Although this is a really short read, it answers all of the questions that were left after reading Bride Ball -- unfortunately, it also means that it's not as good of a stand-alone read. Not that Lyons's usual tight prose and steamy hot plot doesn't carry the story off well, as it does, but I suspect there would be a lack of the emotional satisfaction from seeing where the story all began, seeing all of the supporting characters in Bride Ball and figuring out where they're coming from, and frankly it's just a really short read.
Lyons really excels at packing maximum punch into her stories. Be it the characters, their fears, foibles, dreams, and desires to the world itself, the culture and the mores of the time -- every detail is lovingly crafted and no word goes wasted. I did wish that I could get a better idea of what the tech level was on this world, because it seemed that was never made clear with both swords and advanced medical technology thrown about with equal abandon. I also would have really liked to see a bit more of Alana and Benjamin's post-wedding marital problems, because those were so intriguingly hinted at in Bride Ball, yet between them being so quickly resolved in Bride Ball and the ecstatic lust consuming them in this book, I wanted to see another aspect of their marriage. Perhaps the underlying pathos and love that made their long marriage survive despite both partners suspecting the other of not being true in love.
Lyons remains one of my favorite authors and I will wait with bated breath for her to go back to writing novels. Short stories are all well and good and it's not as if she doesn't shine in them -- but it just doesn't soothe the itch the way a nice, fat novel does.