This novel rocks! It is far more than your usual werewolf romance. It is a dark and erotic fairytale which deals with issues surrounding discrimination and acceptance, which affect all societies. It is the first book that I have read by Linda Mooney and I will be delving into her backlist and future releases of paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romances very soon.
In From out of the Shadows, which is set in a world akin to medieval times, the heroine, Tora is captured and thrown into a dungeon by Baron Agrino’s henchmen. A group of men bring another prisoner into the cell, subjecting him to an extremely savage beating. In the darkness of the dungeon Tora, goes to his aid, using her special powers as a Sensitive (Empath) to discover the extent of his injuries. She is astounded to discover that the body she touches is not that of a man, but a Lupan, a half-man, half-wolf creature from legend. She does the best she can to help him heal and shares some of her meagre rations with him. The Lupan, Croat tells Tora to stay away from him to save herself. He warns her that the baron’s men have put him there to break him so that he will aid the baron with his evil plans. Tora is being used by the baron to torture him, for if Croat is not fed, his Lupan side will dominate and he will be compelled to kill and eat her to survive. This he is loathe to do. Morover, they have formed a special bond with each other, enabling them to sense each others’ emotions from afar.
Tora and Croat eventually escape from the dungeon and return to Croat’s Lycan village. Tora cannot hide the fact that she is a Sensitive from Croat’s brethren and some find it hard to trust her. Sensitives are believed to possess dark magicks and are reviled and persecuted by those who do not understand their gift. However, Tora is under Croat’s protection and the bond between them grows, although Croat is fearful and a little suspicious of what this means. Croat and the other Lupans must decide what to do about Baron Agrino who is a threat to the Lupans. Tora returns home to find out what has happened to her brother Basil whilst she was a prisoner. From here the tale becomes darker as Tora finds out what awaits her in the village and the evil machinations of the baron and others are revealed to the reader. Croat and the Lupans are forced to act, ‘coming out of the shadows’, to not only save Tora but also their own way of life, before Tora and Croat can fulfil their true destiny.
The tale is very romantic, both Croat and Tora have experienced discrimination throughout their lives and remain strong characters deserving of each others’ love. Their mutual attraction is strong – even when Croat is in his Lupan form there is a sexual tension between them and Croat in particular finds it hard to dampen his body’s response. Croat wants to bed her from early on in the novel, although it is quite late on the first time Croat and Tora make love, but it was worth the wait and happened at just the right point in the narrative. Their lovemaking was also very erotic, their connection making it extra special! Tora tells Croat that she is happy to accept him into her body in human or Lupan form and this pleases him greatly.
The story does contain a great deal of violence throughout. The Lupans, for example, succumb to their animal instincts when in Lupan form and battle the baron’s men. There is also one particular harrowing torture scene in the book, which I will not divulge, suffice to say it had me cringing, but on reflection it reflected behaviour that occurred within the world the author created and was also key to progressing the plot.
Other major characters in the book include Deelaht, Croat’s grandmother, who plays the part of a wise woman and seems to know a lot more than she is letting on. There is also Mengar, Croat’s friend, who initially does not trust Tora as she is a Sensitive, Basil her brother and of course the baron. The author creates a very believable world and paints vivid pictures of the people, their abodes and their customs, adding to the depth and credibility of the story.
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy erotic romance in a fantasy or paranormal setting, especially those who enjoy reading tales with a darker side.
Author’s website http://www.lindamooney.com/
Publisher’s website http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/
Cover art reproduced by kind permission of the artist Kendra Egert
Editor: Sara Kent