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Monday, June 14, 2010

Wasteland: The Wanderer by Crystal Jordan

Wasteland: The Wanderer by Crystal Jordan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (74 pgs)
Other: M/F, Ménage a Quatre, M/M/F, M/M, F/F, M/F/M, M/F/F/M
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Love is the most dangerous experiment of all.

There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.

Wasteland, Book 1

The few remaining women are as reviled as they are worshipped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. And to touch a Wanderer, he may pay with his life.

For Ezra, the risk is worth the reward. People speak his name with the same reverent terror reserved for ancient wrathful gods, but he must always be ready to fend off those who would take what’s his. And what he wants to be his is Kadira.

Kadira, adopted after she witnessed the slaughter of her devoted parents, has vowed never to love or need anyone. It seems only fitting that she, an outsider, accept Ezra’s demand in trade for the fuel technology her clan needs—but her deep, unexpected need for him is the torture she’s fought all her life to avoid. Worse, the greater her wrath, the more he seems to like it.

Ezra’s mercenary half delights at having the warrior woman in his arms. His scientist half can’t resist the urge to see what makes her react—and what makes her explode.

The real experiment: if the bond they forge is strong enough to make her want to stay.

A massive solar storm, and the radiation it generates, brings life on Earth as we know it to a screeching halt. Those that emerge in the aftermath are survivors who must learn to deal with conditions in the Wasteland. More men than women survived, but the women who did are strong and determined, and fall into four distinct categories: Wanderers, Whores, Breeders and Priestesses.

Kadira witnesses the senseless slaughter of her beloved parents, traders who wandered from camp to camp supplying the tribes. Adopted into a Wanderer clan, she has always felt unworthy of the title, and so tries harder than anyone to be what is expected of her.

Because of what happened in the past Kadira vows never to love anyone. As a respected kabu shaman, she never feels the need to change her mind on this. Until Ezra. Ezra is the one man she has wanted for a long time. Chieftain of Clan Haroun, warrior and inventor, Ezra knows what he wants: he wants Kadira. He bargains for her with her chieftain for the remainder of Spring Rites, offering a price unheard of in this time. Can Kadira give Ezra her body, without losing her heart? Will Ezra be able to let Kadira go at the end of the Rites? Or will three weeks make changes in both of these people and what they find out about each other?

First, let me say this: I love the concept behind the Wasteland series. Four books, each looking at one of the caste of women in this ruined future world.

Kadira is a Wanderer, strong and determined to prove she deserves to be part of the Clan that adopted her. She sees herself as of inferior blood, and doesn’t realize that she is the only one who does. She works twice as hard at everything, becoming the best warrior, the most talented tattoo artist/kabu shaman, yet still believes herself less that acceptable. I love that bit of insecurity Kadira carries inside-it shows her humanity and her desire. Ezra fascinates her, and attracts her like no other man.

Ezra is strong, and determined to never make the mistakes of his father. Kadira is the first woman to make him think of changing. Ezra has always been looked upon as a curse to his family, because he is smart and inquisitive, an inventor as much as a warrior. I love Ezra, because he is not perfect, or handsome, but he is striking, and more important, he sees inside Kadira and helps her find herself.

The passion between these two starts out hot, and just goes quickly to volcanic. The scene where Ezra brings another couple into their relationship is hot enough to burn the paint off the walls. The action left me breathless at several points, in a good way. I recommend this one wholeheartedly for those who love romance, redemption and over the edge, screaming hot sex all in one place. A word of warning: keep the ice handy, the tissues near, and the air conditioning on high.

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