Bound by Grace: Book 3 of The Gift Series
by Barbara Cutrera
Tabitha, adopted daughter of Jordan and Noah, finds herself kidnapped by slave traders and spirited away from her home country of Amare. Beautiful, gentle, and capable, Tabitha, an artist, is determined not to be sold into slavery. The birthmarks on the back of her left shoulder that resemble Etherea’s two moons might ensure that she’s never purchased, but they might also result in her death.
Arrogant, brilliant, and successful, Alexi is an inventor and businessman who doesn’t approve of slavery. Yet, he’s compelled to buy Tabitha, both to save her and to solve many of his own problems in his home country of Skye. Underestimating Tabitha’s kind heart and inner strength, he refuses to believe that he can ever love or be loved by anyone. Abandoned as a newborn, Alexi is certain of his own abilities but not of his own self-worth.
When Tabitha’s efforts to reach Alexi’s heart result in a tragedy for which he blames himself, their future together seems unlikely. But Tabitha’s capacity to love and forgive the man who can’t forgive himself is crucial when it comes to saving them both. Alexi must realize that he is bound to Tabitha in the most fundamental of ways if they’re to be truly free.
That was her man. She could very well be dying, and he’d order her to live.
Bound by Grace is book three in The Gift Series, and while it could be read as a stand-alone volume, the complicated family history would be much easier to unravel if the previous books were read. I have enjoyed the creativity and thoughtfulness of this series, being unaccustomed to the genres of fantasy, paranormal or even much historical romance. However, regardless of whatever world people find themselves in, observations of human nature and emotions cross all dimensions. The two protagonists in this tale were interesting character studies. Tabitha was abducted and eventually sold into slavery after six months of sea travel and various slave actions at every port. Alexi, a brilliant, driven, and emotionally distant inventor who had a need for female company and no interest in taking in a wife, purchased her before she was to be turned over to a brothel. Alexi had been a foundling, abandoned at birth in an alley. The rejection from her parents left Alexi with a sense of detachment and emotional inadequacy. The story line was imaginative, yet easy to follow and entertaining. The primary plot elements were the evolving love story and unraveling Alexi’s parentage, which provided an emotive and sensual tapestry to weave this inspiring and inventive tale.
He glowered at the slave trader and said imperiously, “I didn’t ask you. I asked her.” Looking back to Tabitha, he repeated formally, “May I touch?”
Unable to speak, she nodded. No buyer had ever addressed her directly when she’d been involved in an auction. She didn’t know if it was a good sign or a foreshadowing of some game the man intended to play with her.
The stranger went to stand behind her and pushed some of her long, blonde hair away from her left shoulder then held it to the side. Using the fingertips of his free hand, he traced the outlines of the birthmarks with a slow, light touch that made Tabitha feel an unfamiliar tingle between her legs and made her nipples harden. Eventually, the man leisurely moved his fingers towards Tabitha’s hair, which he was still grasping with his other hand. He loosened his hold so that the mass hung straight down her back but wove the fingers of both hands through the silken waves.
“Have you always worn your hair this long?” he inquired stiffly.
“No,” she answered in an unsteady voice. “It has always been long, but not this long. It hasn’t been cut since I was taken prisoner.”
“And how long ago was that?”
“And no one has bought you, despite the beauty of your face, body, and hair.”
“They fear my birthmarks.”
“They are ignorant fools, no matter how educated.” Gently combing his fingers downwards, the man said, “They buy rock when they could have diamonds.”
Barbara Cutrera is the author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fiction, and mystery novels. She became addicted to reading and creative writing at an early age but didn’t decide to write her first novel until she was in her 30s. Even then, she was unaware that she was destined for a writing career. Barbara, who is visually impaired, was a rehabilitation counselor before she became a fulltime author. She believes our minds are only limited by the restrictions we place upon them. Her greatest passions are for writing, reading, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, cooking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Originally from Louisiana, Barbara, her husband, and their son moved to southwest Florida in 2004 and love the diversity of their coastal community.
To learn more about Barbara and her works, read her blog, and enjoy extra content, go to www.onmywayuponline.com. There, take advantage of the opportunity to subscribe to her monthly newsletter in order to receive updates, participate in giveaways, and read extra content not readily available to nonsubscribers.