by Anya Delvay, historical (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-189-0
As you can no doubt tell from the cover price, Anya Delvay's The Pearl At The Gate is a very short story. As you can probably guess from the title, this is an erotic romance.
Roake Barbenoir is a former seafaring man who believes that his wife of six months Jenesta is a refined and very proper Regency lady who will recoil from his more lusty sexual advances. As a result, he has been keeping things very tame and vanilla in the bedroom even when he's slowly going crazy from thinking about all the naughty things he wants to do to his darling wife. What he doesn't realize at that time is that Jenesta is tired of sitting on top of the unrealistic pedestal that Roake has put her on. She senses that her husband is holding a lot of himself back from her but she doesn't know how to break down the barrier between them.
Roake has a mysterious room that is all locked up and he has forbidden Jenesta from entering the room. During one of his trips away, Jenesta decides that the room could hold things that can help her understand her husband better and sneaks into the room. What she finds in that room, naturally, help bring her and her husband closer together. Much closer, if you know what I mean.
Oh my, this is a hot story indeed. Raoke can be a silly man, really, but I understand his initial worries about scaring the wife away, since the poor man has this impression in his head that Jenesta is everything sweet and pure in his life and therefore will be appalled by his "base" desires. I have my doubts about a seafaring fellow with a convenient artistic skill to leave behind the things that Jenesta finds in that room, but I have to admit that I find those things a pretty romantic expression of Roake's pounding lust to do the wife in the rear end and other charming stuff. Jenesta is no innocent dim-witted "school me in sex, honey!" heroine. True, she's not as sexually experienced as Roake, but she isn't afraid to feel lust or to explore sexual possibilities with her husband.
In the last story I've read by this author, I noted that the sex scenes are the best things about that story. This story on the other hand has hot sex scenes plus it feels complete as well. Which is to say, the pacing is fine and the story ends on a good high note without making me feel shortchanged in the story or character development department. As a result, The Pearl At The Gate is truly a most, um, provoking read indeed. If you like the hot stuff, maybe it won't hurt to take a look at this one when you have an extra fifteen or twenty minutes to spare.
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