Ware Fletcher, Master Craftsman and archer extraordinaire, returns from a sojourn to the east to find his home burned to the ground. His family shrine has been destroyed and Apollo’s Arrow is missing. Determined to avenge his family, Ware begins hunting for the rogue knight responsible for the decimation. His search leads him to the city of Caern, where he buys his first thrall, a thrall whose skills will secure his revenge. What he does not bargain for, however, is how difficult, cheeky, foul-mouthed, disrespectful… and utterly life-changing she will be.
Lind has been a thrall since she was a young child. She’s been used, abused, and sold almost more times than she can count. The experience has left her hard, sour, and determined to secure her freedom by any means. But then she is bought—and consequently saved from a death sentence—by Ware Fletcher, a craftsman with a mysterious black rage simmering just under his alluring and attractive surface. To her surprise, he treats her like a person… even if that treatment is intended to train her into meekness. Sure, the sex is amazing and he doesn’t hit her, but his tactics won’t work; Lind has sworn to never again call any man Master.
Each has their own agenda and they’re determined to be victorious in this battle of wills. But what neither of them banks on is the growing attraction or the sense of belonging they feel in each other’s company. As events unfold, revenge and freedom will quickly become the least of their worries…
I’m so in love with this book I hardly know where to begin! AJ Adams has presented two very strong, complex characters, a well-developed world, and a plot that’s as solid as Ware Fletcher’s body and as unpredictable as Lind’s temper. I had to force myself to put it down to do adult things… like eat, take the dog outside, and just function in general. If I’d had my way, I would have devoured Fletcher in one sitting. I was heartbroken when it ended, even considering the satisfaction of a Happily Ever After. I was hoping for, but not expecting, a darkish romance to end that way.
Fair warning for those readers who object to coarse language: Lind has a foul, foul mouth and she swears (inventively and graphically) at every turn. If you don’t like ‘fuck’, ‘cock’, and ‘Tyr’s hairy balls’, (along with a myriad of other sexually explicit terms/expletives) in your romances, Fletcher probably won’t appeal to you. Personally, I found that the language added a layer of grit to an already dangerous world and tumultuous relationship.
I found both Lind and Ware to be very strong, complex, multidimensional characters who were supported very well by the cast of Fletcher. They have their own unique strengths and flaws and their reactions are very relatably human. Each is fairly self-aware of their motivations and can admit—to themselves and the reader, if not each other—how they feel and when they make mistakes. I enjoyed that they frequently broke the fourth wall and it made me feel like I was sitting next to them in a tavern, having a drink and listening to them tell their story. And they told it, rather than some third-person, omniscient narrator. I don’t normally enjoy stories written in first-person—I find them prone to Mary Sue-ism—but in this case it really worked. Fletcher isn’t written through a single character’s eyes—the chapters alternate between Ware and Lind, with a little backtracking to provide the reader with each characters perspective on important happenings. At times, I found the backtracking a little tedious but overall it worked exceptionally well. It also added to the frustration and slow build of feelings between the two.
As for the romance aspect of this novel, Lind and Ware tumble into bed from the jump and their sex is frequent, intense, and written in very descriptive—if occasionally repetitive—terms. It’s not insta-love by any means, and considering their social positions, the consent is dubious. Thralls are slaves; they do as their masters demand and they’re not in a position to say ‘no’. Even though he expects her to comply with his desires, Ware is solicitous of Lind’s pleasure and she appreciates it… even initiating things as the story progresses. Is it rape? I can see how it would walk the line, even if he doesn’t violently force her and refrained from taking her on at least two occasions when she asked. However, Ware’s character grew and evolved in this regard as the tale progressed, though I won’t give away the details here.
Now comes an issue that has started to make me feel like a broken record. However, it needs to be addressed; authors, EDITING IS SO IMPORTANT! Fletcher was a great story, but it definitely needed another round of editing. I came across missing words (usually articles, but not always), missing/misplaced quotation marks, and other noticeable typos throughout. It was annoying and disappointing, to say the least.
Bottom line: If you love erotic fantasies in the vein of Grace Draven’s Master of Crows series and you enjoy a well-earned HEA, I highly recommend you put down whatever you’re currently reading and dive into Fletcher. I will definitely reread this one in the future and have already picked up other work by this author.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by AJ Adams
Release Date: October 14, 2016