Ensnared in the war-torn, untamed Dark Ages of North England, Sierra understands all too well what it takes to survive: the ability to numb the soul. She has learned this lesson the hard way, watching her mother die at the hands of the king's henchmen, her brother cast out into the cold to perish, and discovering the treacherous, leering king holds a crucial secret about her past.
But when he grants Sierra her life, she discovers the pardon is perhaps worse than death. Sierra is made executioner's apprentice, forced to witness unspeakable suffering while encouraged to explore her own sexual power.
Brainwashed and exhausted, Sierra's heart slowly grows cold—until Dryston of Hereford is brought to the dungeon as traitor and spy. Using her sexual allure to extract the warrior's secrets, Sierra finds herself torn between duty and desire. Soon, Sierra is craving the only man who can help set her battered soul free and give her a chance for revenge….
|Product dimensions:||5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)|
About the Author
Amanda's zest for life inspires her "character-driven" stories. Her passion is to take ordinary characters and place them in extraordinary situations. She feels fortunate to be able to do what she loves, aspires to stay fresh and unique to her voice, and listens to her readers. A member of RWA and a multi-genre hybrid author, her work is published internationally, in audio, in e-book and in print. She currently writes sizzling contemporary and erotic historical romance.
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Saxon Shore, A.D. 500
"Dunna ever be afraid, Sierra," her mother's voice whispered in her head. "Fear will be your downfall, as it is mine."
Sierra shoved her body against the dungeon's heavy, wooden door. With the dense smoke from the executioner's chamber still clogging her throat, she breathed deeply of the rain-soaked smell of earth and moss. The clouds above were gray and ominous, covering the sun and offering little hope of warmth in this most unholy of places.
Her eyes rose to the hill overlooking the outer wall of the castle. Once occupied by the Romans, the fortress was now home to Britannia's Saxon king, Lord Aeglech. Nine years ago, his tribes had taken over, obliterating all that was once a thriving Britannia. Those who did not accept the new Saxon rule were killed. Those who did became Saxon property. In some ways, Sierra considered herself lucky to be alive. She owed her life to her mother, and to the threat of a Druid curse that her mother left on Lord Aeglech and his guards in the moments just before she was hanged as a traitor.
More than once over the years, Sierra had wished she had not been allowed to live. Or that her mother had not left her with the gift of sight passed down on the maternal side of her family. She had never wanted the gift, seeing the life of servitude it had enslaved her mother to. Untrained, Sierra was not able to summon her sight at will, but over the years, she had managed to use it well enough to stay alive. And if she could stay alive, perhaps she had a chance of one day finding the brother who had been taken from her the night their mother died.
If nothing else, living in the Saxon fortress had served to strengthen her in odd ways. No longer did she despise the sight of Lord Aeglech or look upon him as a murderous barbarian. Nor did the cries of anguish from Balrogan's torture chamber where she grew from a young girl to a womanmake her vomit, any longer.
For nine years, she'd lived in this Saxon hell, clinging to her mother's last words, "Dunna fear." It was her first and last thought each day. She had long ago learned to void herself of the things inside of her that could lead to fear. It was all she knew. It was how she survived.
Sierra choked on the cold air that filled her lungs. Blinking the wetness from her eyes, she squinted at the Saxon gallows up on the hill. Placed there for all the village slaves to see, it currently stood empty, gently blowing in the breeze and patiently awaiting its next guest. She absentmindedly touched the lavender wristlet on her arm. Her mother had given it to her once long ago.
Careful not to respond too quickly to her birth name, she glanced toward the nearby stable from whence the whisper came.
There beneath the eave, with his arm braced above him, stood Cearlher lord, her saviorthe boy who started as friend and who'd now grown to a handsome man. The one and only boy she had ever given herself to.
Sierra waited a heartbeat and checked around her before she hurried toward him. She gripped the water bucket as it slapped hard against her thigh, and let it tumble to the ground so she could leap into Cearl's waiting arms.
"'Tis good to see you as well, Mouse." He laughed and clamped his mouth down on hers.
