SHE WAS CALLED BELLE FROM HELL. . . .
As fierce and indomitable as any man, Isabelle of Langston rules the family lands with an iron hand after her father's death. But the brazen beauty meets her match in Hugh Fauconier, bold knight and rightful Saxon heir to Langston Keep. By the King's hand, he is made her husband. Hugh's virile prowess reveals to Belle the delicious pleasures of the flesh, as their turbulent days of verbal sparring melt into nights of erotic abandon.
But a treacherous plot enslaves Hugh to the evil Vivienne d'Bretagne, a sorceress whose sexual magic is as powerful as it is dark. Discovering the castle lair where her husband is enchanted, Belle is caught, and rendered helpless by the twisted passion of Vivienne's brother, Guy. But not even her captor's devious ecstasy can destroy her will to free her beloved Hugh. . . .
Set in the early 12th century, between Henry Beauclerc's ascension to the English throne in 1100 and his eventual victory over his older brother Duke Robert of Normandy at the battle of Tinchebrai in 1106, Small's (Skye O'Malley) latest mixes a goodly bit of history with lots of her signature sex--some gruffly randy and some sinisterly practiced. Hugh Fauconier, a childhood friend of Henry Beauclerc, is rewarded with Langston, the lands of his Saxon ancestors. Like all good things, they come with fine print, in this case the late Norman lord's daughter, known with varying degrees of disaffection as Isabelle or ``the Belle from Hell.'' But Hugh's a good sort and manages to woo the headstrong young woman, marry her and father a son before going off on business for his king. When he doesn't return, Belle sets out in search of him. She fights off the lustful King Henry in one of the more entertaining sections before heading to Brittany, where she finds the amnesiac Hugh in thrall to two decadent descendants of Vivienne (as in Merlin and). Belle herself becomes a strangely willing sex slave as she attempts, somewhat leisurely, to save Hugh. There's lots of history here and a good eye for detail, and the sex is (usually) compelling, but Small really needs to lose those gratuitous spanking scenes.