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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

'Simply Sexual' House of Pleasure #1 by Kate PEARCE

From the BLURB:

Sexual Satisfaction

Ten years as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel left Lord Valentin Sokorvsky with an insatiable appetite for sex. Now the time has come for him to marry, but finding a woman who can satisfy his lustful desires proves a challenge...until he meets Sara and all he can think about is having her lie under his rock-hard body, begging him to taste and touch her...

Sensual Seduction

Sara Harrison knows she should be shocked and scandalized by Lord Sokorvsky's bold advances, but instead she is secretly aroused by this sensual, seductive man. For beneath her calm and composed manner is a wanton woman who longs for a man's intimate caress. She is most willing to be educated in the art of sensuality, to receive and give pleasure and to succumb to the wild desire that knows no limits.

This is the first book in Kate Pearce’s ‘House of Pleasure’ erotica series.

Lord Valentin Sokorvsky and his friend Peter Howard are infamous in London. When the boys were only 11-years-old and travelling with Valentin’s father they were abducted and held captive in a Turkish brothel... where they remained for 7 long years. Valentin and Peter were rescued by fellow Englishman, Mr. Harrison, and now ten years later Valentin sees fit to repay his debt to Harrison, by marrying one of his daughters’s and saving him from financial ruin. The daughter in question is Sara Harrison, a twenty six-year-old spinster who was too clever and stubborn for a ton marriage. Valentin chooses Sara out of the three Harrison girls to be his bride, because something about her fiery indignation at his rakish behaviour sets him alight. Valentin is also drawn to Sara’s innocence... a stark contrast to his own dark sexual appetites.

By the end of the opening chapter of ‘Simply Sexual’ I thought Ms. Pearce had set herself an impossible task for this erotic romance. To begin with, the opening scene involves Sara spying on Valentin as he roots her maid. That’s not exactly the most romantic introduction between a book’s protagonists.
Within the next few pages Pearce also sets up Valentin’s sordid and sad back-story of having been a sex slave in a Turkish brothel. Valentin makes it very clear that he and his fellow-captive, Peter, were not made to perform sexual acts until they were old enough to get an erection (about sixteen), but the sexual abuse and enslavement is likewise an uncomfortable storyline to swallow in this ‘romance’.
I really didn’t know how Pearce would handle Valentin’s character and his uncomfortable history.... but I came away pleasantly surprised and a little bit impressed with Kate Pearce.

‘Simply Sexual’ is the dark chocolate of erotica – it’s a rich and heady read, not to be attempted by novice erotica readers. The sex scenes are explicit and blush-worthy, inventive and frequent. Kate Pearce is certainly adept at writing sensual smut, and though there is sex in just about every chapter, I was never bored or tempted to skim-read. The sex is heightened by a lot of it takeing place in London’s ‘House of Pleasure’ (which the series is loosely based around). The House is owned by Madame Helene and is a dark den of antiquity and sensuality – there are different rooms of different eras, a little something for everyone. If you feel like playing a sacrificial virgin, step into the Egyptian room complete with stone-slab and oiling slave-men. Or you can watch aerobatic karma sutra being performed in the Harem room.
Valentin and Peter discovered London’s House of Pleasure upon their arrival back in London, when both men found that they needed their sexual appetites sated.

The story about Valentin and Peter being former sex-slaves is a touchy one, but also rather interesting. In the blurb it sounds ridiculous and seedy, but Pearce actually treats the back-story with a great deal of care and ingenuity. Their time spent in the Turkish brothel, pleasing men and women alike, scarred Peter and Valentin forever. They were subjected to the worst forms of sexual abuse and performance during their formidable teen years, and their time in the brothel has impacted them greatly... especially where both men’s sexual appetites are concerned. Both Peter and Valentin have high sex-drives, leading them to think that monogamy would be impossible for them. Their appetites also run to the dark side, and the men are concerned about what would happen to them if their preferences were made public.

Everything changes for Valentin when he marries Sara. He finds that his appetites can only be satisfied by his wife, and for the first time since returning from Turkey he wants to try and be faithful to one woman.
I was thinking about your breasts.” He glanced at her averted profile. “If I might be even more specific, I spent several hours wondering what colour your nipples are. Some women’s nipples match the colour of their lips, others are a surprise. Now, your lips are a deep rose pink. Are your nipples the same shade?”
Valentin and Sara had a lot of obstacles before them, not least of which were Valentin’s psychological and emotional scars. It made for a fascinating coupling, and it was a case of ‘warts and all’ between these two. I hate when, in historical romances, a male character is touted as being the rakiest of rakes, but upon falling in love he easily reforms his rakish ways. That wasn’t the case in ‘Simply Sexual’ – and actually Valentin and Sara have to become quite inventive and flexible in their marriage. As much as I hate an easily reformed rake, an ‘open relationship’ happy ending never sits well with me either. I don’t want to give anything away.... but Pearce writes around these problems with aplomb and delicacy, and I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied by the resolutions reached, even though they were never neatly tied up. I will warn that some people won’t be happy with the ambiguous, somewhat open-ended resolutions that Valentin and Sara reach.... but like I said, this is not an erotica novel for novices.

Kate Pearce sets herself up for a lot of tricky and sometimes uncomfortable storylines in ‘Simply Sexual’. But it all comes together to make for a delightful and darkly sensual read. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books in her ‘House of Pleasure’ series (currently with 5 books, a 6th to be released in 2011).



  1. wow! Interesting one... might have to check it out =D

    great review hon!

  2. I hadn't heard of this series but your review has got me interested *scribbling down on my TBB list* Great review!


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