Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookshieldofwinter
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Vasic Duvnjak
Heroine: Ivy Jane
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 3, 2014
Started On: May 21, 2015
Finished On: June 06, 2015

Shield of Winter is the 13th book in the Psy-Changeling series. The book that comes after the most explosive title in the series, Heart of Obsidian. Shield of Winter tells the story of one of the most enigmatic characters of the elite group of soldiers of the Psy race, the ones that carry out the covert operations as required.

Vasic Duvnkak is an assassin, a soldier and an Arrow. With the volatile changes that had been happening to the three races living on Earth, the Psy world as Vasic has known it is rapidly changing, bringing along with it regrets of the kind written in blood, a conscience mired by a past that cannot be changed. Vasic is drifting further and further away from the roots that had kept him grounded, and until the inevitable end of his life, Vasic is willing to do whatever it takes to continue protecting his race, albeit minus the allegiance to the corrupt elite.

Ivy Jane is an empath, empaths being the Psy that had been brutally and viciously hunted down when the Psy world was initially established. Ivy becomes part of the group that is rounded up by Kaleb Krychek in order to save the Psy from an illness that has been ravaging the minds of Psy, rendering them mad beyond help. Ivy is helpless in the face of the sickness that seems to be accelerating its way through the NetMind, the bio feedback mechanism that is crucial for the Psy to survive.

Ivy and Vasic are both newbies to the world of sensation that had been forbidden for the Psy for so long. Vasic more so than Ivy because of the conditioning, training and torture that he had been subjected to when he had first been entered into the training academy for the Arrows. When Vasic chooses Ivy as the empath that he would protect till the mission ends, Vasic finds in Ivy, for the very first time in his life, a woman who makes him want. Want something more.

The journey of discovery that these two embark upon is a beautifully sensuous one, one that only an author of Nalini Singh’s caliber can deliver. The bloody turn that Psy’s world takes doesn’t detract from the connection that springs forth between Vasic and Ivy, a love that is beautiful in the way it develops.

Though Shield of Winter doesn’t obviously live up to the splendor that is Heart of Obsidian, it nevertheless gives fans of the series a read worth sinking their teeth into. Vasic is the type of hero that we all would love to cuddle, pet and call our own. Not because he’s the cuddly, warm and fuzzy type. But because he is just the opposite. Reserved, a touch cold and aloof, Vasic is the type of hero that makes women want to claim them as their own. Vasic is downright delicious. Though a virgin, Vasic’s focus on “matters” at hand makes everything doubly more so sensual!

Ivy is just the sort of woman that a man like Vasic needs. A man on the brink of crossing over, not caring much about how or when his end arrives. But in Ivy, Vasic finds the sort of strength he never thought he was capable of, the strength and will to focus on living than the inevitable end of the cycle of life. Vasic’s back story is one that would make even the hardest of hearts thaw. Ivy’s equally horrific, but made a trifle bit better owing to protective parents. Beyond the romance, there is of course always the fascinating world that Nalini has created with this series, that in itself a reason enough  to get lost in these books!

Recommended for fans of the Psy-Changeling series. Nalini writes beautifully. That is one reason why these books are not to missed out on!

Final Verdict: In the fall of Silence, nothing will ever be the same ever again. Great storytelling, as always!

Favorite Quotes

Ivy bit down on her lower lip, released the swollen flesh . . . and tugged the top off over her head. Raising one hand to pull back strands of her hair that had curled over her face, she didn’t attempt to hide herself from him, the plump mounds of her breasts cupped by a confection of ivory satin and lace. “That’s not Psy issue,” he said, fighting every single cell in his body not to push the delicate fabric aside and look his fill.
Ivy’s own breathing was unsteady, her breasts rising and falling as if in invitation. “No,” she admitted in a husky tone. “I’ve always liked certain textures against my skin.” Raising one hand, she pushed off a strap.”

Ivy’s breath was a sob. “Don’t ever give up.” Using her free hand to cup the hand he had around her wrist, she bent her head to press a kiss to his knuckles. “Promise me.”
His entire body in shock at the sweet, hot caress, he nodded. For her, he’d conquer even the dark numbness that had been eating him alive for years. “I promise.” He touched her hair. “Ivy, I was trying to protect you.” He’d never intended this bond to form, never intended to cause her pain. “From the terrible things I’ve done, the destructive choices I’ve made, the broken mess inside me.”
Ivy shook her head, her expression haunted. “It was too late the first day we met. You’re inside me, and I’m inside you. It’s done.”

He squeezed her nape. “Kiss me,” he repeated.
Ivy licked her lips, slid her hands up to his shoulders, and confessed. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Neither do I,” he responded, the glittering silver of his eyes on her mouth. “Arrows learn by repetition and practice until the basic skill is honed, at which point we begin to specialize.”
The words should’ve been dry, but they made her breasts swell, her nipples so plump and tight the lace of her bra became abrasive. Because he was talking about repetition and practice when it came to intimate contact. Kissing. Touching. Sex. Her lips parted and he lowered his head.
“Do it again, Ivy,” he murmured, his breath mingling with her own. “Repetition—”
“And practice,” she completed, and brushed her lips over his.

