Tender Savage

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen comes a tale of danger and desire, as a woman caught up in another country’s revolution finds herself falling in love with a charismatic freedom fighter.
 
 
Lara Clavel knows that her mission to the war-torn Caribbean island of Saint Pierre is fraught with danger. But she is determined to rescue the imprisoned rebel leader Ricardo Lázaro—if only ...
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Tender Savage

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen comes a tale of danger and desire, as a woman caught up in another country’s revolution finds herself falling in love with a charismatic freedom fighter.
 
 
Lara Clavel knows that her mission to the war-torn Caribbean island of Saint Pierre is fraught with danger. But she is determined to rescue the imprisoned rebel leader Ricardo Lázaro—if only to prevent her twin brother from rejoining his revolutionary army. What she doesn’t expect is the powerful attraction she feels for the legendary poet-warrior. And the heat is mutual. From the instant they meet inside the confines of his jail cell, Ricardo seems bound and determined to possess Lara. But is love possible with a man whose every waking moment is spent in the crosshairs of some would-be assassin’s rifle? Even after Ricardo is freed, Lara will find her feelings for him put to the ultimate test, as she fights to tame a savage rebel skilled in the arts of combat and seduction.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lara goes to the war-torn Caribbean island of St. Pierre to free captive revolutionary leader Ricardo. She succeeds, but in the process loses both her heart and her virginity to him. No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Johansen's (www.irisjohansen.com) short contemporary novel, which features steamy weather and steamy romance, was first published in 1990 as a Bantam Loveswept title. This first-ever audio edition, released concurrently with the ebook and Bantam mass market paperback reissue, is appealingly read by actress/narrator Susan Boyce (The Cinderella Deal). Independence and determination characterize Lara, and Boyce emphasizes these traits with clear, precise diction. Her rendering of Ricardo's Latin accent is charming; soft and tender during love scenes, tense and sharp when facing danger. Recommended.—Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Colonial Williamsburg Fdn. Lib., VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553593396
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 930,595
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 4.34 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Iris Johansen
Iris Johansen is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including Killer Dreams, On the Run, Countdown, Firestorm, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, and No One to Trust. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.

Biography

After her two children left home for college, Iris Johansen decided to devote her new found free time to writing. Since she loved reading romance novels, she penned a love story, and found to her surprise that "I was just as voracious a writer as I was a reader." During the 1980s, her name was emblazoned on dozens of slender volumes featuring spirited adventuresses, passionate mystery men, and smoldering love scenes. These days, Johansen is one of a posse of former romance writers dominating the New York Times bestseller lists.

Early on in her career, Johansen developed the habit of following characters from book to book, sometimes introducing minor characters in one novel who then become major figures in another. She developed families, relationships, and even fictional countries in her romance novels, which "stretched the boundaries of the standard formulas," according to Barbara E. Kemp in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers. In 1991, Johansen broke out of category romance (a term for short books written to conform to the length, style and subject matter guidelines for a publisher's series) with The Wind Dancer, a romantic-suspense novel set in 16th-century Italy. She followed it with two sequels, Storm Winds and Reap the Wind, to form a trilogy, then wrote several more stand-alone romance novels before The Ugly Duckling was published in 1996.

The Ugly Duckling was her first book to be released in hardcover -- and the first to significantly broaden her readership beyond her romance fan base. Since then, Johansen's plots have gotten tighter and more suspense-driven; critics have praised her "flesh-and-blood characters, crackling dialogue and lean, suspenseful plotting" (Publishers Weekly). Some of her most popular books feature forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, who first appeared in The Face of Deception in 1998. But Johansen seems equally comfortable with male protagonists, and her books have crossed the gender division that often characterizes popular fiction. Indeed, Publishers Weekly called The Search "that rarity: a woman's novel for men."

Good To Know

Johansen rewrote the ending of Reap the Wind for its reissue in 2002. "I couldn't resist tightening and changing the climax to correspond with my changed ideas on plot structure but the story is basically the same," she explained in a Q&A on her publisher's web site.

Many of her early novels were written for the Loveswept series from Bantam Books; bestselling authors Sandra Brown and Kay Hooper also wrote for the series.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


“It will be dangerous, Miss Clavel,” Paco said gravely. “I won’t lie to you. You could be raped or tortured, even killed.”

Lara Clavel tried to hide her shiver of fear from Paco Renalto’s keen gaze. In the short time she had been in the major’s tent, she had learned that there was a great deal more to Renalto than elfin features and an air of insouciance. He had a sharp, probing intelligence. She shouldn’t have been surprised. He couldn’t have risen to be Ricardo Lázaro’s second in command with only puckish charm to recommend him. She forced a smile. “I really wish you wouldn’t tell me about all these dire things that could happen. I’m scared enough already.”

“You have to be warned. Ricardo wouldn’t permit you to go into such a dangerous situation without your knowing full well what it might cost you. I can’t either.”

“Not even to save the leader of your great revolution?” Lara’s tone was deliberately flippant.

