it did. Achilles jealousy didn't really seemed warranted, but his personality worked when it came to him accepted Helen the way he did. First in bed - then the heart. Honestly, by the end, the relationship between the three of them felt authentic. We leave off in a place where they are all happy, but still navigating their relationship.
The sex was hot. It was sexy as hell when it was just Achilles and Patroclus, and it was equally as delicious when Helen was in the mix.
Wicked Beauty is probably my favorite of the series so far. With its interesting relationship dynamics, and very human, relateable emotions in the mix, it made the characters were just as interesting as the plot. And while I started out lukewarm over this series, I won't lie - I can't wait for the next one to be released next year.
Callisto examines her nails.
Callisto: “I’m a fan of asking for forgiveness instead of permission. That’s what your brother did, after all. Why not give him a taste of his own medicine?”
Helen: “You’re trying to cause trouble.”
Callisto: “Olympus is nothing but trouble.” Callisto: “You want to compete, Helen? Do it. All those fuckers who think you’re just a pretty prize to be won? Prove them wrong.” Helen: “What if one of the unknowns wins? What if Paris wins?”
Zeus: “They won’t harm you. If they do?”
My brother turns for the SUV.
Zeus: “I’ll make you a widow.” Helen: “Patroclus, it’s really okay. If anyone is silly enough to jump me, I can take care of myself.”
She holds up a tiny fist.
Helen: “Once upon a time, I took care of you, too.”
I smile despite myself.
Patroclus: “You were a terror on the playground.” Achilles: “What are you going to do, princess? Stomp on my foot with one of those spike heels? That won’t slow down any warrior who’s worth a damn.”
Helen shuts the door and leans against it, considering me. It almost looks as if she’s measuring me up as an opponent.
Helen: “Spike heels can do plenty of damage against other parts of your body.”
She gives my hips a pointed look. That surprises a laugh out of me.
Achilles: “I’d like to see you try it.”
Helen: “Don’t tempt me with a good time.” I keep waiting for the day he realizes it and leaves me in the rearview. Achilles will always have his gaze on the stars. And me? My feet are firmly rooted in the earth. It seems inevitable that he’ll move beyond me some day, so I try to cherish every moment we have, storing them up against the winter of my future without his shining warmth in it. Achilles: “You’re mine, Patroclus.”
He curses, his rhythm going irregular.
Achilles: “And I’m yours. Say it.”
Patroclus: “I’m yours,”
I gasp out. I reach down to grab his hips, urging him deeper.
Patroclus: “And you’re mine.”
I cup my coffee in two hands and smile sweetly at them.
He gives me that easy grin that’s a complete lie.
Helen: “Next time you want to mark your territory, why not whip out your cock and pee on his foot instead? It would allow the rest of us to actually get some sleep.”
I ignore Patroclus’s sputtering and lean forward, giving him wide eyes and an innocence I certainly don’t feel.
Helen: “Unless you meant that to be an invitation, in which case, use your words next time.” I don’t care what reassurances Perseus mouthed; in that worst-case scenario, I would already be harmed. Vengeance isn’t for the victims. It’s to make the people around them feel better for not doing anything to stop it in the first place. Helen: “I hate you.”
Achilles: “I hate you, too.”
Helen: “Then fuck me like you hate me, Achilles. Stop pussyfooting around and do it properly.” Helen: “I still don’t like you. I think.”
Achilles: “I don’t really like you, either. Much.” Achilles: “Look at the princess. You hurt her feelings when you acted like fucking her was something to be guilty about.”
The exasperation on Patroclus’s face is really, really attractive. He glances at me and shrugs.
Patroclus: “Sorry, Helen. He’s being ridiculous.”
It isn’t even a question of playing along with Achilles. I simply do it. I give Patroclus a sexy pout.
Helen: “He’s right. My feelings are very, very hurt.”
Achilles nods sagely but his dark eyes are sparking with mirth. He’s absolutely irresistible right now, and he knows it.
Achilles: “Do you want to guess what would make our princess feel better?”
Patroclus: “I’m sure you’re about to tell me.”
I nod quickly. I’m not touching the our princess with a ten-foot pole.
Helen: “Lots and lots of orgasms.”
Patroclus gives another of those sexy exasperated sighs.
Patroclus: “Gods save me, now there’s two of you.”
Helen: “You’re acting like it’s a bad thing.”
I’m still pouting and feeling a little ridiculous about how fun this is. The only people I play around with are Hermes, Dionysus, and Eros, and it’s not sexual in the least with any of them. I didn’t realize anything related to sex could be this fun. I nudge Patroclus’s bare calf with my foot.
Helen: “Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
Achilles barks out a laugh.
Achilles: “Listen to her. She knows what she’s about.”
Patroclus: “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”
A knock on the door has Patroclus rising. He points at us.
Patroclus: “Behave while we get to the bottom of the very serious attack on Helen last night.”
Patroclus: “If you manage that, we’ll spend the rest of the day naked in bed.”
Helen and Achilles: “Deal,”
we say at the same time. He eyes my catsuit.
Achilles: “That’s going to be a bitch to get off. We’ll cut you out.”
He points at Patroclus.
Achilles: “Don’t you start. You can barely lift your arms to your shoulders. I’m cutting you out of your shirt, too.”
Achilles: “You have no idea.” Helen: "Continuing to have sex at this point is—”
Achilles: “A really great fucking idea. Pun intended.”
He sighs and drops his arms.
Achilles: “We were on opposite sides last night and again during the trial today. Nothing’s changed. Are you going to treat me any differently in the final trial just because you’ve been bouncing on my cock?”
Helen: “Absolutely not.”
Achilles: “Good. I won’t either. With that out of the way…”
He leans down and lowers his voice, a rumble creeping into his words.
Achilles: “Take off your clothes, princess. I’m jealous as fuck that Patroclus got a taste of that pretty pussy. My turn.” Helen: “It’s really that easy for you, isn’t it?”
She sounds almost in awe.
Helen: “I thought I compartmentalized well, but this is a whole different level.”
Achilles: “Aww, princess, are you falling for me?”
Her face goes a little red, but she shakes her head.
Helen: “Absolutely not. I don’t even like you.”
Achilles: “Liar. You like me a whole lot.” Helen’s planted her roots in my center over the course of a few days. It shouldn’t be possible for it to happen this quickly, but my mom always talks about how she looked across the room, saw my other mom, and just knew. I knew when I saw Achilles. Maybe not that I’d be in love with him within a week and we’d spend the next twelve years together, but I knew he’d be important to me. That he already was important to me. It didn’t hit like a lightning bolt with Helen. Not when we were kids, and certainly not when we collided again as adults. It was more like the tide coming in, each interaction with her a wave that brought me closer to her until this moment. I’m drowning but I don’t even miss the taste of air.