Book Review · Escape Trilogy

I’m thankful for gay romance novels

I’ve been reading a lot of gay romance lately, partially because of my three-novella contract with NineStar Press: an LGBTQ publisher who bought my Escape trilogy. As far as my trilogy goes, the words are flying, and I have to think all the smexy gay romance I’ve been reading has certainly aided in the process.

This isn’t a new thing, not really. It all started with BBC Sherlock and my sudden and surprising attraction to Johnlock fan fiction. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman would just make a really cute couple, okay?)

Introducing John Not Even Subtle Watson.

Maybe I just got really tired of the same old tropes in girl-meets-boy romance and wanted something fresh and new. I’ve seen all the permutations of Princess and Prince Charming, but I’ve stumbled upon something wholly new (to me) in LGBTQ romance: Prince Charming and Prince Not-So-Sure-of-Things-At-All.

My list of favorite authors feels endless, but I’m gonna try to narrow it down …

Dessa Lux/Dira Lewis
Same person, different names, same kind of books. My obsession with Dessa/Dira began with Gun to my Head: a twisted vampire romance that is gritty as hell but hotter than a sun-scorched beach. Dessa further enamored me with the entirety of her Protection of the Pack Series (some pretty graphic sex but heartfelt, loving stuff) and the oddity of Surrendered to the Sea in which a sea god falls in love with a werewolf. Ah-hem, yeah, if you want weird pairings with amazing writing, Dessa/Dira is your girl.

Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan’s characters are more down to earth … sort of? Her Whyborne & Griffin Series features two human men, at least, although they fight otherworldly menaces all the time. There are nine of these books. NINE! Do I care? Nope, I’m in the process of reading them all. Whyborne is of the brilliant, closeted nerd variety while Griffin is the super sexy bad ass Pinkerton who seduces our adorable nerd. Together (and with the help of a snarky female friend), they solve crimes, battle their own demons, and hide their illicit love from society.

KJ Charles
Speaking of hiding things, magician Stephen Day has to fight his feelings for his family nemesis in book one of KJ’s brilliant Charm of Magpies trilogy. Stephen might hate Lucian or he might not. I mean, Lucian is super hot and wild and brave and … mmmm, I really like Lucian. Spoilers: so does Stephen. I adore the chemistry between these two tough-as-nails characters and how love can make them ever so sweet and soft together. With humor and heat, KJ weaves more magic even than Stephen himself, and, as you’ll read, that little guy is one powerful dude.

CS Pacat
A friend of mine suggested I buy CS’s first book, Captive Prince. Halfway through book one, I bought books two and three of the trilogy, and I devoured them all. There is nothing better than two princes dueling for power while trying desperately not to fall in love with each other. I rarely see character development quite this good … or slow-burn sexual tension this hot. Once you meet Damen and Laurent, you’ll love them as much as I do … and get comfortable, because there’s no turning your back on this insanely exciting game of royal intrigue and lust.

Eleanor Kos
Sort of like Dessa/Dira, Eleanor weaves stories that some might find a little extreme, but I fell hard for her Wine & Song Series. What might make this hard to swallow for some? Well, the lead character falls utterly in lust with the romantic interest while he’s being mugged by said romantic interest, and their BDSM relationship develops from there. For five novellas, we follow David and Jazz as they navigate each other as well as try to move beyond the past. They’re both super stubborn and adorable, and I wish there were more in this series. (Can I get more in this series, please?)

I can’t forget the honorable mentions. The only reason these authors are only “honorable” is because, whereas I’ve read a million books by the above authors, I’m fairly new to these gals, but they’re brilliant so far!

Lyssa Dering proves guys who eat brains can be sexy in How to Love a Monster. Rose Maefair’s debut, Desert Ice, forces a mage and his soldier slave into a romantic relationship neither are ready for.  Nicky James broke my freaking heart and put it back together in the highly emotional Until the End of Time. Brianna Kienitz weaves soccer, music, cultural conflict, and lesbian love in Off Pitch. Selina Kray creates one of my favorite male leads of all time (Hiero) in the sexy and, at times, hilarious suspense novel The Fangs of Scavo. Finally, Claire Cray takes me back to my vampire roots with her two-book series Merrick.

