She may never reach her royal wedding if she can't resist the rugged mercenary assigned to protect her.
Disgraced ex-knight Royce Saint-Michel was banished from his homeland because of an impulsive act that cost him all he held dear. Now, he has the chance to reclaim his birthright - if he agrees to protect a princess on a journey that may prove deadly to them both.
Royce must escort the lovely Princess Ciara across a war-torn land to her royal wedding... and ensure that she arrives untouched. The two set off alone on a treacherous journey through snowy mountain passes, but forbidden desire soon proves even more dangerous than the assassins on their trail. With the fate of two kingdoms hanging in the balance, will Royce and Ciara do as honor and duty demand... or surrender to the longing in their hearts?
©1997 Shelly Thacker Meinhardt (P)2013 Shelly Thacker Meinhardt
"A fun and erotic 14th-century romp... loaded with non-stop adventure." (Publishers Weekly)
"It is stories like this one that keep so many of us reading romances." (The Oakland Press)
"Shelly Thacker has the gift of bringing readers straight into her adventurous, heart-pounding romances and keeping them highly entertained and completely captivated. This fairytale romance will sweep you off your feet. Exceptional. 4 1/2 stars (highest rating)." (Romantic Times)
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It would have to be when Princess Ciara found the inscription on the ring Royce gave her as a prop. "You and no other. The heart conquers all."
I did not like the voice that she used for Princess Ciarra. It sounded a little too manly for me and I found it annoying.
I recommend this book if you love romance with adventure set in the Medieval period.
"Enchanted, Enthralled, and Entranced!"
“I would be anyone if only I could be with you.”
This is the best medieval romance I've ever listened to. The author expertly evoked a multitude of emotions seamlessly: love, humor, longing, passion, grief, and fear. It was a multi-layered read interlaced with history, steamy romance, and gripping intrigue. The writing was first-rate. The narrator, Julia Motyka, was excellent. She paused for emphasis in all the right places and exuded the appropriate emotions into every word. I will definitely look for more books narrated by her. She was awesome!
I love historical romances and this one delivered with a love fated to fail, beautiful vistas, heart-wrenching danger and thrilling suspense. If you loved The Princess Bride, you will love this story as it is of a similar ilk. I felt that I could hear Wesley's "As you wish..." as I listened to this fractured re-framing of that famous classic.
That's a tough question! If I can only pick one, I'd have to go with Royce. Royce was a classic tortured hero. He began as a brooding , dark character but evolved into a wonderful, honorable, swoonworthy hero. I dare anyone who loves romance novels to not fall in love with Royce. His feelings of desire, hunger and fear for Ciara were heart wrenching and raw and left me oftentimes gasping for breath. I would literally have to hit pause just to allow my heart rate to return to a normal pace.
“What have I done?" he asked, his voice raw. "You used to be such a sane, sensible lady." Ciara replied "You took me on a journey into my own heart.”
Besides the ending which I'm still awe-struck over, I absolutely loved the scene when Royce visited Princess Ciara in her tower bedroom.
Shelly Thacker's loves scenes were realistic, stunningly beautiful and sensually erotic. The romance was paramount, but there was plenty of lust to relish. If you crave steamy sex scenes, there is a plethora of well-written ones here! I appreciated that the heroine was not portrayed as a simpering damsel in distress but a willing partner, eager to learn how to protect herself and to explore new sensations.
This was an incredible historical "doomed love" romance with a happy ever after ending you will not see coming. Read it or listen to it, as you wish. You should definitely rush to whatever bookstore you use and buy it now!!!!!!
My full review has been published at Reading Between the Wines Book Club.
". I cannot, however, recommend this narrator"
A medieval setting is the backdrop for this romance, which starts with a bang in the center of a battle scene. My first introduction to this author provided plenty of excitement at the beginning, while we are introduced to the heroine in a curious and headstrong-ish princess Ciara. Quickly this introduction moves to a more sedate pacing, rife with descriptions that serve to set visual references for the listener/reader.
