When I first started reading romance as a wee little lass, my favorite authors to read were Beatrice Small and Victoria Holt. They wrote the naughtiest slave girl being sexually mastered by the sheik or desert ruler tales I’ve read. Well, Small was more on the erotic side, while Holt was a lot more subtle. When I saw Kitty Thomas had written her own spin on the sex slave girl being owned by a king of some alternate land where the general population is very open with their sexuality, much like the disturbing movie cult classic, Caligula, I decided to give The King’s Pleasure a read. Kitty is known for writing dark and disturbing erotic but The King’s Pleasure seemed more on the lighter side for me, even though Kitty does make a mention that The King's Pleasure is one of the "dirtiest" stories she'd written.
The King’s Pleasure is a 34 page short story set in the kingdom of Himeros. Abigail is a poor half-gypsy who sneaks into the newly crowned king’s castle to steal bread for her starving family. Abigail is caught by the king's guard and is about to have her hand cut off when Niall, the king is woken up. He finds this punishment to be too cruel and since he is a more compassionate ruler than his father was, he stops the punishment. Since Niall hasn’t created his own harem of women to satisfy him sexually as is expected, he’ll keep Abigail as his own one woman harem. Abigail is frightened because she was never taught to pleasure men like most of the gypsy women of Himeros have been. She doesn’t understand why the king would be interested in a half-breed gypsy girl like her. But when Niall treats her kindly and makes certain her family is well taken care of, she sacrifices herself and welcomes his tutelage in the arts of sex, lovemaking and other sexual desires and positions.
Since Himeros is very open and accepting of sex, and in public. Niall has many festivals where men and women enjoy each other. Niall doesn’t keep Abigail sequestered away in his bedroom for his own pleasure, but is very open in acting on his desire for her. He allows his trusted officials and friends to enjoy Abigail while he watches, but only he has the ultimate say and ownership over Abigail.
Abigail is now more open with her sexuality thanks to Niall, even with his sharing. Half way through I was enjoying this sexy tale, although I would have liked more scenes of bedroom play between the king and his innocent thinking slave girl. But then during a Roman orgy type sex party, something described stopped me in my tracks and icked me out. As a reader, I’m very open to most sexual acts described in erotic romance. I can handle BDSM, multiple partners, instruments stuck in places in a person’s body that has no right being inserted, but when bestiality is added into the mix, that’s where I say, no thank you.
The King’s Pleasure has a mention of doggy love, and not the type where man’s best friend plays fetch or even snuggles up to his/her owner. It seems here, that man’s best friend is a woman’s best friend thanks to what a dog’s tongue can do for a woman in a not so pleasant and shocking way that really doesn’t fit, but just adds to the sensationalism of the story.
Why not decide for yourself if I’m overacting by this excerpt:
Abby looked on in horror at the depravity that had been kicked to a new level. Over at one table, two men held a woman’s thighs open while they coaxed a dog to lick between her legs. She screamed, “No, please, stop,” but it was clearly an act, because she was giggling and pressing her mound harder against the dog’s tongue, already approaching her orgasm. Then the men started pouring wine over her breasts and sucking it off, teasing her with threats of even worse things they had in store for her later.
“Are you all right, Abigail?” Niall asked as he came closer and wrapped his arms around her.
Despite not wanting to coddle her, he was concerned by how she’d take some of the more extreme behaviors.
“Aren’t you going to stop that?” She pointed at the woman with the men and dog.
“Why? No one is in any danger. The dog isn’t being forced. No one is being hurt.”
“It’s just so … gross.”
He shrugged, long past too jaded to care about the introduction of animals to the evening’s festivities. It was her first formal orgy; she’d adjust eventually. A few of the foreign guests on their first trip to Himeros would surely go back to report on what barbaric demons they all were, even though it was only one small trio engaging in the activity. People loved to blow things out of proportion.”
I realize there’s an audience for everything, even humans who have sex with animals in fiction, but I’m not that open or that understanding as a reader. I see no such reason for Kitty to add this description, even one mentioned in passing. It’s one thing for humans to engage in shocking and disturbing the sex acts because it’s consensual. Even if an animal like a dog, horse, or sheep may seem to be enjoying themselves based on what the author’s describes such as in The King’s Pleasure, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
After reading that section, I found I couldn’t continue, so I ended up DNFing The King’s Pleasure and looked for something more innocent in the hopes to bleach my eyes by what I read. Such a shame, because I do feel Kitty has a skill as a writer of erotica, but perhaps it’s best if she leaves the bestiality out of her work.
Final Grade: If there was no bestiality, I would have given this a C. The King’s Pleasure was just too short and at times seemed rushed with the action and interaction with Niall and Abigail. Also I felt the price of $2.99 was too high for a 34 page story. Better to be priced at.99 cents.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)