I wasn’t sure what to make of this book when I first started it. The back cover blurb didn’t quite make it clear to me what the the book is comprised of, leading me to believe I would be reading about three couples and their erotic escapades all in one story. However, it wasn’t until the abrupt end of what I suddenly realized was the first story and start of the second that it hit me this book is comprised of three short stories all revolving around a couple of common denominators.
The first story is conveyed through letters from Emmaline Townsend to her lover, Remy, who is still in France while she recuperates from a skiing accident in the United States. The main story is taken from the book Emmaline herself wrote when she found her fiancÃ© at Grotte Cachee engaging in acts of carnal knowledge that the castle is famous for.
You get a hint that secondary characters Inigo and Elic, plus the reclusive Darius, are not exactly what they seem and that’s all you get for quite sometime. They do know how to please a woman, though. Emmaline becomes a woman who, because of her unfaithful fiancÃ©, discovers she loves to have sex any way she can get it and vows never to marry. Hence, her continuous declining of Remy’s proposals.
I have to admit the end of this story was a twist I didn’t expect and it was a little abrupt.
The next story revolves around Caroline Keating, a young woman down on her luck and disowned by her father. After a botched suicide attempt, Caroline finds herself in the hands of David Childe, Lord Rexton, barrister and procurer of women to be auctioned as sex slaves for a week at Chateau de la Grotte Cachee. Caroline is aghast as such a thing, but later, when her options are nil, she relents and makes her way to the castle.
Rexton slyly outbids a lecher for Caroline’s company. Caroline later discovers that Rexton doesn’t want anything intimate from her. When they are in mixed company they follow the rules of the game, but Rexton doesn’t embarrass her as the other men do their slaves.
Caroline eventually lets Rexton know she is willing to learn more about what goes on between a man and woman and wants to do it with him. They have intense sex and Caroline’s feelings begin to grow for Rexton and he notices her change. Warning her that he is not what he seems, he continues to push her away until his last act leads to near-tragic results.
This story had a very satisfying ending.
In the third and last story we meet the owner of Chateau de la Grotte Cachee, Adrien Morel, and the daughter of the castle administrateur, Isabel Archer.
Even though it’s been 20 years since she’s visited the castle, nothing has changed. Isabel arrives early and walks in on a ménage à trois in the library. This is where we see Inigo and Elic, et al., once again and we also find out their story.
Isabel discovers her father is ill and is putting things in order, making Isabel the administreur after he’s gone. Isabel refuses the job. She knows she can’t spend more time in Adrien’s company because he was the reason she fled years ago. And, just as it happened then, Adrien pulls away from Isabel after becoming too close.
The ending to this story irritated me. I turned the page expecting the story to continue, but that was it. Nothing more. Huh? I was so baffled I got online to check Ms. Burton’s website to see if perhaps there’s another book on the way that will tie things up. Nothing.
Once I got over this – as best I could anyway – I still enjoyed the book. I liked the common denominators that meshed all three stories together, and the characters were all very likable and interesting.
A sheltered heiress is horrified by the licentiousness she encounters at Grotte Cachée, until the beguiling Inigo frees her from her Gilded Cage by tutoring her in the arts of love.
A rector’s daughter, in despair over being ruined and impoverished, allows herself to be sold at a slave auction for a week as the sex slave of an aristocratic master with kinky tastes in exchange for enough money to turn her life around.(Read an excerpt.)
The daughter of Grotte Cachée’s administrateur, long-smitten with its gardien, Adrien Morel, arrives at the chateau to find a porn film being shot there.