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25 November 2020

Book Review & Extract: The Maiden and the Mercenary by Nicole Locke *AD - Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Maiden and the Mercenary by Nicole Locke ahead of the blog tour.

I was originally supposed to only be posting an extract, but after I read the extract I knew that I needed the book myself too! The writing is excellent and the story is amazingly passionate. This is a historical romance with a twist.

The Maiden and the Mercenary by Nicole Locke cover Mills & Boon Historical

Keep your friends close...

But your enemies closer?

In order to find a legendary treasure map, mercenary Louve of Mei Solis must infiltrate his enemy's fortress under the guise of a servant. There, Louve meets beautiful maiden Biedeluue, a fellow servant with her own hidden agenda... To save her sister from the malevolent lord's clutches!

Their high-stakes missions may be at odds with one another, but their attraction cannot be denied even in this most dangerous of situations...

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, friendship, trust, betrayal, passion. 


I read a lot of general historical fiction, and The Maiden and the Mercenary certainly rivals a lot of them in terms of attention to detail and family plotting and drama.

I almost can't believe how much intrigue and conspiracy there was in the story, and it kept me gripped. I absolutely loved the background conflict of the Warstones and the tension it lent to the story.

I love that although there is an instant attraction between Bied and Louve, it takes a while to come into fruition. They have Very Sure Ideas of themselves and what they want. Bied thinks pretty much only about saving her sister, and Louve is all about getting the job done and getting out of there.

One of my favourite things was the slow change of the relationship between Bied and Louve. It evolves on page so subtly that I almost didn't realise it had happened until the end. There is so much passion and lust between them, and it gradually builds in to more.

The Maiden and the Mercenary is an absolutely excellent read and I'd recommend it to all fans of medieval historical romance. I'd love to read more about Bied and Louve as they're such a compelling couple.


Extract

This is the moment the heroine, Biedeluue, meets Louve, the hero. She’s in the kitchen playing a drinking game with other servants by stacking goblets on table. He’s just been hired as Usher (overseer of the kitchens). He’s truly a mercenary on a secret mission, of course, she’s on a secret mission to save her sister. But right now, she’s falling from a table-top and he’s nearby. 

That wasn’t right. Bied’s vision changed to the top of the ceiling, the thick oak beams heavy with smoke, and bird droppings that needed to be—
Oh, my. She was falling and it was going to hurt. ‘Henry! Henry, you were supposed to remain behind— oomph!’
Her head cracked against the top of a shoulder, two arms snapped around her waist, her body continued to plummet, but didn’t fall. Only continued to press, press, press against an unyielding object, who cradled her body until her feet slid to the floor one after the other.
A clumsy safe landing that was part drunkenness, part the fall and entirely the fault of the man who was holding her steady.
She swung around in his arms, stared at a chest that no amount of poorly weaved tunic could disguise as absolutely glorious and stabbed her finger right into the middle of it. ‘How dare you!’
The arms around her constricted, her breasts pressed tighter, her nose bumping forward, flattening her palm between them. A palm that might have ever so slightly brushed across to feel every ripple. Yep. Glorious.
‘Can you even stand?’ 
She peered upwards to an unknown strong jawline. ‘Where’d you come from?’
‘Bring a chair,’ he boomed.
That voice! She shoved against his chest—he didn’t move. ‘Let me go!’
‘Chair, now! Remove that man from the kitchens, clean up the mess he made. You and you, get these goblets back to the pantry, and, you, take care of this ale. You as well. And all those gawking in the doorways, if you don’t clean the floor immediately, and that includes the flour, I’ll wipe it up with your carcases.’
People moved. They moved as if this glorious-chested man with his strong jawline had anything to do with any of them.
‘Now wait! You have no authority here. This is a private…affair. We’re conducting important matters for the lord, we are. You can’t barge in here.’
‘Sit,’ he ordered.
Where had the chair come from? ‘You sit,’ she told the jawline.
‘Female.’
Ooh, this was different. Very different. His voice wasn’t booming, but the authority was there. Yes, it was, more so, and it caused her eyes to wander a bit higher and then a bit higher yet.
Glorious…everything. Black eyelashes, brows, aquiline nose, a tiny scar under his left eye that begged for a kiss.
Then there was blue. A blue so blue, the sky would be envious. And…so many eyes. Why did he have so many eyes when the rest of them only had two? Unfair!
‘You’re too far gone for the chair, aren’t you?’ He’d swung his gaze away from her. ‘Who is responsible for this female?’
‘Now that you are hired, that would be you.’ The Steward’s reedy voice slithered into the kitchens.
Steward, who controlled everything, including her employment. A position which was important because she needed it to save her sister.
‘I think I’m going to be sick,’ she whispered.

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