Author: J. Alan Veerkamp
Genre: Alternative World, Steampunk, Historical
Length: Novel (348pgs)
Publisher: DSP Publications (23rd April 2019)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Blurb: Innocence is his only currency.
The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.
The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.
But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.
Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.
Purchase Link: DSPP | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Review: Wow! This story blew me away with its twists and turns.
Innocence & Carnality starts out as expected for a historical setting story, a young stripling told point blank that he will be marrying a man of his father’s choice and he’d better like it or else. Then said young man comes over all aflutter when first meeting his husband to be, being swept off his feet by an older man who oozes carnal delights, and then rushed through marriage and dropped into a setting he is too innocent to understand. And that’s when things start to get juicy and veers off from a standard historical.
Nathan is the young man in question, after the first couple of days with his new husband he has high hopes but they are swiftly dashed, he gets a brutal awakening as to what his husband is really like and our young Nathan starts to plot.
Rother is the man who had to have Nathan after seeing just one picture, he’s a ruthless man who knows how to get what he wants and he never allows anyone to get the best of him.
When I first started reading this I expected it to follow the normal historical formula, young innocent breaking through to the ruthless lords’ heart and softening his outlook, well I was swiftly disabused of that notion as it is Nathan who comes into his own and changes vastly from the innocent young man we first meet.
All the characters in this story stand out in their own ways, each one vibrant with their personalities, and whether you like them or not each one leaves a mark in your mind. There are some characters you end up adoring who you weren’t sure of in the beginning, others earn your scorn and hate even though at first they appealed to you.
The rich settings have you plunging into the story, with a few well-placed words you’re in an office, a bedroom, a hallway, a salon, walking down a busy street or a quiet shop. We are treated to an amazing story that surprises at turns and shocks with its twists, it has vices and violence that has your eyes widening and yes there are some scenes of brutality.
One thing I want to say is don’t be put off if you hear about the cheating, I’m one for turning my nose up at cheating in a story and I take a very dim view of it but with this story it is essential and makes the story what it is.
I’m not gonna delve further into the story as it really does need to be discovered by yourself, but I will say it’s thoroughly enjoyable that I had a very hard time putting down.
This story isn’t about hearts and flowers, it’s not about first loves and breaking through someones toughened shell, it’s about surviving a situation that looks bleak, it’s about playing the game until you can turn the tables, and it’s about striving to make your own life on your terms.
J. Alan Veerkamp has written a story that drags you along on a journey that you just don’t know where it’s going or how it’s going to end, and you’ll love every minute of it.