“Not even then.” A sudden smile lit Paco Re?nalto’s face. “You cannot choose without knowing the facts, and that’s what this revolution is all about. Ricardo wouldn’t thank me for discarding those principles just to save his life.”

“No? I find that hard to believe. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.”

“Some things are worth dying for.” Paco paused. “And so are some people. I’d give my life for Ricardo Lázaro.”

And so would a hundred thousand other revolutionaries on this blasted island in the Carib?bean, Lara thought wearily. The man seemed capable of hypnotizing everyone who came in contact with him. Lázaro was not only a brilliant military strategist, but the most charismatic of leaders, and the war he had waged against the Communist junta on Saint Pierre had made headlines around the world for the last nine years. It wasn’t often a figure as dashing as Lázaro came on the scene, and the media had made the most of every opportunity to capitalize on the general’s magnetism. Five years ago Lázaro had smuggled his book Right to Choose out of Saint Pierre and it had become a worldwide best seller acclaimed both for its philosophy and for its poetic style. A poet and a warrior. How was anyone supposed to fight against a combination like that? She just wished Brett hadn’t been one of those thousands to fall under his spell. She looked intently into Paco Renalto’s eyes. “Yet you caution me against risking my own life for the man.”

“You’re not one of us. You’re an American and you’ve told me yourself you have no sympathy for our cause.” Paco leaned back in his camp chair. “I’ve been with Ricardo since we were students together at the university. He’s closer than a brother to me.”

Brett had been with the revolutionaries for only six months and he expressed the same kind of loyalty to Lázaro—loyalty that had landed him in a wheelchair in a clinic in Barbados. “I don’t have to be one of Ricardo Lázaro’s so-called adorers to help him escape from prison. You said yourself that the fact I’m not a citizen of Saint Pierre is in my favor. The junta’s secret police has no record or fingerprints on file for me.”

“True.” Paco gazed at her thoughtfully. “We could falsify your documents to make sure you appear to be a vulnerable target to Jurado.”

“Jurado?”

“Captain Emilio Jurado. He commands the security police at the Abbey. You’ve heard of the Abbey?”

“Yes.” Everyone in the world knew of the security prison known as the Abbey. Formerly a religious monastery, it had been converted into one of the most horrendous political prisons in the world. Human rights organizations were constantly condemning the atrocities reported to take place there.

“That’s where they’re keeping Ricardo. He’s been there for over five months.”

Lara flinched and her grasp tightened on the wooden arms of her chair. She should have known they’d keep a prisoner of Lázaro’s importance at that hellish place. Dear heaven, what was she doing sitting there in the middle of a military stronghold trying to talk Renalto into letting her help free Lázaro? She wasn’t one of those tough guerrilla women she had seen as she had been led through the camp. She hated even the thought of war. “I’m surprised that Lázaro’s still alive if he’s been at the Abbey that long.”

“They stopped torturing him after the first few weeks. They knew he wouldn’t break and they didn’t want to make a martyr of Ricardo by kill?ing him.” Paco’s lips tightened grimly. “How?ever, they still hope to damage his image by forcing him to betray us. Jurado’s been coming at him from another angle for the last month.”

What kind of man could withstand weeks of torture inflicted by men more sophisticated in the art of cruelty than the priests of the Spanish Inquisition, Lara wondered. “How do you know all this?”

“We have a man at the Abbey. He’s one of Jurado’s officers. We couldn’t get him in the cell block, but he works in Jurado’s office and is occasionally able to exert a certain influence.” Paco looked down at the papers on his desk. “Why are you willing to help us, Miss Clavel?”

“Lara,” she corrected. “And I told you why.”

He nodded. “I knew your brother well. He’s a brave man.”

“He’s an idealistic idiot who fell under Lázaro’s spell like all the rest of you,” she said bluntly. “And look where it got him.”

“And you don’t consider yourself an idealist?”

“Of course not. I’m as hardheaded as they come. The only reason I’m here is that I know the moment they release my brother from the hospital he’ll be back here on this godforsaken island trying to rescue Lázaro from that prison.” She gestured impatiently. “The doctors say he needs another six months of outpatient therapy, but there’s no way he’ll do it. If I don’t get Lázaro out of prison before he’s released, he’ll be hobbling down here on crutches.”

“And that’s the only reason?”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    I was completely drawn into this book. It's definitely worth the read!

    Lisa Corkern

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    Not her best

    I enjoyed the book, but it doesn't really stand out. Usually I can't put her books down, but this one seemed like I had already read it somewhere. It wasn't bad, and I like the writing style, but it seemed to be over done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Iris Johansen is truly a genius

    I absolutely loved this book. The characters and plot was amazing! I didn't want it to end. I just finished Eight Days to Live which was fantastic and wanted to read another of her books and was happy to see that this one just came out. Would recommend it to anyone who wants a really good romance book that is fast paced and characters to love. If you are an Iris Johansen fan you must add this to your library!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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