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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Angela Knight: "Love Bites"

Author:  Angela Knight
Series:  Love Bites
Plot Type:  Hardcore Erotic Romance  
Ratings:  Violence4; Sensuality5++++; Humor—2 
Publisher:  Berkley Sensation (9/2014)   
     In her "Foreword," Knight clearly and concisely cautions the reader: "Be warned: this anthology is quite a bit hotter than my other Mageverse books. All three stories in Love Bites deal with themes of domination and submission, featuring bondage, spanking, and kinky sex. If you don't like those things, you probably won't like this book." And she's not kidding! So, beware of what you're getting into. This is hardcore BDSM in all its salacious, kinky glory. 

     The book contains one novel-length story (230 pages) and two much shorter stories (27 pages and 43 pages). The novel, "Oath of Service," is a new Mageverse tale starring Morgana le Fay and Sir Percival. Click HERE to read my reviews of the novels in the MAGEVERSE series. 

     "Be Careful What You Wish For" was written some time ago but never before published. "The Bloodslave" is a futuristic story that was previously published under the pseudonym Anastasia Day in an e-book called Bodice Rippers in 2001. All of the stories feature vampires.

     In addition to these stories, Knight includes a sample chapter of her next book, a non-paranormal romantic suspense novel involving a pair of BDSM-practicing police officers in a conservative Southern town. 

               "Oath of Service"               
MY FAVORITE LINE: "If a woman didn't feel a tingle at the sight of Percival, Cador, and Marrok looking ready to break all Ten Commandments, she needed to check her pulse." (p. 5)

     This short novel is set in the Mageverse and tells the erotic soul-mate love story of Morgana le Fay and Sir Percival, Knight of the Round Table. Fifteen centuries ago, when they drank from the Holy Grail and became immortal, the couple shared a passionate moment, but when Percival wanted to make their relationship permanent, Morgana turned her back on him. Having gone through horrible turmoil with her son, Mordred, and the wicked priest who abused Mordred and tortured her, she doesn't want to get close to or belong to anyone. All her life, everyone Morgana ever loved has turned against her, and she won't make the mistake of falling for Percival and then having him reject her.

     For centuries, Morgana and Percival have teamed up with Cador and Marrok to fight the bad guys, but Morgana as always been rather mean to her team members—shocking them with ugly magical zaps, playing painful magical tricks on them, slicing at them with her sharp-tongued sarcasm, and doing things her own way whenever she wants—which is most of the time. As the story opens, the team is searching for an otherworldly creature who is butchering human women. When that creature turns out to be a dragon shifter who gates off into the Mageverse with two captive women, Morgana opens a portal and goes after him, leaving her team members behind. She doesn't want them to be hurt, so she plans on taking on the dragon all by herself. Although the adventure eventually ends well, the men are furious with Morgana and complain to Arthur, who gives Morgana a choice: Either voluntarily become an Oath Servant to Percival or be assigned to another team. 

     An Oath Servant must submit to his or her master's every wish. This is the oath Morgana takes when she accepts Percival as her Master: "I, Morgana le Fay, Liege of the Majae, do swear to obey you in all your commands without question or hesitation, yielding my body to serve your needs, whether for sex or for blood, for the next year." (p. 74) What makes Morgan's situation even worse is that she is forced to wear a collar that nullifies her magic, essentially making her powerless. Percival has been secretly lusting after Morgana for 15 centuries, so he sees this as a chance to get what he wants and to put her in her place—her subservient place. Yes, Percival is a dominant, and Morgana is a secret submissive, and the rest of the story consists of several lengthy, graphically depicted, pleasure-pain BDSM sessions, mostly between Percival and Morgana, but one (on Super Bowl Sunday) with all of the team members. 

     The story ends with the requisite showdown battle between Morgana and the dragon, with back-up from her team. As part of the resolution of this conflict, the team goes through a highly unusual bonding experience that exposes all of their individual childhood tragedies and provides a redemption of sorts.

    For me, the fact that Morgana was constantly dominated physically, mentally, and emotionally by her three hulking male team members was a major turn-off. At times it came across as sexual abuse, even though Morgana kept claiming that even though she was in pain, she wanted more. But if you're into the whole D/s bondage thing, you'll probably enjoy it. 

     In the early chapters, Knight includes a nice overview of the Mageverse, so a new reader could read this as a stand-alone story. Click HERE to read the first chapter of "Oath of Service," which is quite mild compared to the rest of the story.

               "Be Careful What You Wish For"               
FIRST LINE: When Jim Decker walked into Bottoms Up that night, you could almost taste the testosterone. Or vamposterone, Or whatever."

     This is the shortest and most entertaining of the three stories. It actually starts out like that classic joke: "Three vampires walked into a bar." Actually two of them—Amanda and Beau—are already in the bar when the third—Decker—walks in. Amanda, who tells the story in her sardonic first-person voice, has a sexual history with both men, and as a result they can't stand one another. Suddenly, a young woman rushes up to Decker and screams out a sentence that "stopped conversation for a radius of about thirty feet." Her heart-rending wail is the catalyst that sets off the plot: "It's Jeffrey!…He said if I don't go to his house and agree to—he said he's going to turn me back into a werewolf. Permanently!" Talk about a downer!  

     Beau and Amanda soon learn that Jeffrey is an evil wizard who turned the girl into a werewolf a year or so ago after she refused to have sex with him. Decker was able to reverse the spell by having sex with her while she was in werewolf form, but now Jeffrey has tracked her down and is threatening her once again. Immediately, the three indignant vampires head off to Jeffrey's house to teach him a lesson. 

     Unfortunately, Jeffrey is a very powerful wizard, and he immediately puts a spell on Beau and Decker—a spell that forces the two men to have sex with Amanda whether she wants to or not. He tells them, "Do everything you've secretly dreamed of. Let's see you stop when she says no." The rest of the story turns the reader into a voyeur as the three engage in a graphically described ménage à trois, after which Amanda saves the day for all of them, including the werewolf girl.

     Although this story has just as much BDSM as the other two, it is much more light-hearted and entertaining. Amanda has been wanting to experiment with multiple partners, so she's game from the very beginning. She's not an emotionally damaged woman or a tender virgin; she's a smart, independent chick who knows exactly what she's getting into, and she's ready to do (or receive) what it takes to achieve her own personal satisfaction. That's what makes this one better than the others.

               "The Bloodslave"               
A sample of the mildest of the disgusting dialogue: 
"Dominic said, 'But who gets to pop her cherry?'      
'Good point,' André said. 'We'll let a poker hand decide that. Best two out of three.' " 
(The virginal victim listens to this conversation while she is gagged and tied to a chair.

     This futuristic space-travel tale is actually repulsive. Verica Shur, a young human woman, is the last survivor of a group of mercenaries on a distant planet, having been forcibly taken there 12 years ago by her father. A team of three vampires—also mercenaries, but for the winning side—capture her, bind and gag her, and take her virginity in every manner you can imagine. Although she supposedly enjoys the experience—eventually, after a great deal of pain—the whole thing comes across as horrific torture and humiliation by a trio of abusive bullies. The story ends with a scene in which the girl plays the dominant role over the captain, but that part doesn't really ring true. I had trouble getting through this one. It definitely is the roughest of the three.

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