Reviewed by Tori
“You’re Bill Nye-ing my sex rig.”
“I work in construction! Wood’s my thing!”
“Well, it’s my thing, too, but I’m not sure we’re having the same conversation anymore.”
Socialite Madeline (Maddy) Roussoux seems to have it all. More money, fame, and fortune than one person could possibly desire but no one, besides maybe her ex-husband, knows the extent of the pain she carries inside her. Since her father’s suicide to her mother’s breakdown when she was a teenager, Maddy has attempted to drink, drug, party, and sex her way to oblivion but nothing can chase away the pain forever and soon it returns with a vengeance. When her ex-husband finds love again with someone else, Maddy feels the loss deep in her soul. She knows she needs a change.
Enter Darren Sanders.
Darren Sanders is a gorgeous Texan with a huge heart, a never-ending smile, and a penchant for terrible jokes. The proverbial white knight, he loves life and woman though he has a tendency to pick the wrong ones. Hence his ex who’s stalking him. When she hires someone to try and kill him, he suddenly finds himself on a yacht headed to New Orleans with the infamous Madeline Roussoux herself. Having only read about her in magazines, he is shocked by just how much he wants her and just how far he’s willing to go to keep her.
First off, I didn’t read book one but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of this story in any form or fashion. Though the characters from book one pop in and out, this book stands well on its own.
The Queen of Dauphine Street is a fast, funny, and outrageously kinky romantic comedy that entertained me from the beginning to the very end. My first time reading de Salle, I adore this writing duo’s energetic and eccentric characters who say and do what they want. There is a refreshing sense of honesty to the narrative and sex that I appreciated. This couple isn’t made to jump through hurdles in order to prove their attraction worthy to readers-no relationship games, no elaborate set-ups, no excessive baggage to work through. The act of having sex isn’t used as a cure-all or a plotline.
The Queen of Dauphine Street is Maddy’s story who we first met in The King of Bourbon Street. Maddy is Sol Dumont’s ex-wife. Openly pansexual, loud, opinionated, and extremely kinky with a penchant for power topping, Maddy sticks to one night stands and her many, many toys for sexual gratification. Thea de Salle gives readers a taste of just how rich Maddy is with their outrageous and lush descriptions of her lifestyle. She travels on a luxury yacht that not only houses her pet Bengal tiger, Capulet, but also an extraordinary and quite extensive dildo collection. Private secretaries, lawyers, personal assistants, multiple chefs, etc…are all a part of her life and she literally can’t seem to function without them.
“I’m such an asshole. A loveable asshole, according to her best friend, Tempy, but an asshole all the same.”
Yet, she isn’t a useless trust fund baby with no direction in life. She picked up the reins of the company her father built after he committed suicide and her mother had a nervous breakdown, further building on his ideas and their wealth.
Darren, our ginger hero, is Maddy’s complete opposite with his serial monogamy and need to save the world one broken spirit at a time. The product of a single mom whose father abandoned them, he worked hard and this former stripper now owns a construction company. He’s comfortable but definitely not in Maddy’s league. Darren is a pretty simple guy who just wants to find the perfect woman, get married, have a few kids, and be happy. Yet, despite his and Maddy’s obviously differences, this couple is remarkably alike. Both suffer from PTSD and use humor as a way to mask their pain. Both are sexually adventurous though Maddy understands right off the bat, Darren is not a man to be topped unless he wants to be topped.
The part of her that liked to play games-the power play, the top to the bottom, and you’d better behave -was intrigued by the prospect of taking him on as a fuckpet. The realist said he’d have to give himself over to it completely and utterly or his size could skew the dynamic. It’s hard to manhandle someone who could throw you across the room like a javelin is he so choose.
A majority of the story takes place on Maddy’s yacht. While the blurb is what captured my attention-a female stalker and a male domestic abuse victim-that is really only a small aspect of the storyline. The romance holds the spotlight and for all the raunchy laugh out loud sexual innuendos and acts, the actual romance moves pretty slow. de Salle uses the yacht to give them time to get to know one another in a neutral setting. A place where there is no need for Maddy to toss on one of her many public personas and Darren doesn’t have to keep looking over his shoulder. The comedic narrative is well established but de Salle also draws out this couples’ intelligence, wit, and compassion. Maddy takes Darren pain to heart and goes all ‘mama bear’ on him as she finds herself in the position to be someone’s savior.
“I like you Darren. You’re a beautiful person inside and out. If you wanted to stay awhile, I’d be glad for it.”
This couple has mad chemistry. It had my kindle smoking and me laughing. They click instantly upon meeting and their attraction only increases the more time they spend together. Darren sees Maddy, every inch of her, and doesn’t want her to change. Maddy doesn’t need saving in any way, allowing Darren to finally have a relationship with a woman as equals. And they are so much fun. I love a couple that laughs and enjoys their time together in and out of the bedroom. I love their conversations about consent, limits, and playtime. It’s so organic and easy flowing.
“-you’re obviously not interested in sub play.Or, um, being a bottom, but I want to know to what extent.” She paused, “I’m just trying to see where your boundaries are. Do you mean I shouldn’t get on top ever, or-”
“No butt stuff, “ he said immediately.
“Okay?”“I mean, your butt is your business. If you want stuff in your butt, I am there. Lets pound Butt Town. Two thumbs way up, way up-and you can take that however you wish.”
She started laughing, because how could she not, and he joined her but when they quieted down, he continued. “Just stay away from my butt and that’s about it.”
“Light bondgae to start? Not now, we’ll work up to that. No humiliation play. Nothing like earlier with the leash. Just, maybe. Some tethering you to the bedposts and having my wicked way with you, for example?”
We get plenty of amusing cameos from previous characters-Sol, Rain, Alex-while getting to know Maddy’s personal crew. I love love love Maddy’s full-time assistant, Patrice. She puts up with a lot and cracks the whip to keep Maddy on track and in line. If I’m honest, for all the fun I had reading, there were some minor aspects didn’t work for me. The weight shaming for one. Rain, Sol’s fiancee, is referred to as roly-poly, a cream puff, and my favorite (insert sarcasm) when Darren meets her and refers to her as two basketballs stacked on top one another with a belt in the middle. The words wet and squish and squelch are used far too much. Those are the words de Salle uses to describe every sex act committed. Maddy is always wet and everything squelches and squishes. I also had issues wrapping my head around a pet tiger and the fact Maddy sleeps with it in her bed. *shaking my head no*
Thea de Salle creates a cast of characters whose broad sexuality and interests are written mainstream and not as novelty or plotline. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Queen of Dauphine Street and look forward to reading the next in the series, The Lady of Royale Street, which is Alex DuMont’s book and slated to release August 21, 2017.