This book is original and addictive, with a cast of larger than life characters which leap off the page and engage you fully. Corinne Balfour’s forays into her alternate Earth are erotic and bawdy, full of outrageous behaviour, with a heavy dose of humour and romance. In Deceptive Lord, book 1 in her Lords of Bondage series, we encounter the Flourdans , a matriarchal society where women dominate, the Asstrumnians, of Celtic and extra terrestrial descent and the debauched Romans.
Asstrumnia has been forgotten by the rest of the world until the Romans start to invade and a war threatens. Drest Kavanaugh, an Asstrumnian bard, is sent undercover to Flourda, to the home of depraved Countess Nefertiti Avenal to search for a kinsman who is the offspring of an Asstrumnian nobleman and a Flourdan princess. It is thought that the man may be unaware of his heritage. Drest poses as Lord Kane Woodcock, a new paramour for the Countess.
The lusty Countess Nefertiti is drunk on the power she wields. Her harem is full of strapping examples of masculinity and she delights in humiliating them, and copulating openly with them at every opportunity. Drest soon identifies Lord Devereaux Langley as the one he seeks. As part of his information gathering, he befriends Lady Eden Avenal, half-sister to Nefertiti. The two share a mutual attraction and there are several erotic scenes where Drest tries to seduce Eden and where she reluctantly repels him, fearing reprisals. The Countess does not allow her household to fraternise in such a way, sex being reserved for her alone.
Drest lingers too long however, and he is forced to Nefertiti’s bedchamber by her eunuchs as she tries out her new Roman toys on him in a humiliating scene, involving chains, shackles, ropes and whips. He is making good his escape, using his alien hybrid powers, when Lady Eden discovers him and what he is, in yet another hilarious and erotic encounter. To protect his identity, Drest is compelled to transport her with him back to Asstrumnia, It is now Eden who is the captive, held by the Asstrumnians who despise the Flourdans, especially the half sister of Nefertiti. There are many twists and turns in the remaining plot that includes frequent copulation, weird Druid sex rituals and ceremonies, jealousy, kidnap and all round mayhem!
Eden, as a Flourdan female, has been brought up in a society where women dominate. Males have few rights and cannot inherit or own property. Aristocratic females take as many permanent mates as they wish and also temporary mates from the noble classes as paramours, forming harems. As head of the family, Countess Nefertiti has ultimate power over Eden, from arranging a union, to putting her to death if she steps out of line. Eden feels little more than a slave herself and does not approve of her half-sister’s behaviour. Although attracted to Lord Woodcock, she resists getting involved as he is Nefertiti’s property. She also doubts his ability to submit as his comments and his behaviour are sometimes a bit strange…. When he transports her to Asstrumnia, she is petrified, as she has heard terrible stories about how the Asstrumnians enslave their captives and she finds she has to trust him for her own salvation.
Drest is a complex character. He is attracted to Eden, but realises that she is his enemy and finds that her beliefs and customs are outlandish by Asstrumnian standards. He has no choice but to bring her back with him to Asstrumnia, not realising how she will complicate his life. The couples’ romance is sweet, but also full of some very erotic encounters. Both Eden and Drest are increasingly confused by their feelings for each other as the plot develops and I found myself willing them towards a HEA.
I enjoyed learning about the different cultures of Flourda and Asstrumnia, especially when it came to their sexual customs! The supporting cast, some of whom feature in her other novel, Dark Lord, is excellent and I hope that she manages to return to them in her continuing tales of her alternate Earth. I am particularly interested in what will happen to Drest’s cousin Kambria as well as Portia, another captive of the Asstrumnians.
Deceptive Lord Lords of Bondage #1), is escapist erotic romance at its best. I recommend it to those who enjoy tales of an outlandish nature, with intriguing characters , great world building and a humourous, creative and addictive plot, which is brimming with erotic scenes. Vampire Slave Trade, also in this series, but set in Rome, is also a great read and I am looking forward to reading Dark Lord, which explores the tale of Lord Devereaux Langley, who we met in this novel.
Cover art dsplayed by kind permission of Corinne Balfour