Friday, January 9, 2015

The Pirate Bride - Sandra Hill (Avon - Dec 2013)

Series: Viking I (Book 11)

A Viking to bed, not to wed

Medana Elsadottir, known as the Sea Scourge, never planned to become a pirate, but there's no denying her talent. Her female-only tribe has an island hideaway, food aplenty, goods to trade...everything except the means to breed. That's where the strapping Norsemen tied up in her ship's hold come in handy. Eight godly specimens--and Thork Tykirrson is the most virile of them all. Once their, eh, work is done, they'll be free to leave. Medana had naught to due with this gods-awful plan, but she wouldn't mind reaping the benefits.

Wed or bed...this Viking has plans of his own.

Renowned as the wildest Viking of his time, Thork was returning home to regain his father's favor. Mayhap even (shudder) marry. His brazen--and very beautiful--kidnapper has likely done him a favor in preventing such an irksome fate. That doesn't mean he'll let her off easy. No one takes anything from a Viking that he's not willing to give...not even a violet-eyed vixen who sets off the wildest fantasies.

Fun book. There were times when it was kind of silly, but overall I enjoyed it. Medana became a pirate by default, as a way to help support her island of women. Ten years earlier she had fled the prospect of a forced marriage to a cruel man. She had killed the man after he raped her, and in fleeing was joined by others who were also running. Now they live on an island hideaway, doing better every year. The only thing they are missing are the children some of them crave, because there are no men allowed. During a trading trip the women of her crew drug and kidnap eight Viking warriors, hiding them from her until it's too late. Now she has eight very angry men on her hands, with their leader being angriest of all.

Thork has spent the last several years sowing his wild Viking oats. He's done a bit of everything, but now he's ready to go home and make peace with his father. Waking up bound and gagged on a ship full of women is infuriating - and embarrassing. Learning that they are only wanted for stud service is even worse. He holds their leader responsible and has plans for revenge that he takes great pleasure in telling her all about.

Once he starts to get over the first burst of anger, he notices that Medeara is a beautiful woman and his plans for revenge take a different direction. As he and his men make their plans to escape, he starts his seduction to keep her distracted. He doesn't expect to suffer some distraction himself. Meanwhile, Medeara has begun to notice that Thork and his men are very different than the cruel ones she knew before. His concentrated assault on her sensitivities begins to have its effect. When his family arrives to rescue him, there's more going on than either wants to admit. And when her past catches up with her, Thork has to decide if he's ready for more than just a romp.

I enjoyed the interactions between Thork and Medeara. After ten years of being independent she doesn't back down in the face of his fury. She gives as good as she gets and occasionally gets the upper hand. When he introduces her to the pleasure of passion things begin to change between them. They form an peace of sorts as his code of honor won't let him leave until he feels that the women will be safe. He also begins to think that keeping her in his life wouldn't be such a bad thing.

I enjoyed seeing the life that the women had made for themselves on the island, and the way they were determined to protect themselves. It was fun to see them deal with Viking men in their prime, and how both sides learned from each other. Things got really fun when Thork's family arrived. His parents, Tykir and Alinor, from The Bewitched Viking, are just as in love and just as volatile as they were thirty years earlier. Their reactions to Thork and Medeara are fantastic, and as different as their personalities. But family is everything to them, and they are there to help Thork when Medeara is taken.

I was a bit frustrated with Medeara at that point, because she went from a strong woman to something of a doormat. She had her reasons, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more spirit from her at that point. She also didn't have as much faith in Thork as she should have. I liked his rescue of her, and thought that he did well giving her just a little taste of her own medicine.  I enjoyed the ending and how they worked everything out.

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