Continuing with my e-book review series of T13's, today I'm showcasing Renee Field, a fellow writer from my chapter of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada.
1 - Love Me Wild is an e-book from Ellora's Cave, released last year and a 2008 Finalist in the EPPIE Awards Erotic Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal category. As if that wasn't exciting enough, Renee won the 2008 Fantasy/Paranormal EPPIE for Rapture!
2 - I won an ARC of this book at a chapter meeting and was so excited to discover Renee's writing voice. We have nine published authors in our chapter, and it's really amazing to open the pages of a book written by someone I've sat next to many times at our pre-meeting lunches. It's always a magnificent experience to be welcomed into my fellow writers' worlds. And Renee's world is immediately tangible, sweeping and big enough to carry more than this single story.
3 - Love Me Wild is part of the Ellora's Cave Shape-shifter category. The hero Tulon shifts between human form and horse form. In fact, he was banished from his clan for his inability to shift into centaur form.
4 - We meet Rowena, royal daughter of the Ruler of the Supreme High Fertility Council for the Maida people. Her work as a biologist leaves Rowena unable to dispute the test tube results that mark her with the Maida curse - fertility.
5 - Tulon is a captured slave, banished from his Dark Forest clan, now held by women for one purpose only. He must fulfill the lust-fueled needs of the fertile woman if chosen as a partner. The guards fail to mention that the fertile men, once joined with the woman suffering the Maida curse, never live past a second day.
6 - Tulon is like no other man Rowena has ever seen. She has no idea that this man's bearing and spirit hold the stallion that lives inside him. Until he sways her with his belief that freedom is possible for both of them.
7 - Love Me Wild is a very hot erotic novella. As with all stories in this genre, the sizzling scenes between the hero and heroine do more than simply turn up the heat. Each scene pushes the two characters closer to their breakthrough resolution moments. And Renee Field's scenes really shine in bringing Tulon to a future he never dreamed possible.
8 - The novella length keeps the plot moving, yet Ms. Field's Maida world is so solid, I couldn't help wishing it was a full-length novel. A society that poisoned itself into infertility, surrounded by a Dark Forest, impenetrable and still holding magic within its boundaries - I could stay in this world for awhile. Luckily, she's got a sequel to this story which follows Rowena's sister. Love Me Tender also features a secondary character from Love Me Wild, a Mage Pegcentaur who aids Tulon and Rowena's bid for freedom.
9 - The fertility aspect of the story really propels the character of Rowena and shapes the females of her world. Rather than rejoice because of her fertility, Rowena only feels trapped by the burden of being robbed of any other life choice. And for a woman who defined herself as a scientist, the prospect of losing herself to unbridled passion makes her recoil. Until she has four slaves presented to her. And Tulon is one of them.
10 - Ms. Field really knows how to end each chapter with a hook. Like this, for example:
" 'Let's sweeten the bargain. Whoever can get the woman to climax three times by the cresting of the dawning sun claims her and gets safe passage out of here. Is that clear?'
'As you wish,' taunted Zickal.
Tulon would have liked nothing better than to knock the so-called Prince of the Forest on his ass. Instead, he reached up to clasp Zickal in the traditional warrior greeting to seal their bargain.
Stepping away from Zickal, Tulon didn't like the gleam in his eye. Before he could ponder anything further, his nemesis flashed away to who knew where. Tulon growled in frustration. So be it. Let the chase begin."
11 - Ms. Field has strong POV voices for her hero and heroine. Rowena is more comfortable with her intellect, but her feminine side reveals itself from the opening pages. When the story switches to Tulon, his masculine voice is undeniable. I'm always attracted to well-crafted male characters, and Tulon pulls the reader into his POV from the moment we meet him in captivity.
12 - The history of the Maida people, Tulon's clan and other beings encountered in the Dark Forest are so rich I could while away many an hour inventing my own episodes in the world Ms. Field created. To me, that's the mark of an exceptional writer.
13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!
"When the petite woman knelt in front of him, he fought the urge to lean down and pick her up. Realizing this must be part of their barbaric ceremony, he stood straighter.
'I take thee 7653 to be my mate...your seed to my seed...let life quicken within me.'
The words were barely audible as she mumbled them. An electric shock rippled through his body when she lightly kissed each of his toes. He could have stumbled back from that intimacy, but he forced the creature he was to endure. Sadly, he liked it too much.
That's it! He was then hauled away. No questions asked. No answers. Once in the hall, the fair-haired one who had stood next to him sneered at him.
'Lucky bastard. Enjoy the rut of your life,' he said, as he was whisked away.
When the other two fair-haired men were taken to a different hall and he was left alone with only one female guard watching him, he thought about running.
But to where? He had no idea where he was. He had been blindfolded for the entire journey to this place. Once here, he had been bathed, his body hennaed and then ushered into the lineup. Breaking his code of silence, he asked the guard, 'What was all that about?'
He noticed her pupils dilate in sexual awareness. He mentally cursed himself. How I hate what my voice does to the women of this place. He wanted to shake sense into her. For once in his life, he wanted a straight answer.
He turned, as a voice behind him spoke, fully aware of who stood there - the mother.
'Pleasure my daughter well. Do your job. Nothing more. Do you hear me?' she stated, not expecting him to answer as she strode past him.
Pleasure her daughter well. It took a moment for that notion to be fully digested by him. So that's what I was chosen for. Bed sport!"
- Renee Field, 2007
Check in next week for a review of Christine d'Abo's book, The Bond That Ties Us. I'll feature Red Garnier's Bona Fide Liar next, followed by Lillian Feisty's Dance of the Plain Jane in the Seasons of Seduction I anthology.