Desert Isle Keeper
Lord of Vengeance
Can you imagine spending years plotting vengeance on the man who murdered your parents and then when you finally get your chance, something gets in your way and throws a wrench into your plans? In Tina St John’s Lord of Vengeance this happens to Gunnar Rutledge. Gunnar has spent years working towards one goal – vengeance on Baron d’Bussy, the man who killed his parents. Unfortunately for Gunnar, the baron has a beautiful (in both body and spirit) daughter, Raina who will prove a major impediment to his plans.
The two meet when Gunnar saves Raina from the advances of one her father’s knights. It is evident the two are attracted to one another from the beginning, but Gunnar doesn’t realize that Raina is his enemy’s daughter. Gunnar has come to the Baron’s annual tournament in order to exact his vengeance. He expects the Baron to be as he once was, but the man has aged in the thirteen years since Gunnar has seen him, which makes Gunnar take pause. He does not kill the Baron outright but manages to grab the one thing the Baron holds dear – Raina.
While Raina wants to hate Gunnar for his accusations against her father and for kidnaping her, she can’t help but be attracted to him. For his part, Gunnar is extremely attracted to Raina but this attraction is obviously unwelcome. He’s spent years shutting down his emotions and the thought that his enemy’s daughter could provoke warm feelings in him is almost too much for him to take. While she’s in captivity, Raina realizes that there is more to Gunnar than meets the eye. She sees beneath the violence and anger to the grown man who was orphaned as a little boy. Raina has also had something of a rough childhood too, which further bonds the two. Pretty soon they realize they don’t want to live without each other, but how can they stay together when Gunnar still requires vengeance? It goes without saying that there is a nasty plot contrived by someone close to the Baron which could also damage the relationship between Gunnar and Raina.
Gunnar and Raina are thoroughly likable characters, separately and together as a couple. Gunnar, is a hard man, but ultimately a fair and noble one. He makes no apologies for who he is but he is capable of change. Raina is smart and tough without being shrewish. Their relationship takes some twists and turns based on their situation but is definitely satisfying to the reader. They grow not only to love each other but to like each other, and in the end, each is able to help heal the other. Raina’s childhood is treated more subtly than Gunnar’s, but it is still powerful as it unfolds before the reader.
The author handles the characters’ moods and emotions deftly and allows us to get to know the hero and heroine through the growth of their relationship. Her secondary characters are equally enjoyable, especially Gunnar’s squire Alaric. And her villain is just that – a true villain.
Between the hero and heroine, a secret that I was not prepared for (which is a definite plus), and the action building to a fevered pitch towards the end, there was little or nothing not to love in Lord of Vengeance. All in all, it is a truly wonderful read.