Author: Kitty Thomas
Pages: 59 (Kindle)
Publisher: Burlesque Press
Release Date: December 17, 2011
In the kingdom of Himeros, Abigail is despised for her gypsy heritage. Pushed to the fringes of society, she’s forced to break the law in order to help feed her family. When a castle guard catches her stealing bread, he intends to cut off her hand for the offense.
Niall has just taken the throne and is determined to prove he isn’t a monster like his father. Awakened by the cries of a gypsy, he spares her from the guard’s blade and takes her as his slave instead. When he learns she doesn’t understand the kingdom’s carnal ways, he becomes determined to strip her of all inhibitions until her every desire is in service to the king’s pleasure.
I wonder what it says about me that I didn’t find anything about The King’s Pleasure to be shocking? It all starts when Abigail tries to steal a loaf of bread for her starving family. The king has mercy on her, but instead of letting her return home, he keeps her as his pleasure slave. As a child, Abi was fascinated by the women surrounding the previous king, so it’s almost like a dream come true. However, things at the palace are not what she thought they would be and soon her merciful king seems to demand too much of her.
The King’s Pleasure is an extremely short and quick read, but it did feel like a full story. We get to know Abigail and Niall quite well, and there’s a surprising amount of world building. In fact, there’s a lot of talk about the world and the culture, and really not enough sex. I would have much preferred more sex and less world building, because honestly, I didn’t enjoy a lot of it. The term “gypsy” is used a lot, almost like that really was what Abigail’s race was. But her people are described exactly the way you’d expect them to be based on what they’re called, which made me a bit uncomfortable. This isn’t our world, so why does this slur exist and in basically the exact way that someone in our world would use it?
As for the sex, there are several scenes, but nothing too graphic or detailed. The culture of this world is very open in regards to sex, so there’s orgies at the palace. Women are passed around and shared. Abigail is put on display a few times for others to admire, and the king does let those closest to him use her as well. But like I said, it’s not overly detailed and the sex scenes aren’t drawn out. They don’t even get as kinky as I’d expect from what we know about palace life. There is one scene involving a dog, which felt thrown in just to be shocking, but it really wasn’t since it felt so out of place given the tone of the rest of the sexual scenes. It was more awkward and gross than anything else.
In the end, The King’s Pleasure was okay. I was expecting a lot more sex, and a lot more varied and kinky sex. Probably some BDSM and dubious consent, but I was let down in that regard. The relationship between Abi and Niall is really at the forefront and was quite well developed given these few pages, but I guess I was expecting something totally different.