Monday, June 28, 2010

The Fire Lord's Lover by Kathryne Kennedy

Fighting for control of a kingdom that is split into seven domains, Elven warlords use their human slaves to breed soldiers for their armies. Dominic Raikes, the half-blood son of the Fire Lord himself, is one such warrior. Betrothed to Lady Cassandra, he little suspects that she's been raised in outward purity and innocence, she was secretly trained as an assassin to murder his father…and him. But when she gets to court, they both discover that nothing is what it seems, least of all the person they married…

This was a fun, sexy romp in the hay, the garden, the bedroom… oh, just anywhere. If anything, I thought the sex scenes went a little over-the-top in the quantity and language, but that could be because I’m not accustomed to reading romance, let alone erotic romance.

That said, I enjoyed the tension in the love story and adventure aspects of the novel. The fantasy has a few original sparks in that magic has elemental affinities and the elves are angelic psychopaths instead of Tolkien-esque heroes or Shakespearian faeries. There are also nice moments of pathos between Dominic and Cassandra, such as:

‘“Now it’s my turn,” she softly whispered. “Tell me of Mongrel.”

Dominic started. “How do you know of my dog?”

“Cook told me …nay, do not be angry. She sought only to comfort me with a bit of knowledge about the stranger I married.”

He ran a hand over his forehead. Cook had known him since he was a lad, and although they treated each other with indifference, he’d always suspected that the redhead had a softer heart than she revealed. And Mongrel…just the name brought a memory of shared warmth and unquestioning loyalty. Words flowed from his mouth without thought. “The stable master tried to drown the runt, but he had more will to live than anyone credited. I found him on the bank of the Thames, weary and half-dead, and could only admire his spirit. I nursed him back to health and he shadowed me from that day on until he died…”

The vision of fire blackening fur and the sound of Mongrel whining in agony brought Dominic back to himself. But too late. For his wife held his cheek in one soft hand, and the sound of her sigh held too much sympathy. “I’m so sorry. You must have loved him so.”

Dominic jerked away from her touch.”

And the push and pull continues between the two of them, though there’s never any doubt how each feels. The greater question is whether they’ll survive, since Dominic’s father has a habit of burning everything Dominic loves. To find out what happens, you’ll have to read “The Fire Lord’s Lover.”

I look forward to Ms. Kennedy’s next, as this is the first in the Elven Lords Series.