Publisher's Synopsis: In the Court of the Empress Regina in London, the child of Princess Consort Daniella and Imperial Prince Nikolai has been born, and Daniella's long-time servant Kiana is the child's beloved nursemaid. Dark forces, however, are at work and tragedy strikes: Kiana's father is killed saving Daniella from an assassin, leaving Kiana alone at the Court, at the mercy of the dark rulers. Worse, Kiana's brother Galen is alone, still in Persia, in the clutches of evil Queen Anca.
Kiana realizes she must save her brother, no matter what the cost, but her attempts at leaving the court are ill-fated; she is caught both trying to steal jewels to finance the escape, and then caught in the escape attempt itself. Yet, against all expectation, the Prince helps Kiana. He could have turned her over to the dark discipline of the priests of the Order Sangre, or even have had her executed; instead, he leaves all behind to make her a devil's bargain: submit to him in every way, and he himself will take her back to Persia himself.
Kiana has no choice but to agree, even though it means putting herself at the mercy of Imperial Prince Andrew. And soon, Kiana finds herself no different than her mistress: an agonie aperitiv - an "appetizer" of pain - to a dark vampire Prince.
But unlike her mistress, she could never learn to love one such as he. Could she?
Publisher's note: The Prince's Tawse is an erotic romance of love and loss in a future world gone mad, a world in which vampires and humans co-exist. It contains erotic BDSM themes, including spanking and anal punishment.
Stats for my copy: E-book, Blushing Books, 2013.
How acquired: Bought.
First line: I knew the dead man hanging in the square: Liam was his name.
My thoughts: The story picks up right where THE PRINCE'S LASH ended, but now we're following Kiana's story rather than Daniella's. Kiana is Daniella's servant, and now that her father is dead, she is determined to travel to Persia to get her younger brother away from Queen Anca. But Kiana has caught the eye of the vampire Prince Andrew, and when she steals a horse and escapes from the Empress Regina's court, he quickly catches up with her. Branded not only a thief, but a horse thief, Kiana has no doubt the Empress will have her hung. But Andrew offers her a bargain: he'll accompany her to Perth to find her brother. In exchange, she must give him complete obedience.
Unlike Daniella, Kiana is not an “agonie apertiv” - she does not enjoy and crave being whipped. She has no desire to be spanked, but Prince Andrew spanks her just about every time she turns around. In other words, there is a LOT of punishment spanking. Which is preferable to whipping, but that too is eventually introduced to Kiana (hence the title of the book).
I had anticipated enjoying this story more than Daniella's, but as I turns out I never really connected with Kiana or Prince Andrew. I could understand Kiana's single-mindedness in getting to her younger brother, and I didn't find any fault with her or her character, so I'm not sure why she didn't appeal to me more. My issue with Andrew was a little clearer. It didn't bother me that he constantly wanted to spank Kiana, but it did bother me that he constantly told her he wanted her to cry, he wanted to make her cry. I get that breaking through her barriers and making her sob her heart out once was good for her, cathartic. But I can't believe it's cathartic over and over.
The story is narrated by Kiana, so we never know what's actually going on in Andrew's head. He purports to love Kiana, but he must still obey the Empress, which means he often abandons Kiana when she needs him. If some of the story had been told from his point of view, he might have been a more sympathetic character and easier to like.
The ending surprised me. Mere pages from being over I couldn't see how things were possibly going to work out for Kiana. And while they did, they also didn't.
I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. And I do like the author's writing style, so I would like to read more of her work.