The provocative story before the story continues in the critically acclaimed and award-winning series The Original Sinners.
For years, Kingsley Edge warned Eleanor the day would come when she, the mistress of a well-respected Catholic priest, would have to run. She always imagined if that day came, she'd be running with Søren. Instead, she's running from him.
Fearing Søren and Kingsley will use their power and influence to bring her back, Eleanor takes refuge at the one place the men in her life cannot follow. Behind the cloistered gates of the convent where her mother has taken orders, Eleanor hides from the man she loves and hates in equal measure. With Eleanor gone, the lights have gone out in Kingsley's kingdom. When he learns the reason she left, he, too, turns his back on Søren and runs. On a beach in Haiti, Kingsley meets Juliette, the one woman who could save him from his sorrows. But only if he can save her first.
Eleanor can hide from Søren but she can't hide from her true nature. A virginal novice at the abbey sends Eleanor down a path of sexual awakening, but to follow this path means leaving her lover behind, a sacrifice Eleanor refuses to make. The lure of the forbidden, the temptation to sin and the price of passion have never been higher, and Eleanor and Kingsley will have to pay it if they ever want to go home again.
Everyone has times in their life that they would prefer not to remember. For some people it’s a particular event, or something they did they are not proud of; for some it’s a whole swath of time that they wish they consider painful and have no desire to revisit. Nora, along with Kingsley and Soren have this in common: the year after Nora and Soren split up has become a taboo topic among them. I wondered for the entire extent of the Red Years just why they split up. It was obvious that there was more to the story than what we were being told, and in this book we are treated with “the rest of the story”.
Once upon a time, Kingsley told Nora this:
“I told you the first night you and I spoke that your shepherd was a wolf. He is a wolf on a leash and that leash might break someday. When that happens, you take care of yourself. I’ll take care of him.”
Soren has finally pushed Nora one step too far, and in the beginning of this book she is on the run. Kingsley had prepared for this, that one or all of them would have to make a quick getaway. Nora is ill, barely able to stand on her feet for all of the pain she is in. She has recently been to the doctor and has taken the “morning after” pill. She is in about the second day of terrible pain as her body miscarries. Of all of the contingency plans that King made, Nora is forced to choose the “go dark” option - leaving no clue as to where she might have gone. At first we are left in the dark about why this has happened - we are assured that the pregnancy (the baby was King’s, no mystery there, also no conflict) and subsequent abortion was not the reason. The reason we are given at the time (and in the previous books) is that Soren ordered Nora to marry him, that he was going to leave the priesthood and marry her. She wouldn’t let him do that, knowing that being a priest was his calling and that he would never be happy otherwise. But, as before, it’s obvious that there’s more to it than that. She leaves some object (we aren’t told what, at this point) behind in the locker, knowing that Kingsley will find it and know the meaning of it.
“Write a number inside the locker so I know why you went. And know this...if it’s number five, don’t go to any of the safe houses. Because whether I want to or not, I’ll help him find you if he asks.”
Nora hauls ass, landing at the house of a friend who is in the lifestyle. She thinks that they wouldn’t think to look for her there first, buying her a little time to rest. Remember, she is not just hiding from Soren, but also from Kingsley. While Soren has his own resources, Kingsley’s are legendary: if he wants someone found there is literally no place to hide. Before long she is on the run again, and flees to the only place that Soren can’t lay his hands on her in - her mother’s convent. Her mom has taken orders and joined the sisters of St. Monica. Nora manages to get in, telling her mom that she has left Soren, for which her mom is very grateful. Her mom hates the fact that they are/were together, as you might have guessed. They manage to convince the prioress that Nora is on the run from a bad relationship, despite the fact that Nora feels like she is betraying herself to do so. They accept her into the convent, telling her only that she has to behave, and live like the nuns do, and not to cause trouble, which she agrees to, wanting only to have a place to heal and forget for awhile.
