I’m in the middle of writing a post about my favourite fairy tale, because it’s not all that well known and I need to talk to you guys about it. But today I had to post about another kind of fairy tale with two princes and way more vicious dialogue and the kind of romance you would give your teeth for. (Those of us who’ve seen Les Mis the movie now have a much better idea of what giving your teeth can lead to.)
I talk about Cat all the time, and she wrote an incredible post on tension in my guest series. That post is probably the best insight you’ll get into why you can’t put her books down once you start reading them – and why it’s a bit like being twisted up tight, then tighter, then tighter again.
On Monday, volumes I and II of Captive Prince will be live on Amazon. I’ve already pre-ordered my paper copies, and I can’t wait to get them in the mail. They are so pretty!
But I should really tell you what they’re about. Damen is the crown prince of Akielos – but the day his father dies he’s betrayed by his bastard brother and sent to serve their enemy’s prince as a slave. Laurent, crown prince of Vere, is beautiful, petty, spoilt and frigid. (Why do I love that string of adjectives so much?) He is the antithesis of Damen, but for the first time in his life Damen can’t act. If his identity is revealed it will mean Death By Beautiful, Petty, Spoilt and Frigid Prince.
So because he can’t just act, he has to start thinking, and he starts (slowly – oh, Damen) to realise Vere is a complex, intricate place and that its prince makes it look simple in comparison.
Then in volume II there are battles and hijinks and so much repressed desire you’ll practically choke on it.
Cat’s writing is sparse and stylised, dry, hilarious and punch-you-in-the-guts emotive. From an exchange between princes, about the battle where Damen’s people fought Laurent’s people and Laurent’s golden brother died:
* * *
In fact the baths were empty, except for one person.
As yet untouched by the steam, clothed from toe-tip to neck, and standing in the place where slaves were washed before they entered the soaking bath. When Damen saw who it was, he instinctively lifted a hand to his gold collar, unable to quite believe that he was unrestrained, and that they were alone together.
Laurent reclined against the tiled wall, settling his shoulders flat against it. He regarded Damen with a familiar expression of golden-lashed dislike.
‘So my slave is bashful in the arena. Don’t you fuck boys in Akielos?’
‘I’m quite cultured. Before I rape anyone I first check to see if their voice has broken,’ said Damen.
‘Did you fight at Marlas?’
Damen did not react to the smile, which was not authentic. The conversation was now on a knife edge. He said: ‘Yes.’
‘How many did you kill?’
‘I don’t know.’
Pleasantly, as one might inquire about the weather. Laurent said, ‘The barbarian won’t fuck boys, he prefers to wait a few years and then use a sword in place of his cock.’
Damen flushed. ‘It was battle. There was death on both sides.’
‘Oh, yes. We killed a few of you too. I would like to have killed more, but my uncle is unaccountably clement with vermin. You’ve met him.’
Laurent resembled one of the etched figures of the intaglio, except that he was done in white and gold, not silver. Damen looked at him and thought: This is the place where you had me drugged.
‘Have you waited six days to talk to me about your uncle?’ Damen said.
Laurent rearranged himself against the wall into a position that looked even more indolently comfortable than the one before.
‘My uncle has ridden to Chastillon. He hunts boar. He likes the chase. He likes the kill, too. It’s a day’s ride, after which he and his party will stay five nights at the old keep. His subjects know better than to bother him with missives from the palace. I have waited six days so that you and I could be alone.’
Those sweet blue eyes gazed at him. It was, when you shook off the sugared tone, a threat.
* * *
The paperbacks are up for pre-order on Amazon, but you’ll have to wait till Monday to buy the e-books. They’ll also be available on iTunes from Monday.