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The Queen of Dauphine Street (NOLA Nights Book 2) Kindle Edition
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What intrigued me: I am obsessed with the book this is a companion novel to, THE KING OF BOURBON STREET.
Eccentricism and PTSD
Maddy is the most eccentric character I have ever read about. She has a pet tiger, a gigantic cruise ship, is openly pansexual, and has a room full of penis art. Having met her as Sol's ex-wife in THE KING OF BOURBON STREET, I was expecting a lot of kink and a lot of weirdness from her, and boy, I got it.
Surprisingly, THE QUEEN OF DAUPHINE STREET is a lot tamer than the first book in this series. Despite Maddy being vocal about her sex life and being a dom (though for Darren, she becomes the sub!), this book doesn't capitalize on the sex and the kink. There are very few sex scenes and this is very slow burn, a lot of time passes for Maddy and Darren to get acquainted and be comfortable with physical contact.
Here's the thing: I actually am really happy that De Salle took this approach. Both Maddy and Darren have PTSD. It makes sense for THE QUEEN OF DAUPHINE STREET to have these two take their time, especially because this book goes to such dark places, exploring both protagonists' PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and their stories in detail. De Salle again manages to have me glued to the pages, totally obsessed with watching her characters' relationship evolve and learning more about their past. And because this needs saying: none of the mental illnesses are cured when Darren and Maddy fall in love. This is not a love-cures-all narrative.
Maddy and Darren develop their relationship at a slow pace that feels right and that will actually force you to binge this one. You'll have to keep on reading if you want to get to the smutty parts, and trust me, once they come, they are as kinky as you'd expect them to be.
Dad Jokes and All the Feels
Darren is honestly such a surprise. I'm completely #TeamSol and forever will be, but Darren found his way into my heart silently, he snuck up on me with his terrible dad jokes (there are so many...) and his Texan charm. He's a major dork and I dearly grew fond of him. Even if you were a little skeptical in the beginning (like I was!) because he's this straighter-than-straight hunk of a guy (no shade, just isn't for me!). I was surprised that De Salle made me like a guy like that, by putting her own spin on the trope. I love Darren precisely because he doesn't take himself seriously and isn't a Grade A superman without flaws. I actually found myself liking him more and more the more time he spends with Maddy, which just speaks for De Salle's flawless ability to develop relationships that read organically and realistically.
All NOLA Nights books are so fantastically well-written and you'll grow so attached to the characters, all side characters really, and you'll need to read all other companion novels if you want more content featuring your favorites! Almost all characters from the previous companion novel make an appearance here and I suspect it'll be the same in the next one. I clung to the pages every time Sol and Rain appeared, the protagonists from THE KING OF BOURBON STREET, and I am sure any further appearances Maddy and Darren make in this series will have me gently sobbing, hoping there will be some more books starring them. Ah. I just love this series. If you want intersectional, a little kinky romance that has marginalized people in both main and side roles, this is a must-read.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
THE QUEEN OF DAUPHINE STREET mixes light BDSM with a really really nuanced portayal of a gentle romance betweeen two characters with PTSD. You don't have to read any of the other books to try out this one.
More romances about characters with mental illnesses, please. More slow burn. More Thea de Salle, please.
Trigger warnings: suicide, guns, shooting, PTSD, stalking, harassment, BDSM, panic attacks, anxiety, attempted murder
Although Madeline Roussoux is a name known by many people all over the world, she does not feel truly fortunate as most would assume because past tragedies still haunt her. She inherited much wealth from her entrepreneur father, and the social circles in which she runs contains the names of individuals the average person will never meet. Her life is filled with overindulgences that usually do not leave her totally satisfied, and while Maddy may appear to have it all, she actually feels vulnerable sometime and is often rather sad when alone.
A chance meeting in Dallas leads to a lively chat with Darren Sanders, an owner of a successful construction business. Shortly thereafter, his life is at risk and the person behind the threat cannot be found. To hopefully remain safe, Darren agrees to Maddy’s offer of staying on her boat as she travels from Texas to New Orleans. What they discover about each other brings them closer plus takes them to new heights of sexual gratification.
From the opening descriptive scene to the last delightful comment, THE QUEEN OF DAUPHINE STREET entertains constantly. When I started the book, I actually had to stop reading for a moment and let the visual sink in of what Maddy was doing. I knew she was someone who went after whatever she wanted, but was not expecting her provocative conduct to be displayed quite so quickly. Maddy definitely does not care what opinion others have of her, and she is going to do something if there is a desire for it. While she does have a wild side, there is also much more to her than what is shown to the world.
How Maddy and Darren respond to each other is unlike anyone before, and they bond more and more as time passes. They could become closer after a silly joke is delivered by him, and there are numerous ones all through the book that caused me to chuckle, or it might be when they share a fact about their past that is not normally told. A huge factor linking the couple is how their sexual escapades bring fulfilment and make them really happy. Thea de Salle does not withhold any details when Darren and Maddy are intimate, thus letting me experience their pleasure to the fullest. Previous characters show up in the story, and they are once again engaging and made me smile. Cannot wait for the rather stuffy Alex to tell his story.
I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher, and all comments are my honest opinion - 4.5 Stars
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