King’s story picks up here. A distraught Soren calls Kingsley, telling him only that they had a fight and that Nora had left. King makes a beeline for the “emergency stash” - the locker Nora visited before leaving town. When he sees what she has left for him he knows that he has to leave as well, because if Soren orders him to find Nora he will be able to do nothing but obey.
He runs as well, leaving the country, and leaving Soren to clean up his own damn mess, for once. King is pissed at Soren for what the object Nora left behind tells him, but he’s pissed at himself too - he didn’t go with Nora to the doctor, or hang around for the messy painful result. He feels guilty about the whole situation, and knows that Soren’s none too pleased that he didn’t nut up either.
Time passes, and the days march on for Nora. More than once she thinks she hears Soren’s motorcycle pass by the front gate, and fights with herself about whether she wants him to find her or not. (I feel pretty sure that he knows exactly where she is, and I have an evil little laugh every time I think about him riding by in the middle of the night) Nora works around the convent in the laundry, the library, what have you, and is absolutely bored stiff until Kyrie arrives. Kyrie is a is a contradictory character in my mind: she’s a virgin, (thus the title) and she’s a lesbian. And she’s joining a convent. She’s a virgin lesbian nun. Wrap your brain around that for a minute. **pauses, raises eyebrow**
Anyhow, Kyrie is interested in Nora, in why she’s there and where she comes from. She pursues a friendship with Nora persistently, despite her attempts to push her away. Slowly they become friends, and Kyrie wrestles some of the story out of Nora. Inversely, Kyrie also puts the story in her: (That sounded dirty as hell, lol) Kyrie suggests that Nora should write. Out of sheer boredom and massive sexual frustration, Nora tries her hand at writing. She writes a smutty version of the Daphne and Apollo myth that with Kyrie’s encouragement turns into her very first novel.
Meanwhile, Kingsley has landed in Haiti. He’s spent most of his trip in a haze, and is showing no signs of coming up for air. By chance he runs across Juliette, whom he meets when he catches her pitching rocks at two kids who were destroying a bird’s nest. I fell in love with her myself just for that. King is, for lack of a better word, smitten on the spot. Juliette is immune to his (considerable) charm at their first meeting, but on the second lays down what she wants: one night, no strings, and that’s it. She has other obligations, she explains and she just wants to know another man, just for herself, just for once. Well, that story intrigued King and before long he gets the truth out of her: she is owned, and not in the fun way. She is in a situation that she cannot find a way out of, and is considering the only option she has left when she met him. It takes all of King’s control to not just destroy her “captor” and take her for himself. Their story was beautiful and painful, and just what Kingsley needed to break him out of his year long slump.
I kept finding myself loving King and Juliette’s story even more so than Nora’s in this one. This is the novel that really made me love Kingsley.
Eventually Nora and Kyrie’s relationship gets physical, and the two women make plans to leave the convent together, to live a life where Nora could pursue her writing career, and they could be together. But Kyrie is insistent: before they leave, she wants to know the real reason why Nora left Soren.
**come on, you know I can’t tell you: go read the book!**
Personally, I cheered when Nora walked out - her master or not, he had no right to order her to do something like that. That’s really the first time in this entire series that I’ve really wanted to punch him.
Kyrie’s and Nora’s story does not end the way Nora expected it. Looking back though, it was all for the best, and showed Kyrie to be a far more complex character than I had given her credit for. The conclusion to King and Juliette’s story was a triumph, and once again I found myself cheering when they were reunited.
This story leaves us right on the cusp of Nora’s career as a domme, and I can not wait for the Queen, the final novel in this series. It will be out on October 27th. I have no doubt the interactions between Nora and Soren will be anything less than explosive.
I. Cannot. Friggin. Wait.
Till next time, keep the pages turning!
About the Author:
Tiffany Reisz lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name.
When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed).
THE SIREN was awarded the RT Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance 2012.
If she couldn’t write, she would die.