Romance Bingo - Insta-Love square
This is the prequel to a later book (The Dragon and the Pearl) in the Tang Dynasty series. This story gives a good romance (separate couple from that later book) while also setting up the back story for the next book. Yao Ru Jiang (aka River) is the sister of AWOL soldier (aka Mountain) from the regional warlord; Wei Chen is the Rising Guard member sent to hunt down and kill Mountain, who is forming a rebellion to fight the warlord, and has put his entire family in harm's way. Wei Chen visits Mountain's home and family to find information that will point to Mountain's whereabouts. Instead, Wei Chen finds River, who tricks him into a scandalous night so the family and household can make an escape to the forest. However, Mountain's letters home described Wei Chen in such detail that River was already half in love with Wei Chen prior to the meeting; Mountain's stories of home he shared with Wei Chen made Wei Chen fall half in love with River prior to meeting her. Needless to say, River didn't have much trouble getting Wei Chen into sexy times.
I liked River - she was smart, brave, and vulnerable. Wei Chen was honestly looking for a different outcome (other than having to kill Mountain) - River was his excuse to get his ass up and actually work for that different outcome. Looking forward to the connected book.