Fires of Winter

Fires of Winter

4.0 149
by Johanna Lindsey

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Lovely and dauntless, abducted by invaders from across an icy sea, Lady Breena vowed vengeance swearing no Viking brute would be her master no barbarian would enslave her noble Celtic heart, but then came Garrick Haardrad, the proud and powerful son of a ruthless Viking chieftain.


Lovely and dauntless, abducted by invaders from across an icy sea, Lady Breena vowed vengeance swearing no Viking brute would be her master no barbarian would enslave her noble Celtic heart, but then came Garrick Haardrad, the proud and powerful son of a ruthless Viking chieftain.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Haardrad Family , #1
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Fires of Winter

Chapter One

A Few miles inland from the west coast of Wales, and to the left of Anglesey Island, a small village was nestled in a tiny clearing. On a steep hill overlooking the village stood an imposing manor. Jim grey stone building looked down on the village, almost like a mother guarding her children with a watchful eye.

The village basked in the luxinims warmth of the midsummer sun. Not so the manor on the hill, which remained cold and forbidding, even with the sun touching its harsh grey walls. Travelera passing through the countryside often had the same impression of coldness. Today was no different.

A stranger slowly found his way to the heart of the village, keeping a wary eye on the manor. But soon the activay around him took the tall newcomer′s attention away from the protecting mother on the hill. His unease gradually left him, and was replaced by a feeling that he was about to have some long overdue good fortune. More than once he turned in a complete circle, his hard eyes feasting on the peaceful tranquillity, the dozen or so closely-spaced cottages, the children dashing here and there, playing their innocent games, and the women -- ah, the women!

He quickly spotted five or six who were to his liking. They didn′t even notice him, as they went about their everyday chores.

The stranger, his trousers gartered but deplorably threadbare, with a filthy wolfskin serving as his mantle, could hardly believe his eyes. There was not a man in sight, not a single one. And the women, so many, and of all ages! Could hehave stumbled on some ancient Amazon village? But no, there were children, boys and girls alike. The men must be working in the fields somewhere to the east, for he had seen none on his way.

"Can I be of help, good sir?"

Startled, the stranger jumped, then swung around quickly to face a girl with a bright, curious smile, whom he judged to have seen no less than sixteen winters. She suited his tastes perfectly, with her neatly braided flaxen hair and wide green eyes set in a cherubic, innocent face. His eyes travelled downward, but only for a second, so the girl would have no hint of his intentions, but in that instant her overripe breasts, pressed hard against her brown shift, and her wide, sturdy hips caused an ache in his groin.

When the stranger did not reply, the girl spoke again, cheerfully. "It has been many months since a traveller has come our way-not since the last of those from Anglesey Island Passed through on their search for new homes. Do you come from Anglesey also?"

"Yea, ′tis not the same anymore," he finally answered. Oh, he could tell her of his woes if he was of a mind, but she would have her own soon enough, if he had his way, and it was not a sympathetic ear that he was in need of. "Where are the men of your village? I do not even spy an old man whittling away his time."

The girl smiled sadly for just a moment. "As it happens, the old ones took the fever two winters past, and are no more. Many young and old died that year." Then her smile .brightened. "A wild boar was spotted this mom, and the men who remain have given chase. There will be a feast tonight and you are welcome to join."

His curiosity prompted the man to ask, "But are there no fields to tend? Or is a wild boar more important?"

The girl giggled unabashed. "You must surely be a man from the sea, or you would know that the crops are planted in the spring and harvested in the fall, with little to do ′atween."

A frown creased his haggard brow. "Then you expect the men to return shortly?"

"Oh, nay, not if they can help it," she laughed. "They will linger over the chase, to enjoy it more. ′Tis not often a boar comes this close."

The man′s features relaxed somewhat, and his thin lips curled in a grin. "What is your name, girl?"

"Enid," she replied easily.

"And have you a husband, Enid?"

She blushed prettily, her eyes lowered. "Nay, sir, I live with my father still."

"And he is with the others?"

Her green eyes gleamed with laughter again. "He would not miss the chase!"

This is too good to be true, the man thought gleefully before he spoke again. "I have travelled far and the moming sun is so warming, Enid. Might I rest a while in your home?"

For the first time she looked nervous. "I - I don′t - "

"Only for a few minutes, Enid," he added quickly.

She thought for a moment. "I am sure my father would not mind," she replied, and turned to lead the way.

