Pocket, $1.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-7575-3
Historical Erotica, 2014
Slave Girl is the first part in Lisa Cach’s series 1,001 Erotic Nights. This is a series in every sense of the word: it ends on a cliffhanger and the story will continue over several installments. Yes, this is an erotic story, although so far it does stick to a pretty conventional path – while there are various naughty scenes, the heroine Nimia ends up having happy fun times with the hero Clovis alone. This may change in the future, I don’t know, but still, there are plenty of hot moments to keep things interesting.
Nimia, our heroine, is the property of King Sygarius. This story takes place in the very old days when Romans are the boss of everyone, and Nimia even wears a torc proclaiming that she is the property of Sygarius, so you can look, but you can’t touch. Sygarius has been tutoring Nimia in the fine art of boinking, without involving any consummation, apparently because that guy gets off on the anticipation of deflowering Nimia when she is of age and “ready”. Naturally, another guy beats the poor dude to the punch: Clovis, the song of Frankish King Childeric. Childeric and his son drop by at Sygarius’s part of Britannia for a happy “we’re allies, let’s high five” kind of social event, but Sygrius has his doubts about Childeric’s true allegiance, hence his invitation to that man and his son. Nimia wants Clovis bad from the moment she sees him, and Sygarius wanting her to help spy on Childeric only allows her to get closer to Clovis. No one can touch, just look, but the lady begs to differ when it comes to the man she wants…
Let me start off by pointing out that, while I do like this story, it is a story where the heroine’s stupidity acts as a catalyst to keep the plot going. Or maybe “stupidity” isn’t exactly the word to use – Nimia knows that her life is forfeit if she loses her maidenhead to anyone by Sygarius, but she loses her head and does it with Clovis. Perhaps this is an inability to control the libido, then, not stupidity? Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for her when she basically makes her bed despite knowing fully well the repercussions of her actions, and then realizes in the end that, oops, she may have made the biggest mistake of her life. Well, duh.
Still, I have a great time with this story. Well, it’s hot, obviously, or else I won’t be saying this. While the erotic elements are carefully designed to ensure that the hero – or, at least, the hero in this particular installment (I don’t know if things may change in future installments) – is the only one that touches the honey pot, they are sensual – a heady mix of vulgarity and elegance, just the way I like my raunchy stuff. If I do have one complaint, it’s the rather antiquated notion that women like to watch other women play with one another, but not guys on guys. Speaking for myself, I have my doubts that the old Romans are so concerned with this “lipstick lesbians only, please – gay guys are icky” thing as there are lovely stories of everyone doing everything that moves back in those days. A more democratic approach to this boink-for-all scenario would have been more to my liking.
I actually find Sygarius a more interesting and even appealing character if we are to compare romance hero quality here, because he’s more mature, knows his way with women, and… well, Clovis is just a boy here. But, to be fair, Nimia is young, so she’d probably go for that type of twinks when a more sophisticated woman like me would rather bask in the appeal of an older and more experienced man like Sygarius. Not that Sygarius is a charming man, mind you – both men are quite lacking if we are talking about steady husband material here. But as characters designed to titillate the reader, I’d bat for Sygarius every time. Still, Clovis has some long-term potential – he pulls off a pretty wicked stunt here, although it’s hard to fault him since Nimia gives herself to him on a silver platter without him having to put in much effort, with plenty of room to grow as a bad boy to remember.
At this point, I find Nimia’s attraction to Clovis more of a projection of her desire to be free from her life as a slave girl. He’s something she can’t have, so of course he’s attractive. Since this is the first installment of a series, however, I’m cutting her some slack because young girls will always be young girls when it comes to boys, and we’ve all been there, I’m sure.
Slave Girl is also an enjoyable story because Nimia’s character is pretty well-drawn here. If I were her mother, I’d have sat her down for a stern talking about boys that kill and still be the sweetest things (they’re fine to taste, but you need to know some tricks to handle them without getting burned yourself), but I find Nimia a character that feels real and even sympathetic. Because I feel for Nimia, I’m drawn into the story pretty easily. Also, the solid pacing and polished narrative all add to the readability of this story. And, perhaps most importantly, I find myself at the edge of the seat, wanting to know more, when I reach the cliffhanger conclusion.
As I’ve said, who knows what I’d get in the future, but for now, Slave Girl has me captivated.