A Word from Cooper Davis
For the Love of Virgin Heroes
It can be pretty challenging to writing a convincing virgin hero, especially if he’s older than eighteen! It’s always wonderful, though, to read a well-crafted story that manages to make a virgin hero believable. And for me? Even more wonderful to write such a deliciously corruptible man. The trick is the set up—making it believable that a grown, seasoned man has somehow managed not to take a lover. In paranormal romance, sometimes there are reasons a shifter hero can’t make love—at least not until he’s ready to take a mate. Or perhaps some supernatural gift would “out” him as an alien. In paranormals and fantasy, there are plenty of credible, possible reasons why a man might still be a virgin.
In male/male romance, there are likewise a number of believable reasons why a man may still be a virgin. To me, it’s always particularly romantic when a male/male hero hasn’t yet had sex because he’s been trying to gather his nerve to act on being gay.
In historical romances, the trope is usually that there’s a wildly decadent rake who must clean up his life and catting ways in order to be worthy of the heroine. And in my new Noble Pleasures series, there will certainly be some free-living gentlemen. But for the first book, what intrigued me most was the idea of a man who is forty-one years old and has never managed to do the deed…at least in the way he’s always wanted.
Which is how King Arend in my new m/m historical fantasy is a virgin…of sorts. He was married to a female for more than a decade, but what he always longed for most was to make love to another man. So in his mind, he’s never truly lost his virginity because he’s been held back from making love in the way he wishes, and with the gender that attracts him. But now, widowed and still eager to bed another man for the first time, he discovers that openly courting another nobleman is too daunting a prospect. After all, the eyes of the realm are on him.
So he does the unthinkable. The downright risqué. He approaches a discreet establishment that specializes in placements of bed servants with noblemen just like himself. His only requirement? That he tether his concubine to his bed for a twelve-month, but that there be no emotional attachment. As Arend writes the temple:
I have no intention of making love, only of making a bed servant attend me. Simple, qualified transaction. Legally binding on all parties.
Oh, Arend. You obviously really are a virgin if you think you can cart home a gorgeous, young bed tutor and manage to restrain your heart. Arend soon finds that having another man whose soul duty is to render sexual favors in abundance, however and whenever he wants, may involve his long-shuttered heart opening anew. A heart that closed at the age of eighteen when he was forced to break a youthful betrothal to another prince.
If you love kings and princes and fairy tales…and you love the idea of those men falling in love and openly courting? Then give A KING UNDONE a try.
A King Undone (Noble Pleasures Book 1)
by Cooper Davis
Title ~ A King Undone (Noble Pleasures Book 1)
Author ~ Cooper Davies
Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing
Published ~ 9th December 2014
Genre ~ M/M Historical, Fantasy Romance
Sometimes you have to risk everything, to follow your heart
"Noble Pleasures, Book 1"
In a world where gentlemen openly court and marry fellow noblemen, the threat of scandal still lurks behind every velvet drape for kings and princes. Such has been the fate for King Arend Tollemach, forced to sacrifice his heart on the altar of regal duty.
Now that his wife is dead and his royal obligations are at an end, he s ready to take an unthinkable risk. King Arend seeks a concubine from Temple Sapphor, a secretive, gated world where he will finally shed his virginity as least as it pertains to making love to a man.
Julian never thought he d spend ten years on the temple shelf, passed over again and again. Just when he despairs of ever finding placement in a nobleman s bed, Arend walks into the temple. A lonely eyed, beautiful king who could easily steal his heart.
Arend discovers he has no problem opening his bed to the exquisite concubine. The problem lies in finding the key to his long-shuttered heart.
Warning: Contains a beautiful, virgin king desperate to bed another man, a concubine who fantasizes about being claimed and revered by a strong monarch, and a sea of scandal set against a sensual, palatial backdrop.
Two things drew me to this book, one was the stunning cover, I was drawn to that straight away; the second and main thing though is I'm a sucker for stories about concubines, so when I read the blurb, I was practically salivating because it had everything in it to get my mouth watering; a world where a man can court and marry other men without censure...a 'virgin' king who because of court politics has been forced to give up the man he loved to wed a female just so he can sire an heir...a beautiful, male concubine looking for true love who will be the one to finally induct the conflicted royal into the joys of same sex loving...it all called to me.
The setting is an alternative historical/fantasy style world which felt like it was based on the regency era to me, and to be truthful, that wasn't what I was expecting at all, as I tend to relate concubines more with a Roman/slave/fantasy society type feel. Also first thoughts went towards it being a darker story that would be more overtly sexual in its central plot; I guess again because of the concubine angle. But that really isn't the case with this at all. It's more of a slow burn, unresolved sexual tension type of relationship between the two MC's, with a political backstory that's part of what is conspiring to keep them from fully surrendering to each other. Definitely a much lighter feel to it... a historical romance/drama with a twist!
