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Hart and Soul [Kindle Edition]

Nica Berry
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
This price was set by the publisher

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Book Description

Raised by the Kehani tribe since birth, orphaned Niann remains an outcast, denied even a visit to the dreaming-place to discover his spirit guide. Compelled to make the journey anyway, Niann is chosen by the Kala Deer, known for its ability to strengthen the animal spirits of others through sex. Now the tribe's shaman is determined to use Niann's power to transcend into the spirit world...

Hunter and carver Jennar swore to love and protect Niann always, but when his attentions interfere with the shaman's plans, he's forced to leave the tribe—and Niann. Haunted by dreams of the Deer, Jennar returns home, horrified to find Niann changed in body and mind from living under the shaman's influence. To save the man he loves, Jennar must face his secret shame—and risk the destruction of the spirit world by the shaman's relentless ambition...

Previously published, newly revised by author.

52,000 words

Product Details

  • File Size: 348 KB
  • Print Length: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Carina Press (May 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T4LHV4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,847 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unique Isn't Always a Good Thing June 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Jennar was five years old when he watched the women of his clan provide the bare minimum of assistance to a pregnant outsider who stumbled into their settlement in the throes of labor. The unknown woman died, but the baby survived. A baby that those women thought should die along with his mother. Jennar was the one who gathered the infant, cleaned him, swaddled him, and named him Niann. He promised the baby he'd protect him even as strong feelings for the tiny child swelled in him.

Orphaned and considered outcast, Niann's life wasn't easy as he grew. He watched and envied the other males of the clan who learned hunting and tracking, who went up the mountain to meet their spirit animals. He was relegated to being little more than the women's fetching boy, stuck with the young even as he reached his majority. Niann wanted to be like Jennar, strong and accepted. He had no idea that his life was set to so drastically change as he transitioned from boy to man, but the clan shaman Heyka had been watching Niann carefully, he and the chieftain knowing what he was, what he would be, and working to keep him segregated from the clan's males until he came into this power. Until he became a Holy One, his spirit animal a powerful Hart deer, destined to provide blessings on the clan through sexual contact.

The machinations of the power hungry Heyka and desperate chieftain yanked Jennar away from Niann before he found out what they were going to do to the young man he so desired. For a year Niann went unprotected in his clan while Jennar had been sent to provide teachings to an ally in the valley.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, but really bothered me June 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I like the premise of this story. The world is richly developed, and I can imagine other stories coming out of it easily. The themes of nature and power and spirit and animal guides...these could make a really textured story, and they did here, but it was very hard for me to keep reading this book and liking it. One of the main characters, Niann, is spiritually and symbolically emasculated in the course of the story. He is then constantly referred to as 'she' and is even convinced to think of himself as a woman. He is constantly basically raped throughout the majority of the book, too. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm male that this emasculation and forced feminizing of a male character (not that rape victims are only female) was so disturbing for me. I understand that the majority of readers of m/m romance and erotica are female though, so perhaps these topics aren't as big a stumbling block for others as they are for me. In any event, those things were a stumbling block and kept me from loving this book as I wanted to.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous July 8, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
Rarely have I been so taken by the power and beauty of a story in this genre, and rarely has magic, sensuality and sexuality been so poetically and powerfully woven together to create such a rich and mesmerising story.

It's a story of two men linked by fate, of predestination, and of gods and men. But it's not a story about lovers who are meant to be. In that way, it skirts many of the obvious pitfalls of a story where the characters have a great role to play in the history of their kind. It's a fantasy squarely rooted in Native American mythology, and anyone who's studied that, will notice many resonances. You don't need to be familiar with those myths or native society to enjoy this, however. It's basically a damn good story, told damn well.

Unusually also, the characters are rounded, flawed creatures - in Niann's case, physically so. Jennar is brave and creative, but he's also a liar, and his lies have dire consequences for him and for Niann. Niann seems unable to break free of the tyranny of the women into whose company he's forced by virtue of his outsider status. The villain of the piece also has considerable good in him, and no one in the tribe is entirely good or entirely evil. The real evil, in fact, comes from the nature of the entire tribe operating together - they're harsh, ungenerous, greedy people, with a pronounced imbalance in power between the sexes. They've lost their way, and while other tribes thrive, theirs is dying.

When Niann is pronounced to be their Holy one, they see him as the salvation to their situation, yet they treat him as they treat every gift from the gods, carelessly, greedily, with no thought of giving back to him.
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More About the Author

Nica Berry is owned by two cats and a Lipizzan mare named Carrma. She's a graduate of the Clarion SF/F Workshop, the Taos Toolbox SF/F Workshop, has an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and was a fellow at the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices.

Nica also writes M/M Paranormal Romance as Evey Brett.


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