Reviewed by Heather C
Title: Simply Pleasure
Author: Kate Pearce
Series: House of Pleasure #0.5
Heroes: Valentin Sokorvsky/Peter Howard
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 19,500 words
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Experience the illicit passions of Regency England in Kate Pearce’s House of Pleasure series…
MASTER OF SEDUCTION
Ten years as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel have left Val Sokorvsky a master in the art of erotic seduction. But even as he offered his body, he never offered his heart. Now that he is returning home he wonders what kind of welcome he will find. Only one person understands his pain and Val is helpless to resist the passion he feels for Peter Howard, his English lover…
MASTER OF SUBMISSION
Peter learned to survive his years as a sex slave by coaxing and teasing his lovers to the heights of sexual ecstasy. But there is only one man he’s ever loved, one man he can never take as his own. Returning to England may save him from captivity but it may also take away Val, the one man to whom he’d willingly give his body and soul…
Simply Pleasure is a prequel novella to the House of Pleasure series and features Val and Peter. Ten years ago, their friendship began when they were mere boys…both slaves in a Turkish brothel. This tells the story of their journey home and acclimation to freedom. For ten years, all they’ve had were each other, and now they must find the balance between their sexual relationship and lasting friendship.
If you aren’t already familiar with this series, then you need to know that these two are not fated to have a conventional HEA with each other…I don’t think. I’ve only read Simply Sexual, the first book of the series, and I know that Val marries Sara and they live a somewhat happy and kinky life. Of course Val loves Peter, but prefers to have sex with women, and it’s hard for Peter to accept that. And then Simply Sinful tells Peter’s story…which has suddenly jumped its way up on my TBR list after being buried for too many months!
Okay, back to this novella. Val and Peter have a very complicated and twisted relationship…so don’t expect much to be resolved in under 20K words. No, this is simply a turning point in their lives…that gets further explored in at least two novel length books! (Dammit, now I need to know the rest of their story!)
Yes, there is quite a bit of sex. Yes, they have sex with other people. And honestly, I struggled with feeling a connection between Val and Peter during those scenes. Of course, Val was completely distant, as was his intention, but I know how hot these two can be…when there’s a woman included! (Gah, must read Simply Sinful asap! I’m curious to find out how a woman will be able to meet Peter’s needs!)
I think my favorite thing about this story was getting to see the vulnerabilities of both characters. Val’s a bit of a pompous arse most of the time and totally manipulative, but it’s that vulnerable side that makes me turn all mushy inside. And Peter is a walking disaster: pining over his best friend…using unrequited love as an excuse to binge himself on drugs and sex. Not what I typically want to see in a romance, but it fits with what I already knew of these characters. But then this isn’t a typical romance anyway! It’s about friendship and loyalty and being there for the friend you love no matter what…and letting go when it’s time to let go.
In the end, I think that in order to fully appreciate this story and to understand Val and Peter as characters, it would probably best to have at least read the first book in the House of Pleasure series…and maybe even the second.
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*