She savored his lips, the sharp taste of mead on his tongue, the feel of his arms secure around her. When she was with Cearl, the dark world she lived in faded away, if only for a few moments.
"Is Balrogan expecting you back soon?" he muttered, dropping her to her feet and wrestling with the knotted belt at her waist.
"I have a little time, not much," Sierra replied and turned her head to allow his fervent kisses on her neck. In truth, Sierra did not know what Cearl saw in her. Sentenced to aid the executioner, as his apprentice, she was ordered to keep her hair short and wear men's clothing. It was part of her punishment to have no identity, no gender. Yet Cearl did not seem to mind that she was covered in soot and filth.
"Take care when you call my birth name aloud," she reminded him as his fingers fumbled with the leather knots of her belt. "It is dangerous out here. Someone might suspect that you are familiar with me."
"Is it not true that I am?" He grinned and brought his mouth down hard on hers, before refocusing his efforts on his task. "What shall I call you, then? My wench?" He laughed and grabbed her buttocks through the thin breeches she wore as he pulled her tight against him.
Sierra knew they took a great risk. Lord Aeglech's decree for himself and his guards was that no Saxon was to join with a Briton woman. He did not want the bloodline marred by a Celt bastard; if one of his guards disobeyed his rule, the woman would have to be killed. Though Cearl was not a guard, she feared what would happen to them if they were found out.
"Your wench would imply that I serve only you," she teased.
He stopped, his hands pressing into her upper arms as he studied her face. "Another is pleasing you, then?"
She cupped his unshaven jaw. Cearl was such an innocent. Though his body was that of a man, he often thought like a young boy. "Nay, Cearl, only you do that."
"All right then, let it remain so." He gave her a smile before he captured her mouth. She knew the routine well, and she accepted the rough manner of his tongue delving between her lips.
Sierra's breasts tingled beneath her bindings, and she longed to remove them so she could again feel Cearl's hands on her naked flesh, but today there was not enough time.
She felt safe around him. In all the years of her imprisonment, she had never had reason to fear him. Cearl had not the rules of the other men in her life. He had no need to dominate, perhaps because his place in life was to serve those of higher rank. He was the handsome son of a Saxon villager and helped in the kitchen, in addition to crafting the drums the Saxons used in battle. His hair was a mass of golden curls, the color of the summer sun, and his blue eyes danced with mischief when he was aroused. His smile was the only bright spot in Sierra's dreary existence.
He gave up on removing her tunic and reached beneath instead, yanking her breeches over her hips and pushing them to her ankles. While on bended knee, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against the soft patch of brown curls between her thighs. The brush of his thumb over her moist heat, followed by his eager tongue, prompted her to part her legs, offering him greater access.
He dug his fingers into the flesh of her hips. Sierra lifted her knee to his shoulder and threaded her fingers in his mop of hair, taking pleasure in his adoration. Her body grew tense as he probed deeper.
"Cearl, my need is great." Sierra stared at the thick wooden rafters above as she moved in rhythm to the heated taunting of his tongue.
"It only takes the thought of you, lass, to make me hard." He scrambled to his feet and tugged her close. With a wicked gleam, he captured her face in his hands and crushed his mouth to hers. "See for yerself," he growled.
Cearl grabbed her hand and pressed it against the bulge in his breeches. True it was that his length was firm. She smoothed her hand over the loose fabric, curling her fingers around his rigid shaft.
His strangled gasp pleased Sierra. Neither shared unrealistic notions that their needs were other than carnal. In this place, no one knew from day to day what would become of them. Their moments of stolen passion were not tainted by emotions, but were sparked by the pleasure of their joining.
Sierra pushed Cearl to the pile of hay. He appeared startled he had not before seen her behave with such dominance. She usually allowed him to do what he would. Today though, something stirred within her. For years, she had gone without the menstrual courses that a woman usually has, but two months ago she had experienced some spotting that had renewed her determination to live. If she was still capable of bearing life, then perhaps she was not entirely as dead inside as she felt.
"This is new." He wiggled his brows as he shoved down his breeches and his cock sprang forth at the ready.
