Can a mere mortal Viking tame the daughter of a goddess?
When Scotland’s King Kenneth orders his death and kidnaps his sister, the Viking Brökk—the Malice Striker—plans his vengeance: he’ll steal the king’s bastard daughter from Sumbarten Abbey and use her to buy his sister freedom. But his schemes go awry when his liege lord commands him to wed Skatha—and when he finds five women instead of one at the Abbey, none will claim the King as father.
When the Viking abducts Skatha and her women, she’s bewildered. Why did Brökk seize her? Why does he want her for his wife? She weds him willingly enough when he threatens to kill her companions, but she vows to control her own destiny and escape. For if the Viking discovers her secrets, the laws of his people will force him to cast her aside…or kill her. And even Skatha, daughter of a goddess, might not escape the Viking’s wrath…
Malice Striker is a thoroughly entertaining read that has likable characters, a sweet and sexy romance, and an intriguing bit of paranormal tossed in to make it even more intriguing. It has all these wonderful qualities but at times there's almost too many outside characters that make it confusing and the plot points involving war and revenge suffer because of this. As the good guys didn't know who was the enemy, neither did I as the numerous name dropping became overwhelming. Those minor issues didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the story though as the unique heroine and to die for hero completely won me over. Their love story IS a love story as they fully accept each other's less than perfect selves.
Skatha's parentage is both worldly and otherworldly which makes her a valuable commodity. Because of her blindness though she doesn't see herself as thus which is why she's kept it hidden and why she's amazed by the feelings Brokk inspires in her. She's extremely independent which I found wonderful, even if a bit unbelievable for the times, and her other unique abilities added a bit of exoticness to her demure nature. Living in an Abbey you'd expect her to be fearful of sex but that isn't the case, she jumps in wholeheartedly. I was a bit disappointed too with the evolution of her blindness but saw it coming the moment I started the story.
Brokk is a wonderful hero who's sexy and caring and even though he could be bitter towards women because of a prior bad experience I never saw him act cruelly. He was particularly charming with his uncertainties as how to court Skatha and it made me love him even more. Their sexual interludes were sweet yet steamy and perfectly spaced throughout the story. I wholeheartedly bought into their romance considering its abrupt beginning.
The core group of secondary characters, Brokk's family and the women who protect Skatha, were equally delightful and can easily segue into future books. These characters both helped and humorously hindered Brokk and Skatha's romance and their shenanigans brought a smile to my face. The paranormal and mythological aspects of the story were only touched on briefly and I wish these issues were explained in greater detail which perhaps they will in future books. The revenge plot and the too quickly concluded ending were a bit disappointing but the main characters and their romance were the best part of the book. They were a match made in heaven and I would've been equally content just watching their romance evolve. Malice Striker is a satisfying start to a series that I'm greatly looking forward to as this book showed much promise with its enjoyable characters and fast-paced storytelling.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.