Holly Brewner knew she had a problem with Christmas Eve, but she thought her way of celebrating was better anyway. Twelve days of gifts and on Christmas Day, the big one. Her father and she had celebrated every year like this, but this year was going to be different. This year she had a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, who happened to be dragons, and that changed all her plans.
Upon their arrival, her house burned down, she was shot at, and now she was staying in a cave for two days as if that were normal. On top of that, her two stepbrothers, Darius and Malcolm Longfellow, were claiming they were her mates and that they were going to marry her on Christmas Eve.
Warnings: incest, dubcon, violence
Her Stepbrothers are Dragons is a short erotic novel featuring shapeshifting dragon men, fated mating bonds, and whirlwind action adventure and magic. It hits a whole host of kinks, including the titular incest-adjacent nature of step-sibling romance tropes. It also takes place around Christmas, so it could kind of be considered a holiday title.
Unfortunately, this is not written very well. The prose is quick and to the point, the events come at a nonstop pace without any narrative breathing, and the dialog is terribly stilted and forced. The whole thing is awkward, from the weird plot that involves immortal dragon shapeshifters from another planet that can change humans into dragons and also have biologically imprinted fated mating bonds, to the short, matter-of-fact way the two men approach wooing their new step-sister (showing up on her doorstep and saying “hi, nice to meet you, you’re going to be our lover now”) or the weird way Holly decides to initiate her own contact with her new step-brothers (sending them poop in the mail???). The bright side however, is that this was so over the stop strange and bad, that it wound back around to entertaining.
There is no emotional engagement here at all. Don’t go looking for any, you won’t find it. The characters aren’t just boring cardboard cut-outs, they actively make no sense as organic beings. Their motivations are absent, there’s no emotions to delve into, they don’t even talk like anyone would talk. It reads like a robot’s idea of how potential lovers might interact- a robot who knows humans exist but has never met one before. This honestly can be a bit frustrating to read, and the dialog certainly doesn’t help, but if you just embrace it it manages to not be a terrible time, as it can also be quite amusing.
The most interesting part of this whole thing is, of course, the worldbuilding. And by interesting I of course mean that it is absolutely no holds barred wild. Dragons are immortal shapeshifting aliens from another planet, they wait centuries for their fated mates to appear, they share mates between siblings, they can change humans into dragon aliens like themselves, and they have complicated political structures and factions. It’s a lot to take in, and while it isn’t explored well exactly, it is at the very least the most interesting thing about the book and the bulk of what makes it as entertaining as it is.
And of course, the main point of any erotic novel: is it hot? Well… no, but it sure tries hard to be hot and effort goes a long way with this kind of thing. I did appreciate the full on catering to a female fantasy; two hot, hunky men who are absolutely devoted to the lead, willing to sacrifice anything to keep her safe, and are biologically incapable of leaving her side. Add in some incest kink as a bonus, and it’s not like it’s not a steamy concept. The prose during the sex is about on par with the prose during the rest of it; awkward and forced. It’s also a bit of a slow burn to get to it, since the action and drama gets in the way for a while of the trio having the chance to get to know each other, and Holly insists she doesn’t want to have sex right away.
If you want something absolutely outrageously silly to read over the winter months, this is a good pick. If you’re looking for something well written with any amount of substance, perhaps not so much. I think I would have been able to enjoy the ridiculous premise, which I really do like, a bit more if the dialog had felt more natural, but all in all, not a bad way to spend a couple of bucks.
Have you read Her Stepbrothers are Dragons? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!