"I daresay a sheep's ass would make you ready, Cearl," Sierra said, planting a foot on either side of his hips. She fisted her hands to her sides and looked down at him.
He smiled and tucked his hands behind his head as he stared up at her, his hungry gaze focused on the prize between her legs. "'Tis your arse, Sierra, and your arse alone, that brings me such heavenly torture."
Once more, she scanned the stable to be sure they were alone. A goat bleated from a nearby pen and her heart tripped with concern.
"Do not worry, we are alone." His fingers found the warm opening between her legs, drawing her attention back to him.
"Balrogan wants one of those birds you have roasting over there and a pint of mead, as well." Sierra closed her eyes to the delicious sensation of his fingers stroking her quiver.
"Very well." He nodded impatiently as he motioned her to sit. "You can have two hens. You can have the whole lot. Come on, the guards will be heading out soon for the night watch. Have mercy, Sierra, I need to be inside you."
She dropped to her knees and pushed his tunic over his hard torso. She leaned forward, brushing her breasts against the rippled muscles of his stomach, enjoying the command she had over him. She loved the sinewy flesh beneath her palms and reveled in his low moan as she ran her tongue over the turgid brown nipples on his chest.
He had told her long ago, when they first met, that she might need a friend from time to time. Sex with Cearl had become her escape. Sex had become her friend, her sanity in this hellhole.
Slick and ready, Sierra eased onto his hard cock, parting her legs wide to accept him fully. She was fascinated by the changes on his face as he pushed into her. Sierra wondered if this was the expression lovers wore, or if it was merely a reaction to pleasure. For her, the line remained a blur. At one time, she thought she might have real feelings for Cearl. But it didn't take long for her to realize that it was the simple pleasure of joining and little else that drew them together. Emotions had nothing to do with it.
"Ah, yes, yes-s-s, that's my girl," he whispered, his eyes rolling back in ecstasy.
"I am not your girl." Anger, like the surly crack of a whip, snapped in Sierra's head, diffusing the hazy fog of lust. She stood up, brutally disengaging her body from his. She would not be anybody's "girl." Since her arrival as a prisoner, Lord Aeglech had delighted in calling her "his little Druid girl" meant to mock the fact that her mother had also acted as his spiritual adviser.
"Ah, come on now, Sierra, you know I do not mean it like that. You have nothing to fear from me, you know that." His eyes pleaded with hers. "Look how you have dominion over me. I am yours, Sierra, your slave. Do with me as you wish."
Her juices glistened on his proud cock. With a warning glance, Sierra relented, knowing well the pleasure that awaited. "Do not call me that again."
"Aye, the words shall never again pass my lips."
He wrapped his fingers around the backs of her legs, tugging until her knees buckled and she landed in his lap.
"Tell me you want me inside you, Sierra." He pressed her legs open, inching her back until her dewy quiver kissed his cock. "Do not be so sour. We both need this." He slid his hands along her inner thigh, his thumbs brazenly teasing.
He was rightshe did want this. She needed this. "To be sure, this does grand things for me, Cearl." Sierra straddled his thighs, rocking against him as he slid deeper.
"Aye, it does, lass." The muscles in his neck bulged as he held her thighs firm, his hips rising to fill her completely.
Sweat broke out over Sierra's flesh. Beaded droplets skittered between her shoulder blades as she rode Cearl hard, their bodies engaged in a frenzied dance.
It was at this moment, when she felt the heat of her climax coursing through her blood, that she sensed a freedom beyond her dismal life.
Cearl clamped his hands over her covered breasts. "I wish we had time "
She focused on the flexing of his stomach muscles each time he lifted his hips, pushing deep into her.
"Boy, where are you?" The gruff voice of one of Aeglech's kitchen help called from the other side of the stables.
"Piss," Cearl muttered and his body grew still. He scooped up a handful of straw and tossed it through the air.
Sierra grabbed her breeches and rolled behind the haystack, scrambling to get her pants on.
"Cearl, what are you doing, boy?" The man chuckled.
