Ellota’s Cave, $5.99, 978-1419913303
Fantasy Erotica, 2006
What shall I say about this story? OK here is what Jo Carlisle initially sets up for us.
Johan Stone, Alpha Supreme, and his faithful yet sick side kick Zane Ramsey, are discredited Warriors (fantasy world cops) and Zane is starting to succumb to pneumonia while still looking good in a g-string. So Johan has a bright idea to sell their asses into slavery.
Vampire Queen Raina Zharov out bids the evil demon Drakkon and makes our boys her slaves.
Zane is totally into the slave thing they have fallen into and even the homo sex with his best buddy turns him on big time. With both feet he jumps right in. Johann on the other hand is ALPHA, so no go on the slave show. That is until he figures out that him and missy Vampire Queen got a thing going on. So basically the first half of this book you get this…
Two truths hit Johan between the eyes like twin hammers.
Hadn’t he already guessed? The thread glowed brighter between him and Raina, illuminating his heart and soul, every fiber of his being, because she was…his mate. My mate! He couldn’t explain how he knew, but he did. The other truth?
Johan, former warrior-turned-slave, was falling hard for Raina Zharov.
Gods, how is this possible? My Queen, my mistress, my mate.
And he didn’t have a fucking clue how to avoid becoming entangled in her silken web. A bitter laugh escaped his lips. Too late. Damn it to Hades, he should leave. Take his chances and just go, as soon as possible.
At once, the bond screamed in protest and terror, a white-hot lance skewering his brain. The beast added to the cacophony, roaring in displeasure, coiling his muscles into a knot at the very idea of abandoning his mate. Mine!
Gritting his teeth, Johan gripped the chains and rode the agony, muttering a foul oath. Didn’t Raina know the shackles at his wrists and ankles were no longer necessary?
His own traitorous heart had performed the task just fine.
Trapped like the animal he’d become, with no way out.
Yeah, I know. Me ALPHA, you mate! Let’s fuck! Yawn.
But then, the author gets us to chapter 16 and Missy Mate the Vampire Queen has a little public confrontation with Drakkon the Demon King…
“You consume human flesh, Drakkon. That’s wrong on so many levels, I can’t even begin.”
“Why?” He sounded genuinely baffled. “If a group of middle-class humans pickets a meat-packing plant with signs declaring ‘save the cows’, they’re dismissed as weirdoes. I, on the other hand, perform a service to humans and shifters by cleansing the earth of their lesser brethren. Through the slave system, I dispose of career criminals and other foul wretches no one wants littering the streets. They are my cows, if you will. The choice slaves I use for sex, same as any upper-class member. And I do all of this legally. Why is that wrong, yet your consumption of human blood and ownership of that lovely thrall isn’t?”
Zane glanced down at his mistress from under his lashes. The demon hit a nerve. Her lips were drawn into a grim line, her face taut with anger. The scary thing was, every word he’d said was true. A prime example of what made Drakkon such a dangerous enemy, of how he kept the Council in his corner. Smooth talker with a forked tongue. Typical politician.
“Touché. Be that as it may, I’m not here to debate with you. I’ve come to propose a trade, one of mutual benefit to us both.”
My bored mind suddenly came awake and my pop culture sensibilities came alive and I was… Oh Jo! You are not going there, are you girl?!
Oh and she did, oh she did! She has Zane, the happy thrall, get corrupted by Hannibal Drakkon!
Oh Clarice NO!
“Mercy,” he croaked.
“No, because you do not want me to stop. Tell me what you really desire. Say it!”
YES! Fucking YES!
My inner editor came out during the standing ovation and wanted the author to go back shift as much as possible to Zane’s POV, dump a couple of characters, and let Missy Vampire Queen and Johann (I’m an ALPHA) do their thing on the back burner. Zane was the one I needed to watch slowly be setup for the downfall.
So you see, this is not a perfect book. None of the other sex scenes besides the one in chapter 16 hit me because everybody recovered so easily from the dramatic moments. Even the straight guy, Johann (I’m an ALPHA DAMN IT!) and his side kick Zane fucking away did not register because there was no real solid angst to hang off of, no moments of OMG, before or after. I was not really sold any sense of trepidation.
But… this wonderful Demon King and Zane? Oh hell yes!
When Drakkon is impressed with Zane all hung up and ready to fuck crying for him to “do me Daddy” in his native form, he did not want a bed time story, that was true love right there baby.
I could really tell where this writer was having fun and honestly if this is her fun then honey take those old romance rules in both hands and go SNAP. If I wanted safe I would not be buying eBooks, I would buy Harlequins. Jo Carlisle, you had me begging for you to turn the tables on my ass and let the bad guy and his angst ridden corrupted love slave get the HEA. All romance says is there has to be an HEA, it does not say WHO gets one.
I suddenly wanted a whole book dedicated to Zane as he betrays his (cardboard cut-out) friends at the whims of his Dark Lord and Master, Drakkon the Evil Demon King. I want that sweet sweet evil demon lovin’ PLEASE.
They are that good together.
I have argued with myself over this grade girl. This is may have not been in your plans Jo Carlisle, but you hit on some great characters in the second half and saved this dang book from an average score. Great villains with great sex scenes deserve Grade B at the least.