by Samantha James

Septemeber 2000
ISBN: 0-380-80587-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

There's something innately sexual about a man in a kilt. Perhaps it's the fact that his legs are on display, although men's legs are not usually viewed as sexy. Perhaps it's the fact that what's underneath the kilt is more readily accessible than usual, or perhaps it's just waiting for a stray breeze to whip the fabric up around a firm Scottish backside that is so entrancing. Whatever the reason, Egan MacBain has all the qualifications to fit right into the sexy Scot mold.

Glenda MacKay, however, has had her mind on things other than kilts and men's backsides - a widow, she also lost a babe, and in her opinion, she will never love or wed again, fearing she would not survive another loss. Needless to say, she's wrong! Knowing it is time for her to return to her family's Keep in the Lowlands, Egan is assigned to her protection for the journey, and by the time they arrive, he knows he will not willingly leave her side. She finds herself glad of his protection, because (predictably) her holdings are threatened by the "Evil English Lord", who desires her land and her body! Could this be a scenario for an arranged marriage of convenience? Could it possibly turn into a marriage of surprising passion? Is romance a seven-letter word?

Well yes, this plot line offers nothing new to the romance fan, but even though it's pretty obvious where these two are headed, reading about their journey is fun. Egan is everything a Scottish hero should be, dour and uncommunicative in the early part of the book, yet seething with so much repressed desire that one wonders why his sporran doesn't explode! Glenda is by turns charmingly sexy and guiltily repentant, trying hard to equate her memories of the husband she lost to the feelings she is experiencing for Egan. It is to Ms. James' credit that Glenda is a sympathetic and understandable character - it is all too easy for heroines in this situation to become annoyingly virtuous, leaving the reader with the urge to scream at them to get on with it. But here, we are with Glenda every step of the way along the tortuous road to true love, even when she reaches her lowest moments of desolation.

But then again, what is a hero to do except win the heroine? Between them, Egan and Glenda are a force to be reckoned with, both for the villains who would come between them and for the readers who share in their adventures. A likeable tale - I recommend it.

Reviewed in November 2001 by Celia.

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