Friday, April 12, 2013

Spanking Stories Book Club---Rules of War

Interesting discussion last week about our favorite genres. But now it's time to get serious and talk about Rules of War by Sue Lyndon

Years ago, I loved reading Harlequin Romances and one of my favorite plots was the forced marriage. (NOT forced sex!)

In Rules of War, which is far from a Harlequin Romance, there's also a forced marriage and that made me ponder, as I am quite the ponderer, what it is about this particular plot device that appeals to me. 

First of all, the man has to worthy, so if it's a forced marriage but we know, at least subliminally, that he's really the man she's supposed to be with, then I can just buckle up for the fun. 

Second, it's a great way to force the two of them together and it creates conflict. The woman always acts like she doesn't want to marry the guy, and at the time, she probably doesn't, but over time we can see that change. 

And then there's the sex part. In Rules of War, Emma had the conflict that arises from being forced to marry a man who pulled her out of the rubble of her building which was then heightened exponentially by the fact that the world as she knew it was gone. Her new husband is also her captor but also her protector. And, possibly the enemy. 

Imagine being Emma when she wakes up and finds herself, in her nightgown no less, in the back of a truck with soldiers, enemy soldiers. What a terrifying and vulnerable situation. Now, if John had said "I'm claiming you because we need to create a new society," that would have seemed rather mercenary and caveman-like, but with the marriage it seems more like a commitment, even if they don't know each other. Did anyone else feel that way? 

Emma is, rightfully, defiant and resistant, but oh, what fun it is when she stops resisting quite so much. 

Ohhh. What good stuff. 

What about you? What do you think of the forced marriage scenario? It's tried and true but it still works for me. 


  1. In a story it works for me. There have always been forced marriages and in times past and they seem to have worked, at least that's what we assume because there wasn't much choice. But in a story, as long as the man is a "real" man and not a jerk and he cares for his "wife" it can work. The sexual tension as they learn to care for each other, or at least come together physically is very "hot".

    1. Thanks Sunnygirl. I agree, the guy has to be a good hero and not a jerk.

      You make a good point about the sexual tension because if they are married, everyone knows that eventually there will be sex, it's just a matter of when. In other scenarios where people are forced together (stranded on a deserted island, for example) sex could happen, but it's not a given, so the forced marriage adds that extra element.

  2. I have always liked that scenario, forced marriage makes us look at relationships in a little different way.

    1. True. Usually after a wedding scene you expect both parties to be happy and excited, but in the forced marriage, that's not always the case, so it adds to the conflict and tension.

      Thanks for stopping by Kate!

  3. I agree with sunnygirl and Kate.
    I like the forced marriage concept. As long as it is done with respect.

    I don't like the concept of a father marrying his daughter to a rude overbearing man who views her as property. This just turns me off.

    But the thought of a male promising to care for his wife forever, done in a respectful manner, turns me on.
    Especially if he administers a few swats here and there :)

    Nice post, Celeste.

  4. I love forced marriage plots! Really, I can't get enough of them. I'm even cool with the hero being a little jerkish in the beginning (and I think it's HOT when he views the heroine was his property), as long as he is eventually redeemed, they fall in love, and get their HEA.

  5. I like the forced marriage plot in Rules of War. I think it contrasts nicely with Harlequin-style (particularly Regencies), where the forced marriage is to a jerk and the hero has to come rescue the heroine from this husband-bad-guy.

    In Rules of War, it works because John tries to sooth Emma when she wakes in the truck. He doesn't take advantage of her, though he is obviously capable of it. He's honest with her upfront. He has a believable goal and reason to have Emma, and honors her and his people by marrying her. He's definitely a good guy.

  6. I love reading about forced matings/ marriages.

    In this book though I felt as if -despite it being forced- there was some relief for Emma knowing John was now going to take care of her in this scary, unknown new world. The opening of the book sets the stage for seeing that though resourceful, Emma knows it's only a matter of time before she can't stay locked away in her apartment and she's becoming increasingly frightened. John forcing the marriage issue took some responsibility off of Emma.

    Or I could just be projecting my submissive personality onto her... lol. ;)

  7. The forced marriage scenario is a variety of the plot device in which a man and a woman who are strangers are thrown together and must cope with their differences in attitudes, habits, and personalities. In historical settings it works even better because many marriages were arrangements between families for financial or political purposes. So much the better if it happens in a time of conflict, like rebellion or war because then it seems there are endless possibilities for the essential male/female conflict that drives the story. In a spanking romance you need conflict, perhaps more than in a conventional romance. Conflict creates the opportunity to create the hot sexy scenes that we all love, and, have them be believable because the culture of the times permits it.

    I admit I have not read this yet, but I plan to. From what everyone else has said, my expectations are high.

  8. As a plot device, a forced marriage is only a little more extreme than a marriage of convenience. I love both tropes. Such potential for conflict. The no-no-yes-no-no.

  9. I really love a good forced marriage in a romance. The wartime forced marriage especially appeals to me for some reason. I agree it creates yummy conflict and the sexual tension that goes along with it is especially appealing. I think the ownership factor kind of goes with it and when done in the right way is so hot to me. This story was especially well done. You could see that it was for the heroine's own good. John was that perfect mix of knight in shining armor, sexy dominant, and no nonsense disciplinarian.


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