Harlequin MIRA / July 30, 2013 / $14.95 print, $10.99 digital
Nora Sutherlin is in handcuffs, held captive by two men...Under different circumstances, she would enjoy the situation immensely, but her captors aren't interested in play. Or pity.
As the reality of her impending peril unfolds, Nora becomes Scheherazade, buying each hour of her life with stories—sensual tales of Søren, Kingsley and Wesley, each of whom has tempted and tested and tortured her in his own way. This, Nora realizes, is her life: nothing so simple, so vanilla, as a mere love triangle for her. It's a knot in a silken cord, a tangled mass of longings of the body and the heart and the mind. And it may unravel at any moment.
But in Nora's world, no one is ever truly powerless—a cadre of her friends, protectors and lovers stands ready to do anything to save her, even when the only certainty seems to be sacrifice and heartbreak….
At the end of The Prince, the third book in the Original Sinners series, Tiffany Reisz ripped out the hearts of many readers with a doozy of a cliffhanger. Nora Sutherlin, the leading lady, had been kidnapped—right after her young lover Wesley proposed to her. In The Mistress, we finally learn of Nora’s fate, meet the person responsible for her kidnapping and can only guess at where it might all lead. Reisz uses Nora’s captivity though in a fascinating way—as a way to share more of Nora’s fascinating and colorful history.
“Tell me a story,” says the kidnapper who isn’t too pleased with Nora’s flip response: “”You’re going to have to talk to my agent. She handles all book deals.” Rather than suffer a beating at the hands of one of the kidnapper’s men, Nora agrees to play Scheherazade and regale the crazy captor with stories of her life. She begins with a story that explains why she loves Wesley. In typical Nora fashion the story begins with a tryst with Griffin and a naughty message: “Griffin…darling…this message is for your cock. I’d like to spend the day with it if it would be so obliging. Have it call me back if interested.” The story ends with “Some things are more important than sex, Wes…he was more important than sex.”
In another story, Nora tells the kidnapper about her years submitting to Soren. To Nora, it is as simple as “I get off on submitting to Soren. I don’t know how or why. I can’t explain any more than you can explain why you like Irish breakfast tea instead of English breakfast tea… It’s a personal taste. I liked It.” This story turns into a discussion of Soren and Kingsley. It is this relationship that most disturbs Nora’s captor and what the person wants to know about most of all.
Next, the kidnapper demands a story about Nora and Kingsley. Cheekily, Nora replies “Get comfortable. This story, much like sex with Kingsley, takes a while.” After only three months of being with Soren, Nora, as Eleanor, tells him that “I wish I had two of you.” This statement leads Soren to share his submissive with the most important man in his life. And thus, we are treated to Eleanor and Kingsley’s first time together which is one of my favorite Nora/Kingsley scenes. Their relationship is often fraught with tension, tension caused by Soren, but here Kingsley puts Eleanor at ease. When Kingsley asks “You’re standing at the edge of a rabbit hole. Are you sure you want to fall down it?” Nora replies “I’ll trade my hole for your hole.” There is of course much more to this story, but this one hints at what Reisz is planning for the ending.
One of the final stories that Nora tells is about Soren’s mother and her death. The kidnapper had found a piece of linen in Nora’s closet, Soren’s maniturgium (from a priest’s ordainment) and demands to know its value. Nora recounts her interactions with Soren’s mother and with the maniturgium:
“The priest gives the maniturgium to his mother. She is to be buried with it, holding it in her hands, so that when she goes to heaven the angels will see that she gave birth to a priest. And they will open the gates at once and let her into God’s presence….And Soren’s mother gave it to me. She wanted me to have it because she said that with or without the church’s blessing or understanding or acknowledgment, I was the wife of a priest.”
This one gives readers a glimpse into Soren as a family man, as a son and an uncle.
Nora’s stories make up the heart of The Mistress. They lead to the final confrontation with the kidnapper and the stunning conclusion to a series arc begun in The Siren. Nora, Soren and Kingsley’s lives are laid bare for readers as they come to grips with the danger stalking them and make plans for the future, a future that should satisfy all.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Tiffany Reisz's The Mistress before its July 30 release: