Author: Cooper Davis
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Sometimes you have to risk everything, to follow your heart…
Noble Pleasures, Book 1
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.
Product Warnings: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: King Arend Tollemach is finally going to do something for himself. After being forced out of a loving betrothal by his father, marrying a woman he didn’t love, then raising his son, the king is going to get himself a concubine. A sexy male concubine. The big problem is King Arend doesn’t know what to do with a sexy male concubine and he’s astoundingly nervous. Arend gets Julian at Temple Sapphor. Julian has spent much longer there than usual. He’s happy to finally be chosen. Julian was sold to the temple by his brother under dubious circumstances. Both men have histories of being hurt by family and having spent a significant part of their life alone. Julian wants to get going with the relationship. He’s got a task and he’s going to enjoy it. And he’s going to fall for Arend pretty hard in the process.
Unfortunately, the rest of the government is not so happy about Arend’s actions. From lowly footmen to powerful Dukes, people are trying to keep Arend and Julian apart. There is a very strong likelihood the government will be able to force Arend into another marriage in an effort to secure more heirs for the throne. Both men are faced with their worst fears.
This was a character driven plot, of sorts. Unfortunately, the characters stated their motivations and fears pretty baldly. I didn’t feel there was a lot of room for exposition after one sentence effectively explained everything. That isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate the book. I found the world building interesting. It was an alternate universe historical setting where men were allowed to be gay and openly court other men. Of course succession is the big problem for the characters. In theory succession would be a problem for anyone from any family with something to inherit, be it land, title, or business. I felt this was a flaw in the world building that wasn’t well explained or hasn’t been as of yet.
Arend and Julian were interesting characters. I felt a lot of the interpersonal drama between these two guys became repetitive. Arend was quick to retreat and offend Julian when he became scared. Julian was quick to anger and offense when Arend retreated. It happened several times. Whereas I do find that totally plausible it’s not something I relish. I do find Julian and Arend likable enough despite the fact I also feel they become annoying on occasion. I also really enjoy the secondary characters in the story. I would like to know more about the secondary characters.
I wasn’t hugely impressed yet I’m interested enough I’d like to read the second book in the series. I’m certainly curious about the direction the series is going.