The dark Viking romance Torn Avenger was published by the Writers in Crime in September 2017.
Cover art: Simply Defined Art
Murder. Passion. Two worlds colliding.
As the second son of a Viking earl, Alv Gunnulfsen wasn’t meant to inherit a throne or avenge a murder. But when his brother is slain during a raid and their father dies of grief, Alv is expected to take command and claim the killer’s death. In a world of ruthless retaliation and strict social codes, he must also maneuver cleverly to protect a troublesome secret: his attraction for men.
Roeland van Dijk, a wealthy Dutch merchant settled in Norway, has done the unthinkable to protect his family — hacked off the head of a Viking rapist. The wrath of the blond savages will cost him his freedom, and possibly his own head… Unless he’s willing to accept the love of another man.
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Torn Avenger is available in paperback!
Shortly after release, Torn Avenger reached #9 on Amazon UK’s bestsellers list “Viking Historical Romance”.
It also reached #47 on the same list on Amazon.com.
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Thanks to all these lovely bloggers for hosting the release!
UTTERLY GRIPPING AND EMOTIONAL
If you’re a fan of Vikings and like your MM romance, then this is a must-read. Be warned it’s labelled a dark romance for a reason. There’s a fair amount of violence, grit, and tragedy, but then in Viking times, what do you expect?
From the first page, I was immersed in history, and I couldn’t put this story down. Utterly gripping storytelling, and so very emotional. There were times where I couldn’t see how this could possibly ever result in a happy outcome for the characters. Suffice to say the reader is in for a hell of a rollercoaster ride.
– Doris O’Connor
Loved how Lea stepped out of her comfort zone with this one. Being a huge fan of the Vikings TV show, I was all in when reading this one. I love the twist and turns, the heat, the believable emotions. I felt every single one of them as I read through this. Couldn’t put it down!
– DC Stone
What a fantastic story. I worried about how to write this review to give this book its due justice and in this end I’m going to do a kind of analysis and I hope you see where I’m going with this.
First let me start by saying this story is marked as a dark Viking romance. In my opinion, dark romances are gritty and shocking, with heroes/heroines that push the boundaries of expectations in romance novels. With that in mind I would consider Torn Avenger to be on the mild end of the dark romance spectrum.
Are there gritty scenes? Sure. But that is more down to the fact that it is a Viking story and therefore brutality, gore and Viking warriors kind of go hand in hand. It is to be expected.
Do the heroes push the boundaries? Are they dark enough? Alv certainly pushes the boundaries. His character is described as half-man and half-woman, and regarded with amusement by his fellow Norsemen. In 11th century Norway when his fellow men were fearless Vikings, macho and brutal, ready to strike first and talk later, Alv was the opposite, gentle and kind. He wanted to heal people instead of kill them. How much more subversive can one get?
As for Roeland, when a Viking raiding party invades his village to pillage and plunder, he does what needs to be done to protect his family and kills one of them. Unfortunately the man he kills is the first son of an earl and his death has to be avenged, which is the crux of the story. Roeland tries to keep his family safe in hiding but he is eventually captured by Alv who takes him captive.
I’ll admit I expected some savagery in the form of revenge from Alv. But aside from taking Roeland as a captive, he continues to wrangle with his conscience about what had gone on and what to do. In the end Alv falls in love with Roeland. So the question becomes, how does he keep Roeland alive when everyone else in his clan seems to want him dead.
This story has layers. Suspense as we wonder if and how Roeland will get his freedom. Mystery as we try to unravel a poisoning. And of course romance as we watch Alv and Roeland develop feelings for each other.
Do I believe that Roeland, a man who had been in love with his late wife could be attracted to Alv? Yes. We know that people who have been through an intensely stressful experience can come out of it with different perspectives than they had previously.
Considering the upheaval and distress he’d been through, it is quite plausible that Roeland would fall in love with the man who saved his life and took such care of him, especially when said man was effeminate.
