Title – At Their Service
Author – Isla Munro
Genre – Science Fiction Erotic MMF Menage
Publication Date – 7 March 2014
Length – 92 pages/ 26,000 words
Publisher – Etopia Press
Cover Artist – Valerie Tibbs
Book Blurb/Synopsis –
Can a prince, a maid, and a valet live happily ever after?
Forced to be a maid to her family, nursemaid to her birth-mother, and slave to her step-mother, the only high point in Drella’s life is a new job at the palace. She will get to meet the handsome Prince Abran. However, Drella is not expecting to be attracted to both the prince and his valet. The equally handsome Oshan invites Drella to enjoy a night of passion with both men...all three of them together. Can Drella put the messy relationship between her own four parents aside and accept the love offered by a prince and his valet?
Prince Abran is heir to the throne of Erotania. He loves his country and he loves his valet, Oshan. But his passionate relationship with the manservant cannot produce his own heir. In a culture where family groups consist of up to four bi-sexual adults and their offspring, it’s not much of a leap to bring a woman into their bed chamber. But what woman will be acceptable to his mother, attracted to both men, and willing to put up with his arrogance? Oshan loves his master and knows he needs an heir. When Drella starts work in the palace, he can tell that Abran is attracted to the pretty maid. But Drella has her own challenges to face. Can Oshan and the man he loves discover Drella’s demons and help her fight them? And can a prince, a valet, and a maid defy the impossible and find their very own happily ever after?
***Cinderella in space---only she takes home both Prince Charming AND Prince Valiant! Way to go, girl!***
Menage fiction always appeals to me when it's entered into with all parties being equal. 'At Their Service' features an alien race -who are basically humans with a different moral code, violet eye shading, and one noted anatomical difference which is a spare erogenous zone on the lower back- called Threni whose culture encourages polyamory. Their family units to be "complete" require two males and two females from what I gathered during the read and these units are meant to be all comprised of equal partnerships between all members of the marriage.
The only exception to this? The Royal House.
It seems that this wasn't working in their favor however as Prince Abran was the only product of his parent's union which led to a campaign to change the laws so that he could take part in a 'traditional' Threni marriage where four people could all marry one another. This is implied to also have something to do with his genuine love for his personal valet, Oshan, who is a charming figure that is easy to fall in love with from the very beginning. Oshan is kind, sexy, and has patience for Abran's spoiled behavior without ever allowing himself to be walked on which I greatly appreciated. I also enjoyed that they were definitely equal partners in the bedroom which is rare to see in M/M fiction.
Drella comes into play as basically Cinderella in this piece. She comes from a family whose "complete" marriage is broken because her birth mother has been ill for years while her two fathers are passionately in love with each other---and her other mother Breda is ignored making her a spiteful shrew who pretty much uses Drella as slave labor in their house. Drella is unassuming yet strong at once. She takes the maid position at the palace to get out a bit as much as to try to cope with her life in her broken family home.
I admit when I first saw Drella interacting with Abran and Oshan? I thought she was going to be tacked on to their love affair.
In a remarkable literary feat, the author manages to make it clear to the reader that Drella is appreciated in her own right by both Oshan and Abran for different reasons. She's not some token female who is going to breed the Crown Prince future heirs: Drella matters to them. She is important. She is loved.
There's a lot of fantastic sex in this one that will burn up the screen of your e-reader. If you want to read good menage scenes? This book has them in spades. No pairing or partnership seems spared. There are scenes with Abran and Oshan, Oshan and Drella, Drella and Oshan, and Abran and Drella as well as scenes where all three of them are in bed together. I really enjoyed that sex was something that was perfectly acceptable among the Threni people. They are encouraged to take multiple partners as much as they seem to imply that being "monosexual" is something strange or unwanted. That was a fresh take for me. I liked that.
I'd give this one 4 stars overall as I did enjoy it, but there was a lot of predictability during the course of the story which took away from my enjoyment of the read. Some of the dialogue was unusual to me and off-putting. I would definitely say that I had issues with a few of the more "swish-and-flick" moments that allowed for the eventual HEA of the story; I've never been too keen on stories where the author uses convenient explanations to work out complex situations. Handwaving? Doesn't do it for me unless it's Star Trek and then all bets are off. I'll buy anything William Shatner sells me.
Sexy, fun, and well worth an afternoon read for a fan of menage fiction. I could have used more sci-fi in it, but really? It's a solid 4 star read all the way around.
***Note: My review is based on a complimentary copy provided to This Redhead LOVES Books Blog in exchange for an honest opinion.***
“Hi.” Her voice was a mere whisper, and she looked as if she wanted to be anywhere but speaking to him.
“Hello. I’m Clara.” The human girl shoved her hand toward him. He took it and smiled at her. It still seemed strange to shake hands with someone he had just met. The custom on Threni was to bow to new acquaintances.
“It’s lovely to meet you, Clara. Do you mind if I take Drella outside to speak to her privately? We won’t be long.” He could see Drella out of the corner of his eye shaking her head, a mutinous look on her face.
“Not at all. I would never stop her from talking to such a handsome man.” She fluttered her eyelashes. “And if she says no, please feel free to come and make your offer to me.” Her eyes were bright and sparkled with mischief—she was clearly joking.
“Please, Drella.” He turned his most pleading expression on her, and her mutinous look crumbled.
“OK,” she conceded, and got up, and marched out of the bar. Once outside, he took her gently by the arm and guided her to the quiet alleyway.
“What do you want?” She leaned against the wall and looked over his shoulder.
“I wanted to apologize if the prince or I embarrassed you today. He feels very bad about spying on us.”
“We were in the prince’s shower area. And besides, I spied on you.”
“The prince doesn’t mind that you were watching us. In fact, he’s quite turned on by it.” Oshan brought his hand up to cup her cheek, and she leaned into the caress. He breathed a sigh of relief. He was not being rejected. “He would like you to be involved next time. And so would I.”
“Yes, Drella. We both want you. We discussed it. Since we got together there has only been the two of us. But we like you and we both want you.”
She was wide-eyed again, which only made her more appealing. Her mouth opened slightly in surprise, and he couldn’t help himself. He leaned forward and ran his tongue along her lower lip. She tentatively touched his tongue with her own and placed her hand at his nape. He captured her lips fully. After a few moments, he drew away and raised an eyebrow at her.
“I’m with Clara,” she said as if it was some kind of explanation.
“It doesn’t have to be tonight.” She nodded in understanding. “What about tomorrow night?”
“I have to go home from work and make dinner, but I could come back to the palace afterward.”
“Dinner? Do you already have children?”
“No. It’s for my parents and siblings."
“Can they not get their own dinner?”
“It’s a complicated situation.” Her shoulders sagged slightly and some of the glow left her gaze. She looked tired. What exactly was her situation that she had to make her grown-up family dinner?
“Very well. After dinner. Come up to the palace. You can use your pass to get in. If anyone asks, say Prince Abran has asked to see you. No one will ask any questions.”