Content warnings: Mentions of kidnapping and sexual assault, shady deals, physical assault, car collision.
My Rating: 5 books out of 5
- My childhood crush on Meg from Hercules lives on
- Especially when she’s getting it on with other ladies
- Or even dudes
- Polyamory negotiations!
- Can ‘Katee Robert wrote it’ be a highlight? Yes it can.
- Makes you kind of high-key want to work in a high class sex club?
“First, you learn by watching. Then you learn by participating. You belong to me, and I won’t allow anyone else to hurt you.”
“Anyone else?” His voice had an edge of growl.
“I’m going to hurt you, little Hercules. And you’re going to enjoy every moment of it.”
I’m just going to say it I read the first one and I was impressed with pretty much everything except that one word – the D word, which I am slowly getting used to if I’m being honest – which wasn’t anything to do with the narrative structure or writing quality of the book and more my own personal preferences. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m English and the word Daddy is in higher innocent usage over here, who knows.
Anyway I had a point.
First book = okay this is a concept I can get behind.
Second book = I must immediately read everything Katee Robert has ever written oh look she has a Patreon, now I’m a patron.
Well that escalated quickly. In the best way – the way that results in broader access to sexy sexy romance novels. Which, it turns out, are what I need right now to survive in this dystopian hellscape.
Learn My Lesson is the second in Katee Robert’s Wicked Villains series and focuses on Hades and Meg, dysfunctional power couple and co-runners of the super exclusive sex club, The Underworld. Hades maintains a balance among the powerful and dangerous elite of Carver City by offering neutral territory – and making dangerous bargains. Megaera stands by his side as his equal. At least, she used to, before things between them began to fracture and silences grew too long to fill. No longer privy to Hades’s plans, Meg is still a willing participant in the games they play together even as it breaks her heart. When he sets her upon seducing Hercules, a waiter of seemingly no importance, she knows he’s not telling her everything even as she does precisely as he wants. Because Hercules is good, a shining example of submission and strength and maybe, just maybe, she wants it too. But as deals are made and lines are crossed the links between Hades, Hercules, Meg and the secrets none of them will speak become more tangible and more dangerous.
This book, for me, is subtitled ‘wasn’t expecting that threesome but honestly I’m not mad about it’. The thing I love most about the writing of this series is the complexity of the interpersonal relationships. Robert is fantastic at maintaining the individual personalities, experiences and thought processes of each character, as well as how each will view the same interaction or statement very differently. No character is two-dimensional, nobody purely a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ character.
I’m no expert on kink, let me put that out there now, but the way Katee uses it both as a form of sexual gratification for her characters and also as a way for them to communicate both with each other and with themselves about their needs, wants and fears in a controlled and safe space is just fantastic. Hades is a self-confessed bastard most of the time, but if Hercules or Meg use their safe word, he will stop. There is a clear distinction regarding power in and out of a scene, and a huge emphasis on consent even amongst the criminal elite. The Underworld is a neutral zone away from the highly political world of the various powers dividing the city. All of these people are powerful, but the idea of ‘power’ in this setting is unsettled. Jasmine, for example, is the leader of her own criminal faction with Jafar serving beneath her as her right hand. Enter The Underworld and Jasmine is the submissive to Jafar’s dom, flipping the visible idea of power on its head and reminding people around them and readers of the series that submission does not equal powerlessness and that your sexual preferences and interests in no way have to identically mirror your public life.
*Sex positive mic drop*
Outside of the subtext, they’re also just fantastically written sex scenes. Katee Robert is an absolute gift to the world of erotic fiction. Also, she perfectly tapped into the crush childhood me 100% had on Meg from Hercules.
I was very, very gay as a child it’s honestly amazing I made it to my teens before realisations occurred.
Honestly this book was just fantastic. We had enough references to Greek Myth that the mythology nerd in me was satisfied – I mean I love Hades and Persephone and obviously that isn’t a thing here, but Meg fills that role excellently and I know Katee is working on a Hades and Persephone inspired book so I am QUAKING with anticipation. In Learn my Lesson we had references to Leda, to the fact that many problems in Greek myth are the fault of Zeus banging anything with a pulse and just being allowed to do so…it’s not a straight myth-to-page adaptation, obviously, but there’s a depth added by these little references that just made my nerdy heart soar. It stepped away from the source material and set itself apart in the sexiest of ways.
Also just in case you are concerned, Hades and Hercules are not related. Don’t worry, Hercules doesn’t bang his Uncle. He bangs a sexy man who runs a sexy club with his sexy girlfriend who Hercules also bangs.
Overall this just took all the strengths from Desperate Measures and added even more. I loved the whole thing, I would honestly just read endless books about these people and their everyday lives. The next one is about Tink and honestly I cannot WAIT. I think my one negative thought about this story was that it all happens quite fast, but you know what? I enjoyed myself so damn much I don’t actually care. It’s still five stars from me. So there.
Now, on to the next one, because I have no self control and TINKERBELL.