I hated this book. When I finished reading it, I felt gross. I was angry and... disappointed that somewhere out there in Booklandia, there are people who still find rape to be sexy. Because that's what this book is about: the rape of a woman by three people in front of a crowd. And it's supposed to be titillating. It's supposed to make me hot. And all I want to do is set fire to it.
The blurb sounded kind of interesting to me. Usually, I like to explain a book in my own words, but here, I'm going to give you the actual book description:
It is the eve of the Longest Night. Eliza Baker and the rest of Lord Jayden's servants excitedly prepare for the lavish festival as their masters enjoy a head start on the debauchery that awaits. Eliza's madly in love with Kell, a sweet, deliciously sexy guard. Kell returns her feelings, but is striving to make himself a worthy man before he asks Eliza's father for permission to court her.
To keep the Demon of Winter at bay, an offering must be made during the festival. As the event begins, Lord Kempsly informs Kell that he's offering a special sacrifice this year, and Kell must escort the girl who will offer up her maidenhood for the enjoyment of the crowd. Another guest will select the maiden, and Kell realizes to his dismay the guest is Lord Rakin, a rich and handsome rogue who has his eye on Eliza. But little do any of the men suspect the burgeoning desire the ceremony is awakening in Eliza.
OK. First of all, I liked the idea of a serving girl and a guard. It's different from the Lords and Ladies I usually read about. I especially was intrigued by how Kell felt unworthy of her. As for the "offering," I thought Eliza was OFFERING UP her maidenhood. As in, of her free will. I expected a little exhibitionism, perhaps. But that's not what happened.
Lord Rakin sees Eliza at the ball and decides he wants her. So he tells her master that he thinks she should be the offering. Lord Kempsly tells Kell he'll send a doctor to his sick sister if he'll bring Eliza into the room, even if he has to do it by force. Eliza knows that Kell will lose his job if she doesn't go with him --and she agrees to go in on her own steam, not knowing for sure if the speculation about a sacrifice is true. She says," We don't know exactly what we are both losing our jobs for yet. Lord Kempsly's never flogged anyone unless they really deserved it. I don't see him turning cruel now."
She goes in the room full of people and Kell holds her still while Rakin rips her clothes off. She is then held down as a woman forces oral sex on her. Then she is forced to perform oral sex on Rakin until he comes in her mouth. Then Kell is instructed to take her virginity on a table in front of the crowd. Kell, who she has been silently in love with forever. And he does it.
After all of this, Kell is rewarded with the doctor that was promised and a ring to propose with. And Eliza gets --wait for it-- two days off of work. Then Kell asks her to marry him and she is surprised that he wants her. She feels herself unworthy because she orgasmed during the sex acts.
I am just beside myself, truly. This woman was raped. And it is most assuredly not sexy. And Kell, while under duress, held her down and then raped her too. He is the HERO? And she questions whether she is good enough for HIM? Because her body reacted to the sex acts that were performed on her?
I wish I could unread this. I really do. There should have been a warning.
Rating: F*ARC Provided by NetGalley