If you have ever semi-guiltily read Laurel Hamilton's trashy elf sex novels, or managed the feat of reading John Norman's Gor books while simultaneously rolling your eyes, then today's lunchtime reading, "Under the Moons of Riadorf," will be the perfect diversion for you. Writing under the pen names Claire Rasmussen and Belle Heartley, the authors have created a loving parody of space opera romance about a firey princess who is plotting to overthrow the interstellar regime of the (hot) man she's forced to marry (and have a LOT of sex with). And the writing is hilarious — one of the authors, under her real name, just got a giant book deal with Little, Brown to write a YA novel. Check out some of the first chapter below.
I love how "Rasmussen and Heartley" manage to evoke and satirize the whole forced marriage plot here:
Andrinara knew that her marriage to Crown Prince Alistair would not forestall the conquest of her beloved planet, Neridan, for long. Emperor Jakrung clearly intended to bring Neridan into his empire, and had simply chosen her marriage to his only surviving son as the most expedient method. But Andrinara would not give up her planet without a fight! Yes, she would go docilely to the altar, and yes, she would seem to perform her duties as a wife to the Crown Prince, but when the time was right...!
She had more than enough of the oki venom to dispose of two men. And as an Empress, she could protect not only her beloved Neridan, but all of the many other planets that had fallen under the despotic rule of the rapacious and cruel Jakrung of the House of Dorg . . .
Andrinara, for her part, was calm. She tuned out much of the ceremony, and used the time to study her soon-to-be husband, finding little fault with what she saw, though she tried. Crown Prince Alistair was tall and well-proportioned, with broad shoulders that tapered to narrow hips, and the outlines of his lean muscles were visible even through the heavy cloth of his ceremonial tunic. His eyes were a piercing blue, and his aquiline nose was set above full, sensuous lips. His golden hair curled slightly, and brushed the collar of his tunic, making a soft contrast to his firm jaw. Andrinara observed that the tawny skin of his hand made a pleasing contrast against her own pale fingers, bound to his now by the golden rope of matrimony.
The Crown Prince obviously took after his mother, a common woman who had been the Emperor's fourth wife, prized for her beauty even though her lineage was of no account. Jakrung himself, squat and as well-favored as a gargoyle, had little in common with his golden son, Andrinara thought. Despite herself, she felt a stirring of attraction to the handsome man who would be her husband.
Crown Prince Alistair felt something similar, if the hungry look in his eyes when Andrinara pushed back her triple veils was any indication. He clasped her hands warmly, and leaned forward to give his bride the customary kiss with an unexpected heat that made Andrinara blush. Emperor Jakrung chuckled at her discomfiture, and she pressed her lips together in annoyance before remembering the role she must play.
Yes, it just gets better from there.