Thursday, October 26, 2006

Maiden and the Monster by Michelle M Pillow

Maiden and the Monster

By Michelle M Pillow



Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine 2006 TOP PICK!

"...a perfect blend of history, emotion, tension, hot sex and fascinating and sympathetic characters, and the writing is superb. Pillow chooses magical details to set the scene..."

Maiden and the Monster By Michelle M. Pillow

Vladamir of Kessen, Duke of Lakeshire Castle, is feared as a demon in the land of Wessex. The Kings have granted him a title of nobility in exchange for his part as a political prisoner. Discontent, he bides his time in his new home until war will once again rip through the land. But boredom soon turns to devious pleasure as the daughter of his most hated enemy is left for dead at his castle gate. Now the monster bides his time plotting revenge.

Lady Eden of Hawks' Nest doesn't know what to think of the man who saved her life, but she can't wrench her thoughts away. His words are those of a tyrant, true to his vicious reputation, but his touch is that of a man, stirring passion and lust when there should only be fear. It would seem the infamous monster is not as monstrous as he appears.



“Nay, don’t ask for your freedom again. It’s a useless plea. I won’t release you.” He watched her lips as she flicked her tongue over the edge. The scent of lilies came to him from her hair as she moved her head to the side. He wondered if Haldana had purposefully used the scent. It had been one of his favorites long ago. He breathed in the enticing perfume of her. For a moment, he was lost in her spell. “Tomorrow you’ll be given new quarters.”

“The tower? You wish to put me in a real prison? Or mayhap even the dungeon? I have sworn to you I won’t leave. At least give me a chance to prove my honor afore you doubt it. If I prove my honor false then you shall imprison me with my blessing, for I won’t deny that then I’ll be most deserving of it.”

“Nay, m’lady, not the tower and most definitely not the dungeon,” he answered softly, the sound a vast contrast to his usual hard tone. He wanted to laugh, for he didn’t have a tower save for the chamber she was already in. “Prove your honor.”

“Then, you’re to make me your…?” Again she tried to pull from his arms. “I’m to be put in your chamber, m’lord? With you? Won’t your Duchess be upset?”

“There is no Duchess of Lakeshire.” Vladamir couldn’t draw his gaze from her delightfully full lips as they quivered enchantingly under his watchful eyes. He thought of chaining her to his bed, forcing her to be his bed slave until he took his fill of her. “M’lady’s prison shall be of gilded bars. You’ll be afforded full use of the castle. You’ll be fed. The servants will treat you with the respect due your station, unless you prove you deserve otherwise.”

“Thank you.”

“But,” he warned, squeezing her shoulders once more and causing her to wince. “You won’t be permitted outside the bailey walls. I don’t care if the castle is burning to the ground. If you don’t have my permission, you shall stay and burn with it. If I find you trying to leave, I’ll lock you in the dungeon for all your days and I’ll besiege your father’s keep until all those who live within starve. I’ll burn his crops, slaughter his peasants and his cattle and leave them to rot where they lay. And you, m’lady, will know the full meaning of hell afore you die.”

“I understand,” she said softly. “I won’t try to escape. My only wish is that you’ll reconsider and let me go.”

“I won’t do that,” he answered, his voice harsh. His chest heaved with rapid breaths, but his growling tone turned soft. “M’lady will do well to wish for other things for I’ll never let you go.”

“Then I’ll stay here true to my word and I’ll only leave with your permission.” Eden conceded, taking a deep breath. “I will swear it on mine own blood, but only if I may have one demand. Methinks it fair.”


Vladamir nodded his head and then realized she couldn’t see him well enough through the darkness to make the gesture out. “What?”

“Don’t harm my father’s people. They don’t deserve your wrath. I don’t know what plans you may have, but keep your quarrel with my father only. If it is he who has spurred your anger, then he shall have to face it.” She pulled away from him and he let her go. Her chin lifted proudly before him, even in her fear of him. “If you don’t harm them, I’ll stay here. But, if I find out that you hurt them in any way that wasn’t self-defense, I’ll break my vow and will do whatever is in my power to escape you. I’ll spend the rest of my days if needs be bringing you to justice and I won’t stop until ‘tis done. Do we have a deal?”

“Yea, m’lady.” He smiled at her courage. It puzzled him that she showed no concern for her father’s safety, yet cared so openly for the lives of peasants. “I won’t harm your father’s people.”

“Good.” She held out her hand, her fingers shaking, but she didn’t back down. “Hand me your dagger, m’lord, so that I may keep my word and pledge my honor with my blood. Let us seal the bargain so it shall be done.”

“I won’t demand your blood just yet,” he said softly, denying her his dagger. Instead, Vladamir clasped her outstretched hand and pulled it to his chest over the beating of his heart. Not stopping to think of the consequences of his actions, he swung her into his arms. Shifting her off balance so she fell to the side, he encased her within his embrace. She was so small and fragile to him as she trembled in surprise. His body lurched, wanting this. He bent down and pressed his mouth against her parted lips, unable to resist her temptation a moment more. He needed to feel her heat, her soft lips.

The duke ran the fingers of his free hand into her hair and pressed her to him. The sweet petals of her mouth parted as she sought her breath. She moaned lightly. His tongue daringly traced the line of her lips and her slender body molded into his as if it had been carved for him to hold.

Vladamir had been a long time without the comforts of a woman’s embrace and was a man long used to taking what he wanted. Eden clutched his tunic as he held her to his chest, feeling her intimate heat along his thigh, burning him. He pushed his leg against her, eliciting a soft moan. Innocent, she backed her hips away from his searching. Unable to resist, he grew bolder, forcing his thigh between hers.



"RECOMMENDED READ! Maiden and the Monster is one of the best medieval romances I have ever read. It really showcases the author’s talent for historicals. The background history is deftly intertwined with the love story. Add to that some very hot encounters between our protagonists, and you’ve got a masterpiece! There’s a perfect balance of sex and story. And, Lord what a story!

Michelle Pillow is a wonderful author with no genre boundaries. I've enjoyed all her paranormals, and I'm thrilled that she has not given up historicals! Maiden and the Monster is a keeper for me, and I predict it will be for many, many other readers as well." Shelley. Fallen Angel Reviews, December 2005

"4 1/2 Hearts! This tale, set in the days of the Saxons, is extremely well done. The characters and setting are so well described that I had no problem picturing them. The love scenes are very hot and made, rather than detracted from the story. The tortured hero and his innocent maiden are very real characters, each one with human failings and misunderstandings... I did not expect the plot twists that the author devised and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next, leaving me to stay up very late to finish this tale. This one is a definite keeper." Reviewer: Maura Frankman, January 30, 2006

“4 STARS! Ms. Pillow has developed a touching novel with deeply intricate characters... Those readers who enjoy a bit of historical charm in their romance will find Maiden and the Monster a wonderful book to read.” Francesca Hayne, Just Erotic Romance Reviews, December 2005

"I was so entranced by Maiden and the Monster I couldn’t put it down. It’s intense, and full of emotion... powerful and moving, ...Maiden and the Monster is a keeper!" Nannette, Joyfully Reviewed, December 2005

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