The dwelling she entered was small indeed: only a single room, with a makeshift wall separating two sleeping mats placed in a comer of the dirt floor. A blackened stone hearth occupied one wall; two crude chairs and a table were placed before it. Two exquisitely crafted chalices inlaid with semiprecious stones, were on the table. They caught and held the man′s eye. They were easily worth a small fortune; he could not understand how they might have found their way into this humble cottage.

Enid watched the man curiously as he eyed the gifts she had received from the lord of the manor for her services gladly rendered. The tall stranger was not handsome, but neither was he repulsive. And although he obviously owned little of worth, he had a strong back and could provide well for her as a husband. She had little chance of finding a husband among her own people, for all those who were eligible had already tried her charms, and though they did not find her lacking, neither would they take her to wife, knowing their friends had also tasted of her.

Enid smiled to herself as she developed the scheme, She would speak with her father on his return and lay her plan before him. He was sympathetic to her plight, and longed for a son-in-law to help him in the fields. Together they would coax the stranger to stay for a time. Then Enid would use her wiles to bring forth the man′s proposal. This time, yea, this time she would have the marriage first and the play after. She would not add another mistake to her long list.

Fires of Winter. Copyright (c) by Johanna Lindsey . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

One of the world's most successful authors of historical romance, every one of Johanna Lindsey's previous novels has been a national bestseller, and several of her titles have reached the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Ms. Lindsey lives in New England with her family.

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Fires of Winter 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. You have to also read Hearts Aflame and Surrender my love, they follow up on this one and you get to read more about what happens in Brenna and Garrics life after Fires of winter. I know a few readers dont like the "rape" in the book, I dont see it that way...I see it as very passionate and stubborn :) I liked the book and the challenges it puts them through.Johanna's writing is amazing, you wont be dissapointed !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't too happy with the hero, or the heroine in this book. I understand that back then, a man thought nothing of raping a woman, but I read fiction for enjoyment, and to me, rape is icky. If I wanted an accurate accounting of the time period, then I would read a nonfiction book. Instead, I want a hero that defies the status quo. One who is decent and does not find pleasure in forcing a woman. That said, even without the rape scenes, I didn't find Garrick all that pleasing as a hero. He was surly and mean and repeatedly hurt Brenna. His random acts of kindness were usually in response to guilt, and many times, he promised Brenna a reprieve from his bed only to force her later. He raped her twice hurting her both times and felt little guilt. That said, I found Brenna even more irritating. I liked that she wanted her independence and had pride, but I could never see why she fell in love with a brute like Garrick. He didn't treat her well, and he raped her repeatedly. Even when tenderness is added to the equation, it was still rape. I liked that Brenna didn't berate herself for liking the act, and instead urged him to please her, but it was annoying how she dithered back and forth. I felt like she was not nearly as strong as she was portrayed at first, and she fell in love with Garrick for his looks. She reminded me a lot of battered women who love their abusive husbands because they delude themselves into believing that the random acts of kindness define the man instead of the violence that he uses against them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one who's noticed that the line between rape and consentual sex has blurred almost to non-existence in this book? The heroine in this book falls in love with her captor, despite the lack of true conversation and emotional bonding. In addition to this, although other characters make reference to the hero's kindness, we see little of it in this book, as well as a certain lack of character in the hero. The heroine is raped repeatedly, yet somehow still longs for his attention, and falls in love with him. You hear no apology from the hero about his treatment of her, either. I'm sorry, but this treatment would inspire my devastation and wrath rather than my love. I'm sorry to say this, but this is one book I did not like.

The plot is most likely a sign of the times it was written in, and as the romance genre has evolved, so have Lindsey's books. However, I still notice a certain amount of "selective hearing" in her heros (and heroines, for that matter). In my opinion, the men need to be more respectful of the word "no".

