Torkel's Chosen (A World Beyond #1)

This was what he'd waited seven years for.
This feeling of belonging to another.

Torkel's Chosen
Michelle Howard
A World Beyond, book one
ebook, 190 pages
Published February 1st 2015 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN 9781310331305

What would you do if Earth didn’t have enough men?
Would you take a chance and leave the only world you knew behind?

This is the decision Faith Reid faces. Placing all her hope in a new government program, she seizes the opportunity that offers a chance for the women of Earth to find love among the stars, on a world beyond the one they know.

How many times can one man risk rejection?
Would you give up on your dreams?

Torkel Alonson has had enough of being ignored and looked over by females on his adopted home world of Enotia. His pride has suffered and he must accept the painful truth. Females will never choose a male with his evil lineage despite his honorable service to his government’s military.

Can two people looking for the same thing find not just what they want but what they need in one another?

After Earth suffered an unknown epidemic, the population now finds itself down to one man for every ten women. In this futuristic setting, wherein life on other planets has not only been discovered but interacted with as if they were only on the next continent, the government has instituted the mother of all dating pools. Women desperate enough to spend $20,000 on a ticket may venture to compatible planets in search of a mate to create a family and new life with.

After three years of applying and receiving rejections for various reasons, Faith Reid finally has a ticket in hand. Her next challenge: Pick a destination. She could choose Ontar Z and get herself a hairy beast of a man. Or Langhorn, where the average couple has about seven kids. Garulax would land her two husbands to fulfill her every fantasy. Or Enotia, where the woman chooses her mate out of a line up of eligible suitors.

Year after year, for seven cycles, Torkel has stood upon the traditional sands of Enotia in hopes of securing a mate for himself. Always rejected. Ever shamed. His damning trait is being born of Marenian blood, legendary slavers, despite being abandoned and eventually adopted and raised by loving Enotian parents. A Jutak warrior, much like our own Navy Seals or Marines, he can no longer bare the humiliation of rejection and decides this will be his final year. Should he fail yet again to attract a female, Torkel will remain alone and unbound.

So... at this point you've got the fantasy in mind of two people taking this grand attempt at a final chance at love... possibly sharing a moment, catching one another's eye across the arena's sands and feeling those little butterflies come to life in your belly... and if you do, like me, you'd be wrong.

As Faith arrives on Enotia, she is approached by a male offering her twenty grand to pick Torkel. Torkel, whom she'd already dismissed as an option. And just like that, the whole image is tainted. Right there, my heart began to hurt.

In the next moment, I was laughing out loud.

And in the next, I was swooning and everything was right in the world.

And then, aargh... I swear, in the span of what had to be ten pages, my nerves were a freaking wreck.


As everything settles and Torkel and Faith begin to fall for one another, the threats start to come. Turns out, the stranger who offered Faith money to choose Torkel wants her as his spy, fitting her with a communicator which he uses to contact her in order to find out when and with whom Torkel's missions are taking place. Information which Faith reluctantly provides in order to spare Torkel's pride being hurt.

And that's where my support of Faith fell away. While the idea of breaking Torkel was something I was not looking forward to, here she is providing details, however insignificant, that aided directly in making Torkel a failure. She was putting his very life in danger, and that of his men, while also forcing innocent people into prolonged sexual slavery. It only served right to have her taken into that same nightmare.

For six weeks Faith is held captive and subsequently tortured for further information on the Jutak warriors. Six weeks that Torkel, having learned of her accepted payment to choose him and further betrayal of he and his men, abandons her to her tormented fate.

When rescue does eventually come, Faith isn't the objective. Torkel and his men arrive to free Lindsey, a fellow captive and one whom Faith had met on her journey to Enotia. Reunited with his Chosen, Torkel's sympathy is slow to come for his betrayer. His first reaction is even to let her die withput providing even the smallest amount of comfort.

A response I applauded him for.

Each of Torkel's men have their chance to curse Faith for her deception. Jaron, the closest of them, tells her outright that she didn't suffer enough. Kyele, my favorite, who had always kept her at arm's length, is simply mystified by her actions. Arak and the others land somewhere in the middle.

Eventually, things settle again. Torkel forgives her and the two start to build things anew. What doesn't settle, however, is the freaking cliffhanger we're left with. Where the hell is Lindsay? And who was the man that bought Faith's choice?

OMG, haven't my nerves suffered enough?!

4 out of 5 stars.

No comments: