This book came to my via a review request by A.J. Tipton. I’m unsure which part of the A & J sent me the request but they lured me by using my love of Lizzy Ford novels. Because the Her Elemental Viking series does fall under the same genre I overcame my commitment not to take on anymore book review requests. I mean, dude, it’s paranormal vikings for Bunny’s sakes! Who could turn their cheek to sexy, supernatural vikings; I’m not made of that stuff even if that strong person does exists.
First of all, I’m not hot on books with a lot of narrative without a good deal of dialogue. This novel has lotsa exposition and a lot happens inside the head’s of the characters. This isn’t me making any comment on the story itself, but it did affect my enjoyment while reading. I feel that novels that have a lot of inner happenings are super heavy and the wall of text compels me to flip ahead. This is MY problem and not that of A.J. Tipton’s.
Now-now, brown cow.
The love tale in this book is a nice, smexy, urban fantasy meeting of the hearts. Mikkel is an alpha manwhore with a tendency to be HOT stuff. He burns off his stress by knockin’ boots with most anything in a skirt, and absolutely everything out of one. The reason for this happy whoring is that Mike tends to get warm under the collar when his ire is raised. I am punning all over the place because Mikkel’s elemental power is to burn up all fiery, and that adds sizzle to Mikkel’s bad boy persona.
There is one retardant and it comes in the form of a chick who has a sizable anger management issue of her own. Joanna wants to burn down the entire world and she isn’t making a list, because everyone is going down. Funnily enough she puts Mike’s high-tempered nature to rest. Joanna is a brilliant and capable engineer yet the catcalls and two tongued camaraderie that she gets from co-workers does nothing for her no-bullcrap thin skin. She has no time for sexist idiots and she is surrounded by them. Mikkel is included in her ‘to hell with the population’ attitude at first, just the same.
It’s strange what happens when two negatives make it right. Mikkel doesn’t just get hot for the new engineer, he gets what makes her hot. Together they find melting down a bit is worth the friction.
Wow… I punned right through this review and feel no shame.
As far as the love story goes I am really on the fence. The relationship as it appears feels underdeveloped. There wasn’t a lot of depth but that could also be due to the fact that novellas tend not to have enough space for the layers that make up the relationship in longer stories and full novels. But I would still recommend it to someone who likes elemental paranormal stories and, yes, Lizzy Ford novels. Pick this one up!
Her Fiery Viking Synopsis:
Mikkel just might be too hot to handle. He’s an ancient Viking, cursed with immortality and the compulsion to burst into an uncontrollable ball of fire when enraged. After centuries of tragedy, Mikkel fears the fury within him and the danger he poses to anyone he lets too close.
But when Joanna, a smart, sexy engineer angry at the world, explodes into his life, Mikkel can’t resist her smoldering allure. Has the time finally come to let someone in and embrace the fire? Or will their fiery passion scorch these lovers?
This mature romance includes incendiary bar room shenanigans, harrowing kidnapping, high speed car escapades, and a love strong enough to heal even the most damaged of hearts.
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Her Elemental Viking Books:
Her Fiery Viking Excerpt:
God, what a day. Mikkel’s guys at the demo site were hard enough to wrangle on a good day, and today this smokin’ hot chick – Joanna apparently, according to Ben – walked in and his grown-ass demolition specialists became drooling apes. Mikkel was grateful it was Wednesday, the day of his weekly Anger Management meeting, and he could take some time to calm the fury rising up in him.
He shifted in the hard metal chair and wrung his hands, frustrated at his coworkers’ inability to just be human beings for a moment and see something other than that woman’s insane body. And it was certainly an insane body. Stop thinking about her legs, Mikkel, stop thinking about them wrapping around your hips. He just wanted to unwrap her overly businesslike suit like a birthday present and enjoy the smooth silky center found inside. Stop thinking about her eyes. He hadn’t seen such fierce strength and fiery determination in a woman in years. Joanna had none of that doe-eyed submissive crap women had been imitating since the Puritans. This was a woman who would orgasm screaming and clawing, and he could barely wait to see it. He clenched his hands tight across his knees to derail that train of thought, but staring at the floor between his knees just made him picture her there, looking up at him with that fierce determination as she took him in her mouth.
He let go of his knees and gripped the cold bottom of the metal chair. Not thinking about her was proving to be impossible. Joanna burst into his professional life out of nowhere and now she had permanent residence inside his head.