When Vasic broke contact, his forehead pressed against hers and his breath jagged, she caressed his cheek, kissed the clean-shaven smoothness of his jaw. Never had she felt so alive, so pleasured. But below that was a sexual hunger brutal in its ferocity, hard and dark . . . and then she knew. It wasn’t her desire she was sensing. It was his.
Body melting even further, she kissed his jaw again. “I’m picking up your desire. Do you mind?”
“No.” He kissed her again on the heels of that statement, one hand on her lower back, the other on the side of her neck.
Then he licked his tongue against hers.
Her brain exploded.

“Vasic.” Soft breath, Ivy’s lips on his throat.
Fingers tightening into fists, he stood in place, his head bowed slightly and his arms trapping her. Instead of fighting to escape, she kissed his throat again, licked out with her tongue to taste him. It made every muscle in his body go tight, the tattered vestiges of the psychological brainwashing he’d survived attempting to overlay the pleasure with pain, but he didn’t move.
“Vasic,” she whispered again, her kiss damp this time, the sensation going straight to his rock-hard erection. “My Vasic.”

Turning toward her, he braced himself with his palms on either side of her head, his bare skin inches from her, the heat of him smashing against her hungry skin. And his fury . . . that was a stunning thing, the storm in his eyes molten silver.
“I can’t give you what you want.” It came out ice-cold, but those eyes, those eyes . . . “I thought—” He shook his head. “You can’t change the core of a man, Ivy. You can’t take a man christened in blood and make him into something better.”
Ivy narrowed her eyes, furious at the way he continued to see himself. “I don’t want you to change. Haven’t I made that clear?” Rising on tiptoe, she fisted her hands in his hair. “I want you. All of you. Even the part that infuriates me.”

Chest heaving, Ivy stared at him, the suspicion on her face making something twist deep inside him, the strange emotion at once gentle and fierce. “Wait for me in your bedroom,” he said, taking what he needed because Ivy had said he could have it. Have her.
Ivy had fought for his right to have her.
She never denied him, never punished him by withholding the touch he craved—her touch—and he planned to take terrible advantage. Now and always. “I need to make sure everything is secure before I join you.” The mattress on his bed was hard, would discomfort her. “I want you under me, naked and aroused and mine.”

A lazy, affectionate smile that caught at his heart and refused to let go. “I flaked, huh?”
“You needed rest,” Vasic answered. And then he kissed her.
Ivy responded with the lush generosity that had already made him an addict. Sliding her arms around his neck and bending one leg at the knee to cradle him between her thighs, she surrendered her mouth to his desires. And he took, devoured. He hadn’t understood how starved he was of touch until he met Ivy. Now, she was the only one who could ease the piercing ache of his need.

His fingers curled around her nape. Are you going to be mad at me for this our entire life?
She nodded. You should’ve waited for me.
I never dared dream of you, Ivy. I never thought a man like me deserved such a gift.
Petting his chest, she said, You’re my gift, too, you know. I’m so glad for you every instant of every day. Even when I’m really, really angry with you.

“I need to ask you some highly personal questions.”
Judd reached down to pack the snow into a ball. “I’ve been hoping for a long time that someone else in the squad would get to the point where a discussion like this would be necessary.” Rising, he threw the snowball with a fast arm. “Ask.”
“How do you control your telekinesis while intimate with your mate?”
“I broke a damn lot of furniture at the start, including two beds.” A curious glance. “What are you doing?”
“Traveling around the world.”

“This will likely hurt.” He didn’t like the idea, but it was a biological fact they couldn’t escape.
Ivy wrapped her legs around his hips. “Love me, let me love you.”
He gritted his teeth, guided himself to her, and began to push. She was slick and hot and so tightly stretched around him that he felt he’d rip her open. “Ivy.”
Clutching at his shoulders, she gasped, “So . . . you’re built in proportion, then.”
The unexpected words gave him the breathing room he needed. Kissing her on that sweet, soft, generous mouth, he said, “Unfortunately.”
A sensually feminine smile. “I have a feeling that won’t be the correct description once we begin to do this on a regular basis.”

“Leaving them tangled around her thighs, he squeezed one cheek with a blatantly possessive touch, then dipped his hand between her legs. “You’re liquid.” Crushed rocks and sexual heat, that was his voice.
Ivy’s answer required no thought. “Because it’s you.”
Movement behind her, the back of his hand brushing her buttocks. The sound of a zipper. Fabric being pushed down. And then he was gripping her hips to tilt her farther forward as he pushed into her with relentless focus. Making incoherent sounds of need, she was hardly aware of the world altering between sand and the wall and back over and over. Every cell in her body was focused on Vasic, on feeling the thick intrusion of him stretching her flesh.
This position permitted nothing else.

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