The darkness in his soul could claim her love…
or her life.
Freygard, a world where women rule and men are slaves, would seem to be a female Nirvana. Not for the warrior Nerya. So far her required visits to the coupling chambers have been awkward and embarrassing. Until Jaden. Despite his chains, the defiant slave’s expert pleasuring satisfies her body—and sparks a determination to defend him from her cruel queen.
Jaden couldn’t be in a worse position. Nerya has not only claimed his prized white stallion, she’s somehow managed to abscond with his ability to resist her sexual appeal. His escape attempt is disastrous, until Nerya intervenes with an unheard-of deal. In exchange for guiding her to an unmapped kingdom to find the sister she never knew she had, she will free both him and his men.
On the journey, Nerya’s determination to resist her powerful attraction to Jaden melts away in the heat of his desire. Leaving her wondering just who is in control—and what it is about him that bothers her. When they are forced to face a soul-stealing mage, his secret is revealed.
He is warrior of the feared Dai’Shi-en, legendary for the dark magic that fuels their violence…and their lust.
Warning: Contains hot, sweaty warrior sex, sex in chains and sex in a tent.
Okay, see that sentence where it says 'a world where women rule and men are slaves'... I totally missed that. And I'm not big on the whole amazonian world. Mostly because it's obvious the woman is going to be a pain in the ass.
Nerya kinda sucks at it.
Nerya, the warrior princess of Freygard, finds herself forced to visit the coupling chambers routinely in hopes of conceiving a child, as others have before her. It is something she finds no pleasure in, not that the women of Freygard expect there to be any. The men whom they take prisoner are nothing but slaves, made to be used for procreation and servitude.
Jaden is quite cocky for someone that's been captured and imprisoned by a bunch of women. And quite willing to be used a mating stud. Small wonder, I suppose.
Their relationship becomes very complicated, very quickly. Nerya spares no time arranging it so that Jaden is only available to her and she doesn't do much to hide her growing desire to protect him. There were many moments (even early on) in this story that, had the author chose to go on a different path, I would have dropped the book immediately. But, as she kept giving me what I wanted, or needed, I kept reading.
Of course, even that wasn't enough after a while.
The story itself lacks a smooth flow. The facts triggering the progression seem more thrown in than strategically built upon and it doesn't take much from Jaden for Nerya to, as they say, lose her religion. Great for an anti-Amazon like myself but pretty damn lousy for those in favor of a superior female attitude.
I endured this one for as long as I could. It was more the idea of the characters than the characters themselves that allowed me to last as long as I did with a sixty percent completion before I finally had to close it and push it away.
I am all for torturing characters but what Ashford did to Tarn was just ruthless and unnecessary. Freakin' Terry Goodkind and Jeri Smith-Ready all over again. Take a perfectly fine, loyal, monogamous man and make him fuck another woman just to save someone else. Disgusting.
This book made me angry. I'm not sure if that's a plus or not that it made me feel anything at all but I am certain that, based on my experience here, I would never dare pick up another Deanna Ashford novel.