Sunday, 9 February 2020

Book Review - King & Hunt by Brienne Dubh

Four Stars

Brienne Dubh's new book is a wonderfully funny hate-to-lust story whose main characters Gabby King and Christian Hunt are a joy to spend time with. Christian is Gabby's best friend's brother and they have spent decades since their teens detesting one another. Their barbed insults and name-calling are wickedly entertaining right from the very first chapter. These guys really don't pull any punches when it comes to knocking the other one down.

It's all the more fun for the reader because you know that there's only one way that this is going to pan out. An unexpected passionate kiss and all the sexy sex times.

The giveaway is not just in the book's subtitle either. There is a long and noble tradition in the arts of the path of true love starting from a place of mutual loathing.

William Shakespeare probably didn't invent the trope but he provided a damn fine example in Much Ado about Nothing's Beatrice and Benedick. Gabby and Christian can rightfully take their place as the Shakespearean couple's literary descendants.

Or, in the words of Christian Hunt: "I just love fucking with your head."
And when the passion is unleashed for one absolutely, definitely one-time-only never-to-be-repeated night, it is absolutely marvellous. It's all about raw primal urges and unstoppable needs and it's as hot as hell. And, of course, Gabby and Christian are fooling nobody when they say that it will never happen again. I don't think they even believe it themselves.

Hot and steamy as Gabby and Christian's frequent lovemaking is (and it is hot and steamy, make no mistake about that), I think I should include a caveat here. This is not so much a spoiler as a public service announcement. There is no spanking in this book. At all.

This is the first book I've read by Brienne Dubh so it might be that expecting the plot line to include a bit of over-the-knee action was an unreasonable expectation. And in most circumstances, I would be happy to accept that. I have read whole books without spanking before. Jane Austen was a devil for not putting them in.

But in this case I think I was led on. Early on, shortly before the one-night-stand-that-isn't, Christian muses on his attraction to Gabby. "This woman had been a pain in his ass for so many years. But now all he could think about was biting down on her ass and, if he was lucky enough, spanking her." See! That's Chekhov's wossiname right there. "Don't put a spanking reference in unless there's going to be some serious arse-slapping later on." I think that is almost exactly what Anton Chekhov said.

Close enough.
I bet Christian would be great at spanking too. He's absolutely delicious that man - tall and rough-looking, covered in tattoos and wearing big clumpy sexy boots. He has a secret sensitive artistic side too. I would be totally interested in Christian myself if it weren't for the fact that he and sassy, sarcastic Gabby are so obviously made for one another. Oh, and the fact he's fictional, I suppose. There is that.

King & Hunt is a great, sexy, witty, utterly absorbing read. Great title too. It sounds like they should be fighting crime together. A little bit of spanking and it would have been just about perfect.

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