Thursday, July 9, 2020

Royally Screwed by Lynn Van Dorn Blog Tour

Take one betrothal gone awry…

Prince Angelo is destined to marry Prince Yuri. Never mind that Angelo isn’t gay and didn’t choose to be saddled with a moony-eyed princeling who is determined to ruin Angelo’s life. Then one day Yuri goes too far and Angelo has to take matters into his own hands.

Add one doomed arranged marriage…

Prince Yuri is destined forever to pine after Prince Angelo. Arranged marriages are archaic and awful enough without being stuck for life with someone you want who will never, ever in a million years want you back. Still, for someone who claims to want nothing to do with Yuri, Angelo is surprisingly possessive.

And you just might get one unexpected romance.

Two men, thrown together by fate and scheming parents, shouldn’t have a prayer of finding a happy ever after. But fate can be fickle, and love can exist where you never thought it could.

Royally Screwed is a M/M novel featuring royalty, a poorly-thought-out betrothal, one prince in need of a firm hand, a second prince who isn’t as straight as he always thought, drunken texting, bickering, practice kissing, odious British nobility, and falling in love despite all the reasons why you shouldn’t.

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“I'm going to be your husband,” Angelo said, “sooner or later, like it or not. What's the point in putting it all off?”

Yuri raised one finely shaped brown eyebrow. “So you're cool with not having sex again for like… ever? Or kissing or holding hands, even? Because I'm not. I'll go mad. I'm not ready yet. It's way too soon.” He looked at Angelo like he was an animal caught in a trap, terrified and half-crazed to escape in any way it could, even if that meant chewing through a limb.

Angelo rubbed Yuri's shoulder tentatively. “I know,” he said soberly. “I've been thinking about it for days.”

The idea of Yuri putting himself again into the hands of Francis, or someone like him, terrified Angelo. It didn't matter that Yuri was gay and Angelo wasn't. Someone needed to protect Yuri and that someone was Angelo. Would always be Angelo. Yuri was his curse and his cross to bear and his inevitable destiny. And despite years of resentment and irritation and anger, that still made Yuri his.

Yuri relaxed his stiffened posture enough to slump against Angelo. “Angel, it's a really stupid idea. We'll keep going on as we are. We've got years to date and 'fall in love.' No point rushing it. You'll have to pretend your whole life. Be discreet when you need to fuck someone. You won't be allowed to fall in love, and if you do, you'll never be able to act on it. I get you're feeling overprotective and cave mannish, but you don't need to be. I'll be way more careful next time. I'll find someone who can hurt me, but not hurt me. Those men exist. I know they do. Let me find one and live before my freedom is completely gone.”

Nervous fear dumped adrenaline into Angelo's bloodstream. It made him want to do something—anything—to make things better. “I can do that,” Angelo burst out, licking his dry lips. “I can be that man. For you. For this.”

“Do what, be what?” Yuri put his mobile aside and gave Angelo his full attention, spearing him with crystalline blue eyes. “You're. Not. Gay.”

“Um. I can hold your hand. In public.”

Yuri rolled his eyes. “Seriously? I can see you sweat from just the thought of it. What about the rest? Can you really kiss me in front of others? Pretend for the rest of your life to be in love with me? Do you have any clue what this'll mean? I don't think you do. You don't have to protect me. I'm fine. Francis was a huge mistake, but I'm fine. Go home to your college and your girlfriend and forget about me for a few years. I don't want this, you big idiot!”

Yuri was angry and impatient, that was clear enough, but under that, Angelo thought he sensed fear as well. And he caught the use of Angel. Yuri called him that so seldom he felt he could count the times on one hand, but tonight he'd used it twice.

“It doesn't matter what we want, does it, though? What if I say, 'Fine, go find some perfect guy to spank and fuck you. I'll see you in five years,' and then you fall in love? What're you going to do then? Break your heart and his? There's no way waiting will make things better, or easier. I can't… be everything you need and you're not what I want, either, but I can do my best to try. If it means I have to learn to kiss you, then I’ll learn to kiss you, but damn it, princess, I’m not going to let anyone hurt you like this anymore.”

Yuri crossed his arms over his chest. “I don't believe you. I don't think you have the stomach for it.”

Part of Angelo knew he was being goaded but he didn't care. He cupped Yuri's face and looked into eyes that were panicky, but something else as well. Yuri's gaze felt like it could bore holes into his soul. “Relax, princess. I can't do this if you won't relax.”

“Fuck me,” Yuri said. “This isn't real. And I didn't mean that literally. Don't get your straight-boy hopes up.”

“I wouldn't dream of it,” Angelo said, leaning closer to whisper in Yuri's ear. He dropped a light, experimental kiss on the side of Yuri's jaw. Under his fingers, the prince shuddered.

There. That hadn't been so bad. This would be easier than Angelo had thought. With his cupped hands, he positioned Yuri's face exactly where he wanted it, then kissed him. It was… unexpected. It wasn't at all the disgusting thing he'd thought it might be. This he could definitely do. Everything would be fine. And just to prove it, he kissed Yuri again. And again. And again. Because practice made perfect.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

In the best possible way, this book is completely ridiculous. And I couldn’t put it down. Part modern fairy tale, part smutty fantasy and part laugh out loud comedy, I can’t quite explain or label this story of the dysfunctional relationship between Prince Yuri and Prince Angelo, the prince he must one day marry.