Arend is shackled by the constraints of being king and by a council who will use any means to ensure the continuation of the royal line, including threatening his son, since Arend has gladly allowed his heir to marry another man for love, something he himself was forced to give up by his cold hearted father. Having lost his wife, who he never loved, nor she him, he's now finally free to explore his true sexual inclinations as he and his own prince never had the chance to consummate their love, leaving him a virgin in things male related, so when he sees the beautiful, slightly androgynous concubine at The Temple of Sappho, where Julian has been trained to please men in the art of all things sexual, he's totally smitten.
The same for Julian who, because his slightly feminine looks haven't always been to other clients tastes, has so far been overlooked. So has for ten years he's waited for exactly the right man to come along to claim him, only he wants a love that will be forever, not just one where he will be discarded once his master grows tired of him. Both of them yearning for emotional connections that look to be within their grasp but because of both their stations and social standing, sit just outside of their reach.
As characters, I felt drawn to both of them. You can't help but like these two socially divided men, especially Julian who wears his heart on his sleeve around his king and master. I really loved his character but then again like I say, I'm a real pushover when it comes to beautiful men, with a past that has forced them into this type of lifestyle due to circumstances beyond their control, and Julian fits that criteria to a tee. It's pretty clear from the word go that they're obviously a match made in heaven and under different circumstances could quite easily live happily ever after without any strife if their roles weren't so far apart. In a world where men can be with men without a care or thought, it shouldn't be that hard, but of course neither of these men have the freedom to choose their own fate so nothing is made easy for them, and that includes bedroom antics, as each time the chance to practice sex enters the equation, insecurities and self doubts come to the fore, more often than not from Arend who is not only fighting his own demons but also fighting the high ups who are trying to force him back into an untenable position. One he's already been in and never wants to go back to again but it looks like he's fighting a losing battle. I felt how vulnerable both Arend and Julian were around each other and of course all that added to the slow build of their relationship and the UST it produced.
However, overall I am a bit conflicted about certain aspects of the the story and how it made me feel at times. There were some things I really loved but others that did result in moments of slight disconnection. I think partly it's the style the book is written in. Cooper Davies has a smooth and easy writing style herself but because this is set in an alternative historical society, the tone of the book mirrors that in a 'Ye Olde Worlde' way. It's quaint and quirky which I do like but at times I also got pulled out of it because it contained a lot of inner musings and talking, with not as much action in the love scenes as I personally would have liked. And the mode of conversation felt quite precise, as they converse in the way that people probably did in the past, with lots of colloquialisms and mannerisms of the time, and antiquated words that we don't use much nowadays, giving it an oddly formal air, that for me took something away from the sensuality and passion I really wanted to see happening between Arend and Julian. Sometimes in the middle of what would begin as a sexually charged scene, their conversations would suddenly take on a more banter like feel than the seductive one they started out with,diffusing the sexual tension, which they do generate as a couple but if I'm being totally honest there were moments when the sizzle sort of fizzled for me and I missed that tummy tingling zing. Having said that, there were also times when that witty parry and thrust in their conversations worked a treat though, and I really enjoyed those interludes.
I think that this will certainly appeal to lots of m/m readers, especially those who like their romances slow burn, less dark and more about the emotional journey than the sex; not that there aren't some heated moments in there to satisfy that side if the story. It's a good start to a series that I think as it goes on will definitely become more intriguing, as this one ends on a HFN note but with the promise of threads to be tied up and lots more things to come, with some interesting characters who I think as they get expanded will open up a lot more of this different world that Cooper Davies has created.
Arend and Julian will definitely be back!!
Buy it Here
Meet Cooper Davis
Cooper Davis first discovered the allure of m/m storytelling when she, pulse aflutter, watched My Beautiful Laundrette with a college roommate. Later, her passion for stories about men falling in love and finding their HEA together was stoked by online slash fiction. After years as an avid fan of m/m and slash, Cooper finally decided to try her hand at penning her own stories about same-gender romance and love.
A voracious reader across all subgenres of m/m fiction, Cooper is particularly fond of courtships set against the backdrop of breathless scandal and intrigue found in period drawing rooms. She is thrilled that her first historically-themed m/m romance series debuts this December with A KING UNDONE (Samhain)
Cooper will be gifting to one lucky reader an eBook copy of A KING UNDONE (NOOK or Kindle, winner’s choice).