We start with the beautiful mama, Rebecca, when she was a ripe young thing and the love interest of Matthew Lorne, the most evil baddy I have ever encountered in this genre. The dude didnt like his future mother-in-law, so he decided, eh, Ill just burn her at the stake. Evil guy followed her and got an eyeful. Since the evil dude had no problem getting rid of nagging mother-in-laws, you know he didnt have any qualms ridding himself of a little sexy competition and stabbed the stud in the neck and did away with him. Then out pops the baby and we now have Shalada, beautiful h#2, who luckily enough is the daughter of the hot stud who did it with her mother once, and not the evil guy, Lourne, who got to her lots and lots of times. So now the evil guy takes home Shalada to raise as his own (other than the regular beatings) as punishment to Rebeccacause apparently hes still mad about that whole not-liking-having-her-mother-burned-at-the-stake-so-she-had-sex-with-someone-else thing. Too bad too that the evil dude was so nasty to Shalada growing up because she turned out to be a hottie, while poor Rebecca looked like she was in her 80s while still in her 30s. Now were finally at the point of entry of our hero, David, who has a hatred for Lourne for having his father murdered 16 years before (the evil guy got around). Im not certain as to why our hero was there as he promised his mother not to kill the evil guy. His worst was irritating him by making him wait in line for a new dress (The evil guy, who she thinks is her father, decided at this point that he was going to start wooing beautiful heroine #2 by buying her some new duds). This all happened under the gleeful stare of the sister, who the evil guy was going to send to the convent so it could be just him and Shalada. Ok, so while shes asking for his help and talking about saving her mother Rebecca from burning at the stake, Ol David our H, decides to interject with a free boob massage, because the timing was right and all that. Then we have the rescue scene, during which the evil guy gets offed while having a hallucinatory flashback.
Even though he's always on his high horse and railroading poor women for witchcraft because he suffers from The Raging Boner of the Hypocritical Self-Righteous, Rebecca is flattered that such a successful, self-made guy is giving her the time of day. But Lorne's sick of getting the stinkeye from his future mom-in-law and decides that he'll get rid of the bitch... (O hai, I'm Conrad GQMF Veidt & I'll be your GIF muse today while Buster Keaton rests up for the impending Sherry Thomas review.) With a few well-chosen words of paranoia, he turns the whole town against Rebecca's mom and the poor woman gets dragged to the stake and burned. (Lorne's pretty crap at standard procedure, instead relying on charismatic assholery. When she gives birth, Lorne takes the baby away and raises it in his household, giving Rebecca teasy little visits with the girl (named Shalada) just to torture her. Matthew Lorne is a real pervy motherfucker. Enter the hero, one David Medway, who has come to town to get his revenge on Lorne for conniving to murder his father because Old Medway didn't like him. (Let's start up a collection to buy our baddie a thicker skin.) Since he thinks Shalada is Lorne's daughter, he treats her like crap, even though he wants to delve into her knickers too. Both Lorne & Son go totally ape dump that she's damaged goods and neither of them were first. While Shalada's recovering upstairs and Lorne's dealing with his own rage, Son decides it's now or never. ;) OK, Shalada really is a feisty heroine nitwit and she does some real dumb stuff in the course of the story, but...if anyone gives her any crap, she's going to make it miserable for them. Medway gives her a cloak in the rain, gets local gossip out of her, promises to see to her kid and mother, and earns her undying devotion (and help when the time for revenge comes).
I loved Rebecca & wish the book had been solely focused on her. It's a love-to-hate-you kind of deal, & his final scene is hugely satisfying. Gluyas has also demonstrated serious pacing issues, & this book is not immune; she begins & ends with fairly gripping stuff, but the middle sags & bogs down with, well, not much (though the Familial Bloodbath did improve the middle section in this particular effort). As a final gripe, the heavy imbalance of negative characters makes this an exhausting read; I love a good cast of villains, but there's a point where too much Evul(tm) becomes a chore to endure.
I hate wasting a quarter of a book reading about one guy, and getting to like Mathiew.