A smattering of applause burst out around him and Mikkel forced himself to concentrate. He nodded at a young guy wearing too much gold jewelry who sat down next to him. He hoped his expression looked like he’d been inspired by whatever the guy shared. Shit, Mikkel gripped the chair tight enough he heard it crack. I’m here for a reason; I can daydream about some broad on my own time.
“Thank you, Petey. That was so brave, so wonderful you felt you could share something so personal with all of us,” Tabitha, the meeting leader, said. Her chins wobbled a little as she spoke. “I know we are all here at Anger Management for different reasons, but bless you all for coming, and sharing, and showing us that we’re all the same inside.” She stifled a sniffle into a floral patterned handkerchief. “It just makes me so proud to stand here and see all of you brave and dear souls trying to improve yourselves and your relationships through sharing.”
Mikkel took pity on the group. Tabitha was sweet as pie, but weepier than a villain at the gallows and she would half-cry, half-talk this meeting into oblivion. He stood and walked towards the stack of empty crates they used as a makeshift podium. The group met below a hardware store owned by one of the members, and the room always smelled faintly of caulking and dried glue. It didn’t compare well to all the Buddhist temples and Catholic cloisters he’d visited over the millennia to achieve peace, but there was something almost comforting in its DIY sincerity.
“I’d like to share,” he boomed, his deep voice echoing around the small basement.
Tabitha lit up like a Christmas tree at the prospect of hearing about the feelings, trials and suffering of a fellow human being. “Thank you, Mike! Everyone, this is Mike. Let’s all make him feel supported and heard!” she trilled, starting a small round of lackluster applause.
As Mikkel slid behind the makeshift podium, he ducked to fit his frame under a low-hanging pipe. As he drew a breath, he absentmindedly glanced around. The room was filled with some regulars, some newbies, and a woman in business wear attempting to hide her face with a flyer Tabitha handed out earlier. The cartoonesque attempt at anonymity was more hilarious than effective, as Mikkel would have known that spiky haircut anywhere.
His heart leapt in his chest, the strong physical reaction to her presence surprising him. She had removed her jacket and Mikkel drank in her slender, strong arms, delicate neck and the outline of ample breasts.
“Hi everybody, I’m Mike and I have anger issues.”
“Hi Mike,” the group robotically intoned.
Mikkel launched into his story. He had to adjust it every few decades to make sure the references made sense within the current time period, but aside from small chronological edits, it was always the same. “I used to be a normal family man – wife, kids, the whole enchilada.” This much was true.
“One day I was out of town on business and a burglar broke into our home, murdering my family in cold blood.” This much was not true. As he spoke his well-practiced speech, he couldn’t help but recall the real story. The flames reached for the sky, burning his small village to the ground. The battle cries of the Skomer tribe echoed across the hills. His hands gripped the edge of the podium. That day was one of the worst memories of his long life and one of the few not dulled by time. He had never felt so powerless, so vulnerable as that moment. He’d never felt so angry.
“After I laid my family to rest, I became completely engulfed by rage – getting into fistfights, destroying everything I touched and completely unable to interact at a basic human level.”
He watched, trying unsuccessfully not to stare, as Joanna gave up trying to hide behind the paper and leaned forward, seemingly drawn closer by his words. What Mikkel always neglected to mention were the series of murderous rampages he went on shortly after his reasons for living were turned to char. He had been born a Viking, after all, and most of his peers and brothers never thought twice about his exceptionally violent behavior. His father even used it to his advantage, sending Mikkel first into battle to pave the way for his more even-tempered brothers.
He felt a dull ache inside his chest whenever he remembered the horrible, bloodthirsty person he had become. Had his family not gone up against that witch in Scotland, his rampage would probably have been cut short with his death and Mikkel would have been freed from the pain. Her curse left him invulnerable and unable to age, seemingly good things, but he was forced to see all his lovers and compatriots age and die, over and over again.
“One woman I met by chance, she tried to teach me to stop, but I wouldn’t listen.” The morning of the curse was another scene forever branded on his memory. It was supposed to be just another raid, just another island to conquer and settle. His father had ignored the warnings that a powerful witch protected the island, said it was all wild rumor spread by people who were unable to protect themselves.
But everything had gone wrong from the moment Mikkel first stepped onto the island. Battle rage took over, as it always did in those early days following his family’s slaughter. He dimly remembered his middle-brother, Erik, heading over to the far side of the island while his youngest brother, Bram, went down to the beach. But a crucial hour was missing: his memory of going up against the crone gone.
