Exquisite. Deadly. A hellish corset trimmed with heartsblood rubies, fashioned by the vengeful spirit of a dark sorceress. Once the laces tighten, Meggie is trapped in an evil, erotic dance of domination and submission, of cruel mistress and helpless slave. If she can't resist the corset's power, she'll destroy the only man she's ever loved.
Summary from Denise Rossetti's Website
Genre: Erotic/Fantasy Romance
Cover Thoughts: This cover, while beautiful on the computer, is absolutely stunning in person.
Single Title/Series: This novella is set in the Four-Sided Pentacle series but can be read as a stand alone and in no way does the reader need to read this novella to understand the over-reaching plots in the series.
Why I read it: I originally bought UNLACED because of my fan girl devotion to Joey W. Hill but in classic VFG style, this beauty sat in my TBR pile collecting dust. Since I've recently fallen in love with Rossetti's Four-Sided Pentacle series, I decided I needed another fix of my new obsession, brushed off the dust and dove in.
When a dark sorceress is scorned by her dragon lover, she retaliates by murdering him. In a final fit of rage, the dragon punctures the sorceress through her back, his razor sharp talons pushing out through her heart and chest causing five spouts of blood to drip from the erotic corset he'd fashioned her with earlier. Dark with anger, the sorceress infuses her dying and corrupt soul into the punctured corset causing the pearle velvet to turn a luxurious black and the five points of blood to shine as rubies.
John Lammas knew the moment her saw his Steady Meggie, that she was the one for him. Growing up in a large and loud household made the peace of Meggie's arms all the more sweeter for their solace. Knowing they would get married, the two spent the summer in erotic exploration and the night that Meggie says she's finally ready to consummate their love, John nearly falls to his feet with overwhelming devotion for the woman who would give him such a gift as her body and her love.
But their dreams of Happily Ever After are crushed when John leaves to accompany his brother to Caracole and to see to it that he makes it safely to Torza's Band, a recruiting military faction. John promises Meg that he'll return in ten days time to her and their future. But John never does return leaving ten days to turn into two months and two months into six years.
Meg has done well for herself in the six years since she left her father's farm for Caracole. She's now the Housekeeper at the Garden of Nocturnal Delights with friends and a purpose but thoughts of John and his betrayal are never far from her heart. She'll never forget that he chose to join Torza's Band instead of coming home to her like he promised. Obviously he no longer desired a country bumpkin and life on a farm. Meg always knew that John, with his beauty, could have had his pick of any. Why would he choose down-to-earth Meg when he could travel and have any woman he desired. But despite his obvious change of heart, John never did get to do any of those things for his death is held in record. But even knowing that he's gone, Meg still has vivid dreams of him each night and her hatred of his choice in life still haunts her.
All John wants to do since finally escaping his captors and the vicious slavery he's endured, is to find his Steady Meggie. For six yeas He's dreamed of her comforting arms and generous heart. Her memory was the only thing that has kept him sane. Now, a shade of the man he once was, John finally tracks Meg down. Scared of what she'll think when she views his battered body and darkened soul, John is fully prepared to beg.
Once Meg overcomes her shock at John having come back from the dead, she's beyond happy to see him. She's also wary, not knowing whether to trust his story of how he ended up in Torza's Band or how he truly was intent on returning to her as originally promised. The hatred of herself and John are still burning subtly in her heart and when she puts on the luxurious black velvet and Rubie studded corset for John's pleasure, her slowly dimming hatred flares bright with twisted cruelty. A sinister voice rings in her head, pushing her to do terrible and hurtful things to her lost love, the man that she desperately wants try and start a new life with. But when her true thoughts of love surface through the clouded mist of hate, the corset turns on her, squeezing the life from her. If John and Meg don't find a way to destroy the corset, their second chance at Happily Ever After will soon be destroyed by a sorceress intent of claiming another life.
This novella was brimming not only with burning eroticism, but also with an emotional intensity that had me clinging desperately to the book to discover what was to happen next.
The scene were John and Meg both loose their virginity was poignantly sweet and believable while also being highly erotic. There aren't many stories that start out with the hero and heroine already in love and happy. As a reader, you know immediately that something bad will occur to drive the lovers apart but to feel their love head on is still lovely as it is bittersweet. I was devastated at John's supposed betrayal but when I learned of what truly transpired, my heart wept at his struggle. He proved to be a very good man right down to his soul.
So I know some of you might be scratching your head over the dragon lover. In my mind's eye, he's a dragon-man. Rossetti doesn't describe him to great detail, leaving much to your imagination but nevertheless, the impression that he's shaped like a man is very prominent and the scenes with him and the sorceress are incredibly intense and erotic. They're like two dangerous predators coming together with raw passion but also with wariness. The darkness surrounding their double murders is palpable but in the end it's the sorceress that proves to be the most deadly.
The deadliness of corset, while kind of silly in a straight forward statement, was actually incredibly fascinating and lent a magical and sinister air to the novella. Its danger to Meg and John is believable as well as their struggle to defeat it. And once again an author has shown that love can conquer all, even a demon corset.
Hussy Approved Reading Material!