I enjoyed this book which was free so much so that I bought the others in this series. I found it refreshing that there was a proper plot line and story rather than just gratuitous sex scenes as so many authors seem to be doing these days
Unlike the other reviewer, I just accepted the plot devices that delayed the consumation of their relationship. In my opinion you can't just have "wham bam thank you mam" in a historical romance! Got to build up that old sexual tension and Patricia Ryan's sex scenes are smokin' - that's why I HAVE to read the rest. Ok, sometimes you want to bang the hero and heroine's heads together and the reasons for their continuing separation become a little forced (that's why it's only 4 stars), but it's a minor complaint. In a genre with so much dross, this book is refreshingly realistic and a real page turner. Well worth the money.
I actually enjoyed this book a lot. The Black Dragon, Luke de Perigueux, is a battle hardened young man who is among William the Conqueror's army who swept across England and forever changed the history of the Anglo Saxons and their descendants. Luke and his brother, Alex, were trained as warriors by their father and although they were willing to do their duty, in order to continue killing, Luke began taking "catnip" which contributes to an increase in battle ferociousness eventually leading him to believe he has a personality like a beast. Apparently catnip worked as a type of drug that enhanced performance, but left the indvidual who consumed it with after affects.
After one particularly disturbing incident, Luke spends two months in a monastery in order to become well from the effects of the catnip and is eventually rewarded for his military efforts through the gift of a wife and her ancestral home. She's a young widow, Faithe of Hauekleah, whose husband was killed by the conquering Normans. Even though Faithe is mortified by the prospects of having a Norman as a husband, she's determined to not lose her ancestral home and decides to make the best of it.
I found Luke to be honorable and not beastly at all. However, he had persuaded himself of some truths that had to be wrenched out of his mind in order to move forward into a happy and rewarding life with Faithe. I admired Faithe for her willingness to give her husband the best opportunity possible to become the respected master of his new property even though he was one of the hated Norman conquerors. However, there are dark matters in Luke's past that he's unwilling to come clean about due to his fears Faithe will no longer love him once she learns of these secrets. In addition, Faithe's long time steward and father figure, Orrick, has his own agenda which doesn't line up with Luke's or Faithe's. Alex is along for the ride, he loves and supports his brother, but mostly spends his time with two attractive wenches - twin sisters taking turns sleeping with them on his pallet, as he recuperates from serious wounds. Alex's story is told in Wild Wind (Lords of Conquest).
Although this story began in a brothel, the storyline isn't full of sexual details, with the exception of the eventual coming together of Luke and Faithe. I strongly dislike books that focus on sexual details throughout the story.
Thought the plot a bit unbelivable as the female lead is forced to marry a Norman and then he doesn't ravish her as he wants her to love him first??? Not feasable in the real medieval world. Not for me.