Lara (World of Hetar Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview




New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and master of romance Bertrice Small welcomes you to the magical, sensual World of Hetar.

For Lara, a half faerie, half human, her beauty is a blessing and a curse. Sold into a Pleasure House by her father, she commits herself to a lifetime of servitude. But even in a place where pleasure is not censured but encouraged, her ...
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Lara (World of Hetar Series #1)

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Overview




New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and master of romance Bertrice Small welcomes you to the magical, sensual World of Hetar.

For Lara, a half faerie, half human, her beauty is a blessing and a curse. Sold into a Pleasure House by her father, she commits herself to a lifetime of servitude. But even in a place where pleasure is not censured but encouraged, her otherworldly beauty proves too much for her suitors.

When Lara escapes, she is introduced to a new way of life, and an incredible man who opens her eyes to the growing unrest among their people…and the extraordinary destiny that awaits her. Lara will journey the depths of desire and despair to find a love that will last an eternity—a love that will change Hetar forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459219083
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Series: World of Hetar Series , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 69,024
  • File size: 463 KB

Meet the Author

The author of more than fifty historical, fantasy and erotic romance novels, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Bertrice Small lives on the North Fork of the East End of Long Island with her husband and two overfed felines. She is a member of the Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America and RWA’s PAN and PASIC. Bertrice Small is the recipient of numerous awards and was honored as a Pioneer of Romance by RT Book Reviews.

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Read an Excerpt




"We must sell Lara, husband. There is simply no other choice if you are to have your chance," Susanna, wife of John Swiftsword, said quietly. She was uncomfortable with this matter, but sometimes her husband would not face simple facts. And the simple fact was that John had a beautiful daughter for whom he could no longer provide. But that same daughter could provide for them all, given the opportunity.

"I cannot," her husband replied, but his voice was filled with the desperation that came from knowing she was right. Lara was all he had left of his brief union with the faerie woman, Ilona. The faerie had loved him for a brief time, given him their daughter whom she had named Lara—shining one, in her tongue—and then disappeared from his life as easily as she had entered into it that midsummer's night so long ago. He had not married until two years ago, and while he loved his Susanna, the memory of Ilona would remain with him forever.

"Listen to me, husband." Susanna's voice penetrated his thoughts. "Have you considered what is to become of Lara? We are poor people. There is no dowry for her. How can there be, given your situation? Many fear her faerie beauty and her faerie blood. Who will wed a dowerless girl like that? And if she is not married, what will happen to her? All your life you have wanted but one thing—to become a member of the Order of Crusader Knights. You have served as a mercenary soldier since you were fifteen, and your reputation as a great swordsman is known throughout the land. But you know as well as I do that your poverty prevents you from attaining your greatest desire. The tournament for entry into the ranks of the Order of Crusader Knights is to be held in just a few months, husband. It will not be held again for another three years." Could he not see, or understand? Why did she have to be the one to point out these things? She very much liked her stepdaughter, but John needed to advance, and she wanted a better life for their son. There was but one way to achieve their goals.

"But to sell my daughter into slavery," John Swift-sword protested weakly.

Susanna sighed. "I know, husband, how much you love this child, but she is all we have that is of any value. She is so beautiful that it almost hurts the eyes to look upon her. I have grown to love her, too. Still, think of what little we have, and consider the son I gave you but six months ago. What will happen to Mikhail? The hovel we live in is yours only by virtue of your service to the Guild of Mercenaries. Your sword gives us food and small necessities, but nothing else. What clothing we possess is ours, but when your sword is no longer useful, where will we go? How many of your kind have deliberately allowed themselves to be killed in battle rather than face a homeless old age? And how many of their women roam as beggars without sons to provide for them?"

"But if Lara is sold into slavery what will happen to her?" John Swiftsword asked his wife. His gray eyes were troubled, and he ran a nervous hand through his brown hair.

"She will most likely be bought and trained to be a Pleasure Woman for one of the great Pleasure Houses here in the City," Susanna said. "It will be a good life for her, and in all likelihood some magnate will eventually purchase her from the Pleasure House to be his own personal Pleasure Woman. She will enjoy a life of luxury, husband, which is a far better future than we can offer her." Susanna put a comforting hand on her husband's sinewy arm. He was a good man, but like many men he needed to be led in the right direction. Such was a wife's duty.

"How can you be certain that she will be so fortunate in her fate?" he demanded.

"I have already gone to Gaius Prospero, husband," Susanna answered honestly.

"You went to the Master of the Merchants of the Midlands, and he saw you?" John Swiftsword was astounded by her admission.

