Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bid by Jax

Vejhon Mach, leader of the Valiant, the forces of the planet Wite, has been captured by his enemies and sold into slavery on the other side of the galaxy, on a planet which supports slavery because it needs the genes and virility of slaves whose bloodlines haven't been affected by an endless war and slaughter. Taken and put in stasis, Vejhon is auctioned off for a high price, with the Baron Mejum being the highest bidder, until an outrageous bid by a slave named Najir disrupts the bidding and takes Vehjon for his master, Hanna Drakoulous.

Mejum is furious at losing a slave he wanted so much. The last slave he wanted so badly was Najir himself, and Hanna outbid him for Najir as well. He already hates her, for their two houses were once at war, and he got his revenge on her then by slaughtering both her parents just hours before a vote went through that ended the feuding between houses forever and which also put aside all punishments for such crimes in hopes that the feuding will end. But Mejum hasn't forgotten the enmity between their houses, nor stopped wanting to extirpate her house from the surface of their world.

Nor does Hanna like Mejum, but having voted for an end to the feuding, she intends to hold up her end of the agreement. She doesn't like that Mejum killed her parents, but she isn't going to go into banishment for 50 years merely to get revenge, either. But she will do anything to prevent another slave from ending up in Mejum's hands. Even if Vejhon hates slavery and her, for owning him, she will do her level best to make him see that living in House Drakoulous is hardly the worst thing that could happen to him. But first, she must ram some home truths into Vejhon's head, like what exactly he could expect living in another house as a slave, and how they could use his own body against him. And how he has been dosed with a targeted virus that ensures that trying to return to his home planet, or coming in contact with any of its animals or plants, is now a death sentence for him.

But Hanna has no use for another slave- no use for slaves at all, really, given that her entire house staff except for Vejhon and Najir are paid employees rather than slaves. And while she doesn't want a slave for a bedmate, she has something much more unusual in mind for Vejhon than merely a bed partner. But can he trust her and what she says long enough to believe what she has to teach him? And when Mejum threatens one of her employees to try and get close enough to kill her, can Vejhon and Najir save her life when she willingly enters Mejum's house to free the children the Baron has imprisoned? And can Hanna rise above her own concerns to save her planet and her people by abolishing slavery and making a different way to save her people?

This erotic novel is actually written by Jacquelyn Frank under the pen name of Jax. Unlike the rest of her novels, those written as "Jax" are much more erotic and closer to erotica than straight romance. But unlike most erotica I have read, there is no real hot sex straight from the beginning of the story. Sexual content begins in the third chapter, and despite the sex being written both sensually and descriptively, the book still comes off more like a regular romance rather than erotica. The cover might make you think that the book is written as a threesome, but it's all straight one male-one female, and despite Najir having had sex with Hanna in the past, once she takes up with Vejhon, he never touches her in that way again.

And also apparent from the cover is that this book is Science Fiction erotica. Hanna and her people are blue-skinned (and apparently have four fingers and a thumb, just like straight humans, from the cover), thus when she tells Vejhon that if he attempts to escape, he will stand out like a sore thumb, he believes her straight off. But Vejhon is useful to Hanna not only for his experience and fertility, but also for the color of his eyes, which becomes quite a subplot in the novels. I can't spoil it here, because that would give it all away, but I will say I found it interesting, and how the problem worked was unusual, even if I had to shrug off exactly how it worked to alleviate a problem as magic that was never really explained other than "It just happens that way."

I found this book to be very enjoyable and read it in only a few short hours. I was forced to take a break out of exhaustion in the middle, but I picked it right back up and read the last 100 pages in about 30 minutes. It was a wonderful read, and I would definitely pick up other books by "Jax" in the bookstore if I saw them, although this appears to be the first by this author under this pen name. Highly recommended.

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