Desert Isle Keeper
Dream of Me
Theron is an incubus, a demon who slips into women’s dreams and fulfills their deepest sexual longings. For four thousand years, he has given women the kind of pleasure they could only find in their sleep, while feeling nothing himself. Finally tired of living half an existence, he forms a plot to step into a mortal life. He makes a bargain with a ruthless prince, Vlad Draco. He will use his powers to help Vlad win the hand of the Transylvanian princess Lucia. In exchange, Vlad will let Theron take over his body for three days. A demon can only take over a human with the human’s permission. Of course, Theron has no intention of giving Vlad his body back once he’s taken control of it. Instead, he will rule Vlad’s kingdom as his own.
But Theron isn’t the only one who doesn’t plan on upholding his end of the deal. After six years of waiting for his chance, Theron realizes that Vlad has no intention of voluntarily giving up control of his body to the demon. Seeking revenge, he goes after the one thing that means everything to the vicious prince: his bride.
Lucia has been exiled to a distant castle ever since she was betrothed to Vlad. Both he and her brother are obsessed with protecting her purity. No men are allowed in the castle, and she has been kept purposely uninformed of everything related to sex. Now twenty, she has nothing to do but wait for Vlad to end his war with a neighboring nation and come to claim her. Bored and naive, she longs for something she cannot name. When Theron comes to her, he discovers Vlad gave her a necklace to wear which prevents any incubi from visiting her. As a result, she is full of untapped sexuality that has never had an outlet in her dreams. Theron is determined to show her all those dark, forbidden desires she knows nothing about. But it isn’t long before his plan moves past mere revenge. Theron wants Lucia for himself, even if there’s no way a demon and a human princess can have any kind of relationship outside of her dreams.
This is a companion book to last month’s Come to Me, which told the story of Samira, the succubus Theron used to put his plan into motion. The two books take place roughly during the same period of time, and many of the scenes between Theron and Samira from the earlier book are repeated here, this time from Theron’s perspective. Dream of Me does stand on its own as a complete story in and of itself, although I do think it’s a richer experience if the reader has read the earlier book. For instance, the other book explained the dream Samira planted in the mind of Lucia’s brother, showing the virginal princess in situations of such shocking carnality that he was terrified into breaking off her engagement, betrothing her to Vlad, and banishing her to the castle for her own good. Information like that from the earlier book isn’t necessary to enjoy this one, but it does deepen the reader’s understanding of some of the events.
That said, this is a stronger, richer book and one of the most engrossing reads I’ve had this year. Cach really sucked me into the story with its wonderfully dark atmosphere and fascinating characters. I’m always up for a dark hero, and Theron certainly fit the bill. As a demon, he doesn’t have a soul or emotions, but he’s more amoral than evil. There are some very nice, subtle moments where the author shows he may be capable of feeling emotions he wasn’t created with. The entire mythology the author sets up is well-drawn and intriguing.
The reasons for Lucia’s complete innocence are unique, and I was interested to see how she would react to learning about the facts of life. She’s not some empty-headed twit. She wants to know, to the point of making some completely off-the-wall guesses. Some of her reactions are extreme, but considering how she’s been given no information whatsoever, they’re understandable. There are a number of sexual situations in the book, most of them taking place in Lucia’s dreams. Unlike many books with a lot of emphasis on sex, it never becomes boring because Lucia’s gradual awakening is fascinating and the author uses a lot of creativity in the fantasies Theron creates. These scenes are vividly written and convincingly sensual. The erotic charge between the characters is palpable.
Compared to some of the author’s other books, the humor is downplayed somewhat. This is a moodier story that’s mostly played straight, which fits the characters. There are only a few “funny” scenes, most of which come in the latter part of the book. I did laugh, but their over-the-top quality didn’t entirely seem to gel with the rest of the tale and seemed out of place with the rest of the book’s tone. Still, the story builds to an unexpectedly affecting and romantic climax that’s very satisfying. The book also ends on a nicely creepy grace note, as the author throws one more surprise at the reader.
Dream of Me held my attention like too few books this year have, and I found everything about it fascinating. These characters, their relationship, and this storyline were all so creative and unique. This is one compelling, original story that shouldn’t be missed.