Sierra realized suddenly that he had not had time to pull up his breeches, leaving the cook with but one unspoken explanation.
The cook coughed. "Have you not heard that is bad for your health? Go find you a peasant wench and take care of your needs.
Be quick now, finish up and see to supper. The guards will be coming soon. And Lord Aeglech will need his supper as well."
Sierra peeked around the haystack. The man stood staring at Cearl with a look of keen interest on his face.
"I do not need an audience." Cearl shot an angry look at the man.
The cook muttered something under his breath and stomped away.
As she awaited Cearl's signal to come out from her hiding place, Sierra felt his hand on her shoulder.
"He is gone and I am desperate," he pleaded, staring at her.
"I have wasted enough of Balrogan's time as it is." Sierra scrambled to her feet. "I need to get back or he'll have my head, and yours as well." She bent for the bucket and he grabbed her wrist, yanking her down on his naked lap.
"You know what torment I will suffer if you leave me in this state." He ground his face into the curve of her neck, shifting her hips to prove his point.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The year is 500 C.E., and the land of Brittania is brutally being plundered and conquered by the vicious Saxons. The self-proclaimed king, Lord Aeglech knows no mercy when it comes to the native Britons. You either follow his rules, or you die. Sierra is nothing more than a slave, but one the Saxon king values. She is Druid; a seer of the past and future. After her mother is ordered to be murdered for hiding her young son from Lord Aeglech, a betrayal punishable by death, Sierra is forced to apprentice the king's executioner, Balrogan. Nine years now, Sierra has wondered what the fate was of her young brother and clung to the last words of her mother, "Dunna fear." Those words gave her strength through the cruelty that has consumed her life, helped to shape her into the fearless woman she has become. Now a Roman soldier, Dryston, has been captured, and when the torture that Balrogan unleashes on him proves fruitless for information regarding the rumors of a rebel army drawing near, he is turned over to Sierra. Lord Aeglach has assigned her a new form of torture...that of her body. Rather than punish him, they form a pact to help each other escape. "She was his pleasure, he was her survival." Pg. 101 Now freed from her man made prison, Dryston must free her from her self-imposed prison, because the more time he spends with the prickly Sierra, the more he feels a connection to her. The title implies more than just the torture of the hero Dryston or that the heroine Sierra is the apprentice to the executioner, Balrogan. Dryston may be physically tortured but so too is Sierra mentally tortured everyday of her life. Numb to the pain and anguish of what her life has become since her mother's death nine years earlier, Sierra begins to yearn for something each time she's in the presence of the Roman prisoner. My heart went out to Sierra as she opened herself to the longing for love. No longer is carnal pleasure, her one form of escape, with Cearl, a young stable hand, able to quench her need. That yearning now rests in the hands of Dryston, and that yearning proves to be yet another form of torture. With her broken spirit from the pain and terrible existence that was Sierra's life, she finds a sense of peace within the embrace of the Roman. Sex had always been used as a tool of escape, but with this man, it has become so much more. With Dryston, as she learns to trust, she senses she can be more than the empty, nameless, genderless being she has been for the last nine years. She can be the woman she now longs to become. Amanda McIntyre's books never fail to move me. The harshness of the times, the cruelty, the survival seems so terribly absurd considering how we live today. I think we all need to thank our lucky stars that we live in the times we do. Tortured is driven with the need for hope during such tumultuous times as was that part of history. I felt as if i were whisked away to that time and that land. The vivid descriptions and steady rhythm of the story made for one disturbingly touching tale of hope, love and survival. A recommended read for any Medieval lover. And one that is set in the beginning of the Middle Ages, that you don't see often at all!
When writing a review , I'm not one to give a synopsis of the book. I feel the back cover is sufficient on hooking a reader. What I want to know in a review is how did it make you feel. Did you connect with the characters? Yes, I did. In one part of the book, Sierra is talking with her brother, Torin. All I can say is you need a Kleenex during this scene. You can feel and hear the anguish in Sierra's voice as she is speaking with her brother. Don't get me wrong, there is a beautiful love story between Sierra and Dryston that transpires. You will see Sierra blossom into a new person with confidence and a new understanding of what it means to trust someone. I wish more readers would give erotic novels a chance. The stories, if well written, like this one is; you will understand the reason for the use of sex in the story. This was my first experience with this author, Amanda McIntyre. I'm glad I took the time to read this novel and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work in the future. Please give this book a chance. You will not be disappointed.
