Unleashed by Kerrigan Byrne
Sensual Berserker Read
Kerrigan Byrne has a great ability to weave romantic tales with Celtic and Norse mythology. Unleashed is a collection of three novellas set in medieval Scotland, comprising Unspoken, Unwilling and Unwanted. The novellas feature alpha berserkers and their different paths to finding their mates. Although they can be read alone, they are interconnected and I certainly enjoyed reading them together. They warmed me up during the cold winter nights, being a very hot read, containing plenty of passion and drama!
In Unspoken Evelyn Woodhouse, who works in a Scottish inn, meets berserker Roderick Maclaughlan on the eve of a great battle between the Stewart and Donald Clans. Evelyn possesses ‘the sight’ and has foreseen Roderick’s death in the coming skirmish. Roderick, whilst defending her from the lecherous advances of Angus Mackay and his men invites her into his room at the inn, where they both succumb to their mutual attraction and spend a night of scorching hot berserker sex! During this marathon Roderick’s berserker, whom Roderick refers to as his ‘beast’ is tamed by Evelyn and, unbeknown to her, claims her as his mate. In the morning Roderick, who is mute due to a curse, leaves for battle. He is intent on resolving his relationship with Evelyn after the fight. Will Evelyn warn him of his impending demise in an attempt to prevent it? She has never been able to avert anyone’s fate before. What happens during the bloodletting determines if they have a future together or not.
In Unwilling Connor Mclaughlan, Roderick’s brother, is tasked by Rory Mackay to kill his own brother, Angus the Younger, for his evil sins. Angus is betrothed to Lindsay Stewart, the Regent’s niece. En route to her betrothed, Lindsay’s entourage is attacked by Connor in his berserker form. Normally nothing can stop a berserker when he is in full battle rage from killing all in his path. However, once Connor’s berserker spies Lindsay he marks her as his mate. Connor is stunned that his berserker has claimed a mate as he does not want one. However, he has no choice but to abduct her and take her back to his ancestral home, for once a berserker has claimed a mate no other will do. Lindsay learns that Connor cannot force her to marry him and that she must accept him first. What follows next is an amusing but passionate tale of how a lovesick berserker tries to woo a fiery independent minded woman, who vows to resist his charms. This leads to some very hot and unusual lovemaking scenes! There is also the small matter of what Angus the Younger will do when he realises that his betrothed has been abducted.
In Unwanted Finn, a berserker from the Northlands has come to the Highlands to prove his loyalty to the temple of Freya, tasked with assassinating Connor and Roderick McLaughlan. Finn comes across a baby abandoned in the snow and rescues it from a wolf attack. He takes the baby to the village of Strathlachlan, and he is directed to Rhona McEwan, a wet nurse, who has lost her own baby. Finn intended to leave the baby and continue on his way. However, he cannot leave and both man and berserker become fascinated with Rhona. After defending her from the local woodcutter who demands her favours as payment for his wood, Finn offers her gold if she will let him do what he wants with her for one night! What follows is an erotic love fest where it becomes clear to Rhona that Finn is no mortal man! Finn’s berserker aches to mark her as his mate, but Finn resists, being uncertain of his future. The following morning, resigned to his fate of certain death against the powerful Mclaughlan brothers, Finn takes Rhona to their abode, Lachlan castle, where Rhona has been offered employment. Here he encounters the McLaughlans and we find out who will be victorious and whether or not Finn and Rhona will ever be mated and have a HEA.
All three heroes are striking men and even more impressive in their berserker form. Berserkers are blessed by the ancient Norse gods and filled with the power of Freya, the goddess of battle, so that their beast rises at the sight of blood. The author describes their superhuman powers which prove useful in battle, where they annihilate all within their sight. I liked the fact that despite the strength of these supernatural beings it is only a berserker’s fated mate who can tame the beast and the final decision on whether to mate or not rested with the women! All three couples also have very distinct personalities and back stories which makes each of the novellas stand out from one another in terms of the romance and evolving plot. They had all faced adversity in their lives and had strived to overcome it. Also the couples were drawn to each other as if by fate and I therefore found the immediate attraction between them believable. My favourite couple was that of Rhona and Finn in Unwanted, as both their trials in life had been particularly grim. The evolving romance between them was also very sweet as both felt unworthy of the other and were so deserving of love!
Kerrigan Byrne’s vivid writing style immediately drew me in to the world she painted. All the characters came alive for me and the love scenes were hot and playful at times and boy did those men have stamina! I particularly liked her descriptions of them in berserker form, not only in their battle rage but also when faced with their fated mates. I would definitely like to see more authors feature berserkers in their novels.
If you are looking for in depth historical narrative to accompany your paranormal romance, you may wish to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for an original and entertaining sensual read for adults, containing reference to myth and magic then you will enjoy this trilogy. I shall definitely be reading the author’s next book, Released, an excerpt from which is given at the end of Unleashed and features a Banshee. As the trilogy Unleashed is sensual in content I recommend it for readers aged 18 and above.
Author’s website http://www.kerriganbyrne.com/
Cover art by kind permission of artist Kelli Ann Morgan http://www.inspirecreativeservices.com/default.htm