This is a review for Cory's WIP: Scandal. It's currently free-to-read at
As you guys may have noticed, I don't read erotica, and I'm not a fan of M/F/M romances. I am not homophobic, nor am I against the enjoyment of sexuality (I'm not exactly a Puritan, in case you can't tell from my constant use of profanity). It's just that I know what turns me on, and I know what I enjoy. I'm a traditionalist in that sense. I like commitment and monogamy in my relationships. I don't like reading about love triangles. I don't care about anything dealing with more than two people in a relationship.
Which is why it came as a complete surprise to me that I found myself enjoying this book.
Scandal challenged my very monogamous concepts on love. It showed me the possibility that there can be a meaningful relationship between more than the traditional model of a man and a woman or a man and a man. It opened to me the idea that two men can be soul mates and maintain that love and devotion even after a woman comes into the picture. It made me understand that pain can be pleasureable to some, and that submission and dominance is more than just sexual in nature. It made me realize that sometimes you need to lose control in order to maintain control in the face of chaos. When it feels like world is collapsing in ruins.
I guess what I'm saying here is please give this book a shot. It might challenge what you find to be acceptable and even enjoyable.
First, the disclaimer. I'm the author's friend, and I've been beta-reading her book chapter by chapter as she wrote it.
A group of us read it and criticized it, we told her what was good, we told her what sucked. I'm a tough reviewer, and I'm a tough reader. This isn't my first time beta reading a book, and I'd be pretty fucking useless if I was nice and considerate and not wanting to hurt feeeeeeelings.
If and when you guys have criticism, be it positive or negative, please do tell her. As she has repeatedly told us, this book is not her baby, and she will gladly accepts your assessment.
Like she accepted mine -.-
The Summary: Katherine (Kit), Duchess of Hampshire, has got a pretty sweet life. I mean, she's young, lovely, immensely wealthy, and the wife of an upwardly political man. To the public, they appear to be the epitome of all that is wrong with the British upper class. Prickly, snobby, asexual. Heaven forbid they should touch each other in public, 19th century voters don't want their politicians nuzzling their wives in open sight.
But in private, John is a kind, caring, gentle husband. His eyes light up at the sight of her.
"As he turned to meet my gaze, his full lips lifted in a welcoming smile, and his dimples made a rare appearance."
Kit's even got a loving twin brother. Marcus.
“Damn you, man, you do not need to announce me!” a roar came from the hallway.
"I have a standing appointment with her, which you bloody well know. We do not need to go through this every damn time, Sherman!” Marcus shouted, his voice much closer than before.
Clearly, Marcus and the bucolic Kit are not identical twins. But they love each other, despite the fact that after her marriage, they're not as close as they once were.
Awesome! Perfect! So why the fuck is our lovely Kit so unhappy?!
Sprawled over the rest of the couch, with his head on my husband’s thigh, was the large form of his lover, Henry Fletcher.
...Oh, well. Crap. Ok, that's a pretty legit reason. It turns out that Kit and John's marriage, while not devoid of "like," is empty of sex. Kit has been living a lie. She entered this marriage willingly, recovering from a broken heart. She has known about John's sexual proclivities all along. Kit accepts it, she even likes her husband's lover, Henry. The three are great friends, they adore each other, they enjoy each other's company. Three's company, or so they say.
But three years into the marriage, and things don't feel right. Kit is still a virgin, and becoming increasingly unsatisfied with their arrangement. It's all fine and well to be friends with two handsome men, but companionship isn't enough. She sees the love between John and Henry, and goddamn it, Kit wants to feel that passion, too.
His amber eyes shone like topaz as they fixed on the point where Henry’s lips touched my skin, and the intensity I saw in them unsettled me.
What I would give to have a man look at me that way.
The entire household knows John's secret. Kit is the object of the servants' pity. But John is nothing if not considerate, he senses that something is wrong.
