Kindly note: It's impossible to review this second book in The Cubi series without revealing how the first volume, Untouchable Beauty ends. If you haven't read the first book, and hate spoilers, I suggest you skip this review.
This sequel to “Untouchable Beauty” picks up just moments after the first book ends, with Daniel accidentally dosed by his master Seldon and discovered to be a changeling, a human that has the genetic make-up to be converted to a incubus. It's a huge change for the young man, who was just coming to terms with being a slave to the cubi, albeit a cherished one. He may no longer be a slave, but the immensity of the change, and the ramifications on Seldon due to the accidental dosing, prove quite daunting.
“Claimed Beauty” continues the highly erotic yet engaging story line of the first book in the series. All of the characters, especially Daniel, mature and become more three dimensional in this volume. The Lord of Seldon's house, Caledon, plays a bigger role in this story, and through his interaction with Daniel we learn more about the world of the cubi, just as Daniel does. It's a very natural way to introduce a fantasy world that's not going to be familiar to most readers, without boring you with a data dump.
Daniel becomes a much more likable character by the end of this book. It seems that he's not exactly the spoiled selfish brat he appeared at the beginning of the first book. Instead it seems that he was more of a blank slate, with no usable life skills and unprepared to cope with the real world. Fortunately, he's not an idiot and is smart enough to learn and ask questions.
One aspect of Daniel that's proving interesting is his understanding of the power of his beauty. He is very conscious of his looks, to the point where most people would probably describe him as a narcissist. Over the course of this book Daniel seems to gain a growing awareness of how his appearance affects those around him. The interesting thing is that, while he realizes he can use and adjust his looks to get what he wants, he can also bring others pleasure, making him much less selfish that one might imagine he could be.
The plot provides scope for a lot of sex scenes, and the book definitely delivers more than its fair share of hot sex. While almost all the scenes are sizzling, many of them carry some deeper meaning as the bond between Daniel, Seldon and even Caledon grows. The combination of a strong story within a highly erotic setting is something that often doesn't work, but so far this series is definitely working for me.
“Claimed Beauty” is available from Amazon.