Magic and Desire

& others. Virgin Black Lace, dist. by Trafalgar Square. (Classics). May 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780352347848. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780753516652. EROTICA
OrangeReviewStarEnchantment and erotica join forces in this powerful collection. "The House of Dust" by Janine Ashbless follows Ishara, a priestess of the fertility goddess Inanna, as she grieves over the untimely death of her beloved King Tamuz and seeks to avenge his murder. Ishara has no choice but to visit the Queen of the Underworld in order to bring back her lover and rightful king. Da Costa's "Ill Met by Moonlight" puts a more playful spin on the magic theme, as bored vacationer Lois finds herself visited at night by her gorgeous, enigmatic Dream Lover, who looks like a rock star version of "tall, dark, and handsome" and smells mysteriously of lavender. Dream Lover (real name Robin) shows up outside her holiday cabin, leading the two to embark on a fantastical sex fest that leaves them helplessly in lust and in love. But when Robin reveals that his human form is temporary, they must confront the reality of finding true love on a deadline. Olivia Knight's "The Dragon Lord" returns to the high fantasy genre, recounting a dramatic tale of legacy, intense passion, and the value of truth. In Kâo, a dragon queen lies on her deathbed; meanwhile, fiery young Princess Nina of Navarone finds herself betrothed in a dull marriage meant to cure her lifelong "problem." She is thrown into a tumult by Lord Drake, a mysterious wedding guest who claims to be from Kâo, a land she thought to be a fairy tale. He ignites Nina's yearning, but each is bound by a sense of duty, and Drake knows his queen is running out of time. Ashbless and Knight skillfully imbue dark, sensual scenes with the air of a time long past, both ancient and otherworldly, while Da Costa's lighter, modern fare provides humor alongside hot sex and sprites.
VERDICT A perfect fit for fans of the intense erotic stylings of Sylvia Day, mingled with epic fantasy themes.

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