|Famous people, and especially royalty, have fascinated generations of readers. Crown Jewels, an anothology published by Ellora’s Cave, focuses on three royal women on their personal voyage of sensual discovery.
The Princess Brat introduces the reader to Baxter, a young man who is too handsome for his own good. His drinking buddy convinces him taming the headstrong princess Fanny will allow him to make his mark, earn some gold, and put him in the good graces of the king. And make his mark he does! Baxter’s main method of disciplining the too independent Fanny is giving her a spanking. Her name only adds to the humor that comes out in a few choice scenes. Fanny would rather study plants then make small talk, and I was pleasantly surprised to find her reason for being ostracized was her independence and smarts. Fanny’s sister Merry is adored for her exquisite beauty, but she ridicules Fanny in public. The author, Katherine Kingston, has brought new life to the time-honored tale of shrewish/beautiful sister versus smart sister. I had a difficult time believe that Fanny would surrender herself to Baxter as quickly as she did, but it is after all a short novella. Kingston does a fabulous job of combining sweet understanding and naughty foreplay with her characters. And I loved the ending!
Another story that tugs at the heartstrings is The Man who Should be King. Author Mlyn Hurn begins her story with an epic feel. The planet Vikalla has been in turmoil due to war. Marcus has been successful in ending the war and is in charge, though he has not been crowned king. Princess Syranna has made a promise to return to Vikalla and deliver a message; though she is unaware the message is intended for Marcus. The long dead King wants his daughter to rule Vikalla. However, Syranna has lived most of her life on the moon Kalledane. She has been developing her mystical powers, which include mind manipulation. Once Marcus reads the note, he is determined to marry Syranna, but she loves Kalledane and escapes home. The brave Marcus follows her with his friend, but discover Kalledane is another world altogether. There is no mistaking that Syranna belongs there, and he grows to respect her, not only for her beauty, but also for the care she gives her pets. The two begin a passionate affair, but the reader is unsure if they can comprise. The ending feels a bit rushed, but satisfies. Hurn’s writing is part lust, part sentiment that left me sighing in envy. The reader craves the same warm intimacy Hurn creates.
Last, but certainly not least, is Bella Andre’s What a Queen Wants. Elizabeth, Queen of Magonia, is one strong ruler. The story begins with a little history of how she came into power and then Wham! Elizabeth is engaged in some very hot bondage fantasy with her guards. But she quickly dismisses her men because as the queen, Elizabeth presides over court. When Gavin appears, she knows he’s innocent, but he has a smart mouth. To teach him a lesson, Gavin is put into the stockades. While locked up, he gets a great view of the Queen’s room, and she puts on a little show for him, and then throws him in the dudgeon. But Gavin is resourceful and escapes, where he finds the Queen in her room, and awaiting her guards. And we already know what the guards are for! Like a heat wave in January, the reader is pleasantly surprised. And Hurn just keeps intensifying her story, creating more and more passionate scenes. I was very disappointed when this one ended.
Though the three stories have royalty themes, all three writers are unique and talented. I believe Crown Jewels will satisfy any romantic erotica reader with its great mix of variety.
Reviewer: Jennifer Lynne
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