They call him the Devil... He is the most notorious laird of Scotland: fierce, cold, deadly... and maybe even worse. Yet Evelinde has just agreed to wed him. Anything, she thinks, is better than her cruel stepmother. Though Evelinde should be wary of the rumors, she can't help but be drawn to this warrior... for the Devil of the Highlands inspires a heat within her that is unlike anything she has ever known.
They may call him whatever they wish, but Cullen, Laird of Donnachaidh, cares only for the future of his clan. He must find a wife, a woman to bear him sons and heed his commands. He has no need for beauty or grace, but one taste of his lovely bride's sweet lips and the sultry feel of her skin arouse an untamed passion. Perhaps there's more to marriage than he thought...
This was an enjoyable highlander romance - entertaining and diverting. A forced marriage scenario, the hero, Cullen, is far from the Devil he is rumored to be. In fact, he's a fair and honorable man. He and our heroine, Evelinde, get on amazingly well right from the start, although they do seem to be prone to the usual misunderstandings of young marrieds. It doesn't help that he doesn't talk much either. The plotline was a bit predictable and some of the humor seemed a bit forced as were the predicaments Evelinde got herself into, leading to some rather interesting moments between the two of them. Evelinde has a knack for unwittingly exposing herself at the worst of time - many of which drive Cullen crazy. He's either overpowered with desire for her, or ready to strangle her!
The basic story revolves around fair English maiden Evelinde, who is abused at home due to her evil stepmother. Said stepmother marries Evelinde off to Cullen, Devil of the Highlands who she believes will be a terrible husband to Evelinde, thus insuring her fate for the rest of her life. Rumor has it, he is the worst of the worst and she's sure Evelinde will continue to be mistreated (her stepmother has a real sadistic streak in her).
But, as it turns out Cullen is nothing like the rumors. He's young and handsome and sees right through the stepmother and recognizes her for the witch she is. Evelinde and Cullen first meet under the most bizarre circumstances. I admit, it was borderline ridiculous and I had to roll my eyes at the many plot devices used throughout the book that were supposed to be humorous and sexy - yet came across more as ... well, a plot device.
Cullen scoops Evelinde up, marries her immediately and takes her away off to his Scottish castle. Before long, they consummate their marriage and both enjoy their nights together until it becomes clear someone is trying to kill Evelinde. Why is it in almost every other highlander romance I read, someone is trying to kill the heroine? At least here Cullen and Evelinde catch on early to the fact she’s being stalked and take precautions, but all for naught. The killer always seems to be there just at the opportune time when no one is looking to make their move. It kept me guessing for the most part. Just when you think you know who the culprit is, the story changes and you’re back to square one again.
I liked Cullen and Evelinde together, they were cute as a pair. The love scenes were vivid and sensual and the story moved along and didn’t get bogged down with a lot of unnecessary filler. Not only was it a romance – and a forced marriage one, which I’m partial to, but it was a murder mystery as well. Yet, the actual characterizations were dim and only skin deep. There was a lighthearted feel to the book, despite the dangerous presence of someone trying to kill Evelinde while making it look like an accident. An easy read. The main story is whether Evelinde can get Cullen to open up to her and if she can get used to her new life in a strange castle with a strange husband, who’s not nearly as bad as she feared he would be.
Overall, this was pretty good, but not great. I disliked the plot devices and forced situations, but it was still a fun read and I liked the hero and heroine. Most likely I’ll read the rest of the series, of which this is the first.