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Monday, 26 January 2015

A King Undone
by Cooper Davis
Samhain Publishing
Noble Pleasures Book #1
M/M Historical/Fantasy
4 Stars

Blurb:

Sometimes you have to risk everything, to follow your heart

In a world where gentlemen openly court and marry fellow noblemen, the threat of scandal still lurks behind every velvet drape for kings and princes. Such has been the fate for King Arend Tollemach, forced to sacrifice his heart on the altar of regal duty.

Now that his wife is dead and his royal obligations are at an end, he s ready to take an unthinkable risk. King Arend seeks a concubine from Temple Sapphor, a secretive, gated world where he will finally shed his virginity as least as it pertains to making love to a man.

Julian never thought he d spend ten years on the temple shelf, passed over again and again. Just when he despairs of ever finding placement in a nobleman s bed, Arend walks into the temple. A lonely eyed, beautiful king who could easily steal his heart.

Arend discovers he has no problem opening his bed to the exquisite concubine. The problem lies in finding the key to his long-shuttered heart.

Warning: Contains a beautiful, virgin king desperate to bed another man, a concubine who fantasizes about being claimed and revered by a strong monarch, and a sea of scandal set against a sensual, palatial backdrop. 

Review:

In a fantasy kingdom somewhat reminiscent of Victorian or Regency England, men who love men is considered acceptable and a common occurrence. But for nobility, due to the laws of inheritance, it isn't as easy. A nobleman or a king may indeed enjoy the pleasures of a male concubine, but he must be discreet and he must also marry and beget heirs for the kingdom.

At the age of eighteen, Prince Arend fell in love with the prince of a neighbouring kingdom and they secretly became engaged. But Arend's parents soon put a stop to that and he is forced into a loveless marriage with a woman.

Now, widowed at the age of forty-one, Arend has just seen his only son marry the man of his dreams and Arend is determined to put his own happiness first for a change. And for a noble in search of a concubine, there is only one place to go, the Temple of Sapphor.

Arend is very clear in what he wants on the application form. A physical, no-strings attached relationship for a year.

Julian, or Jules as he prefers to be called, has been a courtesan in the temple for ten years, after his brother loses the family fortune gambling and sells Jules to the temple. Jules has read lots of fairy tales and romances, and that's what he wants. He wants a happily ever after with a loving husband.

But not once in the ten years at the temple has any noble seemed interested in him at all, never mind take him as a concubine. He falls instantly in lust with King Arend, long before he knows he's a king. And when Arend finally takes Jules off the shelf, he thinks he is finally going to get the happily ever after he yearns for. But loving a king is never that simple.

This was a wonderful, sensual romp which had a dash of humour throughout. The prose was a bit purple and flowery, and dare I say was perhaps poking good-natured fun at Regency romances of a bygone era? For a novel about a king getting a concubine, there was very little actual sex in the book, but there were tons of UST which left this reader breathless. There are some love-scenes, lush and sensually described and fitted with the tone of the rest of the novel, rather than more graphic descriptions might have done.

I adored Jules, he knew what he wanted and is determined to get it, no matter other people's opinions on the matter of him bedding the kingArend I took a bit longer to warm to, but by the time the two of them got to talking things through and coming to an understanding I was rooting for them both to get their happily ever after.

Alas, since this is only the first book, I suspect that their happily ever after will be well fought, if they get there at all.

If you like historical romances, give this one a try.

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