All he could remember was after, standing weak-kneed on that beach, desperately searching and calling out for Bram’s body in the sea. His other brothers lay still and cold on the ground. The witch cried out something at him and Mikkel did the only thing he could think of: he ran. He thought losing his family was enough of a punishment for the harm they caused to the witch’s island, but he learned the extent of the witch’s revenge the next time he got mad…
“Whenever I got into a rage, I would find myself in a state completely out of my control. This escalated, year after year, until I noticed a pattern of unintentionally hurting those around me, again and again. I was so blinded by my rage that I irreparably destroyed people’s lives. I ruined friendships, alienated girlfriends, and got on the wrong side of the law once or twice.”
Understatement of the millennium, Mikkel thought. Within a week of leaving the witch’s cursed island, Mikkel got into a fight at a tavern when one of the other patrons tried to force himself on one of the barmaids. Since his wife and children died, he’d been quick to anger, but this felt different. This was beyond rage, it was a hot crackling inferno that built up in his chest, tingled down his spine and then exploded along his skin as literal flames. He couldn’t stop it and the fireball destroyed the bar and everyone in it, friend and foe alike charred beyond recognition. He’d lost countless friends and lovers over the years to his rage. He had learned methods to quell his anger, but the curse still took him over when he was sufficiently riled–and those around him always paid the price.
He noticed a shift in the back of the room as Joanna leaned back, crossing her long, slender legs. Her face carried an expression, not of judgment or concern, but of complete understanding. Her perfect breasts strained against her shirt, rising as she sighed, and Mikkel nearly groaned out loud. He wanted to kick over the podium, push his way through the others present and devour this woman with the fiery eyes. It was a good thing lust had never been one of his triggers, or the whole room would be on fire right now.
Mikkel realized he had stopped speaking mid-story and cleared his throat. He hoped the group assumed he was overcome with emotion rather than distracted by thoughts of thoroughly pillaging the structural engineer in the back row.
“I don’t like to think about all the lives I destroyed in those days. When I was angry, it seemed nothing could stand in my way. I was like a walking conflagration.” The truest words of the whole story. “Eventually I realized this way of life only caused pain, so I traveled the world, searching for a religion or philosophy that could help me find some way to control myself.”
For centuries he’d sought answers from mystics, witches, sorcerers, and scientists to try and lessen his rage, counter the spell, or just mitigate the damage. Not a single one could help him. Logically, Mikkel knew he should leave civilization and go live in an isolated cave far from anyone he might hurt, but hope dragged him back to society whenever he tried. He had to believe that the witch’s curse had some cure, or that–at the very least–someday someone would find a way to reunite him with his family.
The unfruitful search around the world had its own rewards, though.
“In my travels, I met a lot of very interesting people who touched me deeply and really changed how I saw the world.” If the support group was mostly men, he’d admit these ‘deep touches’ came from beautiful women. With Joanna in the audience, however, he held back his vivid descriptions of the women he’d sampled across the globe. What couldn’t cure the curse could distract from it. He delighted in their scent, their sensuality, their screams of satisfaction.
His gaze was once again drawn to Joanna listening hungrily to his tale. He wished he had a more inspiring conclusion for her, something to give her hope in her own struggles.
“After a long while, I realized the answer to my problems wasn’t something a monk or shaman could conjure up for me, so I stopped wandering the earth looking for some magical solution. I’m here, dealing with my anger day by day, working the program. It certainly does help that I blow stuff up for a living.” This inspired a few chuckles, “But I am grateful to Tabitha and you all here for supporting me.”
The room burst into applause and Tabitha moved towards the podium, sobbing happily. She grabbed Mikkel by the shoulders and gave him a wet, sloppy kiss on the cheek, leaving a comically large lipstick mark. It always surprised him, but he did feel better.
Meet A.J. Tipton:
A.J. Tipton is the pseudonym of a writing team: Annie and Jessica (Get it? “A.J.” You get it). Blessed with imaginations too big for our corporate day jobs, we spend our evenings co-writing erotic stories that amuse us and hope will also amuse others. Our running document of ideas for future series-everything from sex-robots to ghost brothels-will keep us busy for many years to come, so follow us on your preferred social media platform and let us know what series you like best. We love to hear from readers.
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