I’ll be perfectly honest right up front and say that this was possibly the most difficult AudioBook to complete that I have ever had, considering I have reviewed over 100 titles. That is saying something, unfortunately it’s not great. The narration by Julia Motyka required quite a bit of getting used to, and the odd mispronunciations and affected delivery of her narration in “uncharacterized distinction’ was quite frankly, annoying. What instantly caught my ear’s notice is the feeling that her voice itself is a characterization: almost over-exaggerated in the enunciation and tenor of speech. It is difficult to explain but if you think about the voice of Jessica Rabbit with a dash of Marilyn Monroe delivery, it gives the same effect early on. I assumed once I had acclimated to the unusual patois I would be able to concentrate on the story and not find the narration dismantling my focus, yet that never quite happened. Her voice is facile, and she did competently adjust her delivery to emulate a more masculine tone, as well as provide variance within the female characters, but the overwhelming feeling I had far too often was to roll my eyes.
Once the story does move into the romance, the pacing picks up, even though I felt there was some unnecessary back and forth between Ciara and Royce, and finding some moments of intrigue between the forbidden and the possible. The sexual tension started high, and moved to almost uncomfortable levels as the two danced about one another, their responsibilities and their own desires. Royce’s repeated self-recriminations about his duty versus desire wore on, losing effectiveness in both emotional impact and believability with each repeat. Both characters were victim to “unacceptable by oath and family’ love they cannot fulfill, yet enough of the twist with an evil brother serving as king to keep the rebels at unrest was mixed in to make their continued association after delivery to her betrothed to make sense. Yet, true love will prevail, and Ciara and Royce do, despite all the perseveration, have a connection that is palpable and caring, and visible to all who see them.
What I’ve realized as I struggle through this review is that this book, originally released in 1997 has a very retro feel to it – and was probably very unique and fresh. In the near 20 years since, writing and the genre has changed, and what was undoubtedly modern and edgy then is less so now. That isn’t a bad thing: I love the retro early romance titles that were my entrée into the genre. Written – I think I would have loved the story and been able to lose myself into the world the author created. Unfortunately, the narration was distracting to the point of annoyance, and kept me struggling through to complete the story. I’m sad, because the words and writing are wonderful and I would happily recommend this author to a reader looking for a solidly built and crafted historic romance. I cannot, however, recommend this narrator: affected delivery, dramatic and distracting overacting and a series of mispronounced words are only a few of the easiest to define reasons.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
"I'm so glad I didn't miss this one!"
This was a fun, sexy, dramatic, bite your nails story. There was lots of room to veer off onto side stories that would have been good too. But I'm glad to say that this story was in it's entirety a very good book. Definately credit worthy! I had a teenie bit of trouble adjusting to the fictional lands of king and princes but once I gave into it I found that there was such a nice tale to enjoy.
"Give Me the Alps & a Hunky Man"
THACKER gives the reader all that we love in a historical romance. We have an impossible situation and a woman confined by society's dictates. She is strong, imperious with a strong compulsion for saving others. She is put in close and vulnerable proximity of a mysterious, brooding man. One that has duty and honor lurking from behind his combative, bad-boy attitude and not to mention exudes sexiness. The tension grows between them as they learn each other's motives and true character. Nothing like near death situations to make them want to take hold of the living thing between them at all costs. Yummy goodness. But nothing they want will come easy or without sacrifice. Like I said, it has all the ingredients of a good historical romance.
JULIA MOTYKA portrays a mature Ciara that is weary with her situation. You can feel the weight of bringing peace to her people at the cost of her freedom and heart. She also brings an appropriately masculine touch to the male characters. She conveyed all of Royce's frustration with his past, current task and longing for a future that might not be.
"A superb listen, worth the credit!"
I would highly recommend this to a friend. This story has romance, mystery, betrayal, add in the wonderful character & plot development and this story is near perfect. Royce and Ciara really well matched. It was great to see their friendship and love develop, despite the many odds against them. There's also a lot of adventure and twists & turns weaved into the plot. I had several mouth dropping moments while listening. This one kept me on my toes. Nothing is as it seems. This is a great listen and worth the credit. Remember, this is book 2 of 3 of the series. Listen to Forever His first.
None at the moment. It's in a league of it's own. .
