Sue Lyndon writes a lot of sci-fi/fantasy based romance. She also writes MFM menage stories. Claiming Their Slave is a fantasy based MFM story. I would also put it in the fated mates category, because the Banded Men generally get some kind of sign that a woman is supposed to be their mate. CTS is the third book in the Barbarian Mates series, and yes, they are all very hot.
The way that this series works is that the heroes are twin brothers from a species called the Banded Men. They are like humans, but generally bigger and tougher, etc. The Banded Men twins have one of the light and one of the dark. The light twin is diurnal and the dark twin is nocturnal. The reason behind that is that their shared mate and children will never be unprotected. If one set of twins has a brother die, then he will join with unmated twins who are his brothers, if he has any, and all three will share a mate.
Anyway, the world in this series is roughly medieval-ish. Humans are relegated to villages that are widely separated by huge forests that are filled with terrible beasts. Humans used to be much more spread out, but as the forests started to magically grow, they all banded into smaller villages and they are far enough apart that the villages generally aren’t in contact with each other. Now that all the background is taken care of, it’s time to move to the review of the actual story.
Ava is a young woman who was born into slavery. Before she was even born, her father was executed for breaking the law and her mother was sold into slavery while she was pregnant with Ava. In this village, if you are born into slavery, you will always be a slave and so will your children. There are very, very rare occasions when a slave may be taken to wife, but that’s generally when the guy can afford to bribe the Elders to allow it. The guys can also have more than one wife.
So, Ava has been packing a bag with supplies and leaving it under her bed for a long time. She keeps telling herself that she is going to escape, when she gets the courage. Every day, she looks at the meadow of daisies in between her village and the woods and dreams of crossing that meadow and escaping into the woods. Part of what holds her back are the stories of the beasts that are in the forest.
One day, her master tells her that two of his son’s slaves have escaped. He searches her room and finds her bag of supplies. He asks her if she knew about the slaves who were going to run away, and then his son shows up and they decide to sell her at a slave auction.
Jaxon, a Banded light twin, is out on a trade mission and checking out how far the human villages in the area have spread out. He doesn’t want them to come too near his home. Generally, he does everything he can to make sure that he avoids human villages, but this day, something draws him to this particular village. He follows the noise and finds Ava, standing on the auction block. There is a creepy-ass old guy who is trying to bid on her, but Jaxon triples the bid and wins.
Jaxon leads Ava through the field of daisies that she’s looked at and dreamed of for years. As they walk through the field, she gathers an armful of daisies. When Jaxon asks her why, she tells him that the largest, most beautiful daisies grow right in the center and she’s never been allowed to go get them before.
When they get to the camp, Jaxon makes her promise that she will not try to escape. However, she has no plan to continue a slave, and she doesn’t know that Jaxon has planned to free her, keep her as a servant, and pay her. So, when he goes into the tent, she runs away. He tracks her down, brings her back, and spanks her. That’s when he realizes that he’s not going to be able to keep her as a servant, but that he wants to keep her as his mate.
Meanwhile, back at the old homestead, Wolfe, his twin, keeps dreaming of Ava, which lets him know that she is probably their mate. However, neither brother is aware of what the other feels at this point, so Jaxon does what he can to hold himself apart from her.
OK, now’s the time to separate. Spoilers will be coming. The Banded Men stories, while there is spanking and hot sex, are pretty sweet stories, overall. The men truly love and cherish their women and want to protect them, even if that means that they spank their mates when necessary. If you like spanking stories but you don’t want to get into anything dark, then Sue Lyndon’s Barbarian Mates series is a good choice.
This is a lovely story, and very sweet. Wolfe and Jaxon take note of Ava’s concerns and make sure that they listen to them and do what they can to make her feel better.
I love their parents, and their mom is just awesome. I thought she was going to smack Jaxon when he told his parents that she was a slave. Of course, they managed to figure out that Jaxon meant to keep her as mate, even though Ava didn’t know it. I did get mad at Jaxon at holding that away from her, which left her unsettled, and wasn’t fair to her.
The battle scene was pretty interesting. I would’ve liked to know for sure who the humans were, more than just assuming that they were from Ava’s village and after the gold and jewels that Jaxon used to pay for Ava.
Anyway, huge long post. It boils down to a great addition to a favorite series. Go check it out! Meanwhile, happy reading!
(Imagine standard ARC disclaimer here)