My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven’t read an Erotic Romance novel in a while and my experience with Steampunk is quite limited. So, when I saw a Siren title offered both as well as a touch of Regency and the rather curious menage element, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was pleasantly surprised, but think that my criteria for future books and perception of quality may have stepped up in recent months.
When Lady Viktorya Trenton’s husband Lord Alexander Trenton decides to chose his ship over her, she is given over to some pirates on The Seahawk. On the ship is her former beloved Sean, believed long-dead, who is now the lover of the ship’s captain Malcolm Dygannon. Their relationship cooling, the captain sees the arrival of Viktorya (who Sean is clearly still in love with) as an opportunity to bring a long-term female lover to their bedroom. And while this is going on, Viktorya is looking for a way to pass on secret information to some rebels she has stolen from her scuzzy husband.
The opening scene shows Viktorya being given away without hesitation by her husband. It also introduces Jacko, Gareth, Mal and the two rather likable bisexual ladies (Caroline and Tabitha) that occasionally service the sailors on-board the ship. Sean is mentioned but isn’t introduced until the second chapter. This works well as it is clear from the beginning that Mal has sought out Trenton’s ship in order to save the girl whilst also giving the opportunity for Sean and to Tori meet. Why go to all of that trouble? It is obvious that Lord Trenton is a horrible guy that not only an adulterer but is a mongrel slaver as well.
Corinne Davies does a wonderful job of pacing the novel, careful not to heap information on the reader from the outset. This gives the reader the opportunity to learn about the characters over time, with a desire to learn more about each of the main characters because they are somewhat likable. This also lets us learn more about the plans enacted by the villains as seen by how it effects the heroes.
The Steampunk Regency world-building is also somewhat interesting as they play such an important role on our characters. This is not something considered rather than simply slapped together in ten minutes. Though we don’t get to see some of the technology, we get to experience some of it through mild sensory info such as the sound of the engines.
Given that this is a menage Erotic Romance, we have a few sex scenes. It establishes the attraction of the three main characters from the outset, even if Tori feels somewhat troubled by her circumstances. The story does have a few of them, each having a strong emotional touch to them. The emotional element adds a lot to the story, as well as making the sex scenes more titillating. We also learn from a bit of the commentary some of the reasoning for the various hangups for these three troubled characters. One is fearful of hurting others, one of fearful of being hurt, the other is fearful of being betrayed. And all are fighting for some semblance of control over their lives.
As you can see from my 4 out of 5 rating, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, the plot had lots of drama and intrigue, and the sex scenes were emotionally charged. My only gripe about the story related to some scenes dragging out a little too long and some of the dialogue of Sean and Malcolm using modern-ish terminology. However, these didn’t take away heavily from the entertainment value of the story.