Series: Covenant of Thorns #1
Published: 2012 by Carina Press
Genres: Erotica, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads
Rogue’s Pawn is the first in a trilogy of fantasy erotica novels by Jeffe Kennedy. The story begins when Jennifer walks out of her life and through a portal to fairyland. This seems to be a theme in the books I’ve been reading lately (see The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic for a much tamer alternative). When Jennifer arrives, she finds that her thoughts and desires are translated into reality. Because she has no mental control, she ends up putting herself in danger and almost dies. The fae are impressed by her power, but they also realize that she’s dangerous. Jennifer ends up bargaining for her life, only to enter into a world of erotic torment.
As soon as Jennifer enters fairyland, she meets Rogue. Rogue is a tall-dark-and-handsome dominant figure, but he’s a fae, and even though he’s trying to protect Jennifer, she doesn’t see it, because his methods are a bit rough. Rogue certainly has ulterior motives, and he extracts the promise of Jennifer’s firstborn child in exchange for her life. Jennifer quite naturally spends much of the book trying to run away from him.
As the book progresses, Jennifer undergoes a transformation. She becomes more like the fae as she learns to control her power. The fae think that she will easily submit her will to them, but instead Jennifer becomes adept at standing up for herself and pursuing her own agenda. And of course, the source of her magic is sexual tension, so there’s a lot of that, especially as she begins to realize that she wants to be with Rogue. Meanwhile, Rogue must learn to realize and accept that Jennifer has to choose him of her own free will and not just because he tricked her into making a bargain.
Normally when I read books with a BDSM element, I expect that the dominant partner immediately establish himself as trustworthy, but in this case, it makes sense that he isn’t, because the fae aren’t supposed to be angelic. And as much as I felt like the “training” Jennifer went through was harsh, a bargain with the fae isn’t an Apple license agreement, and Jennifer really ought to have known better than to accept without being explicit about the terms and conditions. It’s basic fairy lore.
I’ve been a fan of Jeffe Kennedy’s writing ever since winning one of her books in giveaway a couple years ago. Her writing is solid, and she’s one of the few erotica/romance writers that I can take seriously. She’s one of my go-to writers on days when my brain needs a break and I want to read something that I don’t have to think too hard about. Rogue’s Pawn isn’t my favorite of her stories, mostly because I prefer more of an emphasis on consent and mutual respect, which I felt didn’t really surface in this book until close to the end. At the same time, it was still an enjoyable read, and I do plan on continuing the trilogy.