I’m not gonna lie—I’ve read a few rape-y bodice-rippers in my time. However, as I’ve grown older, my tastes have changed, and I now find that style of "romance" in a novel involving forced seduction to be incredibly offensive. When the girl is completely unwilling, says "no," and yet the hero continues on as if she'd said, "YEAH, BABY, GIVE IT TO ME", I am not amused. As I have previously noted.
Unlike ADORA, I felt no compunction to finish this novel. See, when I originally purchased it, as silly as it may sound, I was hoping it was a different Viking-finds-love-with-slave-girl novel. There was a very well done book I read in the 90’s that I’ve been on-and-off searching for over the years. Someone mentioned this one on a romance review website, and I was hoping that maybe I'd finally lucked out and found the book I've been looking for.
As you may have already gathered, this was not the story I read in the 90's. (Probably would have saved myself some grief if I'd checked the publication date of VIKING WARRIOR--which turned out to be circa 2008 with Dorchester--before I spent money on it. C'est la vie.)
Since it was already in my hands, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a shot. After all, I bought the damned thing, might as well get my money's worth out of it.
Alas, once I got started, I was already disinclined to like it when I discovered within the first few pages that the primary source of wangst was going to be the heroine believing the hero was the one who raped her back when her village was sacked and she was originally taken as a slave.
So, does the hero tell her he wasn't the one who played hide the sausage with her way back in the day?
OF COURSE HE DOESN'T.
The hero wants to avoid some drama llama within his own family since the guy who actually boinked her was related to him somehow. The sister-in-law's brother or something. I dunno, I wasn't paying close enough attention. Anyway, Wulf thinks it would be best to avoid telling his new thrall that, while he was the one who carted her off and sold her into slavery, it was some other Viking who gave her the slip of his love muscle (sorry, Romance Man, I couldn’t resist using that one) and desecrated her virgin sanctum of honeyed warmth. Or whatever.
So. Moving right along. His brother sees her on the auction block somewhere and brings her home to give her as a gift to the “hero”, Wulf. Said "hero" previously decided that, because Danes killed his wife/unborn child, all Danes are evil--including this woman who (quite strangely, of course) makes something dance in his pants. Therefore he must get rid of her as soon as possible. Or fuck her brains out. One of the two. The dialogue was so stiff and the characters so cardboard, it was a mite hard to tell.
Regardless, I pushed on (I needed to make the most of the $2.50 I spent on this, damn it), and made it all the way to page 62. Then the trainwreck ground to a shrieking halt.
She. Said. STOP. She. Said. NO. She. Said. DON’T TOUCH ME.
Warning: Quotation ahead (excerpt from pages 61-62 of the mmpb) is graphic and will more than likely hit some hot buttons.
…But for some reason, Wulf’s caress wasn’t as repulsive as she had thought it would be. It actually felt rather soothing.
But when Wulf turned her around and spread the soap over her breasts, she made a valiant attempt to evade him.
“Hold still. Why are you so skittish?”
Deliberately, she glanced down to where his hands rested on her breasts.
“Your hands are on me.”
Though his hands were gentle, Reyna didn’t trust him. No man was trustworthy. She had to admit, however, that his touch sent subtle shock waves through her body. She felt…strange; her nerve endings tingled and her skin felt tight. When Wulf’s hands continued their downward path, gliding over her stomach to settle between her legs, anxiety and fear made her stiffen.
“Do not touch me there!”
When his fingers slid into the folds of her sex, panic seized her. Then she realized what Wulf was doing to her now was nothing like the first time he had assaulted her. His shockingly intimate foray into her private parts made her hot and shivery.
“I have done nothing yet.”
She raised her hands to his chest in an age-old gesture of protest and felt downy hair curl between her fingers. She jerked her hands away as if scalded. The feel of his hair-roughened skin was too raw, too intimate. Then she felt his finger slide inside her and shock pierced through her.
He rested his head against her forehead. “Now I’m doing something. Do you like it?”
“No, I do not. Nor do I like you.”
He wedged another finger in beside the first.
And I’m done.
"Do not touch me" is not slang in Romancelandia (or anywhere else) for “oh, yes, sir, PLEASE FONDLE MY NAUGHTY BITS SOME MORE”. Also, this is a rape victim he's getting handsy with.
Let me repeat. A RAPE VICTIM.
I think you can gather what killed this one for me. I’m done.
0/5 - DNF
Originally posted: http://jesshaines.com/blog/2012/04/18/book-review-viking-warrior/