"The Master of the Merchants holds an open audience once each month for any who would come to proffer him something of value. I took Lara with me several days ago that he might see what we had to offer him. Gaius Prospero is who he is because he is a clever man, and always eager for profit. He has told me what he will pay for Lara. It is a more than generous sum. With it I can purchase the finest materials to make your application garments. With it you can order up the best suit of armor, new weapons, and the best warhorse bred, for whom I will sew the most beautiful caparisons that you may be proud of yourself, your talent with the sword and your perfect appearance. I have already alerted the armorer and the swordsmith. They are eager to service you, husband, because they know that if you enter this tournament you will win your place among the Crusader Knights, thus burnishing their own reputations. Gaius Prospero was particularly pleased when I told him why we were selling Lara. Your skill as a great swordsman precedes you, husband." She spoke strongly. He must be convinced that this was the right thing for all.

"Susanna…"

"Think, husband!" She interrupted him. "When you gain your rightful place we will be given a house in the Garden District where all the Crusader Knights and their families reside. Oh, it will be small at first, I know, for until you have made your mark among the knights in battle you will not merit a large home, but one day we shall have one, I know. And even the lowest of the Crusader Knights is given a servant. I will have someone to help me. Our son, Mikhail, will be raised as a knight's son with an automatic place within their ranks should he merit it, but if he is not the warrior his father is, he will receive an education that will keep him in the upper strata of our society. Selling Lara to Gaius Prospero will benefit us all. She will live a life of luxury, and we will climb into the ranks of the elite. You will have your dream. Our son will have more opportunities than even we can imagine. There is no honor or advancement in poverty, husband. There is only the certainty of death." Her eyes suddenly filled with tears.

John Swiftsword nodded. Susanna was absolutely right in this matter. This was an opportunity that would not come again for him. His daughter was exquisitely beautiful even as her faerie mother had been. But he could not provide Lara the kind of life to which she was entitled. And of late, the Mercenary Guild had not been as active as they had always been. Those needing their services were seeking men-at-arms not allied with his guild to whom they might pay a lower wage. It mattered not that these outsiders had no real training, or skills. They were cheaper to employ, which meant more profit, and if they died, they died. It was no great loss. Most of the assignments that did come into his guild these days were going to those men willing to share a percentage of their wage with the guild sergeants.

"I will need to speak with Lara," he said. His eyes mirrored his anguish.

Susanna looked up into her husband's face. "Yes," she agreed. Reaching up she touched his rough cheek with her fingertips. "I would wish it otherwise, husband," she said. "If Lara were plain of face and meek of spirit we might have put her as a maidservant into the house of a magnate's family. She would have earned her keep, and even been able to put a bit aside for a dowry portion. But she is beautiful, and high-spirited."

"Like her mother," he half whispered. "Ilona was glorious to look upon, and fiery of temperament. I can understand why she left me. But at least when she did, she left Lara so I should never forget the faerie who once loved me." He sighed sadly.

Susanna felt a stab of jealousy, but she hid it from him, saying instead, "Your faerie woman was a fool, John Swiftsword, for you are as good a man as ever was born!"

He looked down at her, and marveled that after all those lonely years he had found Susanna of the Lea. He had been heartbroken when Ilona had departed despite his pleas. He was a man with an infant daughter, and an old mother. It was his mother who had taken charge of his child, finding a wet nurse, and raising Lara while he was off in service to whoever was willing to pay for his skillful sword and his temporary loyalty. And then his mother had died when Lara was ten years of age. To his great surprise, his daughter took over the household chores. Whenever he returned home she would be waiting for him with a hot meal, lively chatter and a clean bed for him. He was grateful that his mother had trained his daughter so well, but he found himself growing lonely for the companionship of a good woman. Pleasure Women he had aplenty, but John Swiftsword wanted more now. At Lara's suggestion he went to the matchmaker.

Susanna of the Lea was the daughter of a farmer from the Midlands. She was the youngest of eight daughters and a son. Her family was delighted to find a husband for her who was willing to accept her miniscule dower portion, consisting of the clothing on her back, her shoes, a second skirt and bodice, a woolen cloak, a feather bed, two down pillows and a single silver coin of a small denomination. And she was willing to leave the country for the City.

"You'll not find a better wife," the matchmaker had told him. "She is pretty enough, but most important, sweet-natured. She is not fearful of that faerie child of yours, either. She will be a good mother to your daughter."

"If she is such a good catch then why is she still unwed?" he asked the matchmaker.

