Format read: E-ARC provided courtesy of the author
Release Date: February 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 229 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Formats Available: ebooks
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Carina Press, Barnes & Noble
Raised on rumours of The Devil of Jedburgh, Breghan McAllen doesn’t want an arranged marriage to the beast. The arrogant border laird is not the romantic, sophisticated husband Breghan dreams of—despite the heat he stirs within her.
In need of an heir, Arran has finally agreed to take a wife, but when he sees Breghan’s fragile beauty, he’s furious. He will not risk the life of another maiden by getting her with child. Lust prompts him to offer a compromise: necessary precautions, and handfasting for a year and a day, after which Breghan will be free. For a chance to control her own future, Breghan makes a deal with the Devil.
Passion quickly turns to love, but Arran still has no intention of keeping the lass, or making her a mother. He loves her too much to lose her. But when a treasonous plot threatens queen and country, Breghan has to prove only she is woman enough to stand by his side.
I picked this up expecting a typical historic romance set in the Scottish borderlands. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy historic romances every so often, and Ms. Robyn’s previous book (Second-Guessing Fate)received a lot of great reviews, so “why not”?
Was I ever surprised! There’s a lot packed into this book. Yes, there is a romance. And it’s hot. But the neat thing about the romance is that both parties go in with eyes wide open. It’s an arrangement. A totally stupid arrangement between very bull-headed people, but the reader can see why it happens. They both think they can have a relationship for a year and then walk away. Like that’s going to work.
I did think the whole “Devil” think might be supernatural, but it’s not. It’s about superstition, and belief in curses, and how they might affect someone’s life. Arran believes he’s been cursed and sometimes he uses the fear of that to his advantage, and sometimes it works to his disadvantage. As Bree learns about the “real” Arran, the curse loses its effect on her. Making it lose its effect on him is what makes the story.
If this had just been about the romance, it would have been a darn good story. But what made it special for me was when Arran took Bree to Court with him. Court, in this case, was Edinburgh, to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1565 or 1566. The Queen was pregnant with her heir, James VI, who later became James I of England. But more importantly, Arran brought Bree to Edinburgh just in time for them to be caught up in the plot to murder the Queen’s hated Secretary, David Rizzio. This was a brutal, messy time in Scottish Court politics, and Ms. Robyns wove her fiction beautifully into the historical narrative.
For me, that was the absolute icing on the four bookie cake.
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