I’m also intrigued by Elke and Torsten’s storyline and hope the author will write a companion novella of sort. I would love to read about Elke’s ordeal from her perspective and having to marrying into a tribe of the person who assaulted her and having a child. How does a woman in that era cope with that kind of trauma?
Overall, this is a fantastic, sensual and emotional M/M historical romance. The characters are well drawn and the storyline had me hooked right from the first page to the last. I would’ve loved more on the page interactions between Alv and Roeland, but that’s just me wanting more steam.
Seriously, if you enjoy M/M historicals, you have to read this and don’t be put off by the ‘dark’ label. Alv and Roeland are too good to ever have the ‘dark hero’ label on them.
– Kay, Love Bites and Silk Ties
AT TIMES DARK, “BARBARIC,” AND INTENSE LOVE STORY
Loved it! Deserves a sequel to this new life for this passionate, brave, nurturing Viking and his warrior lover. Will answer once again what makes a family, and what more are we willing to sacrifice?
It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of Lea’s writing and once again this is a five star for me.
What’s not to love about sexy historical Vikings? Absolutely nothing. I love Lea’s style of writing, her characters and the heat she infuses in her books.
Grab this one up, it’s short, and will fill a cold afternoon very nicely.
– Janis Frisch
BUT I’M GLAD I TOOK A CHANCE ON THIS BOOK
Gritty, dark and violent are just some of the ways I would describe the book. I was skeptical in the beginning because dark romance is not my genre of choice, but I’m glad I took a chance on this book. I do love a good M/M story but this is not your typical M/M book. Roeland is married to a woman and she is pregnant in the beginning of the book. He loves her dearly and is excited about their first pregnancy. Then everything changes when Vikings raid their village. Roeland is in charge of protecting his sister and he doesn’t know where she is during the raid. He goes and searches for her while leaving his very pregnant wife behind, when he finds her he is in shock. He finds a Viking raping his sister and proceeds to sever his head. That set everything in motion. Alv is a Viking from the village that the raiders came from. He is the second son of the Viking earl and stands to inherit nothing so he goes into medicine and dabbles with his male slave. The village has a don’t ask don’t tell policy when it comes to Alv. It’s discovered that his brother, the first son, has been murdered and his father dies of grief, Alv makes a vow to avenge this tragedy. When Alv and Roeland’s eyes meet there is an unexplained current of awareness that groes through Alv. What will come of Alv choosing to spare Roeland’s life?
This is a story about family, revenge and misplaced grief. Once Alv finds out the real reason Roeland kills his brother he sympathizes with him, but that doesn’t negate the vow he made to his mother. Will Alv be able to step in his father’s shoes? Will Alv be exposed for his sexuality because it is expected for him to marry a woman and produce heirs?
– Ashley A. Carr
3,5* would have been 4 if the story were longer with the romance more developed.
A bit short so it felt rushed sometimes but the story is great.
Alv’s life changed after his brother’s death. He’s thrown in a life he didn’t want at all!
Roeland just wanted to save his family.
Both lost a lot! Everything is a mess but love can change everything.
I will definitely read more from Lea Bronsen
Ebook won from The TBR Pile giveaway.
A GOOD READ!
Before I start this review, I’d like to take a moment and drool over that cover. Wow!
A Viking who never expected to inherit the throne is suddenly thrust upon that important seat and tasked with revenge on his murdered kin. But revenge is cold when the man is one that calls to a Vikings heart.
Alv, our sexy Viking, is hunting the man that murdered is brother but as it turns out his brother is a rapist and that man is just trying to avenger his sister. Roeland is an unexpected hero but both he and Alv felt like they belonged in the contemporary genre rather than historical. Alv is a Viking healer but he sounds less like a Viking and more like a different era. Maybe 1800’s or the 1900’s. A lot of the secondary characters also didn’t fit the Viking theme in both dialogue and the way they acted. This would have worked beautiful in a fantasy setting or even adjusted to fit the early 1800’s/1900’s. The story is still very entertaining. I like the push and pull between Alv and Roeland. The sex is hot and romantic. Overall, Torn Avenger is a good read with an interesting plot.
– Bella Star, TBR Pile