Every now and then I run across a discussion online about the sad state of the Alpha hero. Where have all those heroes from the bygone era of the 1980s gone? You know, the guys that were barely housebroken? Well, I’m happy to report that Michelle Willingham’s short story of the Harlequin Historical Undone line should make Alpha-hero-loving readers’ hearts flutter. Heck, even I was swooning by the end of it, and that’s out of character.
After a long, hard winter with people starving to death, Aisling O’Brannon, a chieftain’s daughter, finds herself taken captive by a Norse warrior. This brute has spirited her away to his home and has plans to hand her over to his vile king. While escaping his clutches will be a daunting task, Aisling is not about to go gently into that good night.
Tharand Hardrata is a feared warrior, even among his own people. His younger sister is currently residing in the king’s castle, and wanting to rescue her, he figures he can trade her for the beautiful Irish captive. Unfortunately, he finds himself drawn to Aisling’s spirit and beauty. He desires her, but figures she despises him. So imagine his surprise when she responds to his touch. Too bad it changes nothing. He must rescue his sister.
The spirited female captive succumbing to her captor’s charms is about as politically incorrect as it gets. This is normally not the type of story that works for me, but after I locked my inner feminist in a closet, I found myself really enjoying this story. It also helped tremendously that Willingham avoids the pitfall of “forced seduction,” and Aisling willingly responds to Tharand’s ministrations. Scorching chemistry doesn’t hurt matters either.
The ending is a bit abrupt. The romance is tied together, readers get a happy ending, and the conflict is resolved. However, if readers wish to know what happens to Aisling’s brothers, they will need to read her November Harlequin Historical release, Her Warrior Slave.
Aisling Ó Brannon should hate the Vikings who raided her village…especially after she’s captured as a gift for King Magnus by warrior Tharand Hardrata. But while her head says one thing, her body says quite another. Her attraction to the fierce and forbidding warrior cannot be ignored…even though she’s intended for another man’s bed.
Tharand has vowed not to conquer Aisling, saving her for the king instead. But the beautiful Irish noblewoman awakes a powerful desire in him. He can’t stop himself from arousing her, bringing her to the peak of pleasure while trying to honor his promise. As they near Magnus’s domain, Tharand’s restraint is tested beyond endurance. Soon he must choose: please his king…or keep his captive love-slave for himself.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: