Hot Off the Presses scours the internet for newly published debut books from unknown authors, and saves everyone else the trouble of actually reading books to find out if they’re good or not. New posts every Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday? This is meant for entertainment purposes only, not serious consumer advice. And there will be spoilers.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a pretty little princess who wanted nothing more than the overbearing, possessive kindness that only four dudes at once can provide. Their Precious Princess is a (deep breath) polyamorous daddy dom age play erotic thriller, in which the classic romcom dilemma of too many boys becomes an asset.
Clara’s abusive husband Jasper leaves her, then her abusive mother leaves her by dying of cancer. After caring for her mother and having no one and nothing left in her life, Clara runs into an old friend at the funeral. Emmett lived across the street, with his step brothers Jacques, Fitz, and Liam, but they faded from her life after her marriage to Jasper. The boys are back in town to “claim what is theirs.” Emmett is the alpha, although we don’t use that term because this book is written in a universe where Omegaverse fiction also exists. We know this about him because he is enormous, and has a beard, though personally I consider beards to be the padded bras of masculinity. Liam is the softboy, and Fitz is the short, spunky one with a chip on his shoulder. Jacques is… also there, I guess. Clara has missed her favorite boys so much that when they return to her life, she faints. I think. I can’t keep track of how many times this woman loses consciousness. It’s like every chapter opens with her waking up in a bed trying to remember how she got there.
She wakes up this time and Fitz is feeding her, hopefully some iron supplements or something, while Clara treats us to a flashback of how things went down with Jasper. At some point in their young adulthood the five protagonists proclaimed their love for one another, because Leslie Ayla does not waste any time. Now stay with me, because this next part is a little much. Jasper chose this moment to do what Tutar Sagdiyev would call a “sex attack” to her. You’ve experienced a romcom before, so you know this means two things. One, Clara feels guilt that’s never fully interrogated as far as I could tell, and two, the Brothers Fuckamazov arrived just in time to witness what they assume to be a last-minute betrayal. Yeah, not the best trope to pull out of the bargain bin. Whatever happened to rattlesnake bites? Remember when it was routine for a major subplot to revolve around a rattlesnake bite? You could do a lot with that in a MMMMF age play romance.
Once she got the preliminaries out of the way, Clara gets down to business; she falls asleep, and wakes up in the next scene, where two of her new dad-brothers boarding the beef bus in the spare bedroom. Thus begins the long process of turning this poly-cute into a bone-fest. Along the way we have a shadowy crime lord, the return of Jasper, an abduction, a pet kitten, and an extended sequence in which Clara’s boys explain the house rules and corresponding punishments (to answer your question, yes, there will obviously be spanking). Ultimately there is an armed showdown, because lately all my dark romance TBRs feature protagonists waving guns around like batons at a parade. But all that is just a scaffolding to hang loving descriptions of five people boinking each other on a pile pile of teddy bears off of.
That’s what everyone is here for; how good are the sexy bits? As I’ve pointed out before, this is what makes or breaks this sort of story. I can’t begin to communicate how unqualified I am to try and explain what makes sex writing good or bad. I have less authority on that point than Jackie Weaver. So you’re just going to have to take my word for it that they slap. I mean, literally there is slapping, but you know what I’m trying to say. It got to the point that I had to stop reading this book in public, because the paranoia-center of my brain (a.k.a the gray, wrinkly part) came up with this cool new idea that what if I’m sweating or blushing or otherwise drawing attention to myself while reading my Kindle, and people start staring at me, wondering what kind of disease I have, figuring out that it’s a smutty book, and concluding that it’s Thomas the Tank Engine slash fiction and I just got to the knotting scene. And then I have to leave the country, and change my name, and that’s a hassle. Point is, Leslie Ayla knows how to make a hot scene sizzle.
We’ve got a couple of fetishes glommed together like some sort of sex chocolate in some sort of sex peanut butter. There’s the… what do we call this, reverse harem? That seems a little condescending, like calling women in medicine “reverse doctors.” Maybe “Xsome?” Basically, we get the whole boy band, so we don’t have to pick one, and then have buyer’s remorse when we realize the one we picked is the producer plant who’s secretly 35, and it’s too late to swap because your friends are all pretending to date the rest of the band. Look, growing up in the 90s was complicated. For Clara, though, it’s simple. Need someone to give you an Abigail’s Promise, but you’re interested in giving someone a Colorado Sleeper Car at the same time? No worries! With four boys, you can get stuffed, and have dicks left over to put on a big, bouncy, bi show for your entertainment.
The other angle is maybe a little more complicated, and that’s the little fetish. This is where I surprise my audience by forgoing my usual procedure of treating the fetishes in this book like the pages are radioactive. No, I’m not into DD/lg, calm down, perverts. I’m just saying, in this book the little fetish is baked pretty deeply into every aspect, so it’s more of a literary element. Everyone, the people, the animals, the spoons, everyone, is bigger than Clara. She is surrounded by stuffed animals and people who decide whether her life is full of pain or happiness. The deference she shows her childhood friends qua sex partners transitions seamlessly from the raunchy scenes to the boring ones. She spends so much time reminding us how exhausted she is after dedicating much of her life to taking care of others, that the opportunity to abdicate responsibility over her own life is presented as a satisfying catharsis. It’s like getting the girl after slaying the dragon, except the girl is four dudes who make you sit in timeout when you don’t swallow. Remember when I mention Omegaverse? So, in this story, one character reads an Omegaverse story to another character, and everyone acts like it’s totally normal. It’s like someone in a zombie movie watching a zombie movie.
You can probably guess if this witch’s brew of kinks is your cup of… witch’s tea. The execution shows the author’s priorities: get to the part where two to six people are churning butter the hard way, and put all your energy into that scene. Don’t think too hard about it, don’t fuss and fret over plot details. Just get to the point. If you’re into this sort of thing, Their Precious Princess is probably the best you’re going to get for a while. It’s three dollars on Kindle, the standard price for newbie self-published authors. Since this one came out in March, Leslie Ayla has published another reverse harem novel, and upped the price to six dollars. You can’t see it, but I am slowly nodding my head with tremendous respect right now.
Theoretically, a “reverse harem” should be a bunch of eunuchs guarded by a slut.Tweet