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The King of the Pict has entered into an agreement with Cathbad, Overlord of the Western Region to wed his daughter Anin. Blyth, Anin’s mother, has given her husband four fine sons and King Talon hopes Anin will do the same for him. Unfortunately, Anin’s mother wants no part of the agreement. She intends for her daughter to pick a husband of her own choosing as the women of her tribe do. She sends Anin away and no amount of threats or persuasion will make Blyth confess her daughter’s whereabouts and so King Talon sends the one man he knows who can force the woman to speak and to bring Anin to him—his executioner.
Paine is feared by all, and rightfully so. He has the power to bring great suffering and with one swing of his double-sided axe a swift death. He has been sent to collect the future Queen and deliver her to King Talon. An easy mission and one he wants to see finished quickly, but from the moment he meets Anin he knows that will prove a challenge.
Anin has no choice but to go with the executioner and wed the High King, though she would prefer not to, especially after she meets the executioner. He brings things alive in her that she has been forced to keep hidden and as her secrets begin to surface so do her feelings for the executioner.
The couple faces insurmountable challenges on their journey to Pictland and even more when they finally stand before the King.
“I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.”
“I do not like being separated from you.
I feel a part of me is missing when we are not together.”
- Prior to reading this novel I had never heard of Pictland, and it made me want to research the place and the people all the more! It was nice having a novel about a society that was at once familiar and also very different than other novels about the early peoples who populated Scotland and the British Islands.
- The heart of this novel is a journey of self discovery that these two characters go on both together and as individuals. Through their connection with one another they come to realize their true destinies. Spoiler: this novel ends in an H.E.A!
- Anin is a very likable character. She has struggled with not being the daughter her parents want her to be, and has felt alone until she meets Paine. With him she feels safe to be herself.
- Paine is so much more than an executioner! He’s an honorable man, who fights the growing feelings he has for King Talon’s future bride. There is something about Anin that makes him want to protect her, not cause her harm.
- As a couple these two make a perfect pair! Not only does Paine see a strength in Anin that others don’t, but he also doesn’t want to change to her. While Anin sees the compassion and caring within Paine, something he’s had to bury within himself in order to function as executioner.
- Wait until you meet Bog, he might just have been my favorite character! 😀
- Their journey back to Pictland is quite the adventure, but I felt like it lagged a bit. Despite there being a lull in the first-half of the narrative, don’t give up, the end picks up and is fast paced right up until the last page!
- There were several narrative portions that were somewhat reminiscent of the Highlander Trilogy; but they aren’t so glaring you feel as if you’re reading the same novel – at all. (Being spoiler free is really difficult!)
- Paine and Anin definitely have chemistry, but you’ll have to wait until around 75 percent through the novel to get any sex scenes. Don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of intimacy and foreplay along the way! (note: the handcuff rating really should be 2.5)
- I look forward to the continuation of this series and reading both the King Talon’s and Wrath’s stories!