by Davida McLea, paranormal (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-596-1
Arkan's Bride is a ménage à trois story involving everyone's favorite polyamorous creatures, the Fae.
Once upon a time, there is a Very Special Baby who is destined to inherit the title of Fae Regent on her twenty-first birthday, solely because her father was the boss of everyone until the current Regent, Gwyllion, disposed of him and seized power for himself. The attempts to the Special Baby safe ended up seeing her brought into our world.
Donella grew up to become Donna Kidwell. Like all adopted children in romance stories, she doesn't feel as if she belonged to her family even when her adopted parents took great care of her, thus making her adopted parents feel really cherished, I tell you. When the story opens, her adopted parents had just recently died in a car crash. Donella receives official confirmation that she really is adopted, and now she bursts into tears every five seconds. Now that I blame her, but still, ugh.
Our Fae hero Arkan is betrothed to Donella and now that she is 21, he wastes no time molesting her while she sleeps. Of course, he can't really penetrate her while she is sleeping, because he's a gentleman that way. Besides, Donella needs time to heal, since she is now an orphaned 21-year old child. So he merely goes as far as to stick his finger into her you-know-what. Donella however is engaged to Ethan, not that Arkan is concerned with that since he's always happy to share Donella with Ethan, especially if he gets to watch those two go at it. But Donella is Very Special and is going to inherit a kingdom, so you know her enemies are not going to leave her be to enjoy her two boyfriends in peace.
I know I am going to have problems with this story when I read the prologue. There, we have characters narrating things to each other, things that they all should already know, in a contrived scene clearly meant for the illumination of the reader. Worse, the bad guy kills the Donella's mother, but then conveniently leaves without at least abducting the baby! The first few chapters don't help matters, since Arkan's molesting of Donella and his subsequent voyeur antics make him come off as creepy instead of sexy.
However, things improve tremendously once the author has all the fingering and pumping and what not out of the way, because then I get an actual story line. Ms McLea also attempts to show some internal conflict among the three, which is nice as this elevates the trio slightly above those creepy "three people, one brain" pod people that tend to populate stories of this kind. While the story line isn't too memorable - things happen in a rush late in the story, actually - and the internal conflicts are resolved in a quick but not too believable manner, I appreciate the fact that Ms McLea is trying to give her readers more than just titillation here.
It's just too bad that I personally find Donella too prone to bursting into tears for my liking. I can understand her situation and I do try to remember that she's in a fragile state of mind, but the two men in this story treat her as if she's a small girl incapable of dealing with realities of life and she seems determined to prove them right.
Still, if you have a higher tolerance for fragile heroines, you may enjoy this one better. Arkan's Bride could have been better paced and the first few chapters are pretty contrived, but it also has a decent story and some nice moments of melodrama to go along with the eroticism.
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