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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Awakening by Scarlett Valentine

Awakening by Scarlett Valentine
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short (53 pgs)
Other:  M/F, anal play
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by Poppy

Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.

Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.

When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.

This short, sweet erotic romance isn't short on heart, heat or plot.

We get plunged into the middle of the story, a few days after Ysbail's wedding to the devil, Bedwyr.  He had taken her virginity with no emotion and in just a quick moment immediately following the ceremony, confirming all her fears about the marriage bed--and about him.

When Bedwyr later tries to earn his new wife's trust, he goes all out, baring himself, his soul and even his heart.  Truly Awakening is a romance, above and beyond the plenitude of sex.  Ms. Shortland has penned a lovely story that I wished was longer, as it left me wanting more; more at the beginning and more and the end.  That's not to say the story was lacking, just that there was so much depth to the story, this could easily have been twice as long and not been enough.

My absolute favorite part of the story had to be how Ysbail deals with the catty gossips who worked at the keep.  Clever and quite fun!  She shows her backbone here, proving she's strong enough to govern alongside her husband.

I admit it strained the bonds of credibility a bit to believe how sexually unrestrained the previously virginal Ysbail becomes after very little time with her husband.  She goes from fearing the marriage bed to initiating sex and accepting him over and over in only a few hours.  Still, without it, this wouldn't have been erotic romance and the sex is both sweet and hot and certainly appropriate.

All in all, I was very glad I had a chance to read this book. Set in a time I'm not familiar with, in a place I've seldom read about with characters who felt real and genuine, Awakening is a touching romance with plenty of sizzle and a truly satisfying ending.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting.

Tirgearr Publishing said...

Thank you for hosting our author, Scarlett Valentine, today.

And thanks to Poppy for her lovely review. We've updated Scarlett's book page with the review and a link back to this page for future readers.

More information about Scarlett can be found at --

Please note that anyone commenting today on Scarlett's page, and through the rest of our tour, will be entered into our grand prize drawing at the end of the tour, 16 November. Post on more than one author's hosted page and receive additional entries. Be sure to include your email address!

Today, Scarlett is giving away a $10 Amazon gc to one lucky winner. Tirgearr Publishing will also be giving away a spot prize to the most unique comment or question.

The grand prize includes a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of our full book list, which includes the final six books being released before the end of the year. Total retail value of $150! The winner will be randomly drawn on the 17th and announced on our website and media sites.

Additionally, Tirgearr Publishing is hosting a 50% off sale on all of our titles through the 18th. If you haven't been a spot prize winner or the grand prize winner, you'll still have time to grab some amazing stories at HALF OFF!

See our website for details --

Enjoy the tour!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting me today. And many thanks to Poppy for your fabulous review. I'm looking forward to spending the day here, so let's get this party started! :-)

Karen H in NC said...

This reviewer brings up a good point. Sometimes a short story is so good, the reader wants it to be longer. To the author: when writing a short story, do you ever wish you could write more and turn it into a full length novel?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

I think a story is as long as it is. It doesn't do any good for the story to force it to be longer. And it cheats the reader if the story starts losing some of its power just for the sake of being longer.

I love that readers want more of a story. Hopefully it inspires them to look for other books if they're in a series, or even if just because they're other stories by the same author.

Awakening is a novella, as most stories in the series will be. I don't see any full length novels coming about, but never say never :-)

Kristi Ahlers said...

Sounds like an awesome story, lady! If I had a dollar though for every time I heard a reader wished the story was longer...I'd be really well off! ;) This is a good thing though, it means the readers are totally invested in the characters you've created so it well done you! Wishing you a ton of sales!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kristi,

Yes. I love that . . . invested in the characters! I'm really hoping to achieve that with the next book.

The funny thing, when I hear readers say they wish a story was longer, I ask, "What in the story did you want more of . . . where did you think it needed to be expanded . . . ?" and I always get, "I don't know. I just didn't want to say goodbye to the characters." :-)

Thanks for cruising by!

Anonymous said...

Good review, Kem. Kudos.

Catherine Lee said...

What a great review! The story sounds so imaginative. How did you come up with the names (characters, places, etc.)?
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review--it sounds like an intriguing story!


Risa said...

I love the premise of the story. very imaginative. The review made em get the book to read right away!




Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine,

I love history, but I also love unusual names. Names play such a huge part in the writing of my stories. If I don't have just the right one, I find I can't continue writing. It's too hard to say Mr X wrapped his strong arms around Ms Y. It's so unemotional. But say Bedwyr wrapped his strong arms around Ysbail, and that takes on a whole other meaning.

When I research names, especially for historicals, I try to chose ones that haven't been used but would be typical of the time period. When I saw the name Bedwyr and that it means 'grave-knower' I KNEW that was my hero. I already had him down as a real bad-*ss, someone even his father, the king, feared. This was too good to be true. Of course, literally, the name means 'knower of Arthur's grave', as it's the Welsh version of Bedivere who knew where King Arthur was buried. I took some creative license and I think it worked :-)

Ysbail . . . I just like the name Isobel. It was also common at the time and I hadn't seen it used with this spelling before.

The other names are real . . . Madog was the Prince of Powys in this time, just as Owain was the Kind of Gwynedd. Suzanna was given as part of a dynastic marriage to Madog, but apparently they had a pleasant relationship, which was rare.

If you're interested in a bit of trivia and translations, I have a glossary on my website for Awakening --

Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Risa and Trix for visiting. I hope you enjoy the story if you get a chance to read it.

Debby said...

It sounds like an amazing book. Thanks so much for sharing.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sorry for notifying winners late, as I was lecturing all day Friday then had family visiting all day Saturday.

Congratulations to my winner of the $10 Amazon cg . . . Risa!! I'll be in touch with you today.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on the day.

And thank you to my host for the WONDERFUL review of Awakening.

Tirgearr Publishing said...

Congratulations to Debbie236. She's won our spot prize . . . a copy of Awakening!