“Do you ever feel as though you made the wrong decision, Katherine?” he asked, his voice desperate and his beautiful face tormented in the dim light.
John, ever the tortured soul, feels desperately guilty about his choice to entangle Kit into his mess. Kit tries to be happy for his sake, but clearly, something's got to give.
And Kit's so very lucky that there are two men available to give it to her.
Henry and John are in love. John and Kit aren't quite there yet; they respect each other, but a mutual respect is a far thing from physical attraction. Can their marriage be consummated?
“Is it possible?”
It only took half a second for his eyes to come sliding back, and I watched as he dragged them down over my jaw, my throat, my breasts, my waist, and then back up again. “It’s possible,” he said on an exhale.
And Henry is only too willing to assist.
“We can’t just dive into this,” he said, his rumbling voice slow and lethargic.
Yes we can! I wanted to shout.
"YES, THEY CAN," EVERYONE READING THIS CHAPTER SHOUTED.
“I can tell you what I’d like to happen,” Henry offered, a lazy smile on his face. We both looked at him, waiting. “I want Kit to spread her legs, I want you to lean back into her, and I want you both to watch as I suck you off.”
Perfect! Kit's got her men, she's lost the Big V. What can possibly go wrong now?!
About your husband.
Together the notes read, “I know a secret about your husband”. No, Henry hadn’t sent it, and neither had John. So that begged the question, who had? And why?
Well...crap. This is serious shit. John is a politician, remember? He wants to do good. He wants to help people.
If words get out, his career will be ruined. Kit's life will turn to shreds. John, Henry, and Kit have no choice. They have to turn to the motherfucker douchebag asshole Jericho fucking Barrons one man who can help them.
“Who did you send for?” I asked.
He eyed me a moment before responding. “James.”
James is handsome. He's also bad news, but he can get the job done.
As events unfold, Kit comes to realize that she has a fire that's just now started to burn. The scandal is just the beginning of Kit's journey to self-discovery.
I needed to lose control. I needed to find a person or a pastime to surrender myself to. I needed to be helpless to someone or something, turn my mind off, allow myself to feel, to want, and follow through without fear of the repercussions.
The Respect: What sold me on the concept of M/F/M is the amount of respect and love that John, Kit, and Henry have for one another. John and Henry are always so considerate of Kit's feelings.
“Are you all right, Kit?” John asked, his voice sounding far away.
Has he been calling my name all this time? I wondered. It took me several attempts before I finally managed to answer him with a strangled, “Yes.”
“Do you want us to continue?” he pressed.
Before every new sexual act, they ask for Kit's consent, in a way that doesn't kill the mood. It enhances my love for them, it enhances my respect for them, and the knowledge that they willingly seek Kit's consent makes me love them all the more. You will find no New Adult alpha fucking males asshattery in John and Henry.
John is such a gentleman. He always talks to Kit, he always asks her how she's feeling, without feeling effeminate, without being intrusive. He is respectful in a way that gives her space, and the three of them feel so right for me. It's a sexual relationship based on love, admiration, that eventually becomes lust.
That, I understand perfectly.
The Characters: Some, I loved more than others. I loved Marcus, but man, that boy had me half wanting to strangle him and half wanting to give him a hug.
Kit: I wasn't fond of Kit at first, as you can tell by my initial reaction to Chapter I.
It's a little hard to be sympathetic towards someone who's so privileged, and yet feels like she's so repressed. I was resentful and indifferent towards Kit in the beginning, but I slowly came to understand how she came to feel that way. I was with her as Kit grew, I cheered for her when she came to realize that she's got to get off her fucking ass and do something about it. Kit starts off as passive, a bystander to John and Henry's affair. She accepted her place as John and Henry's friend. As well-meaning as they are, John and Henry suppressed her needs out of their own selfishness and their inability to see beyond their own love affair.
Kit is someone who earned my respect as she came to self-actualization.
My thanks again to Cory, for allowing me to be a part of this sexually frustrating experience.