Grif has a decision to make: either succumb to his exhaustion and the worsening elements on the mountain he travels or try to survive and live to fight another day. The decision is difficult primarily because Grif is so utterly alone—whether by choice or circumstances, he is lost with no friends, no relatives who will claim him, nor any job to occupy his sword. When he falls off the cliff due to the fatigue and blinding snowfall he traveled through, he thinks his life is at an end.
When Kiernan sees the man literally fall from the sky, he knows he has to help him. With limited strength due to his small stature and even more limited resources, Kiernan manages to drag the man into his makeshift camp and warm him up. Kiernan is determined to continue on his mission, despite the weather and the foul, mean-spirited Grif. The quest that found him traveling the mountains at the onset of winter was given to him by the son of the Tsarn to whom he has sworn his fealty, and the same son he was discovered laying with—a man Kiernan secretly loved and foolishly trusted. Unfortunately, Kiernan was to find out that not only was that love one sided, but that his mission may indeed have been just a way of getting rid of him. Now he is on a fool’s errand with a man who wants no part of a friendship beyond using his meagre supplies and occasionally scratching the itch of sexual tension that lurks beneath the surface for both of them. Grif and Kiernan must survive the harsh elements and somehow find a peaceful way to coexist—a challenge to say the least.
I must admit I struggled with Shelter from the Storm, primarily due to Grif and what was sheer and unadulterated bullying in the first few chapters of this novel. As I grew to understand Grif, I felt my unease and dislike of him begin to lessen, and yet I never felt I knew him due to the fact that we were given so very little of his backstory. Shelter from the Storm felt like just the beginning of a potentially good novel. So many pieces seemed to be missing, including some type of epilogue that gave us a hint that the HFN ending either blossomed or dissolved. There were many other elements to the story that left me hankering for more. For instance, the author chose to barely scratch the surface of Grif’s past by dropping tiny clues as to how he had been treated poorly, both sexually and as a sword for hire. I got the impression at the beginning of the book that Grif has burned his last bridge—possibly cheated, killed, and ruined his reputation for good, but we never get a real explanation as to why he has or what culminating experience drove him to such desperate decisions.
Then there was Kiernan who, in my opinion, was much more developed, but even though we got a better glimpse into his past, we were never given a sense of place or a definitive time period in which the story was set. I think we were in medieval times due to Grif mentioning he was a sword for hire, but I must tell you that this read as more of a survival guide in the frozen wilderness than a historical romance.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that I really admire Kate Sherwood and her writing abilities, but this one left me scratching my head as to why she chose to give us what appears to be just a partial story with characters that weren’t particularly alluring to me and for whom I could muster little sympathy or concern.