My review contains spoilers and they're are mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Carnally Ever After was a fun little novella, I must say! It had me giggling all through the way. But there were those scenes that had me shaking my head, too. Even though the initial novella was too short for me, I really loved the bonus epilogue. JB is an excellent writer no doubt.
Louisa has just been jilted at the altar by Lord Grenville. Alistair, the best man and Grenville’s best friend, is angry over the whole thing. Then it’s revealed that Alistair always wanted Louisa but both men ended up engaged with the wrong woman since those were arranged by their respective parents. Yes, Alistair is also engaged to a proper English rose, Miss Palmer. He was sitting alone somewhere in the church after that debacle when Louisa comes to find him. Grenville is a debauched rake and gambler and now it turns out, irresponsible as well. Alistair always knew that Louisa isn’t really Grenville’s type, who likes slender women. But to Alistair, Louisa is a Goddess. There hasn’t been anyone more attractive than dark haired, eyed and generously curvy Louisa. Miss Palmer is tall and slim, very beautiful and yet, she doesn’t do anything for Alistair.
While Alistair is in this state of mind, we find that Louisa has been fantasizing about him as well; his golden good looks no doubt. She wasn’t very fond of her jilted bridegroom, but acceded because of her father. Right now, Louisa can’t bring herself to be sad about it. As the novella rushed on, this turns into that, and Alistair ends up revealing his fantasies to her, then and there. Louisa is also up for the challenge as she asks Alistair to ‘prove her’ how attractive he finds her.
Then, hmmm... they go to Alistair’s bachelor apartments and, well, hmmm... they proceeded to do some kinky stuff... and it caught me by surprise seeing how Louisa was still a virgin. Alistair finds a way to spare her virginity, in case Grenville is dragged by his father to the altar.
Don’t ask me anything but it had me shaking my head.
Aaaanyway, Louisa’s much needed self-esteem returns, thanks to Alistair’s attentions. She now resolves that she’s not going to marry Grenville no matter what and tells her father that too! *clap clap* Alistair on the other hand, was thinking some stuff. Grenville isn’t happy about the whole thing, and no intentions of marrying Louisa for you-know-what(I wanted to kick him, no likey this guy). One thing still caught me by surprise. How wasn’t it a big gossip when Grenville and Louisa’s marriage was supposed to be such a big event, and so many people attending? There was no mention of the scandal or any such thing. I couldn’t really believe this.
While I was ruminating on that, Louisa does something that again, caught me by surprise... Hmmm... it wasn’t her plan as to why she did it, but the ‘instrument’ she uses to deflower herself. Hmmm, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, be embarrassed or be plain horrified! Louisa’s plan was to become Alistair’s mistress, because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to find anyone like him and he being engaged... well, you get the picture.
I should’ve been annoyed but I wasn’t. Probably because it was a novella and Alistair surprised me by telling her later that she’d be the mistress of his life. It was sweet, I give him that.
There’s a very small epilogue at the end, which was ok IMO. Then, I had to get the free anthology, 12th Night. I read and loved the bonus epilogue,‘Epiphany’.
This takes place 2 yrs after the main story. Louisa has just had the heir to the Holyfield earldom. She’s obviously shy and embarrassed about the changes motherhood has wrought on her body. She’s been fending off sex with lights on. But Alistair is plain crazy about his wife, and wouldn’t hear ‘no’ on that regard anymore. He’s determined to show her how sexy he still finds her... Ooh, lala! I’ve read novellas/novels with settings like this, and have always found them plain HOT. No exception to Epiphany. A superb show to their HEA! My recommendation is, read the bonus epilogue afterwards or better yet, get the re-released version that has the bonus epilogue added to it. Either way, don’t miss it.
Lemme quote something from here:
She smiled as she recalled thinking when she first heard the word c*ck that it was an apt name for such a showy organ.
Alistair followed her gaze, the corners of his mouth pulling down in a mock frown. “I pray you are not thinking again how ‘little’ my contribution is.”
Overall, 4 stars.
Carnally Ever After is followed by Behind the Red Door, which contains 3 more stories that are loosely connected to each-other. I’m hopping on to read that one now!
PS: I still don’t see why the phrase ‘nascent erection’ should annoy anyone.