Ellora’s Cave, $5.99, ISBN 978-1419915888
Fantasy Erotica, 2008
Cursed by Moonlight was initially published in 2008, but folks interested in this story can still buy it today, as it has been republished by the author. Just note that while the title of the story remains the same, the author goes by Melissa Combs on the cover. My review covers the original version of the story, and I have no idea whether the author had revised the edition that is currently on sale.
This one actually could have been a solid fantasy tale on paper. We have Alric, Lord Glanworth, a powerful bloke that turns into a wolf at night and he thinks that’s a terrible fate to behold. I don’t know why, as let’s face it, it seems like these guys in fantasy romances are clueless, unless they are guided by their wolf-y noses that can sniff the true love out of the heroine’s panties or something like that.
Anyway, moving on. Our heroine Caasi is a witch, and her tribe basically frolics into Alric’s land, with her and some women doing the medieval version of twerking and what not that has Alric’s nose (and other parts of his body) flaring in interest. Mind you, despite comporting herself as a free honey pot for hire, our heroine is outraged when men try to buy her sexual services. She is not a prostitute! Men in those times are so insensitive to believe that a scantily-clad sexy-dancing woman in public is trying to advertise her wares.
However, she doesn’t mind wandering off alone with strangers in hopes of getting paid for non-sexual services. Caasi may not be a ho, but I suspect there are hos that have much better survival instinct than her.
Fortunately, the stranger she happily walks off with is Alric’s best friend that thinks a witch like Caasi is what the man needs to break his curse. Well, can she do that?
The story present here may not be the most original, but there is some intriguing possibilities to be had… if this had been something else other than an Ellora’s Cave story, that is. Because it is published as an erotica, that means the story has to halt any momentum it is building for the two main characters to do the bump and grind and, honestly, those scenes are the least interesting ones I find in this thing. Alric is suitably conflicted and tormented in an attractive manner, and barring some “Girl, you serious?” moments of obligatory stupidity, Caasi isn’t too bad either.
Sure, I have come across variations of these characters many times before, but the narrative is clean and the story is easy to read. So all in all, this one is an okay read. These two have some pretty good chemistry between them, so that’s a plus.
Only, I’m far more interested in their developing relationship and the external conflicts. Hence, reading this story is like a bus ride that takes way too many uninteresting stops until I become impatient to reach my destination. Dare I hope that the author had rewritten this story before publishing it herself, turning it into a more straightforward fantasy romp that might have done better justice to the characters and their story?