Scotland, 1141. A Norman king's attempts to rule the Highland clans is making his favorite knight's job difficult, indeed - and that is before a woman of mystery lays siege to the warrior's heart...
She Lives To Heal... He's a giant of a man; what's more, he's the enemy. These truths should be enough to send Aislynn running far and fast from the wounded stranger in the woods. But he needs her help-and the reward he bestows changes her forever...
He Fights To Kill... Formidable knight Rhoenne Guy de Ramhurst has been "gifted" with a fiefdom - and the unenviable task of taming the rebellious Highlanders that populate it. He also has a castle full of dissidents, led by his own half brother. Yet these challenges pale in comparison with attempts to forget the healer who saved his life and captured his heart...
And One Love Rules Them Both... Rhoenne believes a family curse places any woman he loves in mortal danger. When Aislynn is abducted by his profligate sibling, Rhoenne becomes her protector-even as he tries to resist her. But Aislynn has secrets of her own - and as deception and danger swirl ever closer around them, the truth may be their only salvation...
This has been on my TBR list for a long time and I'm sorry to say it was a big disappointment. Normally, I love highlander romances, but this was a slog to get through. I don't know why, but this was just a hard book to read. Normally, I'm fine with dialects and Scottish accents, but here the speech of the medieval Norman English knights didn't flow easily. While the author tried to make them sound authentic, it wound up sounding awkward and stilted. The pacing of the storyline was hard to follow as well, not to mention the plot was a real downer - but at least I finished it.
The romance that develops between Rhoenne and Aislynn is full of pitfalls, misunderstandings and just plain bad advice. Their relationship develops as a woodland lass, Aislynn who is a gifted healer comes across Rhoenne de Ramhurst who is injured but doesn't want anyone to know. He's the leader of his soldiers (he's English) and must appear strong. He bends over backwards to keep up the deception and "hires" Aislynn to come live at his castle and be his healer. One thing leads to another and once he sees how beautiful and bewitching she is, she becomes his mistress as well, even though she's Scottish and he's English. Their romance is overshadowed by the fact he cannot marry her because the King of England wants her to marry a woman of his choice, not some nobody healer with a dubious reputation - she's an orphan, so no one knows who her real parents are.
Furthermore, there is the worry that if she becomes pregnant with his child, she will die in childbirth from the family curse. No woman seems to be able to survive the ordeal. Ramhursts are big - in every way. They carry on together, but Rhoenne's best friend, Sir Harold, is afraid that his lord will die in battle by risking everything for Aislynn. (Harold also has his eye on Aislynn - a real ladies man). Harold convinces Aislynn to run away from Rhoenne if she really loves him (to keep him safe.) To make matters worse, the plan is to make it look like she's running away with Harold! Bad idea! So, of course, there's the usual "big" misunderstanding in which Ramhurst after falling head over heals for Aislynn and risking war with the king to keep her, thinks she and his best friend are cheating on him! No one tells him the truth and Ramhurst, hurt and feeling betrayed, casts them out and calls her a whore, blah, blah, blah and all before she can tell him she's carrying his babe! Ugh!
This leads to the wilderness pages of the book in which Aislynn and Harold wander around for months and months in the north of Scotland and meet up with some Highlanders who think she is some kind of magical woman unique to their clan. They "adopt" Harold as a member of their clan and he begins to wear something like a kilt. (This felt like some kind of lead in for him for his own book in the future.) But, eventually they realize they should return to Rhoenne and admit the truth and see if he'll take them back. Fat chance. (Plus, Harold is scared to death Aislynn is going to have the baby somewhere out in the woods and he won't be able to save either one!)
I won't tell you what happens, but a large part of this book was a bummer. Rhoenne, who is understandably upset by what he believes to have taken place between Harold and Aislynn winds up being a real jerk when they return. Sir Harold just wants to die because he loves Rhoenne so much, and he feels terrible about deceiving him - but does he tell him why he did it? No! I felt like banging my head on the wall because NO ONE would tell Rhoenne the truth of why Aislynn and Harold ran off together in the first place! It was so stupid and frustrating and went on for far too long!
I cannot recommend this romance, it was such a waste of my time and since I barely liked a single character in the book, I just couldn't get into the love story. Everybody was so dense! Think twice before reading it unless you really love bone headed, big, blond alphas with major stubborn streaks that can't see the truth if it's staring them right in the face. I normally love alphas, but Rhoenne lost me when Aislynn returned to him. She was ridiculously naive for someone that is supposed to be so wise and those wilderness
Frankly, I just want to put this book behind me and move on.
P.S. The hot cover is misleading, our hero never wears a kilt - he's not even Scottish! Maybe it's supposed to be Sir Harold on the cover!