First line of Chapter 1: “Honey, you need to get laid.”
Publisher's Synopsis: It might sound like a man's favorite fantasy – to live forever, destined to be the lover of thousands of women. But for Julian of Macedon, it's a nightmare. Once he was a proud Spartan general, now he's a love-slave, his essence magically held captive in a book, cursed to spend all eternity pleasing women. Then, one day, Grace Alexander summons Julian to fulfill her passionate dreams – and sees beyond the fantasy to the man himself.
Long years as a sex therapist, listening to other people's bedroom problems, has taken a lot of the fun out of the physical side of love for Grace. She's remarkably understanding about Julian's situation – and that's disconcerting for all concerned. With or without sex, the rules of the enchantment cannot be changed. Julian is hers for the next month. And, as their time together slips by, Julian and Grace find more to share than sympathy and conversation – and they begin to wonder if love might be within their grasp. That leaves only one question. Is love enough to break a 2,000-year-old curse?
I've heard a lot about Sherrilyn Kenyon over the years, and I even follow her on Twitter, but until now I had not read any of her books. The premise for the Dark Hunter series was very intriguing – to quote from Ms. Kenyon's website: “ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard”. Sounds pretty irresistible, right?
So I went into Fantasy Lover with high hopes, and they were definitely met. Grace Alexander is a very likable heroine, and Julian of Macedon is the picture of the brooding, tortured-soul hero. Ms. Kenyon lets us into their heads, and we get to know them both very well, gaining an understanding of what drives each of them, and knowing of course that they desperately need each other, whether they believe so or not. None of the secondary characters are nearly as fleshed out as Grace and Julian, but since the bulk of the story is told between the two of them, alone with each other, it didn't really matter. There are lots of steamy scenes, several doses of humor, and a couple of eye-welling incidents. The solution to break the curse made me skeptical, which is kind of funny when you think about, as if everything else that happens is completely believable in the real world. But how exactly the whole story would end was a little twisty/turny and not a pat resolution of the kind you see coming from a mile away.
I think the back cover copy is a little misleading, in that Grace did not actually willingly summon Julian “to fulfill her passionate dreams” - her best friend wanted to summon Julian for her and Grace grudgingly went along with it, never actually expecting the summoning spell to work. And when it did, she was not a happy camper about it. Also, I did not get the impression that her years as a sex therapist, listening to other people's problems, really had anything to do with the state of her own love life. The man she gave her virginity to obviously was the root of her problems.
My only quibble was that Grace's best friend is introduced as, and referred to in the narrative, as Selena, yet Grace always calls her Lanie. Nickname? Childhood name? Real name and Selena is her stage name? No explanation was ever given for that, unless I just totally missed it.
Overall, a very enjoyable read, a new premise for me, a different type of hero, and a series I very much look forward to continuing with.
(I received this book through BookCrossing.)