I primarily read this book to get the backstory for Prince Pahndir from "Demon Fire", Book 3 in this series. Although he was only in the beginning and end of this book, he was still my favorite character.
In this demon world, a yama/demon will know it has found it's mate when his eyes go black with lust. Displays of emotion are looked down upon. Royals are under extreme pressure to keep the blood lines pure and not mix with any humans, or yama of a lower class. When young Xishi gets around her playment Price Corum (Prince of Ice), his eyes go black. It's not longer before his nanny and mother notice, so Xishi is sent away to an orphanage where she is ostrazied. There's something special about Xishi's energy and aura that brings about emotional reactions, so other children keep their distance. Fortunately, this is just what Madame Fagin needs in her next prostitute-in-training/pillow girl/courtesan.
Madame Fagin signs up Xishi to receive training in her exclusive Purple Crane Pillow House - a training ground for young men and women, and a favored choice for royals looking for some side action. Unfortunately for yama, a mate match doesn't necessarily mean a love match - so pillow girls and boys are acceptable and the norm in royal relationships. There, Xishi meets yummy Prince Pahndir, who is a forced prisoner and training subject used by Madame Fagin. His mate is dead, his family has let everything think he's dead, and he's being sexually tortured by Madame Fagin's students! Even Prince Pahndir can't resist Xishi's chi, and she treats him with kindness, so a friendly slighlty erotic relationship ensues.
Xishi and Prince Corum reconnect after years apart when he pays a visit to the Pillow House and purchases Xishi. The young lovers face many obstacles - Prince is torn and slightly ashamed about his strong feelings for Xishi, who he thinks is just a pillow girl (she's got some secrets even SHE doesn't know about), he's jealous about Xishi's past relationship with Prince Pahndir and current fixation with getting him free from Madame Fagin's grip, and there are royals plotting to kill them!
I enjoyed this, but I did get distracted and read a few books while in progress with it. I think I'll like Demon Fire even better since it's all about Prince Pahndir :)