"Tortured" by Amanda McIntyre will stay with me for a long, long time. I couldn't have picked a better time than Memorial Day to read this book. "Tortured" is about loss of personal freedom, survival instinct, and the timeless hunger for omnipotence in those humans who live to dominate others. The story takes place in a time when Christianity, hedonism, and superstition were at war with each other, and mankind was the prize. However, it is also an unforgettable love story. Dryston is a wounded warrior whose gentle touch and loving passion bring back to life a young woman who willed so much of herself into submissive oblivion. It is the unconquerable spirit dwelling deep within Sierra which captivates her captive. All she loved was taken from her as a girl, as her mother was hung before her eyes and her young brother dragged away to be killed. Nothing was left for her to keep. Even her long hair was chopped off. She was forced to dress as a boy and become the apprentice to a master executioner. Together, Sierra and Dryston form a bold plan of escape, heading toward their predetermined fate. This is a vivid, well-told tale of the rawness and uncertain times of the Dark Ages. Would we have acted in the same manner as Sierra and Dryston and others around them? Amanda McIntyre places us right in the middle of the story line, making us see how human spirituality and physicality become twisted under ceaseless torment and cruelty. Although the setting of the story goes back in time more than fifteen hundred years, humans still act in much the same way. There will always be those who quest for dominance, but mercifully, there will always be love and lovers to offer hope for mankind.
Smiles and sits in te shadows
Then, why do ypu have sutch a manly name?
Powerful and heartfelt!
I was ensnared by the man's look on the front of this cover that I had to buy it. I don't know why, but I was just fascinated by his expression. After reading the description, I was so taken by this book that I immediately had to read it. I actually expected the female protagonist, Sierra, to be a whore with prisoners. The description led me to believe. It also made me think that she was some week female under the influence of her enemy. I was so completely wrong. Not only does Sierra only have sex with three people the entire novel --two because she wanted to and one because she is pretty much forced--, but she is one of the strongest heroines I have ever read. She watched her mother, who had the gift of sight, being forced to work for the enemy Saxons, who later murders her for hiding Sierra's brother. Sierra and her brother, Torin, are then forced apart. It is thought that Torin is left for dead, while Sierra takes up her mother's job as the Saxon king's Seer. Her entire life, Sierra never loses her fire, her hope, or her determination. When she sees Dryston, she sees her chance to escape and doesn't hesitate to snatch it. I was so completely enraptured by this novel: by Sierra's life and emotions, by Dryston's mission, determination, and tenderness when taking care of Sierra, and by the entire nations hope of being free from the Saxons. McIntyre weaves such a compelling story that one cannot help but be tangled up in. I actually completely forgot that this was meant to be an erotic novel because I was so caught up in the storyline. I am glad, however, that I did not read this book for the erotica. Honestly, the erotic scenes fizzled. They were short, lacked description, and were actually passable. One of the best novels I've read in a long time.
