LINDA WINSTEAD JONES
Berkley Sensation/Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014
Rating: 4 Cups
Bela is from the land of Turi. Unlike most young women her age, she does not want to get married and have babies, instead she wants to be left alone by the men, and her family, so she can do what she wants. Bela is also different in that the magical sword that calls itself Kitty has chosen her. Unfortunately for her, the fact that Kitty has chosen her has not always been a positive thing, for there are those who covet Kitty and would have her for their own.
Merin is a general in Emperor Nechtyn Jahn Calcus Sadwyn Beckyt's army, and is quite happy with his lot. He has been offered the position of Minister of Defense on more than one occasion but has rejected it, though now he would probably say yes were the position to be offered to him again. Six years before, he fought side by side with Bela's brothers, and when he is asked to assign someone to go and retrieve Bela as a possible bride for the emperor, he knows he must go himself, lest the Turi kill the messenger. He does not want to go, but knows that he is the only who can go safely, or so he thinks.
When Merin rides into the land of the Turi, he is greeted less than enthusiastically by Bela's brothers as well as Bela herself, who for years has hoped he had gotten himself killed by now, or so she tells herself. Now Bela has to tell her brothers and family the truth, that not only did Merin take her virginity, but that she drugged him into doing it, and tricked him into marrying her besides. This is when the fur really starts to fly, because the only way to dissolve the marriage is for Merin and Bela to be tied together for 22 days and nights. If at any time they become untied, they have to wait another three years before trying again. Merin is furious with Bela for tricking him into marrying her in the first place, and Bela is mad at Merin for both returning and for not being dead. What they had not counted on was the attraction to each other being so strong. When Merin discovers that Kitty has chosen Bela, he is intrigued, with both Bela and Kitty. However, there are others who want Kitty and will do anything to get their hands on both her and Bela, including waiting for Merin and Bela's marriage to be dissolved. Will they decide to stay married and if they do not, what will happen to Bela and her village when a man Bela despises arrives with the intention of claiming her once her marriage is dissolved?
22 Nights is a blast to read! I got a total kick out Bela and how she continues to outmaneuver the men in her family and village. I really liked her strong personality and thought that in spite of how others viewed her that she fit in quite well. I also enjoyed reading about Merin’s reaction to the marriage, and how over time, even though he was less than pleased with Bela for tricking him, he was still kind to her, and in the end even wanted to help and protect her. That spoke a lot about his honorability. The secondary story line about Lady Leyla and Savyn that was written in between what was happening with Merin and Bela was a nice twist as well. Ms. Jones did a great job of weaving that into the main story and it gave the reader another viewpoint to see the story from, which was great. The lovemaking is tender, passionate and sensual. The writing is tight and strong, and the worlds are well described. I highly recommend 22 Nights and Linda Winstead Jones to one and all!
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
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