Elis Madison's Reviews > The Dragon's Bride

The Dragon's Bride by Jo Beverley
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Con Somerford, Earl of Wyvern, is the heir to a long line of wacko, pervy nut jobs. Fortunately, he's not a direct descendant. Unfortunately, it means he has inherited responsibility for the main estate, which is basically a house of horrors that includes "erotic" art that would put the Marquis de Sade to the blush, and a torture chamber with working equipment.

The last earl, whose bedchamber was littered with stinky alchemical ingredients and shriveled man-bits, was actively seeking a potion that would A) lengthen his life, and B) perk up HIS man-bits when he swigged down something that "disagreed" with him and cocked up his toes.

Con's dislike of this estate doesn't only relate to the kinky/gross contents. It also goes back to a visit to the area in his youth, when he fell wildly in love and knocked boots with a girl who, on learning that he was not (at the time) the heir to the earldom, told him to pull up his pants and go home.

Susan Kerslake comes from a long line of smugglers and slutty aristocratic women (well, at least one set). She loved that boy back then, but her desire to belong, to be accepted rather than the marginally tolerated bastard brat of fornicators, had her half in love with the earldom, too, and when she realized that Con was actually the spare rather than the heir, she'd over-reacted. She regrets it, but she also accepts that she burned her bridges. Now she's the housekeeper at Crag Wyvern, primarily to find the smuggler's hoard that the previous earl supposedly kept for her father. She's hoping that if she can find the gold, she can persuade her brother to give up his life of crime.

Just to make things even more interesting, Con has been courting Anne, the duke's daughter his buddy Francis Middlethorpe was courting in Forbidden. You know, the sweetie with the limp, who thinks men are dumping her because of it? To protect himself from temptation, he dashes off a missive to Anne telling her that in a week or so he'll be talking to her father. This amounts to a proposal of marriage, so he's now committed, and to a very sweet, harmless girl who can only be hurt if he changes his mind.

The pervy, symbolic "art" littered around the house of horrors tells a very interesting story, and the hiding place of the treasure is, no surprise, a bit creepy. The love story progresses in fits and starts (which isn't a bad thing, given the backstory), and a quirky guy named Race deVere promises to become very interesting in a future installment. There's a bad guy, too, who has the tools to be a really scary dude(view spoiler).

What makes this story really fun is the wordplay and symbolism. Let's just say Saint George isn't quite as saintly as one might hope and the dragon turns out to have some reason to rage.

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05/23 marked as: read

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