Destiny Entwined by Nadia Lee
Published by Four Isles Press on February 14, 2011 | 9,000 words
Cast aside by Theseus, Ariadne longs to forget how her love for the hero caused her to betray her father and left her abandoned on an uninhabited isle. Dionysus, god of wine and frenzy, hears her entreaty and offers to distract her. She knows that the gods treat humans as playthings, but she accepts his offer, asking him to use her hard.
“Iwant to be bent over and taken from behind…like an animal,” she said finally, her breath ragged. “While another man plays with my breasts.” […] “The man who takes me, uses me…but he is also giving me so much pleasure I think I’ll die. He has gagged me, so when I come, nobody hears me scream.”
(Note: There’s no ménage.)
Destiny Entwined lies along the mythological vein of fantasy, although Dionysus is far kinder than in most depictions I’ve seen him. (He’s the patron god of a set of woman who go mad and hunt down men to eat their raw flesh.) I never would have imagined him as an appealing hero in a romance, but this story convinced me, as in it he’s the master of decadent sex. I have to applaud the author for the creative use of vines and and a grape while satisfying Ariadne’s want for a dominant lover. And Lee’s hand with description is such that even acts like being tied down are somehow not rough or hard-edged, which helps the transition from sex-between-strangers to something more.
The HEA aspect of the romance is justified by a prophecy, which is itself fulfilled in a way I found a bit too subtle—I had to flip back a couple of pages and reread the relevant part, although it all ties in with Dionysus’s nature.
Speaking of which, I also suspect that the setting will only really benefit those familiar with the relevant bits of Greek mythology, as there wasn’t quite enough color to introduce readers meaningfully to the back-story cold. Which is a shame; Ariadne is just ripe for exploration as a character, and I liked what the author did with her here enough to want more. Aspects like Ariadne’s guilt and potential revenge on Theseus are touched upon, but not really delved into, and that’s my biggest complaint: this story felt a bit too condensed for my tastes, as I never really got the chance to feel any real tension.
But if you’re looking for a quick, solid read that fits into the erotic fantasy romance crossroads, and especially if you ever wondered how Dionysus claimed Ariadne as his bride in explicit terms, you may enjoy this one.