Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice, strong.
The Shadowdwellers live in a realm of darkness and sensuality, where order is prized and sin must be punished. Yet for Magnus, the head priest of Sanctuary, salvation rests with the one woman who can entice him to break every rule. . .
She Was The Ultimate Temptation
Magnus is a man of contradictions--a spiritual leader in a warrior's body. To him, laws are for enforcing and visions must be followed--even if that means freeing a beautiful slave and making her his reluctant handmaiden. Betrayed once before, Magnus can barely bring himself to trust another woman. Yet Daenaira's fiery innocence is drawing them both into a reckless inferno of desire.
Daenaira grew up hearing tales of a fearsome priest who seemed more myth than reality. But Magnus is very real--every inch of him--and so is the treachery surrounding them. Beneath Sanctuary's calm surface, an enemy is scheming to unleash havoc on the Shadowdwellers, unless Magnus trusts in a union ordained by fate, and sealed by unending bliss. . .
After loosing his hand maiden in the first book, when she tried to kill him, Magnus has been reluctant to choose another one, but his goddess insists. She has chosen Daenaira for him, a young woman of only 20 years, and if not for her hard life, she would have considered a child by Shadowdweller standards, as they are very long-lived.
Daenaira grew up in her mother’s pub, listening to the warriors when they spoke of their battles, and learning how to fight at an early age. In a society where it is so very easy to prevent pregnancy out of marriage, her mother was shunned for being a single mother. The man who sired her lied about taking the contraceptive herbs. After her mother died, when her bar was set on fire, Daenaira was sent to her aunt and uncle, who have treated her as a slave for the past eight years. Even though slavery is illegal in their society, they kept her chained all the time, doing laundry for her aunt, who is a small merchant doing laundry for the nobility. Kept in check with electric shocks, Daenaira also has had to defend herself from unwanted male attention, like her uncle and his friends. She has become exceptionally good in fighting, and winning. But now, someone has bought her, and Dae just knows life will not get any easier for her.
Sexuality is a very important thing in Shadowdwellers lives. They are very sensual, and extremely sensitive to light of any kind. They live underground if possible, and they follow the path of winter. Half a year in Alaska, the other half in New Zealand. After a centuries long civil war, a fragile peace exists between them, and they are finally trying to re-build their society. Magnus is a very important piece of that, being the head priest and head of Sanctuary. Sanctuary is where the priests and their handmaidens live, and where the young people are being educated in religion, politics, fighting and sexuality.
But treachery runs hot in Sanctuary, and Dae is targeted from day one, just to hurt Marcus. Her attackers just did not count on the fact that she is more than capable of defending herself, especially now she is not chained anymore. So when the man tries to rape her, she hurts him badly where it counts. Unfortunately, her attackers do get away before Marcus and Brendan reach her. Marcus has been celibate for over 200 years, and his relationship with his former handmaiden was more like brother and sister, although he never noticed that she wanted much more than he gave her. Still, he cannot possibly ignore Dae’s charms or her fire, and he finds it impossible to keep his hands of her, even though she demands it of him. Dae has not yet taken any vows, she wants to see what life in the Sanctuary is like before she commits herself for the rest of her life to Marcus. She already senses more undercurrents than Marcus does, as he is blinding himself to the truth that his lifework is crumbling around him.
Marcus will need to open himself up to his feelings, and accept her as his equal if he wants to have a chance of regaining what he has lost.
I have no idea why I have waited so long to read the second book in this series, as I loved the first one so much. And this second book is even more intense. I highly recommend it. There is some fighting action in this book, which I loved, but the main focus is on emotions and lots and lots of sex. I think the book would easily be half as thick without the long journey to sex Marcus and Dae have. It was well written though, and realistically done, even though I would have preferred more time to pass for Dae to get used to Sanctuary and the duties of a handmaiden.
Dae is not a doormat, she is fire and even though she is a young girl compared to Marcus who is almost a saint for some people, she does not hesitate to tell him what she thinks and feels. Marcus can certainly be an ass at times, and he has a lot of trouble treating Dae as an equal instead of someone he needs to protect from real live. Even when he has fallen in love with her, he tries to keep his worries back from her.
Marcus will do whatever it takes to take the taint and corruption out of Sanctuary, and make it safe again for his students. Counselling their rulers also takes a lot of his time, but it is an important part of his job as well. And sometimes it really does take a woman to put some sense in dense male heads.
I enjoyed this book, and as soon as I have finished writing a stack of reviews, I will start reading the third book.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian