This very spicy read features intriguing characters and a pair of diametrically opposed cultures which contrast a widespread subjugation of women versus a society that worships their ability to reproduce. The description of Marken’s awakening of Sienne’s sensual nature is wonderfully carnal but the progression of their relationship is a little too contrived for me and I found Marken’s reaction to Sienne’s actions after her owner returns to collect her to be a little out of keeping with what I would expect from an alpha male. The seriousness of the situation with its awkward progression of events, including the abrupt introduction of a young woman who attracts the attention of Marken’s captain of the castle guard is undoubtedly designed to set up the next title but seems a little choppy. The characters are intriguing and the overall premise is fascinating but it would be nice to have a smoother transition and more depth to the story. Hopefully, subsequent tales will flesh out things because I really would like to read more about these characters.
“Winter Pleasures: The Training” by Anya Bast is an erotic novella that follows the experiences of a sex slave named Sienne who was taken as an orphan and trained by a Sudharian slaver before being placed in the court of a Nordanese Lord named Marken. The two different cultures have far different ideas of the role of women in their respective societies and Sienne is startled when Marken undertakes to introduce her to a woman’s pleasure. His care and attraction to her compromises her assigned task and she must decide whether to betray him or the family who lovingly raised her but the decision becomes increasingly difficult as he forces her to discover what she values most.
She owns nothing of herself but her heart.
Sienne is beautiful, intelligent, talented…and a slave. Given to the lord of Nordan for a season, she has one mission: seduce Marken with a body made for sin and bring back to her Sudhran masters secrets they can use to conquer their northern neighbors. If she fails, the family who took her in as a child will pay the price.
Marken has no desire for a slave. Women come to his bed willingly or not at all. Yet when he frees the beautiful temptress, she refuses to leave his side, sating her curiosity with questions about his court and her desire with a depthless ability to submit to their growing pleasure. But despite every plan to teach her to be free, Marken finds himself becoming increasingly entangled…and increasingly possessive.
Time is running short. Sienne has until the last winter’s snow has melted before she must make a choice that will change the shape of two nations forever.
This book was previously published.
Warning: This book contains a sex slave bound to submit, a master who wants nothing but to free her heart, and enough espionage, secrets, and power plays to while away the long, cold winters.