Three facts about Tuckington Belle:1. Given the choice between illegally scaling the royal castle’s walls to steal flowers for a client at his family’s dress shop or going on a date with a girl his brother set him up with (“He’s fertile, and he can sew!”), Tuck will scale the wall like a spider after a fly.
2. If, upon knocking himself unconscious when he falls off the wall, Tuck wakes up bruised, blindfolded, and inside the castle, where—based on the unearthly wails heard nightly—the prince no one has seen in ten years is probably a ghost, Tuck would still choose this over a date with a girl.
3. Tuck thinks it’s time to admit he’s gay.
Three facts about Prince Frederick George Deor (Read and approved with great reluctance by Lord “Protocol is Protocol. Stop Being a Pain About It” Todd):
1. He brought a curse upon himself and now bears the skin of a snake.
2. He can’t take his eyes off the injured thief recovering in the castle.
3. Friendships born from lying and insisting the other person wears a blindfold can blossom into true love—which he needs to break the curse.
This story was packed full of sweet, fun, quirky weirdness -- just like I'd hoped it would be.
Hell, after reading the blurb, that was the main reason that I requested it in the first place. ;- )
We first met 24 y.o. Tuck when his mother needed him to raid the castle's royal gardens for fresh flowers to help sell a dress to an upscale, influential customer. Don't ask, just roll with it. heh
Anywhooo, while attempting to "procure" said flowers, Tuck being the extremely-coordinated individual that he was (ahem, 'not'), he whacked his head while climbing the wall and woke up in a darkened room, where boots were being mysteriously pulled under the bed.
Meet Prince Frederick, the grown-ass man hiding under the bed.
At age 16, the prince had been a bit of a whinging, self-absorbed twat, unhappy with his appearance and, apparently, bemoaning the fact to anyone within earshot. Ad nauseam.
Ever heard the phrase, "If you want to cry, I'll give you something to cry about" from your parents?
Yeah, well, this was sort of like that. Except, with a witch. One who cursed the prince with green, reptilian skin to go with his side of envy over other people's looks.
Fast forward to ten years later and Prince Frederick hasn't been seen since, too afraid of anyone seeing him, other than the few people who sealed themselves away with the prince in the castle. Where Frederick just found himself hiding. Under a bed. Covertly trying to grab his footwear.
I don't want to give too much away, but the story had a somewhat fast build-up of feelings, as Tuck repeatedly visited "George" (aka, the prince), while never actually seeing him or discovering his true, royal identity.
The book had a lot of oddball humor, which I thoroughly enjoyed, much like I did in Loveless' "Ethan, Who Loved Carter", but it never went too over-the-top for my tastes.
My favorite funny moment was when, after the 'conventional' way to break the curse didn't work, 'other' methods were suggested by the previously-prim and proper Lord Todd.
“Maybe you’re supposed to fuck,” Todd said.Yeah, I may have spat some coffee and snorted when reading that.
“What?” Tuck asked. Frederick made a choked sound.
“These are modern times. Maybe kissing isn’t enough anymore.”
“Are you suggesting we engage in intercourse?” Frederick sounded more than mildly interested.
I also correctly guessed at that point, before Tuck had sexed Frederick up, precisely what would break the the prince's green-skinned curse. (Yes, his weenis was green, too, as I know you were dying to ask.) :- P
In regards to angst, that mostly stuck with Frederick's insecurities about being a monster, and Tuck trying to convince him that beauty was only skin deep and didn't really matter.
There was a wee bit of steam, but nothing really of consequence, which I thought was fine. I don't really remember Loveless' other works that I've read being super-sexy, either.
The thing that had me entirely confused at first was the setting. At first, I'd assumed that the story was set back hundreds of years ago. Then suddenly there were smart phones, dishwashers and Twitter, but curses also seemed to be common and there were no mentions of cars, which I thought odd.
Yes, the world building could've been much more spelled out on-page, and I would've loved a 200+ page story to really let the author work her previous magic.
However, the rest of the story was precisely what I'd hoped it would be, so I'd happily rate this fairy tale-feeling novella at around 4.25 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for something a little off the beam from your typical M/M stories.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.
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