The matchmaker sighed. "It's the dowry, John Swiftsword. She's the last of her parents' children, and there is practically nothing left for her. Usually these girls remain at home to care for their elderly parents, but her mother died last year, and the old farmer, her father, took himself another wife, a widow. The girl is not needed any longer, and the new wife wants her gone. She has an ugly daughter who will be the one to stay home and look after the farmer and his new wife. Only when I told the farmer there was no way I could get a decent husband for her without silver was the coin offered, and grudgingly at that. The new wife is not happy about it, but the girl's brother spoke up for her, and as he is the one who will inherit the farm one day, his voice carried weight."

John Swiftsword nodded. He understood what it was like not to be wanted. He had been born on a Midland farm himself, but being one of his parents' younger children, he was encouraged almost from birth to find his own way. He had been fortunate in that his eldest brother's wife was the daughter of a mercenary, who had come to live with them in his old age. It was the old soldier who had taught John how to use a sword, and encouraged him to join the mercenaries that he might have a life of his own.

"I'll take Susanna of the Lea for my wife," he had told the matchmaker, and it had been done. He had gone to her father's farm, found that the matchmaker had not lied, and they had been united on the next Marrying Day, along with twenty-two other couples, by the Squire who ruled the Midlands region. The Squire performed this service one day each month.

And Susanna had come back to the City with him immediately afterwards, spending their wedding night in their hovel. She had shrieked satisfactorily when he broke through her maidenhead, so he knew with certainty that any children he got on her would be his. She was a good bedmate, and he quickly realized he had found a treasure of a wife in her. His hovel was kept clean. His daughter was cared for and his meals were excellent. When he got a child on her he knew his life was a good one. Good except for the fact he could not think of a way to make his dream of joining the Order of the Crusader Knights come true.

When he had first come to the City and joined the Mercenaries, he quickly learned that mercenaries were not a particularly respected group. They were needed, yes, but not well-regarded. Mercenaries were the cannon fodder used by the Crusader Knights in the wars they had once conducted. Nowadays mercenaries were hired to protect the caravans that traversed the four kingdoms. They were the men-at-arms used when one traveled the streets at night or carried valuables. They had no stature at all. The district in which they lived was a poor one, and their hovels were not their own. They were at the mercy of their guild, and the only escapes available to them were death, or entry into the Order of the Crusader Knights. Having earned the appellation Swiftsword for his skill with a blade, John wanted more than anything to be a Crusader Knight.

Entry into this high order was not an easy task. Every three years the Crusader Knights held a great tourney in the City to replenish their ranks, due more to old age and death than battle these days. But the Crusader Knights would not take just any man. Men who applied to enter the tourney had to appear before the entrance board properly garbed in fine garments. If they gained a place in the tourney they had to arrive that first day well-equipped with a warhorse, a good suit of armor and an array of fine weapons. Any man not appearing as required was immediately disqualified, and sent away.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2007

    I loved this book!

    I love Bertrice Small! I've read nearly all of her books but I wasn't going to read Lara. I don't like fantasy novels. I thought this book was going to be stupid and filled with a lot of creatures and unrealistic scenes. I'm so glad I changed my mind about reading this book. There are creatures in the book and it is a fantasy novel but Bertrice is such a good writer, she managed to create wonderful characters and a storyline that isn't silly. I liked Lara. I loved reading about her adventures. I really want her and Vartan to stay together forever (I like him a lot) but I have a feeling that's not going to happen *sigh* There are things I didn't like about his book: I got tired of seeing the word 'destiny' and I hated how Bertrice felt she had to repeat Lara's background over and over. Even though those things bugged me, I will have to give this book 5 stars. I ordered the other two books in this series. I can't wait to read them! Keep writing, Bertrice!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    Ms. Small should have stuck to historical romance. This book is laughably bad, with a stupid premise (a young girl is sold to be a sex slave so her father can join an elite order of knights). The fantasy element is badly handled, and the characters are cliche. There was an undue emphasis on sex. It actually gets boring to read because it happens too much. The plot drives you to boredom. I don't recommend it at all.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    For those who appreciate highly erotic S&M fantasy

