Choices by Grace R. Duncan (2 Stars)

Is freedom more important than spending your life with your one true love?

Teman and his friend, Jasmin, have been caught stealing for the last time. They have a choice of either going to the dungeon or becoming a pleasure slave for the palace. They both choose the palace and begin a very long sexual training process to learn how to pleasure their masters. During this time, Teman falls in love with his master, Amir Bathasar, who is also next in line to become the leader of his kingdom. Unfortunately, Bathasar’s father, Mukesh, is the current leader and an extremely cruel man, especially to the pleasure slaves. Teman forms a strong bond with other people in the palace including two other pleasure slaves, Nadir and Cyrus. The biggest obstacle for Tteman and Bathasar is freedom. If Bathasar becomes the leader, and has the power to free Teman, will Teman, who values freedom almost above anything else, stay with Bathasar or leave?

The vast majority of this story is focused on sex. The first quarter of the story is about the training that the young slaves go through which included hours upon hours, in very descriptive details, of all types of sex including oral and anal, with multiple partners. Orgasm denial was the single biggest component of this training. After Teman and Bathasar begin their relationship, the majority of the sex takes place with the two of them, but there are still many scenes which include other people basically resulting in an orgy. Since Mukesh is a very serious sadist, there are several scenes, described in great detail, where there is nonconsensual sex and torture. The few parts of the story that weren’t about sex made for a great story with the author’s smooth writing style.

All of the characters were interesting, but it was Teman and Bathasar that were the easiest to love. Teman’s angst over his freedom was very believable and tugged at the heart strings. They were both very kind people who truly cared about each other. Unfortunately, the excessive amount of sex overwhelmed the otherwise good story.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

BLURB

Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.

Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer.

The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?

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