No safe word can protect the heart… Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren – whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin – is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.
Finger-licking-had-to-put-my-head-in-the-freezer-afterwards sequel to The Siren.
It is so rare these days to find a book that not only entertains you and keeps you glued to the pages until the wee hours of the morning, but also makes you re-juggle every single preconception you might have about certain topics and opens your mind just a tiny bit more. I felt like a child in a candy store while reading this book. OK, maybe a naughty 30-something-year-old child… and it wasn’t exactly a ‘candy’ store… but ay caramba, was I blown away!
I really liked The Siren, it was like nothing I had ever read before – and admittedly I do read some ‘out-there’ stuff – but the sequel left it in the dust. It was even more confronting, spine-tingling, toe-curling and better written than the first book. There were scenes that literally made me purr.
Nora is by far the most exciting female character that I have come across. Nothing about her makes her the traditional kind of heroine. I am not sure whether I really understood her in the first book, some of her actions were a bit random and hard to justify, but this book filled all those gaps for me and it made me see Nora for who she really is – a strong, independent, loving, determined, quirky-to-the-nth-degree woman who says what she means and does what she wants. I am building an altar to her as we speak. I did not understand her compulsion towards Søren at all in the first book – he might have been the love of her life and the only man who truly understood her needs while she was becoming a woman, but I can’t help but feeling, or rather hoping, that he might have been the right man for her for a while and that the new independent Nora now needs something more, something Søren could never give her. I felt that her story with Wesley was unfinished with not necessarily the best outcome for Nora and I was so happy to see that I was not wrong. This book made me reconsider my bias towards Søren, it answered so many of my questions about this complicated and damaged man, but it added a whole lot more to the pile.
The gaps in the storyline that the first book never filled were fully explained in the second book, through either cleverly placed flashbacks or dialogues between characters. We learn so much more about Nora and how she met Søren, but we also learn a great deal about who Søren is and why Nora loves him so unconditionally. I struggled to reconcile Nora’s frequent praise of him – “Søren’s the best man on the face of the earth… He’s the best man I’ve ever known.” – with what we were shown of him previously, but I finally understood why she thought so highly of him and why she loved him so much. Apart from the ‘negligible’ little detail of Søren being a true sadist and the complication of his life calling, he might be perfect in every other way. His altruism and kindness towards those in need is astounding, he is not only wise, perceptive, self-sacrificing and smart, he truly loves Nora with all his being and would do anything to make her happy and safe. Even at the price of his own happiness. No matter how much he wants to own Nora forever, he never clips her wings. He cherishes her independence, her free spirit and her overwhelming joie de vivre. I think those are the things that he loves the most in her. He is her Master and he makes her submit to him body and soul, but he never crushes her spirit or make her anything less than the one-woman-hurricane that Nora really is. Everything Søren does when it comes to Nora screams of the good-old ‘If you love someone, set them free’. And he does.
Wesley Wesley Wesley…
“Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it.”
I have such a soft spot for that gorgeous boy. He is Søren’s antithesis in so many ways. They both love Nora but I think they know two very different versions of Nora. Søren awakens the vixen in her, she is attracted to him in a very primal way, but I wonder whether she would have ended up becoming who she is now had she not met someone with such particular tastes like Søren in the first place. Her undeniable pull towards someone like Wesley made me question that. I was so happy to see that Nora’s love for Wesley could not be extinguished by time or distance and it made me hopeful that they might still have a chance. While Wesley is ‘vanilla’ and Nora has indulged in every other flavour but vanilla in her life, I am not so sure that she is destined to avoid vanilla forever. Maybe with a sprinkle of pepper on top.
What I also love about these books are the secondary characters and how well-developed (excuse the pun!) they are. To me this was Michael and Griffin’s book. Every scene they were in made me want to lick the screen of my Kindle. I saw that their attraction was there from the beginning but I never expected their story to become so pivotal in the book. The drama that is Nora’s love life almost took a back seat to their scrumptious story. I love how the secondary characters’ stories have a beginning and an end in each book, while Nora’s life only seems to get progressively more complicated.
I am so torn over this story that every time I try to imagine an ending that would make me happy and make sense for these characters, my brain literally short-circuits. For the first time in a long time my imagination is failing me and I cannot even remotely see where the author will take us in The Prince. The million dollar question remains – what is Nora’s HEA? Who is she meant to choose in the end – Søren or Wesley? Or is she meant to choose no one at all? Which side of Nora will prevail? Who is really Nora Sutherlin?
Tiffany Reisz, you have turned my world upside down with these books! I have more questions than answers and you might even be a little bit responsible for the occasional voices in my head.