A nuanced, deeply sensual fairy tale of erotica set in modern-day corporate America.
Written in 100-word “drabble” chapters, the story revolves around the relationship between Juliana Crowne, a beautiful executive whose father is CEO of the company (she’s “de facto princess of the realm”), and Alexander Knight, a guy with midnight hair and penetrating eyes who works in the IT department. A single dominant into BDSM, Knight is searching for a woman to share his darkest desires. After a routine security review in which he inadvertently uncovers Juliana’s erased internet history—she’s viewed submissive photo galleries and posted dominance and submission stories on an erotica website—he devises a cunning plan to win the heart of the “heiress to the throne.” But with a holiday ball quickly approaching, not to mention that Juliana’s boyfriend is ready to pop the question, Knight must act quickly and decisively. This short novel’s charm comes from its fairy-tale tone and delightful fusion of unbridled sexuality and enchanting ambiance. (It even begins with “Once upon a time….”) Even though the sexual content tends to be understated—in an early scene, Juliana’s boyfriend is described thusly: “Thrusting politely, he climaxes”—the attraction and connection between Juliana and Knight is palpable. However, one major criticism of this unconventional love story is its drabble format, which, rather than adding to the reading experience, actually diminishes it by severely limiting the author’s ability to flesh out a scene, literally and figuratively. The short chapters keep the pacing brisk and the tone relatively light, but readers may wonder how much more penetrating the story could’ve been if the author lengthened and deepened the narrative.
Pleasingly erotic and romantic, without being gratuitous.