Harlequin MIRA / June 24, 2014 / $14.95 print, $10.99 digital
Before she became Manhattan's most famous dominatrix, Nora Sutherlin was merely a girl called Eleanor…
Rebellious, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Marcus Stearns—Søren to her and only her—and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Eleanor is consumed—yet even she knows being in love with a priest can't be right.
But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. When she vows to repay him with complete obedience, a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets that will change everything.
Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.
With the release of The Saint, Tiffany Reisz begins the The White Years, the second story arc in the eight books that make up The Original Sinners series. It begins with Nora in the Black Forest in Bavaria grieving for something. She is alone until someone new to the Sinners world knocks on her door to offer her comfort. Needing to talk, Nora tells him, and the reader, the tale of how she met and came to be the property of Soren. An intense but fascinating story, Reisz tells it with flare, hilarious dialogue (is there anything better than Nora’s wit?), and passion.
Why is Nora grieving? She is in great pain as The Saint opens, and Reisz is deliberately vague about the reason.
She could do this. For days now she’d been preparing herself for this moment, preparing what she would say and how she would say it. She would be strong for him, she would do this, could do this.
Nora swallowed hard and took a quick breath.
“Soren. . . “ As soon as she spoke his name she stopped. She could get no more words out.
Feeling nostalgic, Nora decides to regale her new friend with the story of how she, as the fifteen-year old Eleanor Schreiber, met Father Marcus Stearns aka Soren. Eleanor was a teenager with an attitude and a penchant for self-mutilation. Within minutes of meeting, Soren shows Eleanor that there are ways to feel pain without leaving visible marks, hints at the darker games he likes to play and captivates her.
She watched him until he disappeared from view. And then she listened until the sound of his engine retreated into silence.
“I’m yours, Soren,” she said to no one but God, and didn’t know what she meant by it. She only knew it was true. She was his whatever the consequences. She was his.
So be it.
Thus follows years of verbal sparring, unanswered questions, tense and unfulfilled sexual longing, and the start of a bond like no other. There are moments of joy as these two characters come alive for each other. There are moments of angst, like when Eleanor disobeys her priest, sees her father, and is put in a time out where she is not allowed to be alone with her priest for several years. The pull between Eleanor and Soren leaps off the pages. Their sexual longing is palpable, but keeps one glued to the story, anxious for their big moment.
Things change when Soren’s father dies, and he brings Eleanor with him for the funeral service. Soren finally answers all of the questions that Eleanor has been tallying for years. He explains why he has reservations about their relationship and why he isn’t ready for them to have intercourse.
“I am a sadist and I can’t get aroused unless I hurt you in some way first. I wish it could be otherwise, of course.”
“Of course,” she repeated, not even hearing herself. “So you . . . you can’t—"
“Eleanor, you joked about us breaking the table during sex. I don’t break furniture during sex. I break people.”
Nora’s last tale to her new friend is the one where Soren finally takes her virginity, on Holy Thursday—a night that leaves her battered and bruised, as well as the reader.
With The Saint, the White Years have officially begun. What more does Soren have in store for sub Eleanor? Will Nora’s new friend become a permanent fixture in her life? How will Tiffany Reisz continue the story of Eleanor and Soren? How much will their breakup hurt? So many questions that I cannot wait to see answered.
While The Saint does not have a cliffhanger ending like The Priest or the dramatic ending like The Mistress, Reisz does manage to mess with readers' minds. I think this just might be Reisz’s trademark. But as always, the pain is worth it in the end. The White Years might just be better than the Red Years.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of The Saint by Tiffany Reisz, available June 24, 2014: