The Goddess’s Curse (Heartmates, #1) by Cara Bristol #mf #review @CaraBristol

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Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the women are forced to mate.
Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Sharona Princess Reena jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.
Garat, leader of the Lahon, hates the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to exact revenge by driving the Sharona from their homeland and taking what the Lahon need.
When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.
But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lives in the palace in time to save her life?

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The Goddess’s Curse is a fantasy romance in which the males and females live in separate tribes. The women of the Sharona tribe and the men of the Lahon tribe live in different villages, yet meet in the middle (kind of literally) to assuage the libidinal fever and procreate. If a daughter is born, she remains with the mother to be raised in Sharona. If the union results in a son, he is delivered to the Lahon’s village to be raised by the father. At least, that’s what is supposed to happen. Unfortunately for Garat, his son was left in the freezing weather to die and the intentional nature of the act resulted in an understandable bitterness toward the Sharona. But as the leader of the Lahon, Garat is willing to swallow his bitterness in order to work with the queen and save his people.


That was the plan, at least until Garat’s anger was provoked and fate delivered him an alternative way to secure the Sharona’s assistance. But when Garat captures the queen’s daughter, Reena, is it a kidnapping or is it a rescue? While I hated what happened to Garat’s son, it laid the foundation for making the “bad guy” of the story believable. There are events that take place in the beginning that point to the villain’s endgame to claim the throne, but like the rest of the Sharona, I also missed the signs. This made the “reveal” even more shocking and the suspense elements played out beautifully. Even though this story thread kept me glued to my Kindle to find out who would be sitting on the throne at the end of the book, who would live, and who would die, ultimately it was the romance between Garat and Reena that had me flipping the pages, reading as quickly as I could to find out if they would get their happily ever after.


I really enjoyed The Goddess’s Curse. The societal structure, Reena’s illness, the threat to the crown, and the heat that simmered between Garat and Reena made for a great read. I loved watching Garat and Reena’s relationship develop. Not only did it demonstrate how her health was improving and she was finally getting to experience life, but it also revealed that Garat’s heart wasn’t as closed off as he wanted it to be. The revelation of the existence of heartmates was a great twist and I liked how Meloni was able to “prove” it to Garat. The coup at the end to reclaim the throne was full of action, suspense, and excitement and I loved how it played out, well most of it anyway. I hope that Bristol has book two in the works as I really want to see who finds their heartmate next – and hopefully catch up with Garat and Reena, as well.


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