Ellora’s Cave, $6.49, ISBN 978-1419912191
Fantasy Erotica, 2007
The reissued edition of TJ Michaels’s Egyptian Voyage has a much nicer cover, but I suppose I should use the image of the Torrid Tarot edition. After all, I’m right now going through the titles under that line in my pile of unread digital books, and wondering what on earth compelled me to spend so much money on those things. As usual, I am reading the Ellora’s Cave edition, so I have no idea whether things have been changed, revised, or whatever else in the edition currently on sale out there.
I can honestly say this one actually captures my attention for half its length, which is more than I can say of the last few titles of this line that I’d read. This is an urban fantasy of sorts, full of woo-woo with a dash of grit and violence—just my cup of tea, in other words. Chrysalyn Geyer is a do-gooder of some organization or company that has a spirit lion companion, and she is now on a cruise that is forced upon her by her boss, who wants our heroine to take a break. Also on board is a handsome gentleman that also happens to be a ruthless killer, ordered by his harem mistress to kill selected women that need “justice” meted on them, and, surprise, our heroine is his latest target. Oh, he doesn’t want to kill her, as Chrysalyn, being a heroine in an urban fantasy romance, is naturally irresistible to every creature with a ding-dong that crosses her path.
I love the build-up. This story looks like it’s part of an ongoing series, and much of the background history and even the nature of the heroine’s powers aren’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked, especially with the story providing little information to help me fill in the blanks. Still, the heroine seems like a kick-ass sort with a refreshing attitude—she likes to dress sexy, she seems confident with her body and her sexuality, and she doesn’t try to convince me that she’s not a ho.
Then the hero shows up. A lion, of course, because heaven forbid we have a hero that doesn’t get hairier at certain times of the month. Rahn Benson has an established history with our heroine, so I feel like I am missing a lot of history when it comes to these two. Worse, our heroine devolves into another “she who must be protected” character because we can’t have a heroine showing agency or kicking rear ends in her own right in a romance story, can we?
In the end, Egyptian Voyage is like a cruise that starts out fun, only for me to realize that all the hot guys on display suffer from at least one fatal flaw that makes them a dud in bed. There is so much intriguing potential hinted in the first few chapters of this story, but once the hero shows up and the Lion-O starts hefting his Sword of Omens around, the plot and the villain take a backseat to the usual boring and overdone “You are mine and I will protect you 24/7!” shenanigans that I can read anywhere else.
This story could have been awesome if it had been just the heroine against the killer in a holiday cruise gone to hell, but no, this is an erotic romance, so everything fun has to be shoved aside for the usual been there, done that stuff. Still, this one has me intrigued tad more than the last few other stories in this line that I’ve read, so I suppose three oogies would be a fair rating for it.