Born of Defiance by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
OK, this book is totally confusing in the beginning because it happens in the past. The best I can tell this book should be taking place around the same time as Born of Night. I also can't fathom how Fain doesn't know he has a son, when so many of his friends do. It's really hard for me to like Galene (Talyn's Mother) when I know how much better Talyn's life would have been if Fain had known about him.
Due to being the bastard of an outcast (Fain Hauk/Fain of the Warring Blood Clan of Hauk) Talyn can never marry and Father children. The only way he can be in the army is by fighting in the Ring (Death matches) and he was denied admission to medical school due to his bastard status even though his Mother (Galene Batur/ Galene of the Winged Blood Clan of Batur) is high status and from a family of medical professionals. Without any friends and desperate for some female companionship he buys a companion at an outrageous price.
Felicia Orfanos decides to become a companion in order to pay for medical school and accepts Talyn's contract even though he is extremely low status. To her surprise he treats her more like a girlfriend or treasured wife then a paid companion and she quickly falls in love with "The Iron Hammer".
Talyn's CO is making his life miserable and when Talyn discovers that the CO is abusing the women in his squad Talyn stands up for them. Chrisen eton Anatole (member of the royal family) shoots Talyn down during a mission. Talyn recovers and reports Chrisen for abusing the women, but the women say that Talyn was the one harassing them. Afraid of what Chrisen will do to Talyn when he has to report back to work Felicia goes to her brother (Lorens) and begs him to get him transferred. Talyn thinks being transferred to the Palace where his Mother works is a dream come true. But his first day on the job Prince Jullien eton Anatole, Chrisen eton Anatole, and Merrell eton Anatole gang up on him. When he finally attacks them they have him branded for treason and dumped on Onoria, as he is too well known and his Mother is too highly connected for them to kill. When Felicia grows worried about him she calls Lorens, who is horrified to discover Talyn's fate. They go to Galene who arranges for her best friend Jayne Toole Erixour (yeah Dancer's best friend but she fails to tell him he has a nephew?) along with Jayne's husband, Hadrian S. Erixour and Hadrian's brother NERO (Quite a few secrets revealed there, Hadrian appears to be an even more powerful Trisani than Nero). As Crowned Princess Cairistiona eton Anatola's body guard Galene is able to insure he will get a pardon, if they are able to rescue him.
Once Talyn recovers from nearly dying in the fighting pits of Onoria, Queen Eriadne demotes him and puts him back under Chrisen's command. The agency refuses to renew Felicia's contract with Talyn and orders her to become Merrell eton Anatole's companion. Sickened by the idea of having to sleep with Merrell Felicia attempts to buy out her contract but doesn't have the money to do so. Her Mother offers to loan her what money she has but it isn't enough. When Talyn finds out he contracts for more fights so he can buy Felicia's freedom but without a contract it is illegal for them to be together. Talyn also hires Sentella bodyguards for Felicia after Chrisen attempts to kidnap her. And golly gee people finally start talking to one another and Galene figures out that Nemesis is actually Cairistiona eton Anatola's son Nykyrian eton Anatole, that Queen Eriadne tried to kill.
With something to fight for Cairistiona eton Anatola overthrows her Mother with her sister's help and they take command of the military. Lorens is put in command and he names Talyn as his second in command. They round all the bad guys up and Felicia's Mom provides a contract for Felicia and Talyn. Who still can't marry due to Talyn's bastard status.
Not sure why the book ended with such a sucky ending for Talyn and Felicia as in Born of Fury Queen Cairistiona adopts Fain.
So sometime in the future Talyn will have one of the highest pedigrees and they will be able to marry. Figure it will happen in the next book which is about Talyn's parents.
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