Featuring: Sierra, Dryston
Pub. Date: August 01, 2009
Ensnared in the war-torn, untamed Dark Ages of North England, Sierra understands all too well what it takes to survive: the ability to numb the soul. She has learned this lesson the hard way, watching her mother die at the hands of the king's henchmen, her brother cast out into the cold to perish, and discovering the treacherous, leering king holds a crucial secret about her past.
But when he grants Sierra her life, she discovers the pardon is perhaps worse than death. Sierra is made executioner's apprentice, forced to witness unspeakable suffering while encouraged to explore her own sexual power.
Brainwashed and exhausted, Sierra's heart slowly grows cold—until Dryston of Hereford is brought to the dungeon as traitor and spy. Using her sexual allure to extract the warrior's secrets, Sierra finds herself torn between duty and desire. Soon, Sierra is craving the only man who can help set her battered soul free and give her a chance for revenge….
Okay... Now for my review!
This is a very emotional book and my review has been very hard to write. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. The story is set in 500 a.d. I can not phantom how things were back then; not only life in general but for the people themselves… woman, man, or child. To have the world you live in, your home, your land, ripped apart due to war; enslaved to a ruthless ruler. What do you do when you find yourself lying with the enemy and you have no where to run? That is what life is like for Sierra.
The land she once knew is no more. The land of Brittania was conquered by the Saxons and their Lord (oh I would so love to call him names that I can not call him here for fear that my tongue would be cursed) has no mercy when it comes to the Britons. His rules are easy: do as I say or die. There is no gray areas in his world - only black and white. His way or no way. People lived in fear of what could happen to them, or their children, at the wrath of Lord Aeglech.
Sierra's mother, a druid, had the gift of sight. She aided the King of Saxon in seeing the past and the future. She passed this skill onto Sierra. Sierra also has a younger brother, he was her step-brother, but she loved him all the same. But her mother hid her young son, who was of cross blood, from the Lord and that was considered treason. Ordered to death by the King she served, Sierra witnessed her mother’s death. With only her brother left to protect, they were captured and turned over to the King. The only thing that protected them was their mother’s curse: “Let the dark curse of a thousand generations fall upon anyone who should cause harm to these children. The ancients-the gods and goddesses of earth, fire, water, and air-bless them. Whoever does them harm shall have his life and the lives of all his kin brutally taken.” (pg. 54)
Lord Aeglech wanted the son dead and did not care about Sierra. That is until he found out she carried the gift of sight like her mother. Then the gift of sight bound her to Lord Aeglech - King of Saxon as his slave.
You could say that the curse is what saved her and her brother, but saved them from what? What life was to become of her when her mother was dead and her brother was... well, she did not what become of her brother. So, this gift, what good was it if she could not escape the only hell she knew and protect her brother.
Since Sierra showed more fire and will than most of Lord Aeglech’s army, so he made her the apprentice of the executioner. She was literally surrounded by death at every turn of day. How does one’s soul live, how does one’s heart feel alive when surrounded by so much death? She put a wall up around herself and learned to block any emotion, any feelings, any anything out of her daily life. Sierra started this life at the young age of twelve. Can you imagine living this kind of life at twelve. Whew… Sierra is a woman of strong will and determination. She is like no woman I have ever read about before. The woman I see before me in this story truly inspires me. Her soul is very raw, she is honest to the core, courageous, and very independent.
Nine years later….
Still living her life as the apprentice of the executioner, Sierra is still living in hell. The wall she built nine years ago has completely barricaded her heart to any type of feeling or emotion. Now, I don’t want you think that she is total void of emotion. There is a young man, Cearl, who offers her a few moments of “companionship.” He is a helper in the kitchen and a maker of the drums for battle. Her meetings with him allow for the briefest moments of escape as she would call it. But if she was to feel anything deeper, it would not be with him.
The Saxon army has burned down many villages, destroyed many fields and basically, they have pissed off a lot of people. Some of those people are forming their own army against Lord Aeglech. He grows worried about rebellion from the surrounding people.
Upon destroying one village in particular, the army finds a gem in the dust. A Roman solider in a Celt village. They bring him back to Lord Aeglech for praise.
Upon entering Lord Aeglech’s world, Dryston (the Roman solider) soon learns first hand the evilness he faces. With the worry of rebellion, Lord Aeglech wants all the information that Dryston holds. He course of action: allow Balrogan, the executioner, to torture him until he caves or dies. But death would prove unfruitful for the solider because Lord Aeglech could not extract information out of him. So, the next step when Balrogan fails… send in the apprentice.
Lord Aeglech wants Sierra to use her gift of sight on Dryston to retrieve any information she can. When she is called on to use her gift of sight on Dryston, she gets more than she bargains for. For the memory in his mind is the last night before he entered Lord Aeglech’s world… it was a night of passionate love making and when he realizes what Sierra is seeing, he recalls that memory to the full height of that night. Realizing what she is seeing, something primitive stirs in Sierra, something deep within her. Something she thought she was dead and buried.
He offers her a chance to break free of the prison she lived in. If they can form a bond together… then together they can break free…
I have given you the beginning… now for a glimpse of the ending… The next part of this tale is about two people depending on each other for support, for life and hopefully for love.
This book is simply amazing. You will feel things you probably have not felt in a while. Sierra has to re-learn how to trust, how to open herself up, how to love, how to feel… all over again. Ms. McIntyre’s story telling is breathtaking! The words, the flow, the feelings… She puts you right in the story. I felt all of Sierra’s heart ache, I felt all of her pain and her passion. The way she puts the story together… is astounding! I even had to re-read it for “research” purpose! The characters, the plot, the story telling… all seemed very real, very raw and very genuine to me. Sit back and you can really picture this happening. And that is the job of am amazing author, to make me feel like I am there. And believe me, Ms. A does marvelous job. And to leave this one a great note… you know how we love our hero’s tortured… well, this time it is our heroine! Tortured!
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And remember... Keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!