I've not listened to any other of Julia Motyka's performances but I think that she does a fantastic job in this series. I enjoyed her narration immensely.
I laughed a lot, especially when Ciara and Royce first met.When she ordered him around like one of her attendants, his responses/reactions were priceless.
More of Shelly Thacker please!
"Shelly is the best"
couldn't put it down! performance was great. can't wait to start the next one.
"Great second book in the series"
Yes, it was a winning combination!! Julia Motyka is a delightful compliment to Ms Thacker's lovely prose. It as a very wise pairing!
She has a wonderful tone and really kept the characters distinct. I loved her pace and energy throughout the read. Her smooth voice worked very well for the leads.
Sometimes I am touch and go with these sort of historical reads. I really enjoyed the characters in this book and the supporting cast. It drew you in and managed to keep me engaged in a story that wasn't always dynamic. I am interested in seeing where the third book will take us in this series!
"An Enjoyable Slow Burn"
"You can insist all you like, Your Highness, but my place is wherever I want it to be."
Accepting her responsibilities as princess of Chalon, Ciara agrees to marry Prince Daemon of Thuringia, known throughout the kingdom for his ruthless cruelty. Believing her father harbors no real love for her, after the tragedy that crippled their family, Ciara can only hope her sacrifice would somehow earn his good favor.
Banished from his homeland, Royce Saint-Michel returns to Chalon for one reason alone, to get back all he lost. Agreeing to the role of escort and protector for Princess Ciara, he need only obey one simple rule regain his noble station, do not touch her.
Three words describe the delightful tale woven by Ms. Shelly Thacker best, a slow burn. I really enjoyed this historical romance set in the imaginary lands of Chalon and Thuringia. The sexual tension between Ciara and Royce developed from a tempered kindle into a roaring inferno. The perilous adventure created a wonderful backdrop, moving the story along at a comfortable pace. Strategically creative twists leaves the reader wondering with each page turn, which will win out in the end, love or duty. I highly recommend His Forbidden Touch if you love historical romances or were thinking about giving the genre a shot. Please note, this is book two of the Stolen Bride series. I have not read the first, but the story stood well enough on it’s own. However, I do intend to go back and read the first book because I enjoyed this one so much.
Julia Motyka does a good job of narrating, making it easy to distinguish between the multiple characters. I loved how her voice inflected the antagonistically divine nature of our hero, Royce. And I said before, I do plan on delving back in for more.
"Exciting, Historical, Romance"
Haven't read the print version. But the audio version 'rocked'! I was enthralled by the narration of Julia Motyka and the sensory, perfection of her rendition. I love to read too and sometimes speak to myself the touching and emotional parts. so I guess the print version will also 'rock'
Because of the difference in their histories, the heroine and hero had to hold off on the passion that exploded between them, Royce's sense of honour, prevented him from showing his attraction to Ciara, but ultimately they couldn't help himself as they were thrown into close encounters for a protracted period of time and they both felt the pangs of a consuming passion. The sexual tension was ever present and continued to build and when finally they came together, it was sooo beautiful. Memorable indeed.
Royce was my favorite. Very interesting main man. Angry because he’s lost everything, at being marginalised by and banished by Ciara's father, but when duty calls to aid his country, he commits to help. I kind of sympathized with him, even when I knew the reasons for his exile. His sarcasm was used as a weapon to help him cope with his angst. And the squabbling between him and Ciara towards the beginning was priceless. As the empathy for each other flourished throughout the novel, one could see the love for each other unfolding. Royce was a really believable character as portrayed by Julia's expertise in character portrayal, through voice
When Ciara dubbed him Sir Royce and restored his family lands and titles and gave him the silver spurs thus fulfilling his dreams that filled his heart during the time of his exile.
I also loved Ciara. I loved watching her character grow from a protected daughter, into someone who was lively, spirited, and who learned how to defend herself. I also really enjoyed Royce’s reactions as she continued to astonish him and defy his expectations. In spite of all she had heard of Damon's violent nature and that she had no wish to marry him, duty was important to her and she was prepared to marry him for the ultimate good of her country.Didn't understand/appreciate that part too much, but hey, I'm from the 21st century.
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