A WARRIOR'S DESIRE by Pamela Palmer is the 3rd book in the ESRI Series from Harlequin's Nocturne Books. 288 pages (277 pgs of story) Available in print and ebook format. Release date January 24, 2012 -- that's tomorrow, folks!
Ex-Navy SEAL Charlie Rand embarks on the most dangerous mission of his career when he dives through the gate into Esria to try to rescue the only person who knows how to seal the gates, the Esrian princess, Ilaria. But it’s his guide and companion, Tarrys, who turns out to be the true revelation. And who ultimately poses the greatest threat of all. To his heart.
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I have to be totally honest and confess that I have never read any of the Esri series before this one. I am a huge fan of Ms. Palmer's writing and so when an opportunity to win a copy of this book came along, I took it and was lucky enough to be the one chosen to receive it. I haven't read any Harlequin Romances since the 70's because they had definitely become too 'formulaic' in nature and Avon gave me more diversity in its storylines. Having confessed this, I will say that I might have changed my mind. The Harlequin Nocturne Books are their paranormal romance section and if A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is any indication of what they publish now, I might just have to check out more of their titles. I will definitely be reading the first two of the Esri series and am looking forward to the next and final one, WARRIOR RISING coming in March 2012.
Charlie Rand is an ex-Navy SEAL, and a member of the Sitheen Resistance who are a mere handful of humans who know about the Esri invasion and can hopefully do something about it. Charlie is going on a mission into the magical and foreign world of Esria to rescue the Princess Ilaria, the daughter of the deposed ruler of Esria who had banned travel into the human realm and the enslaving of humans. The Sitheens believe that the princess is the only one who can help them seal the portals for good and save our world from a life of slavery.
Charlie knows that Esri are nearly immortal and that to kill one would mark him for death. Fighting them is going to be one of his greatest challenges. He also knows that one touch from an Esri can possibly enslave him and that he will be lost forever but if the human realm is to be saved from invasion and total enslavement under the Esri, he must not fail. He plans to go alone even as his brother, Harrison, begs him to take the beautiful Marceil, Tarrys, along as a guide. Charlie believes she would only slow him down and having only been recently freed from the slavery of her Esri master, Baleris, that she might be in danger of being captured and enslaved again. So, he is determined to go it alone.
The Esri world is nothing like he imagined even after Kade, a seven foot tall immortal, told him all that he hoped the young warrior would need to know. To pass through the portal, Charlie needs Tarrys help but insists that as soon as he is through that she return to the human realm. Guess what? She doesn't. She follows him until he makes it known that he has known she was there all along. His attraction to her makes him uncomfortable and even though he knows her archery skills are well beyond his own, he doesn't need the added complication of feeling like he needs to protect her. He begs her to return to safety.
Well, all that sort of changes when suddenly it is Tarrys doing the protecting. I love that Pamela took this is in a totally gender-reversal direction with Charlie becoming dependant on Tarrys to guide him and protect him. Even as it becomes clear to him that the petite warrior woman is in love with him, he knows he'll never complete his mission without her help. Charlie Rand doesn't do love. He keeps reminding himself of this even as his feelings for the girl begin to grow into more than just a lustful physical attraction.
A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is fantastical, and spellbinding in its imagery. I very much enjoyed reading it, which didn't take much time either because once you fall into the world of the Esri, you don't want to leave until you see what's around the next bend, or dark passageway in the Crystal Mines as was the case throughout most of the story. Even the fear- inducing Forest of Nightmares is intriguing. But ... I would like to have seen more action and less hormonal worrying on the part of Charlie Rand. I think that as an ex-Navy SEAL, he should have been concentrating more on the mission and less on how attracted he was to Tarrys and how much he didn't want to get involved with her. Considering that he was also sick as a result of an attack by a Black Trimor, his continual musing over how he didn't want to lead the girl on or hurt her feelings seemed a bit overdone. Perhaps this is the result of it being a Harlequin publication ... more romance less action.
But when all is said and done, and thanks to Pamela's excellent writing skills, A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is a wonderful read. It's an imagination teasing journey into a vividly unique yet nightmarish world where danger awaits at every turn. If you enjoy paranormal romance, fantasy in particular, you will thoroughly enjoy A WARRIOR'S DESIRE. I may have thought the concentration on romantic thoughts a bit overdone but it doesn't change the fact that I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I suspect that if you've read the others first, it is even more enjoyable but it does well as a stand alone book. I highly recommend reading A WARRIOR'S DESIRE.
If you'd like more information about Pamela Palmer, her books, and in particular, the Esri Series, please visit her website at http://www.pamelapalmer.net/.
Happy Reading Everyone!