by Karen Marie Moning

August 2005
ISBN: 0-385-33914-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Delacorte Press

Jessi St. James is just your ordinary graduate student. Sheís on the go 24/7, grading papers, teaching classes, doing research and trying to find a little time for sleep. As much as sheíd love to have a social life, she knows itís just not possible right now. However, running an errand for her professor turns into the adventure of a lifetime.

Jessi must go and verify that a package has been delivered. Upon opening the package, she discovers an ancient mirror with symbols around it that arouse her archeologistís natural curiosity to a fever pitch. What is this mirror and why does the professor need it? Revisiting the professorís office a few days later to get him some books, she discovers, to her immense shock, that there is a man in the office; a man who should definitely not be there. And oh yes, this guy wants to kill her! This isnít the only alarming fact she discovers though. It seems that there is another man in the office, only this man is trapped in the mirror!

Originally a ninth century laird, Cian MacKeltar has been trapped in the Dark Glass for 1,133 years. His time has been well spent, brooding on the various ways that he can take vengeance on his tormentor and captor, Lucan Trevayne. Cian is a Druid with a powerful capacity for magic, but even the greatest can be bested and that is what happened with Cian. However, when the Dark Glass is stolen from Lucan, Cian sees his chance to escape, to take his vengeance, and perchance, to get a taste of the lovely Jessi St. James.

Now if only he can convince Jessi to release him from his prison, to help him stay out of Lucanís clutches for approximately twenty-two days, and to give his aching body some relief, not necessarily in that order. Jessi is no fool however, and sheís not going to obediently follow Cianís order, no matter how incredibly sensual he is, no matter how much her hormones go into overload around him. Will she be able to resist temptation and stay alive now that she is being chased by Lucan too? Pick up this truly spellbinding tale to find out all these answers, plus so much more about Karen Marie Moningís most delicious highlander yet.

There is so much to this plot that I donít want to spoil it by giving away great amounts of detail. Each page is truly a treasure to uncover for the reader. Ms. Moning is a master crafter of seductive and powerful Highland men, and Cian is the most interesting character she has created so far. Complex and caring, a Druid who has dabbled in dark magic; a man who has always longed for a mate; a friend betrayed. It takes quite the woman to match his strength of character and determination for vengeance, but Jessi proves to be up to the challenge. Just as Ms. Moning creates great heroes, her heroines are nothing to scoff at. Jessi is just as determined to help Cian reach his goals, but she is also a vulnerable woman who longs to belong only to him.

There are some truly hilarious moments in this book, much having to do with Cianís powers and his inability to use those powers on Jessi. Tender, touching, tense and thrilling, Spell of the Highlander is too complex to sum up in mere words. This is Ms. Moningís finest storytelling hour in this readerís opinion. The ending left me questioning what would happen next for the MacKeltar family and you too will equally be curious as to how the Seelie and Unseelie worlds will come to play a part in the MacKeltar family. Bravo, Ms. Moning! You had this reader hooked yet again.

Reviewed in July 2005 by Sarah.

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