    John Swiftsword lives up to his surname as one Hetar¿s elite warriors, but will never be recognized as one of the top gun knights because he is too poor to purchase the needed ceremonial insignias and wardrobe to enter the tournament. His wife Susanna, wanting out of poverty, decides to invest in her spouse¿s prowess by selling her stepdaughter, a half fairy female. The money they obtain for selling the hauntingly ethereally beautiful Lara would enable John to participate in a tournament and win fame and fortune. Lara would also no longer live the life of a pauper as she would live the life of luxury serving males in a pleasure houses. ....................... Lara seemingly acquiesces as she can become great as a courtesan. However, instead of bringing in the vast fortune her beauty would seem to warrant, jealousy squabbles and fights make Lara worthless. Wanting some profit for the lass, her stepmother sells Lara to the only bidding customer, the forest lords, who abuse and use her beyond human capacity until she escapes. As Lara learns to use fairy magic, she exploits anyone who crosses her path even those with pure souls..................... LARA is an exciting romantic fantasy that fans of Bertrice Small¿s bondage erotica will appreciate. For others the thought of sexual indentured servitude will prove difficult to accept. The story line makes Hetar seem genuine though a depraved Sodom and Gomorrah. The cast is a nasty lot whether it is her stepmother selling Lara, or her father failing to prevent the sale; even Lara transforms from victim to abuser. Though an intriguing realm, this novel is not for everyone only those who appreciate highly erotic S&M fantasy.................... Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    Great Author, Lousy Series

    Lara is neither a good romance nor a good fantasy novel. Unfortunately, it tries to be both--tries too hard, even. I suspect anyone who has read a lot of fantasy will recognize the tired conventions employed here. It seems the erotic touch was supposed to reinvigorate what has been written again and again, but instead it only offers foul respites.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Lara

    Most excellent

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Great!

    Don't listen to any bad reviews this series has! Maybe I am just biased, because I am a huge Bertice Small fan, but these are some of my all time favorite books by her. They really are amazing!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Can't wait to read the next 5 books in this series

    Bertrice Small at her best!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Very good read

    I wasn't a fan of the first Hetar book, but this one I would recomend looking forward to the next book in the series. Lara is a women on a mission, and I can't wait to see where she is off to next.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Awesome!

    Great book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2008

    Ms. Small, what happened?

    I have been a fan for many years, but I have noticed a disturbing trend. Each title has gotten progressively worse with regard to repetitive situations, characters, dialog, and love scenes. I feel like I'm reading the same book over and over again each time the worldly, handsome hero falls madly in love with the pure, virginal beauty after falling into the nearest bed for the first time. In this case, not even the attempt at a fantasy setting was able to save the story. Too predictable, and too much, with EVERYONE falling in love with the heroine. Recycling is good for the planet, not the reader! For a taste of the REAL Bertrice Small, check out any of her work prior to the start of the Glenkirk chronicles.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Excellant book , if you like romance novels

    I enjoyed reading this book. It had many twist and turns, that starting tying together at end of book. Can't wait for the second book to come out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    VERY different from Small's usual work

    ALthough our author waivers from her usual UK heriones (which I thoroughly enjoy), she has brought us to a parallel world we can definitely relate to. Her herione is still strong and the multi-plots and lives exquisite. Defintely can't wait to read 'A Distant Tomorrow'!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2005

    Bravo a page turner from start to finish

    This is the best I have read in a long time!I would put Lara in class all her own when it comes to heroines. I have enjoyed all of Lady B's books over the years. This new series I think is going to open a new experience for Bertrice Small fans everywhere. I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    This book was great!!! Anxiously awaiting the next one.

    This book was true Bertice Small. It was a little slow in the beginning but once you get through the beginning it is smooth sailing. It reminded me of the Skye O'Malley Saga. I have always loved her books and how she portrays her characters and their lives. This book proves she is on to another great series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    Hats off to Bertrice Small!!!

    'Behold the turtle, he gets nowhere unless he sticks his neck out!!!' And this is exactly what Ms. Small has done in creating the marvelous world of Hetar and all its delicious characters!!! A very courageous move writing this book because, as one reader has pointed out, this is not a book for everyone. But, it's escapism at it's finest and I didn't want it to end and I can hardly wait for Book Two!! I love the world of fantasy and magic! BRAVA, Ms. Small, for stepping outside the circle!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    Very Magical

    Pretty good book. First time reading a Fantasy novel. I think Small did pretty well and I would definatly give Fantasy books a try. I cannot wait until the second book comes out to this series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2005

    Couldn't put it down!

    I love this book, because it takes you into it so well I couldn't put it down. I recommend it to anyone who loves romance!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    Perfect

    I have read the whole set of these 3 times!! Love them all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    Love love love

    I have been reading Ms Smalls books for years. This series had me excited like the release days of Harry Potter books. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Reader

    Do you like Diana Gabaldon and Karen Moning? Then, i think you will like Betrice Small. Well writen and wonderful story lines.

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