In a galaxy far, far away - suspenseful and erotic paranormal romance.
Vejhon, a colonel fighting invaders on his home planet, is ensnared by the enemy and sold to slave traders who take him to the other side of the galaxy. He ends up in a distant land where a feudal system rules and slavery is a way of life. Slaves are abused using technology and drugs. The bid for Vejhon is won by Najir, another slave who pays the highest amount ever paid for a slave in behalf of his mistress, Hanna Drakoulous. Najir buys Vejhon right before he gets sold to the evil Baron Majum, whose sadistic treatment nobody survives. This reignites the bloody feud going on between the Drakoulous and Majum houses for generations. Both Hanna Drakoulous and Baron Majum are the masters of their own houses and hold a seat at the legislature running the country. Baron Majum’s atrocities are suspected by his peers although they ignore his vicious nature. I hate him throughout the book, an unforgettable villain without doubt.
Hanna and Najir have plans for Vejhon, which from the start aren’t the traditional roles slaves perform in this state. Vejhon refuses to submit to his new way of life, and Hanna has to prove the benefits of being bought by her and his current reality. Slowly Hanna reveals she is more than a beautiful female whose blue skin is only the start. Later he will learn that even her sex is different from anything known to him.
Please note the words 'later' and 'sex' together in the previous sentence. It’s important in this book. Most erotic romances I’ve read include early sexual encounters between the main couple. Some even in the first chapter. In The Bid, there is no sexual intercourse between them until the second half of the book. There is explicit nudity on the first pages, and in the third chapter the sexual explicitness begins, but the author takes her time developing the characters, and the exotic world they inhabit. Which I appreciate. In their situation, it would have been awkward for Vejhon and Hanna to begin having wild sex from the first chapters. When they finally do it, it’s more like making love. The sex is very detailed and that’s why the book is shelved in erotic romance, but it’s not as frequent and gratuitous as we are used to with this sub-genre.
The beautiful cover isn’t totally accurate. The artist did a wonderful job, the characters are drawn nicely, but my guess it’s the book wasn’t read before it was painted. It portrays three main characters when in reality there are only two. These characters are Hanna, the heroine, Vejhon, the hero, and Najir, who are not, as the cover suggests, equal partners in the romance. There is no menage, there is not even a love triangle on the page at any time. Najir venerates Hanna, his master, and has an important secondary role in the story, nearly as important as Baron Majum, who is described as handsome too, luckily, he is not on the cover. Vejhon is 100% alpha, even as a slave, he shows his alpha attitude all the way. And Hanna would never allow this worshipped pose which, by the way, never happens during the narrative.
I wish I could tell you more without destroying the great efforts JAX took to keep the suspenseful plot going. I will not include spoilers because it was really exciting for me to keep turning pages trying to figure out the secrets Hanna and Najir are hiding. JAX brilliantly handles the suspense. I read The Bid past midnight, looking at the clock and thinking I should stop, because I must wake up early, but I had to read another page, or at least until I knew about the mystery of Hanna and Najir’s true plans for Vejhon.
The mystery is revealed by the second half of the book, and from there it is an action roller coaster until the last page. It’s full of details, which are welcome, to really engage the reader in the characters’ lives and struggles.
The Bid is an entertaining page turner, but it’s not an easy read as most erotic romance books usually are. JAX’s efforts to show this fantastic and distant world and its inhabitants pay off. The story is a sci fi action thriller with elements of urban fantasy. The paranormal is present in the form of shapeshifters. And I have a hunch it's the first of a series. I will be looking forward to more books from JAX. The words 'in a galaxy far, far away' just took on a new meaning.