Growing up together, Angelo and Yuri are the ultimate frenemies. Angelo fancies girls and resents the arranged marriage. Yuri fancies Angelo and hates that Angelo doesn’t notice him. As young adults, the relationship becomes more complicated (and more kinky) as the two princes find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Despite the farcical nature of much of the story, the emotional connection between the two princes feels raw and real and there are some crazy hot scenes as Angelo starts to explore his feelings for Yuri. This is a moderately kinky and very sexy romp that could be classed as erotica if it wasn’t quite so funny or quite so ridiculous.

I could pick apart all the disjointed nonsensical elements of this book but I think I’ll try to explain why it made me smile instead. The book follows the boys as they grow up together – all the way past their time at Oxford to the start of their adult lives as they graduate. While the early childhood moments are set out of time in classic fairy tale castles, once the boys reach Oxford, their fairy tale lives hit a very modern 2020 world and the result is a story peppered with pop culture references and some surreal situations that made me laugh. From Oxford to Soho, the author writes her fantasy characters into a very familiar England. For readers willing to suspend any sense of reality, this story is a highly entertaining and very steamy read.

4.5 stars of spanking hotness!

This book is pretty much perfect escapism – it is very funny, sweet, silly, full of spanking, and incredibly sexy. I am really picky when it comes to royal stories, but there was never a moment that I wanted to stop reading this one!

It is mainly set in Oxford and London, but relates to two fictitious kingdoms, whose royal sons were betrothed before birth, thanks to an erroneous sonogram. They are brought up more or less together, attending the same boarding school, and then on to Oxford. We get lots of snippets of their early lives, and how different they are, yet how close they have inevitably been. Naughty? Oh yes, there is plenty of naughtiness in this book – hence plenty of spanking too! I love that the premise is so outrageous that we can be led down any avenue the author chooses, and willingly we will follow!

The side characters are really essential in getting the plot to unfold fully. Phillipe, Roger, and Jacki are absolutely key to giving the men a chance to get their happily ever after, and to ground them in a degree of normal. The chasing up and down to London and Oxford is amusing, although the encounters with the evil professor are not. Undoubtedly his input to the storyline was influential, but he did nothing good.

Told from both Yuri and Angelo's viewpoint, we can see just how important the advice of the others is in reassuring both of them and awakening them to the other side of the story. I could completely understand Yuri's lack of confidence given the years that he had hoped for Angelo to pay him even the slightest attention – hence the need to be spanked. I also thought that Angelo's realisation of his feelings for Yuri and how they grew was well done.

A scorchingly good and fun read!

4 Spanky Stars

Lynn Van Dorn is a new-to-me author, and I would be delighted to read more in the future.

Preface: If you're not into Spanking, I suggest downloading the sample for a taste. Spanking is a large part of the novel, connecting the two narrators.

Imagine being betrothed while in utero. Imagine the sonogram mistaking a boy for a girl – two princes born weeks apart, betrothed to secure diplomacy between their respective countries.

From the first paragraph, I was HOOKED. Absolutely delicious angst. Angst. More ANGST.

As the boys grow up together, treated more as brothers, since they assumed their marriage of convenience didn't mean they would ever act as intimate partners. It was a downright inconvenient, especially for Angelo.

One bratty.

One controlling.

One gay.

One Straight.

Oh. The. ANGST.

This mating dance is shown in prologue chapters and flashbacks, all the way back to when Angelo and Yuri are small boys, where the bulk of the novel takes place at age 22-23.

There's a love-hate, push-pull decadent mating dancing between Yuri and Angelo, some of it painful, all of it hot, most of it emotional, with unexpected moments of levity and secondhand-embarrassment.

There is drama, not only because they are both princes, with the weight of their family burdening their shoulders, but love interests as well, since they are not a love match, not even sexually compatible.

There is a double-edged sword of BDSM, particularly spanking, which was a natural outlet for the boys to use since they weren't naturally compatible from the start. As Yuri grows, looking for a true lover, he finds more than he bargained for, which brings an abusive angle, which might be a trigger for some.

One thing I appreciated the most was that the author didn't write Angelo's sexuality away, didn't just automatically have him decide he was gay. Perhaps Angelo is bisexual, as that's a label only the character himself could give. But there was a decidedly demisexual vibe, as it was truly Yuri that Angelo fell for, in all ways, the sexual and romantic components coming online last.

Truly a delightfully naughty read, that I ate up in a single sitting. My only complaint was that the middle portion dragged on, as there was an abundance of sexual scenes. I'm no prude, but the sameness of the scenes, the waffling back and forth, the redundancy slowed the pacing down to a crawl for me.

An amazing hook at the beginning. A slow middle. A super-fast engaging ending. A little bit fluffy. A little bit emotional. A whole helluva lot naughty.

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting when I started to read this book but holy moley!!! I was caught up right from the very start and let me tell ya, this book had some angst! I'm normally not one to like too much angst, but it worked. There is also spanking, lots of it, so if that isn't your cup of tea, you might wanna pass. I've always been intrigued by arranged marriages, so I was interested in that aspect of the book for sure. I'll have to say the overabundance of sex scenes had me skimming, I love sex in my books, but I found myself bored and wanting to see how things turned out. I enjoyed this book and think you will too.

Lynn Van Dorn was born in Ohio and left it for the wilds of Chicago in her reckless youth. She wanted to become a fairy princess when she grew up, but since there are few openings for that position, she makes do with being a writer.

In her spare time, she drinks entirely too much tea, snugs her cats, loves her husband and son, reads voraciously, and avoids housework. She loves to watch anime, travel, knit, bake cookies, and conjure up happy every afters for handsome men who have trouble getting there on their own.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Royally Screwed by Lynn Van Dorn to read and review for this tour.

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