A unicorn BR with Ann!
3.75 Hearts--Art can be sexy.
(different pic on the blog with a strategically placed paintbrush...;P)
In Victory Portrait, the fourth standalone in the Pride of Uttor series, painting is very sexy.
How much? Fresh semen needed to add into the paint sexy.
Lusting for what seems like ages and finally getting to pound your the object of your desire into next week...with an audience kind of sexy.
"You dream about this, don't you? About taking cock inside you, of becoming one creature, one perfect holy creature, with the man who's fucking you--"
"God help me--"
"He already has."
In this new to me series, Tali Spencer has created a fantasy based world (no magic) filled with intrigue, captives, war, lust, family drama, backstabbing, maps and hero worship that turns into something more. Prince Peta's Sebboyan royal family was captured due to his tyrant king of a father and evil eldest brother by the empire of Uttor. He and his family are Uttoran imperial captives, slaves but due to their ranking they're the least slaved as a slave could get. It's a tricky situation and the author did a great job trying to show the balance. Peta has crushed on the great Uttoran general Sar Darius Arrento for years. The beautiful youth gets his wish to meet the older man who had a hand putting him into captivity as a notorious artist's assistant. Peta has to strip naked , have his semen collected to paint a specially commissioned painting of the general. Let's just say the sexual tension was sticky...
The story isn't only hot sex (though Arrento/Peta do give lava hot screen time), there is a political/double-crossing war antics. Potential triggers: off page rape of a secondary character. I'd say the second half focuses more on war and a suspense-ish secondary plot that introduces mythology and attempted crimes in an interesting mix.
"He was a lion, and he wanted another lion. He didn't have the patience to deal with snakes."
Thankfully, the story is told in alternating POV, I got a great sense of both men without it getting too deep. That was a great aspect of this story it would broach serious topics - captivity, being an orphan, coming from a religious/homophobic background and the story didn't get ugly. There was ample explanation for the author to get their point across.The main characters from the previous books were secondary characters in Victory Portrait and gave follow up/ a prequel to the couples. A lot happens in this 80K+ story.
The story's strongest point? The setting. This world the author created seemed very real, very lived in. There were a lot of side characters and mythology and different lands in this world, at some points it read like the never-ending story, since we kept reading about yet another land embattled with the mighty Uttor empire. Sometimes a new character and their purpose would go right over my head. But I was able to grasp the main plot points and follow along with the central theme without being lost.
The main couple added the needed spice to carry this story along. Reading Arrento's struggle with wanting to bed his emperor's slave was endearing. Arrento wasn't all unicorns and rainbows though. He stormed off but thankfully didn't have a major meltdown because he listened sooner than later. There was a separation period and lasted months, maybe a year? The way the men courted each other was sweet. The sexy first half isn't recaptured in the second half. It's more about the whodunit plot with a romantic background.
"Is that cock of yours still talking? Didn't you vow to Chasca to stop listening to it?"
"After that boy in Dalmeri and barely escaping with my skin intact? My cock has gotten wiser since then."
"Cocks don't get wise," Gaspar said. "Their masters get wise enough to overrule them."
I have to talk a little about the artist Brazzi and his wild and crazy way of needing semen to create his art. He helped bring some comedic relief. And a little CBT. ;D
I was happy with the ending, wouldn't have minded a little bit more on the reunion. I did have a few questions - what happened with Imre? what will become of Adora's child? I didn't have to read the previous books but I really want to now. I was fully immersed in this world and was sad to leave it by the end.
Arrento and Peta remained true to themselves and didn't change, even if they started with a little subterfuge enemies to lovers. I liked that they explained themselves once the hidden identity was revealed. And Peta wasn't a lovesick, puppy dog following his crush for scraps. He was his own man just in every sense as Arrento did. Great couple. Totally think they'll last.
Recommended for fantasy lovers who like erotic scenes, war/political intrigue and some fun times.
A copy provided for an honest review.