The Nocturne Bride by Merry Ravenell
Welcome to Saturday Shorts where we feature short stories and novellas. Here’s a short story hot enough to warm up your winter nights!
Publisher’s Description: The vampire Lord Isur seeks a very special woman to be his bride: a woman who stirs his most base, mortal lust. A woman that reminds his body it was once alive.
Under normal circumstances, Elani Naeuri would have been delighted to receive an invitation to an aristocrat’s ball. But for the fifty women chosen to be Nocturne Brides, the ball is not a night for dancing and wine. The rumors of what actually transpires are so scandalous, so wanton, that the invitation is a fate worse than death.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Luna Lovebooks says…
What I like: I love the idea behind this story. Elani is a young woman worried about being proper but is filled with this desire that, at first, she has no idea what to do with. I think this is very relatable to many young women even today. When she meets Isur it is like the virgin is awakened to even more desire and it fuels her to do what she has to do in order to survive. I love that Elani’s feisty spirit is what warms Isur. All too often we see vampires getting turned on by weak women. It is refreshing that what we can assume is a tough and somewhat cruel vampire lord, falls for a woman who would truly be able to rule next to him.
What I don’t like: While I do believe that Elani’s reactions are relatable, I feel that they are sometimes a little too experienced for a prim and proper woman. When it comes to the character Beaux, I feel that he is a distraction from the main story. I fully understand why the author put him in there, but I feel the help that Elani receives could simply be advice given by an ex-member of the Nocturne or even found out on her own. I would like to have seen a little more world building. We get a vague idea as to the time period and the realm of this vampire, but I think to truly be immersed in the story we need to know more about where the characters come from.
In an alternate world of Victorian pleasures and Medieval rituals, the Nocturne competition offers young, educated, and beautiful girls the chance to compete for Lord Isur – a vampire’s – hand. Though the process isn’t one you’d expect. His rules are simple – come to his estate, pleasure him like no one ever has, and live – or choose to live as a prostitute…or worse, die.
Elani is the only member of her family to be given this choice. So she ventures forth and enters a seductively rich world where no one fears nudity, pleasure is something given and taken, and the one who can stir the vampire’s human warmth is chosen to be “the bride.”
What I liked: The concept of this is awesome. Very The Selection meets sexy vampires. Elani is young and nervous, but she’s also curious. That gets Lord Isur’s attention and he quickly feels warmth from her, being as she’s the one who gets him off during the “test.” Though Elani is a virgin, she’s pretty good at what she does and better yet, although she feels fearful and inexperienced, her thoughts match those feelings – as she learns what feels good and what she really wants.
What I didn’t like: I’m no prude but the overuse of the word “cock” really throws me. I just didn’t like how often it was there. There are plenty of other words to describe male parts, so I thought the elegance of the romance scenes and that word just made it awkward, like it didn’t fit right for the story’s historical feels. Also, I would have liked to know more about the world itself. Was it Victorian? Was it Medieval? Was it Gothic romance? The ending was a bit rushed for me and too abrupt, but it was left open to them continuing their sex-time, so there’s that.
Check out the reviews on Goodreads.
If you like this book…
…Fiona recommends The Castle of Dark Dreams Series by Nina Bangs, The Southern series by Shelley Stringer, and Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin. Kat recommends Possessed by CoCo Cadence, Visions by Kimberly Readnour, and Façade by R.M. Webb.