Review - Deception by Grace R. Duncan

book cover

Deception

by Grace R. Duncan

My rating:

Volume 2 of Golden Collar

Tags: M/s Menage Erotica

Posted in Book Reviews on October 25, 2022

Cyrus and Nadir have been friends since they were in their teens. The two orphans were living on the street when they met and formed a partnership that kept them safe and fed for many years. It wasn't until they were caught stealing from an unscrupulous merchant and chose life as pleasure slaves in the palace over the dungeon that they realized they were in love. It's difficult to be lovers when your ‘job’ is to be the sexual plaything of whichever noble chooses you for the night, but the two men manage to find ways to be together over the years, despite the attempts of the cruel old ruler. The new Malik Bathasar is a much kinder man, and Cyrus and Nadir are good friends with Teman, Bathasar's lover. When an assassin threatens Bathasar's life, Teman convinces him to bring Cyrus and Nadir into their relationship to help protect him. If things were complicated before, they're even more so now, as the four men do more than pretend to be lovers.

This sequel to Choices takes place after the events of that book. You'll probably want to have read that story before taking on this one, but it isn't absolutely necessary. This is a much better-polished story than the first installment, which I reviewed in its first edition almost ten years ago. The narration is much clearer, and while there are still several points of view, it's easier to tell who is telling the story at any given moment.

Most of the narration is from Cyrus or Nadir's point of view, and we get to know them very well. Through flashbacks, we learn a lot about their life on the street, as well as some of the hardships they faced serving under the old Malik. Their relationship has definitely had its ups and downs. It's hard to imagine two lovers having to endure what these two go through and still remain committed to each other.

Their relationship is tested in a new way when they become Bathasar's personal pleasure slaves. The Malik has always been one of the few people to treat them with respect. He even asks them for their help when he could so easily order them to do it. Bathasar is also a generous lover who can master the naturally submissive Nadir in ways slave Cyrus generally can't.

While there are a lot of hot steamy scenes involving the four men, along the way, there's also a strong story about different kinds of love and relationships. One of the hard lessons of being pleasure slaves and lovers was learning the difference between love and sex. That wasn't too hard when they were just spending a single night with a random noble. Once they're spending every night with Bathasar and Teman, the lines start to blur, and the men begin to question their feelings. While the assassination attempt drives the plot, it's the question of what will happen between the four when it's all over that provide much of the drama.

“Deception” is available from Amazon.

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