If you’re a romance reader looking for something new, I would seriously suggest trying one of these authors. They are each fantastic in their own way! And, hey, keep an eye out for my Escape trilogy, book one coming in June 2018 from NineStar Press.

Book Review

Captive Prince is the hottest thing I’ve ever read

My husband was an innocent bystander when he came home to find me more than halfway through CS Pacat’s Captive Prince trilogy. Granted, Jake did have on some spectacularly sexy black trousers and a slim cut button down, so he knew he looked good.

What he didn’t know, when I glanced up from my book, was that after hundreds of pages of sexual tension, Damen and Laurent were finally having sex — so that meant my husband had a frisky wife on his hands, and …

Wait. Let me back up. Once upon a time, a friend of mine, who knew I liked erotica, told me about this series called Captive Prince. I added it to my Amazon Wish List and forgot about it until, by chance, I saw something about the trilogy online and thought I’d buy the first book, just to give it a try.

The trilogy began as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin. Captive Prince went on to become a USA Today bestseller and for good reason.

It’s the story of Prince Damen who is betrayed by his brother and sent as a sex slave to their enemy country. There, his true identity secret, he is chosen to be personal slave to ice cold Prince Laurent. Damen recognizes the name, of course, since he murdered Laurent’s older brother on the battlefield years ago. But Laurent is all grown up now, and he does not play nice.

captive
Gorgeous fan art by Cleo. See links below.

In the world created by Pacat, men sleep with men, and it’s the normal way of things, as are sex slaves. Damen is disgusted at the thought of being a slave, especially to Laurent, but luckily, it’s known far and wide that Laurent doesn’t spread his legs for anyone. However, they soon build a begrudging camaraderie, especially since Damen needs to play nice to get back to his home country and murder his conniving brother.

Halfway through book one, I ordered books two and three. The sexual tension was off the charts. I writhed on furniture every time Laurent looked at Damen funny, every time Damen remembered how gorgeous Laurent really was. Pacat strung me along … and along … and along … which was why, when things finally, blessedly, went down, my husband didn’t stand a chance. I pounced.

I’ve written articles previously about how good erotica can be for your sex life. Reading it can set the mood and give you fun ideas for your own boudoir. Yet, the Captive Prince trilogy transcended even my expectations, for a couple reasons …

One: It’s incredibly well written with beautiful descriptions and detailed battle scenes that even a Dungeons and Dragons nerd could get down on. The plot of the entire trilogy is so thrilling, you can’t stop. You have to know what happens next, especially since this sensual tale is rife with villains.

Two:  Laurent and Damen are such well-developed characters, filled with intrigues of their own. They fit so well together (no pun intended), and even when Laurent is being an evil bastard, you still want them to end up cuddling because he’s so sexually vulnerable.

Three: I already mentioned the sexual tension, but … The Sexual Tension. Every time anything happened — a flirty look, a touch of the hand, a brief kiss — I screamed at Jake, “THEY KISSED AHHHHH!” I was hysterical with my need to have Damen and Laurent just do it already.

Finally, four: The actual sex. This is not a spoiler. Sex does happen, okay? And it is good. It is hot and desperate and beautiful. It’s scalding and yet emotional. It’s animalistic and tender. It’s love, baby.

I guess the only speed bump for some people is that this is gay erotica. I’m talking about two dudes, no matter how pretty Laurent is, so if you can’t deal with two dudes in lust, Captive Prince isn’t for you.

It is for me. Pacat’s Captive Prince trilogy is something I will read and reread, with my husband’s obvious blessing. Because of people like me, there’s Captive Prince fan fiction. There’s fan art. There’s a whole community of us rooting for Damen and Laurent. My advice: just buy all three books at once. Otherwise, you’ll go mad with the wanting.

(For more about CS Pacat, visit her website: http://cspacat.com/.)
(AMAZING fan art provided by Cleo. Learn more about her on Tumblr or Deviant Art.)