Clarissa's life has never been her own, but it's about to get much, much worse. The illegitimate daughter of a king, she's now a pawn in the struggle for the crown, sent off to become the mistress of the new king and give him male heirs. But a strange twist of fate and rather perfect timing finds her kidnapped by Scottish Highlanders and carried off away from the lecherous king. Only her deliverance is to a different prison, one filled with more people who see the value in her royal blood and have no need for her except as a piece of property to be used in war. But then there's the Highlander who stole her, looking at her as if she's more of a prize than her blue blood.
The Verdict: I both hate and love when I fall into marketing traps. You see, I grabbed this book on Amazon a few months ago when it was free, thinking it would be a nice distraction when I felt like reading something a bit different from all the contemporary romances on my shelf. But now I've enjoyed it far too much, and it's inevitable that I'll end up buying the other books in this series. I'm such a sucker.
Set in the late 15th century, the story does a wonderful job of transporting readers back in time. I'm certainly no expert on the period, and unless it was something obvious like a Toyota parked in front of the keep, I wouldn't be able to pick up on anything out of place. But the way in which things are described, Clarissa's observations about Broen's home compared to others she's seen, and the language itself are all like a time machine, making the story a journey instead of a second-hand tale.
Clarissa and Broen can certainly see each other's beauty, but it's more intriguing than it is instant attraction. After all, Broen is one of the savage Highlanders she's always heard about, and Clarissa is an enemy simply because she exists. Broen's not quite the unfeeling brute she pegs him for, but he's also used to traveling with his men, without a foreign woman to worry about, and as a result, he thinks more of safety than of her comfort. And Clarissa, though used to having her life decided for her, is no shrinking violet. She holds neither her temper nor her tongue, unwittingly making herself more interesting to Broen than he ever thought she would be.
For his part, Broen is a responsible laird, proud of his people and heritage and driven to secure peace in their future. But at the same time, he's playful, quick to trade barbs and show his wit, and when he finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Clarissa, he doesn't bother hiding it from her. Somehow he manages to be pure alpha while completely endearing, and it's impossible not to fall in love with him.
Of course, there are forces at work outside their walls, rival clans and looming battles, and Clarissa's royal blood is coveted by others. I don't want to spoil things by describing all the twists, but suffice it to say there are enough moments of danger to keep things very interesting. I don't read as much historical romance as I did back when I was borrowing all my mom's paperbacks, but I do love the genre, and this is one you should definitely pick up.