My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 Stars especially for that realistic ending!
Stung was set in a Victorian Dystopia world whereby a zombie plague has created an oppressed society struggling to co-exist with the undead. This story is actually part of the Zombie Gentlemen series by K.A. Merikan which consist of a pair of talented authors, Kat and Agnes Merikan. Eventhough I have yet to read the rest of the series, I did not encounter any problem following this standalone story.
Basically Stung was about Victor a pretty boy from the city latching on to Crunch a sting operative tough guy who was masquerading as a guard at a mob ran prison camp where Victor was wrongfully incarcerated due to a flash of his own stupidity. Crunch was there to carry out out a dangerous secret mission to liberate the abused captives from the camp which was actually a large farm where prisoners were forced to perform hard labour. The prisoners were cruelly worked till they wither away. Needless to say the environment was a harsh one. Best pray for a short life than to struggle each day at Honeyhill farm. Victor is smart enough to know he wouldn't survive a day without a protector.
Luckily for us and Victor himself that he isn't some air-head people might think he is due to his outward appearance. He may look like a delicate flower, beautiful, all helpless and clueless, yet he is about to prove to everyone he isn't all that simple. He is to me, quite like the alluring Venus Flytrap; unsuspecting victims would find themselves lured in by its compelling scent and once ensnared it's a road of no return. Even so, it is a road willingly traveled by Crunch to partake in the comely sweetness of this little lost lamb who had so brazenly sought him as an anchor with his honeyed lips and delectable body. Make no mistakes, this lamb bites deep and would trample bad guys mercilessly when provoked. Have no fear though because kisses and cuddles are lavished upon his saviour and protector. When Victor is sweet, he has a cat-like demeanor; he will be all affectionate, snuggly, and would sniff Crunch all over stealing his manly scents for comfort. I do suspect he has a scent fetish.
“But you wouldn’t ‘crunch’ my bones, would you?” muttered Victor, pressing a soft kiss to the underside of his jaw. Accompanying it were a quiet sound and a rush of air. Victor was sniffing him. For a moment, Crunch felt self conscious, but since Victor wasn’t moving away, it had to be a pleasant scent for him.
So what about the sex then?
I'll say it was nicely done. It was sexy and exciting and I am glad it wasn't overly done unlike many other books of this genre which tends to fail on finding the right balance between the sex and the story. There's a touch of light manhandling during the sexy times that I quite enjoy in my books. Apart from that, the romance was also very realistic. I totally buy it. What they had is a slow burn kind of romance.
I wish to share here a sample of their flirty banter...
“What is it, Mr. Crunch?” Victor bit his lip, slowly rubbing his calf over Crunch’s knee.
Crunch pulled down his trousers and finally set his cock free. It was dying to get between Victor’s juicy lips. “Ya ready for dessert?” he grunted, slouching over the other man.
“I thought I just ate some cake and fruit.” Victor's face was tense with attempts to stop a smile, but it wasn't working and soon, he was beaming in the semi-darkness.
“Now ya gonna get some cream,” Crunch panted and kneeled closer above Victor’s face. His stiff prick looked like it belonged there.
Victor exhaled, licking his lips with eyes focused on the cock that was now inches above him. Slowly, he spread his arms, revealing his full naked glory. With his legs slightly bent at the knees, his stomach trembling with each breath, he looked like a human sacrifice, one that Crunch was willing to devour.
They both flirts with each other a-lot. And I liked it very much. It's fun to read and lightens up the atmosphere.
And hey! what about those bees and the zombays?
No worries there, we certainly get a steady feed on the insects and the rotters - it was aptly peppered along the story as we read on. They even get to play more in the main parts of the story especially at the ending. All I could say was Victor was ever so glad for their assistance.
The morbid ones would be happy to know that they wouldn't be missing out on zombay nom-nommy scenes. It was very nicely done, I didn't even have any urge to spray-paint my stomach content on my desk. Truthfully Stung did have some icky parts but it wasn't over the top kind.
The unique 'gardening' everyone mentioned in their review reminds me much of...
The next questions is: Will this story be alright for those faint-hearted? My answer is... GO FOR IT! Even a chicken-shit like me could survive this book without a scratch. Frankly, due to the cover, the blurb, the reviews and my past experience with Playing with Food, a bizarre and morbid book by the these two brilliant authors, I had mentally prepared myself for some sort of fright affair with this book. I really can't do gore very well so I was quite apprehensive initially to read it. But that beautiful and hyper erotic cover was screaming at me to read it. I knew I just had to, and I am glad I did. So no regrets whatsoever. It has been a wonderful experience.
Lastly, I must applaud the authors for an ending that stays true with the story and its characters. I was surprised the ending has taken such an unexpected twist than what I have imagined it would be... you know those skull numbing, boring, formulaic forced HEAs? I thought it would focus on...
Author: K.A. Merikan
Publication Date: October 28th, 2013
Type: Novel, 50,000 words (approximate)
Genre: Dystopian homoerotic thriller, M/M, Gay, Erotica, Consensual, Romance
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--- If you want honey, prepare to get stung. ---
October 1907, Honeyhill
Twenty years into the zombie Plague
Victor is a man of delicate sensibilities, not fit to do backbreaking labour on a farm ran by the mob. Upon arrival in Honeyhill, he decides he needs an anchor, an alliance with one of the guards, if he wants to survive. That anchor comes in the form of Crunch, a hunky ex-sailor with a pair of tight leather trousers and a ruggedly handsome face.
But from day one, Victor knows he won’t last long with the hard physical work assigned to him and the torment he suffers at the hands of a sadistic guard. He needs to run, and his new alliance might prove to be a burden instead of solace.
If Crunch wants Honeyhill liberated, he needs to focus on his job, not on protecting Victor, one of many new arrivals on the farm. Distraction is the last thing he needs after months of undercover work. But it’s hard not to get seduced by Victor's big brown eyes and fingertips that don’t know work. Hundreds of people depend on Crunch keeping his identity a secret, revealing it could be fatal for both him and Victor, and a failure of his mission. Thankfully, Victor would never be dumb enough to try and escape through a forest that's swarming with zombies. Would he?
“Stung” is a standalone book and a part of the “Zombie Gentlemen” universe.
Themes (may contain SPOILERS): zombies, prisoner/guard, beekeeping, gore, deception, undercover agent, captivity, romance, brutality, forced labour camp, murder, farm, torment, forbidden romance, Victorian
Erotic content: explicit m/m sexual scenes (including dubious consent)
Genre: dystopian homoerotic thriller
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NOTE: This is an ARC extended to me by the author.
* Reviewed on December 3rd, 2013
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