It is the Dark Ages - in the land of war torn Britannia the Saxon invaders have ravaged the land pillaging, raping, burning, killing, and enslaving those who were left in their wake of destruction. Sierra is one of those life was spared but death would have been much easier than what she now has to face. The malicious Saxon King Aeglech has spared her life because of her gift of the "sight" that she inherited from her mother (who was forced to serve him before her). He is the one responsible for the murder of her family and for taking away all that was dear to her. Now as if to add insult to injury he has ordered her to be the apprentice to his head Executioner. Sierra is forced to witness, and assist in the heinous tortures inflicted upon the prisoners in Lord Aeglech's dungeon. Growing up for nine years in this hellish existence Sierra soon looses herself and tries to become detached from the suffering and abominations around her. She finds some comfort in the arms of a young stable boy but the passion that she feels even though it does allow her some stolen moments of escape from her accursed life isn't love. Sierra wonders if she will ever again feel like a human being and if there is any chance at hope left. But hope sometimes comes when we least expect it and for her it comes in the form of a new Roman prisoner that is brought to the dungeon to be tortured into giving up what information he has. In this strong and honorable man Sierra sees what she has been waiting for a possible glimmer of freedom. Dryston was part of the Roman army until he and his brother Torin decided to stay in Britannia and build an army from the native people to fight the barbaric Saxons and once again to take back their land from the grips of the murderous invaders. When Dryston is captured by surprise in one of the villages and brought to the dungeons of Aeglech, he knows that he must escape and get word to his brother about the movements and numbers of the Saxons if their plans of attacking and crushing Aeglech's armies are to succeed. When the sees Sierra he can hardly believe that she is to be his torturer but she tortures him in more ways than one. this passionate young woman offers him an alliance if he will help her escape. Together they devise a plan to get them both out of the clutches of this Saxon hell. But what starts out as just an alliance for survival soon starts to become much more. Could Dryston be her savior in more ways than one could he be the savior of her soul and heart as well? This is a book that has very complex characters and layers to it and I think you will enjoy each one. Ms. McIntyre has made a strong and yet emotionally fragile heroine in Sierra. Her relationship with Dryston is one that at first was all about survival but quickly became much more. I found this read to be both very intriguing, passionate and very deep. I think she has captured the essence of this violent and dark time in history very well and posed some very good interpretations of how those who lived through them might have felt and how they survived. Though it is not your typical romance by any means I think that is what makes it so special. Its gritty and passionate uniqueness is one that touches the heart. I loved the complex relationship between Sierra and Dryston to see it evolve from one of dependence on the other to escape and survive then watching it change and soften Sierra and give her back herself that was nothing short of inspiring
4 1/2 Stars Living in a time of chaos and despair, at a tender age, Sierra was forced to learn the rules of survival. And learn them well. With her mother's murder, both Sierra and her brother find themselves at the mercy of the Saxon Lord, Aeglech. A druid, like her mother before her, Sierra possesses a special gift, and one that Lord Aeglech is desperate to utilize. With her quick wit and steely façade, Sierra manages to ensure her own survival, her brother, however, is not so lucky. Enslaved, and forced by Aeglech to become the executioner Balrogan apprentice, Sierra's life is literally surrounded by death. Years come to pass, death, pain and anguish are an everyday staple in her life. All feelings of compassion and love--a distant memory. Her emotions are now nothing more than primal, her only care is living to see another day. During this time, Sierra's only reprieve is the brief, stolen moments of physical release she shares with Cearl, her only companion. That is, until one man unwittingly gives her a glimpse at a life hope and promise. Captured by the Saxons, Roman soldier, Dryston is forced to endure the brutality of Lord Aeglech. Restless, and worried about a rebellion, Aeglech is desperate for any information Dryston may be withholding. When all manner of torture fail to make the Roman talk, Aeglech turns to Sierra to retrieve information from the prisoner. Using her gift of sight, Sierra sweeps through the thoughts and emotions of the Roman. What she sees stirs feelings within her that she had believed long dead. His passions, desires and loyalty intrigue her in ways she cannot comprehend, and soon, Sierra finds herself if a precarious position. She can ensure her own survival and simply allow the Roman die. Or, for the first time, allow herself to truly trust another, and with his help, she can fight to finally have the freedom she had only dared to dream about. I think that Amanda McIntyre is a brilliant story teller, and one who can pen a tale so well that you feel as though you are right there with the characters. She is an author who takes great care in her use of words and description, to the point that I'm often left astounded by how vividly scenes play out for me. I wouldn't go in to reading this story expecting some grand sweeping romance. Although erotic, for me, 'Tortured' was an epic tale of one woman's strength and determination to live. I have no doubt these characters will move you. They are unrefined and their reactions to what they are forced to endure, genuine.
Slash glowpelts throat open leaving her body bloody and disappears in shadow