About the Book

Title: One Way Fare (Null City #1)
Published: 2013

Well, y’all — our sojourn into the debaucherous world of romance novels is winding down, with the least debaucherous and smutty offering so far. Like, no one even had sex yet a fifth into the book! I was beginning to think that its pitch of “mature YA” wasn’t a euphemism for smut, and I’d have to resort to recalling* the Black Dagger Brotherhood series as a backup. Thankfully, I was spared from such a fate when the sexytimes finally commenced in this book.

*Because, yes, I’ve read them. (Or should I say, “Yhes”?)

First Impressions

Adding to the confusion over smuttiness quotient is… whatever’s going on with this cover model. Does she have a migraine? Or is it a toothache? Both? She has eyelashes for days, though, which makes up for her piss-poor approximation of Kevin McCallister Face. 

Can I Buy You a Drink? Spotting the romance tropes with the Three L’s yields 19 Lucilles, 18 Lizzes, and 3 Lorelais.

This book has also been brought to you by condoms and waggling eyebrows! Given all the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff in the book, the former made me seriously question everything I knew about the history of birth control* (which is to say, not that much).

*OMG “ASSURANCE CAPS”. All I want for Christmas is someone to name-drop that in a historical romance, kthx.

What’s Your Type?

Holy shizz, so many things:

  • Time travel
  • Angels
  • Superpowers
  • Enemistry
  • Mysterious pasts
  • Tragic backstory

… there’s a lot going on. Oh, and trains. But an actual one and not in a train-going-through-tunnel sex metaphor sort of way.

Dating Profile

22-year-old genius Gaby Parker is an accountant who’s had to look after her younger siblings after the muuuurder of their parents. Luic leMuir is a 27-year-old rock star, although it’s worth noting that Gaby and Luic are in 1972, so Luic wears things like tie-dyed vests over no shirt. 

Meanwhile in 2012, Leila Rice is 18 years old, and her memory is a steel trap regarding Buffy storylines. Thomas Chapel’s a year older, and he’s helping his grandfather out with a favour involving Leila. I’m not quite sure if either of them have jobs to begin with; they could have just been roving vagabonds (but definitely not). But her business acumen and his culinary skillz come in handy later on in the story.

And just like Transformers — these four? More than meets the eye!

Meet Cute

Gaby has been hired by Luic — to crunch those numbers, if you know what I mean. (No, seriously; tax season is upon us, y’all. File those returns!) They immediately get off on the wrong foot because that’s a great way to build sexual tension. And also because Luic operates on rock star hours and Gaby gets defensive about her youth undermining her credentials.

Leila travels to a tiny French village to collect an inheritance from her birth mother — including a freaking chateau! Helping to facilitate this exchange is Thomas… and that’s not the only exchange he’ll be facilitating, mmm hmm. (It’s an exchange of information, since he fills her in on some of her family history. Why, what did you think I meant?)

But how Gaby and Luic in 1972, and Leila and Thomas in 2012 cross each others’ paths is another matter that’s way too spoiler-y and difficult to sum up in the rest of this sentence. So I won’t.


After a healthy amount of bickering, both couples realize their passions for each other (er, for their own each others, not some orgy-tastic arrangement), only to be foiled by lack of condoms. (Where are those assurance caps when you need them?!) The sex does happen, although the chemistry is more nice than smokin’ hot. 

Are They Animals In the Sack?

For the most part, you can crank up the Metallica with this book, i.e. the sex scenes fade to black. But prior to things going dot dot dot, there’s foreplay that earns the badge of honour for nips.

And just to be thorough, I did a Ctrl+F for the usual filthy word suspects (for science, obvs). Even though this book is clean (of those terms, I should clarify), I discovered a bonus rooster in a book excerpt included by the publisher: 

Y’all, that book is called To Love a Highland Dragon, and it whips out the [rooster] talk within the first chapter. Smutty achievement unlocked!

Dirty Talk

Fading to black means reduced pillow talk, but the cheese still manages to make its way into the story.

She pressed a soft kiss to the pillow next to his face. “I trust you, Thomas.” 

In the moonlight, his eyes gleamed silver. “Then don’t waste those kisses, Princess.”

Gotta say, I agree with him. Girl, why are you making out with pillows anyway? Was it one of these pillows?

“Say it,” he demanded. “My Name.”

Did someone saaaay …?! (You’re welcome for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.)

He groaned in frustration. “Gaby! I can’t kiss you and get rid of all these clothes at the same time. Help me!”

Now, this is a concern I take v. seriously. Because not everyone can disrobe so quickly.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose:

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

Maybe (probably, definitely) I’m just projecting, but in additional to personal writing style, I’m guessing the fact that the authors are a mother-daughter duo helped keep the smutty smut to a minimum.

Her careful, laughing lover was gone. In his place was a frantic giant who ignored the pop of buttons, dragged her dress off her, and ruthlessly threw off his own clothes in a desperate need to press his body against hers and know she was still alive for him. 

While this may not have been the greatest offender, it does remind me of this (which says more about me than it).

Deal Breakers

Luic gets to know Gaby’s younger siblings, which is how he must have turned her family nickname into a couples one. And word association tends to be pretty strong with me, so ewww don’t make her think of her siblings during makeouts. Unless she’s into that sort of thing, I guess.

There’s also this character that I haven’t mentioned yet, but his relationships to the other characters trip me up. With all the supernatural longevity in this mythology, this guy looks like he’s in his thirties, but he’s actually centuries old (which isn’t even the weird part, since duh — sexy vampires have desensitized me to that shizz). What took me a while to process is his love interest being a contemporary of one of his descendants. Omg, it’s like that movie In Time, in which everyone is young and beautiful. Wait, why am I complaining about this again?

Was It Good For You, Too?

I had a pleasant blind date with this book, even if it was way less smutty than I had been anticipating. There’s plenty of world building to keep track of, as well how everything fits together in time. Even though this book is more plot-heavy, I prefer my smutty books to have plot with sex anyway, rather than sex with plot, y’know? While I’m not jonesing to go out with this series again, I won’t avoid making eye contact if I run into it, either.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from the author. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). One Way Fare is available now.

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Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.