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His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
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Rampant

by Saskia Walker

Book Review by Lynne Connolly

 

Rampant

The story begins with a three-way sex session between three witches, two male, one female. This sets the tone for the book, even though the heroine doesn’t appear in it, except by suggestion.

The three witches are part of a coven in Scotland, near Dundee, and they are trying to raise the dead. One of the witches, Cain, lost his love three hundred years before, and he wants her back. Enter Zoë.

Zoë hires a cottage in the seaside village for a holiday, needing a break from her busy PA job in London. The first person she meets is Greyson, a hot blond biker professor. She meets the two male witches soon afterwards. Greyson, too, is a witch, but he’s on her side. And she is living next door to him in a hired cottage that used to belong to the dead witch the others are trying to resurrect.

The minute Zoë arrives in the village, she feels turned-on. I wasn’t quite sure why that happened, other than to provide a source for the early sex scene between her and Greyson, but Zoë gets turned on with alarming regularity throughout the book, having been enchanted by Cain. At first she wonders, then seems to accept and enjoy it. The two bad witches, described as “black,” are Cain, the chef to the local restaurant and an ex celebrity chef, and Crawford, a boat builder. The female adversary is Elspeth, an untypical village postmistress. I don’t know much about Wicca, so I can’t comment on the technical details, but I thought the magic worked well in the story, and it reminded me of the film The Wicker Man at various stages. Mainly the prevalence of covens and the wickedness of the villains.

I enjoyed Rampant, although the only scene I found arousing is the sex between Zoë and Greyson. The other sex scenes are done as part of a ritual, or with manipulation in mind, and not an enjoyment of the act itself. The sex in Rampant is undertaken in a rather grim frame of mind, although it is well described and covers most variations, except for m/m.

There are a few Americanisms, although for the most part the novel, featuring British and Scottish characters is free of that. Only the occasional “visit with” really intruded. In Britain, we'd say "visited." Except that the characters drank whiskey, which is a bit of a no-no in Scotland. It should definitely have been whisky. There’s a huge difference between the two. "Whisky" without the e is Scotch. Whisky comes from Scotland. Whiskey comes from everywhere else.

Zoë is an engaging heroine, and Greyson a suitably hunkalicious hero—and blond, which is one of my personal preferences. The story of Annabel the witch and her lovers is intriguing and skillfully woven into the present-day narrative.

At first, scenes tended to start with a list, a description of a character or a setting, instead of incorporating it into the whole, and there is a little too much tell-not-show at times when I really wanted to get deep inside the characters’ heads. But these are small niggles. Rampant is a good read and I’m looking forward to Saskia’s next entry in the Spice line.

Official Harlequin Spice blurb:

 The moment she arrives at her rented vacation cottage nestled in northern Scotland, Zoë Daniels feels it—an arousal so powerful she’s compelled to surrender to the unusually forceful carnal desires…with nearly anyone who crosses her path.

Zoë knows she’s not quite in control of herself and begins to wonder if there’s any truth to the legend of Annabel McGraw, a powerful, promiscuous 18th century witch who once owned the cottage, and whose spirit is rumored to affect anyone who stays there. Zoë doesn’t believe in anything that even hints at the occult, but now strange visions are turning frightening… and only one man’s touch can bring her back to earth.

Lynne Connolly
April 2010

Rampant by Saskia Walker
(Harlequin Spice, April 2010; ISBN-10: 0373605420)
Available at Amazon


______
© 2010 Lynne Connolly. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission.

About the Author:† Lynne Connolly - Reader, Writer, Lover.
You can find Lynne at her website at www.lynneconnolly.com



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