For a Viking with a sense of chivalry, read Josie Litton's Viking novels: "Dream of Me", "Believe in Me", and "Come Back to Me". They're wonderful, and the heroes actually listen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst of the viking series. This is an older novel by JL and it is more about creating a saga for the herione thru trials & tribulations than creating a romance. I forced myself to get thru 300pages of them bickering over the same issues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find that I am not enjoying this book. I was expecting a romantic love story. But this book is just so-so. I don't fibd the hero or heroine are bland and shallow at best. I understand the author is trying to capture the essence of the era but there is too much barbarism for my taste.
Lori_Beam More than 1 year ago
I have been a follower of Johanna for sometime and I haven't been disappointed yet. I enjoyed reading this triology over and over again. I am a fan of Vikings and the fiesty, headstrong heroines. I recommend it to anyone that likes spice in their romance. I love that it is now available on my Nook. I have a well worn print and I expect a well worn screen, too. Cheers Johanna! *I wouldn't suggest it to the bible thumpers they tend to be judgemental of fantasies. (I found that one out the hard way on Reviews of my own books.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry to say. I couldn,t make myself suffer through this book. Boring. Characters are one note, predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When did rape become romantic? This is ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the 4th book i've read by Johanna Lynsey and so far I've loved all of them. I highly recommend this book.
littlebitGA More than 1 year ago
I am a fast reader and this book helped put a dent on my time. This is such a wonderful book. You will love the main character for showing bravery as a woman. Such a different love story for the ages but I could not put this book down. I love that this book is actually a sequel and I am on the third book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! The story is so interesting that after chapter 4, I couldn't stop reading. Finished the book in 2 days! The only thing about it that I didn't like is that there is a lot of rape in it. I like my men to be forceful, but not take their women by force.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it a few times years ago and finally decided to buy it because it is such a great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. Starting on the 2nd book in the series right now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely entertaining.. Enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was soooo good, i loved it :) Parts of it were so sweet and touching. Other parts made me cry and youll never guess the twist at the end. Definitely read. I wish i lived in the time period of this book lol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book.
Azgirl25 More than 1 year ago
I'm only on page 80 in this book and honestly, I just don't think I can read it any longer. More women than I can count have been raped in this book and quit frankly it's making my stomach turn. They are not explicit rape scenes and the characters seem to take it in stride but it's just grossing me out. Don't think me a prude either. I love hot, steamy sex scenes in a romance novel. The hotter the better in my opinion. I don't shy away from consensual sex scenes, but the poor slave women in this book who are expected to service all of these barbarians sexually then pull their skirts down and go back to the kitchen and prepare food for their rapists just isn't sitting right with me at all!! Since I have not read the book all the way through (and quit frankly don't believe that I will) I can't give my opinion on the entire book or the story line. I just figured if the first 80 pages bothered me this much it may bother other readers as well and I may be able to save someone $7.99 by letting them know that unless you can bear to read about EVERY single woman (aside from the women who was murdered in the beginning and the lead character so far) being raped this may not be the book for you.
read2011 More than 1 year ago
Not much romance, lots of raping, lots of stockholm syndrone. Vikings show up under the premise of delivering a bride to their lords son. Instead they breach their word of honor. Brenna is taken hostage along with her half-sister and most sevants of the house. All women except Brenna are repeatedly raped on the way to the viking stronghold. She is handed over to the lords youungest son . He hates women, all of his female slaves are givin freely to his guest. To be used sexually . she becomes his slave is raped several times by him. Not to be shared with his guest until he tires of her. Her aunt, stepsister and all the women who were taken with her see nothing wrong with living as slaves. The sex isnt that bad adjust! Everybody else has!!! What a crock.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved it, it was a riveting book. the characters had depth and i liked that she was sassy enough to bite the guy on the lip!!! and it was sad when he thought she left him and wouldn't believe her when she said she was kidnapped, i was really sad when i read that and all in all i absolutely loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of Johanna Lindsey's best books. It will keep you pulled into it. After reading this one, you must read 'Hearts AFlame'. I won't spoil the book, but it's a great sequel to this one.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Please give this book a try....unless you are like the other reviewers and are offended by even the slightest suggestion of non-compliance. Even those instances are few and are of the type where the woman deep down wants the man and is immediately attracted and drawn to him. However, I would not read this if you have personal reasons for being sensitive to even a hint of forced physical"congress", cuz you will indeed find that here; but for those readers who are not as sensitive to IT, its truly just a game and a battle of wills and pumped up pride between two strong willed charcters/lovers. I personally loved this story. I hope this helps:)
Anonymous 9 months ago
Stay clear.............not that good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first viking romance. A couple parts caught me a little off guard but I wanted more after reading the last page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually really like this author but this book really disappointed. It is probably historically accurate but not a romance novel. I find no romance in the repeated raping and abuse of women. The lead male and female roles seem poorly written and absurd. I would not recommend this book even if it were free