by Anya Bast

May 2003
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Winter Pleasures: Training to Pleasure gives you a glimpse at the power of love, and how the tender heart of one man changes a womanís life forever.

Our tale begins with Sienne, a young frightened woman who is given as a gift to the very handsome Lord Marken of Nordan. The evil Lord Cyrus of Sudhra has plans for Sienne, he has given her to Lord Marken as a gift, which is pretty far from the truth. Sienneís true mission is to spy! She is to use all of her sexual talents to bewitch him, and then learn all of Markenís military secrets. What Lord Cyrus doesnít count on is Markenís kindness, and his gentle nature.

Lord Marken doesnít believe in any human being kept as a slave, he accepted Sienne out of duty to his people, so as not to slight Lord Cyrus. Sienne has been trained to please sexually, but when Marken reassures her he wonít do anything to hurt her sheís more than skeptical. She fears not only for her life, but the lives of her foster family; mean old Cyrus threatened her - if she doesnít produce Markenís military secrets by winterís end.

Slowly Marken convinces Sienne that she is free to roam his castle, and come to him at will. Sienne has great trouble adjusting to the idea; her life has been that of an abused and tortured woman. However Marken is one convincing guy, and there begins the tenuous thread of trust, and soon love blooms. Marken strikes a deal with Sienne, she is to spend the winter in his bed, and gain her freedom come spring. What of Cyrus and his evil plan? Will Sienne trust Marken enough to tell him why she was brought to him in the first place?

In a nutshell this was sweet story telling at its most engaging. Marken is one heck of a guy and his efforts to free not only Sienneís body, but her mind from slavery are just enchanting. As Sienne slowly begins to believe she can expect more from life than brutality, she emerges like a butterfly from her cocoon. There is plenty of sexual freedom to be had in the castle, everyone is rather easygoing, a stark contrast to Sienneís life till present. However displaying that freedom was the perfect element needed to exhibit just how inhibited Sienne really was. She was trained to pleasure sexually but she wasnít putting out in front of a crowd!

This was my first read from this author, and a fine showing of solid character development, woven with a rich setting. Love in captivity WinterPleasures:Training to Pleasure!

Reviewed in May 2003 by Connie.

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