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258 pages, Paperback
First published March 28, 2017
"That's when the realization set in for Elle. She was alone in a room with a man in a Rebel uniform, and he was smiling at her. Maybe if it had been an innocent grin she would have been less alarmed, but it was the smile of a man who was used to getting his way. She backed away from him, watching his smile recede as quickly as her feet did. After only a few steps, she found herself pressed against the dining table.
He wouldn't...he couldn't in the dining room, could he? Surely he wouldn't be so brazen?"
"Malcolm thought of everything he'd just read, of the way her intelligence and obvious skill at strategizing shone through in her words, and frustration welled up in him on her behalf. He'd worked with many fine agents, but none had impressed him in the way Elle had. He thought of Elle on her knees in front of Susie.
"How can you stand it, Elle? How can you not be bursting with anger?"
"Where would that get me? This righteous anger you speak of?"
Man's inhumanity to man wasn't solely regulated by skin color, although it did allow its practitioners to choose their targets more easily.And if the story had focused on Elle - a very well-crafted, interesting character - and the way she must navigate the evils of slavery in order to fulfill her role as a Union spy, I would have been thrilled.
"Please let me go, sah."Um, what? The hero of a romance novel is calling the heroine a whore - for no other reason than the color of her skin - and then threatens her with gang rape if she doesn't answer him? I understand the author wants to show the precariousness of Elle's situation, but why use the hero to do it?
His eyebrows rose, but his expression was one of amusement, not anger. "Not until you answer me. Either you're an uncommon hussy, hoping to circumvent your competition, or you sought that regiment out with some specific purpose. You can tell me now, or I can ask those fellows knocking skulls over yonder for their opinion."
She was alone in a room with a man in a Rebel uniform, and he was smiling at her. Maybe if it had been an innocent grin she would have been less alarmed, but it was the smile of a man who was used to getting his way. She backed away from him, watching his smile recede as quickly as her feet did. After only a few steps, she found herself pressed against the dining table.Yes, the 'hero' - not recognizing her, without knowing anything about her at all - manhandles her because he finds her beautiful. The author uses the scene to explain very convincingly how common rape was for slave women and has Elle bracing herself for just that fate . . . at the hands of the hero.
"Is this comfort enough, Elle?" he asked. His palm massaged her through the rough fabric.I'm sorry, but this just wasn't romance for me.
Even a simple embrace was fraught with danger and placed the burden of an entire country's horrific origins on their shoulders.DNF just after 50%.