Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Aphrodisia (August 1, 2007)
Publisher: Aphrodisia (August 1, 2007)
The last in a fabled line of otherworldly aristocracy, the Lords of Satyr are born to wealth, power, and a talent for sensual delight that mere mortals only dream of. Commanded to marry, these passionate men will travel to Rome, Venice, and Paris--and along the way will explore desires both shamelessly wicked and blissfully divine...
He Had Sworn To Take A Proper Wife. He Hadn't Bargained On Meeting His Match...
Nicholas looks very much like what he is--the handsome, successful heir to a vineyard in Tuscany. But Nicholas is much more, for he is one of the last in an ancient line of satyr men. And the dying king of ElseWorld wants him not only to marry, but to wed one of the king's own daughters--a half-human, half-faerie woman unaware of her heritage. Nicholas won't shirk his duty to produce heirs to guard his race's legacies, but he never plans to make his bride his only lover. A satyr's sexual hunger and sensual skills are legendary. One woman will never satisfy him.
Or so Nicholas believes until he meets Jane. As spirited as she is fey, as beautiful as she is innocent, she is nevertheless determined to make her new husband hers alone--and she's eager for him to teach her every deliciously carnal secret he knows...
Set in Tuscany in 1823, Nicholas, Lord Satyr, has received a missive from King Feydon of Elseworld. In the letter, the king states his fervent wish that Nicholas and his brothers Raine and Lyon locate his three Earth daughters of Faerie blood and marry them in order to continue the dying Satyr line. As the eldest brother at nearly 30, Nicholas finds no objection with what he's been asked to do, seeing it as the logical course for his bloodline.
Two weeks later, Nicholas locates his potential bride in Tivoli, not far from Rome. Immediately he sets about making plans to wed Jane so he can go back to leading his own life: taking care of his family's vineyards and indulging in sensual pleasures. Jane has no desire to marry, just a wish to live comfortably and take care of her younger sister Emma, but lack of funds and society's views make this an impossibility. Plus, Jane knows there's something wrong with her and decides that marrying may be the best way to protect herself and Emma from her "strangeness", and she's afraid of what her illness will do to her children.
Soon the two strike a bargain and are wed, and Nicholas brings Jane home to his incredible estate. She's nervous about fitting in with her husband and his family, but delighted by the gardens, as botany is a passion of hers, and hopes one day to bring her sister there to live. That same night, Nicholas sets about consummating the marriage, and the experience proves to be disappointing for both of them.
Both Nicholas and Jane went into the marriage with preconceived notions about the other. Jane abhors spirits of any kind, as it was liquor indirectly involved in killing her mother; and her father, or the human she knows as her father, is a weak drunkard, so the idea that her husband, whose family owns vineyards, may also imbibe too freely is unsettling to her. Nicholas grew up believing the duties of a wife and a mistress differ significantly and one woman cannot possibly be both, so he continues to seek out other women for pleasure. As a Satyr, his carnal needs are strong and must be satisfied. He was told that a wife does not enjoy the marital bed, so he does nothing to bring Jane pleasure, and not knowing any better, Jane believes she's doing her wifely duty properly.
Soon Jane learns about her husband's extramarital activities, and is burning with jealousy, but rather than keep it to herself, she confronts Nicholas, who is amazed that Jane would want to fulfill the role of mistress. He'd never considered the possibility before, but the more he's with his wife, the more he only wants her, so he goes about showing his lovely wife how it can be between a man and woman. But will she accept the carnality of his monthly Moonful and the Calling night, the only times a Satyr can make a child with his wife? Or will she be repulsed by the unique and unflagging sexual abilities her Satyr husband possesses and must satisfy?
While this is all going on, danger lurks nearby: a relative of Jane's who belongs to the secret society of maenads, decendants of the Sisters of Bacchant, has ambitions of kidnapping and raising a Satyr child, if not birthing one of her own. Unbeknownst to Jane, she knows of Jane's true birth, has power over Jane's human father, and tries to blackmail Nicholas to get what she wants.
I love hot sexy romances, and I have enjoyed the Aphrodisia line from time to time, though not as much as I used to, and as I read this book, I had to wonder if maybe I'm a little burnt out on the genre. In the early days, I read books by many authors who included raunchy sex scenes in their stories that intensified the relationship but now I see so many of the same scenarios in every erotic romance I've read in the last year or so, and I have begun skimming the pages, wondering if romance is dead. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating here, but there's definitely something lacking in many of today's erotic romances.
I tried to like this book more, I really, really did. Now don't get me wrong: this story was definitely hot, and inventive. But I was waiting for the romance to kick in, and I never really felt that it did. Even when Nicholas and Jane began to share their secrets, I felt like there was still great distance between them. Except in the beginning, when Jane tried to avoid the marriage, and later, when she demands to be both wife and mistress to her husband, for the most part she passively went along with whatever she was told to do, and it just drove me crazy. I know she had a secret, but she also had a gift, and I wanted her to stand up for herself more.
Then there's the whole Satyr thing, when their exceptional equipment that comes out to play during their Calling night. I would have found this much more erotic if I felt a deeper connection between Jane and Nicholas. But lack of communication prevents this from happening until the very end, when it's too late.
The story had much potential - I loved the whole mythology angle, and learning more about botany - but I didn't feel drawn into the relationship. However I think though I will go on to read Raine's story to see if the romance gets better.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****