Title: Shelter from the Storm
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 150 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Action/Adventure
At a Glance: Shelter from the Storm felt like only the beginning of a potentially good novel. So many pieces seemed to be missing, including some type of epilogue that gave us a hint that the HFN ending we were handed would either blossom or dissolve.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.
Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.
Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.
Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want? The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.
Review: Grif had a decision to make—either succumb to his exhaustion and the worsening elements on the mountain he traveled, or try to survive and live to fight another day. The decision was difficult, primarily because Grif was so utterly alone—no friends, no family, or a job to occupy his sword. When he fell off the cliff due to the fatigue and blinding snow he traveled in, he thought that was the end.
When Kiernan saw the man literally fall from the sky, he knew he had to help him. Being a small man with little less than what he could carry on his back in terms of provisions, Kiernan managed to drag the man into his makeshift camp and warm him up, intending to share what little he had with the man should he survive the night. Little did he ever think he was saving a man who would later physically harm him, and also steal all his worldly goods. But Kiernan had a mission, and he was determined to continue on his mission despite the weather and the foul, mean-spirited Grif. The quest that found him traveling the mountains at the onset of winter was given to him by the son of the Tsarn he had sworn his fealty to, and the same son he had been discovered laying with a man Kiernan secretly loved and foolishly trusted.
Unfortunately, Kiernan was to figure out that love was one-sided, and his mission may indeed have been just a way of getting rid of him. Now, he was on a fool’s errand with a man who wanted no part of a friendship beyond using his meager supplies and occasionally scratching the itch of sexual tension that lurked beneath the surface for both of them. But to admit what was staring him in the face meant he had nothing to return home for, and Kiernan could not allow that idea to be true. Until he decided whether or not to continue on the mission he’d been given, Kiernan must survive the harsh elements and somehow find a peaceful way to coexist with Grif, whose help he desperately needed. That would be a challenge to say the least.
Shelter from the Storm felt like only the beginning of a potentially good novel. So many pieces seemed to be missing, including some type of epilogue that gave us a hint that the HFN ending we were handed would either blossom or dissolve. There were many other elements to the story that left me hankering for more. For instance, the author chose to barely scratch the surface of Grif’s past by dropping just a few tiny clues as to how he had been treated poorly, both sexually and as a sword for hire. You get the impression at the beginning of the book that Grif has burned his last bridge, possibly cheated, killed and ruined his reputation for good, but we never get a real explanation as to why he has or what culminating experience drove him to such desperate decisions.
Then there was Kiernan, who, in my opinion, was much more developed and gave us at least a better glimpse into his past, but I never got a sense of place or a definitive time period from either character’s past or present. I think we were in medieval times, due to Grif mentioning he was a sword for hire, but I must tell you that this read as more of a survival guide in the frozen wilderness than a historical romance.
I could go on but suffice it to say that I really admire Kate Sherwood and her writing abilities, but this one left me scratching my head as to why she chose to give us what appeared to be just a partial story with characters that weren’t particularly alluring to me and for whom I could muster little sympathy or concern over.
You can buy Shelter from the Storm here:
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