Friday, September 14, 2012

The Angel

The Angel
by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin MIRA
416 pages
Available September 25, 2012; pre-order on
Thanks to NetGalley and edelweiss for the preview
Genre: erotica; scorching hot romance novel
5 / 5 cupcakes

When last we saw Nora Sutherlin in The Siren, aka Eleanor Schreiber, she had broken up with her roommate-slash-would be lover, the young Wesley, and returned to her soul mate and true love, Søren. AKA her priest.

As The Angel begins, Nora and Søren have been together for a couple of months when trouble appears to be afoot. Søren is being investigated as a potential Bishop, both by the Catholic Church and, he tells Nora, the press is after him as well. On top of that, Nora's secret file, held securely in Kingsley Edge's safe, has been stolen. To protect Nora, Søren sends her to stay with the wealthy and adventurous Griffin Fiske at his estate in the New York countryside. Søren also dispatches Michael, the boy whose virginity Søren gifted to Nora.

But this is Nora Sutherlin we're talking about, and nothing she does is traditional, predictable or reasonable. She is supposed to train Michael, whom she nicknames The Angel (GET IT? Michael the Archangel?), to be a sub, but Nora quickly realizes that Michael's interests may lie elsewhere. Meanwhile, Søren weaves his considerable magic on Suzanne, the reporter looking into his past and present.

Typical of Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series, The Angel has equal parts scorching sex scenes and discussion of the BDSM lifestyle. Reisz understands her characters and presents them, faults and all. She makes us care about Nora, who remains drawn to Wesley. She does love him, in a pure, vanilla, dare she admit sweet way, even as she knows that Søren is the man she cannot, will not quit. As the heroine of the trilogy (the third installment, The Prince, comes out later this year), Nora is complex and maddening. She makes stupid mistakes, and her feelings for two men cause us to battle between the two just as she does.

Michael, too, is sympathetic. He has to navigate his way through his tortured upbringing to allow himself to love and love fully. As he and Griffin develop a friendship, we hope that Nora's host will help Michael learn to understand and accept himself.

Then there is Søren, the mysterious center of the tale. If you felt cheated by lack of insight into him in The Siren and Reisz's novella Seven Day Loan, you will feel much more satisfied by what you learn here. Reisz delivers his story, and it is full of as many surprises as Søren himself. Whereas he seemed cold and ruthless in his previous appearances, here we get to know him better and even begin to empathize with him. He becomes more likable. We might have wished Nora to be with Daniel or Zachary from the previous stories, but the closer we get to Søren, the more we like him for Nora.

This is a good thing, because a sadistic priest who needs to beat a woman in order to become aroused, who has had a long-term affair with her, whose sadism is both feared and admired within the BDSM dungeon club The 8th Circle, whose exquisite Nordic handsomeness overwhelms both men and women, and whose job - he's a PRIEST, for goodness sakes - intimidates and distances us as readers. The closer we get to him, the more we like him. And Tiffany Reisz needs us to like him in order for us to keep investing ourselves in the series.

The sex scenes will burn you up. Nora Sutherlin doesn't just rock the headboard, she rams it into next month. I thought the sexy times in The Siren were too few, but we have just the right amount in this installment.

Hot, interesting and HOT. If you haven't started this series yet, DO IT.

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