Author: Christine Young
Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne
Reviewer Email: RJChrissyDionne@yahoo.com
Publisher: Awe-struck E-Books
Release Date: May 2009
Author Website: http://www.christineyoung.bz/
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: 4.5 blue ribbons (if it wasn’t for the issue with Hunter’s father it’d get a 5)
Eddington, Scotland 1815
Allura McClellan is horrified by her father’s decision to take out an ad in the Times awarding her to the man strong enough and smart enough to win her hand and uncover her secrets. She’s an intelligent young woman who takes great delight in the freedom allotted to her by her father. She’s well aware that marriage would effectively curtail the adventures she’s shared with her sisters and cousins.
Hunter Gray is nothing like the other men who’ve arrived to vie for Allura’s hand in marriage and everything that goes along with it. However, he is the first to refuse to concede defeat and pursue her despite her attempts to disguise her true appearance. It’s her temperament that is of more concern to him than her looks. Hunter has worked all his life with the hope of someday owning his own land. Now that it looks like there’s a very real possibility that everything he’s ever wanted is within reach nothing is going to deter him – including Miss Allura’s disagreeable disposition.
Allura is not at all happy with her father’s dictates and decision to marry her off to the man who can uncover her secrets and prove himself worthy of possessing his land, her hand and the title Laird. What she finds most disturbing is the intensity with which Hunter pursues his goal and goes about ensuring her safety – even from herself. He’s making it impossible for her to pursue her own pleasures and any adventures to the island the girls all love could result in him discovering the secret, thus he’d win her hand in marriage. Despite Allura’s discontent with Hunter’s constant presence she’s attracted to him and soon discovers that his kisses are addicting and while she longs for the freedom she treasures there’s a certain amount of pleasure in knowing he truly cares for her wellbeing. That doesn’t make her any happier about being ‘forced’ into marriage and there’s the little issue that Hunter is rigid and refuses to allow any woman any leeway with him. As if that isn’t enough one of the previous ‘suitors’ has returned and Guy makes Allura’s skin crawl and oozes an evilness that Hunter has dealt with for most of his life.
Christine Young’s ALLURA is a delightful historical novel full of suspense, lovable characters, humor and a budding romance between two characters determined not to fall in love. Allura and Hunter’s stubborn, determined natures allowed for some interesting scenes as they attempted to get one up on each other. As a modern day woman I felt bad for Allura because technically her husband would dictate every aspect of her life and the freedom she loves would be a thing of the past. Hunter is unbending as far as to how he believes a wife should behave but falling in love changes him and his perception of Allura. Hunter and Allura are the main focus of this story but there are secondary characters whom I absolutely adored and would love to revisit in future novels (hint, hint). Especially the youngest sister Aiden and Hunter’s trusted friend Blade. He doesn’t believe in love and she’s determined to do whatever’s necessary to get him to notice her.
Allura has come to treasure her freedom and the adventures she shares with her sisters and her cousins but her father’s decision to find her a husband threatens that freedom. He’s placed an ad in the times in search of a man strong and smart enough to discover where exactly it is that the girls venture when they leave the safety of the castle.
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com
Eddington, Scotland 1815
"You can’t plan to wed me to that--that man down there!" Allura McClellan’s heart thundered and lodged in her throat. Balled into fists her hands trembled. "You promised I could marry for love. I thought when the last man failed to discover this imaginary secret you think I have, you would stop this craziness. I thought you would take the ad out of the Times and the other papers."
From the boxing ring below, fist met flesh, the sound echoing throughout. Hunter Gray whirled and ducked. He guarded his face to block the stinging blows his opponent rained down upon him. He spun and ducked again. The man he fought countered the attack, but he did not move fast enough. Hunter’s next jab was so fast and so hard the other man didn’t block the punch. The man staggered backwards, blood running from his eye. Men yelled and cheered for the two combatants. Hunter paused and spoke to the man he practiced with before the match continued once more.
Allura saw her life as she had planned it slip away as if it was grains of sand in an hour glass. She stopped pacing and watched the men below. She turned on her father. "The ad in the Times--giving me away to any man--you have gone too far. A marriage of convenience is barbaric. You promised." For a moment, she closed her eyes. She did not want to acknowledge anything that went on here. It was not her fault she could not find a man she loved. What horrific bit of bad luck had found her?
The laird cleared his throat. "Perhaps I have not gone far enough or soon enough. And the ad did not promise you to just any man. He must be strong enough and smart enough to win your hand."
It was not Allura’s nature to allow others to rule her fate. “These men,” she waved her hand in the air, frustration sweeping recklessly within. "They don’t want me. They come for one reason only. They are greedy and hungry for power. You have taught me everything I need to know. I can run your estate and all of your holdings. I’ve studied endless hours. I know the men who work for you. I swear I’ll defy your wishes. At the altar I will say no."
The McClellan’s grin faded as quickly as it had appeared and without further thought, he said, "Perhaps not, you are beautiful lass--one with rare promise. And," he stroked his chin, "no matter how much book learning a woman has she cannot dictate her own life. It is up to the men in her life to make sure she is happy and provided for."
A strained silence followed. She sagged against the stone wall. As if sensing her vulnerable position, she stiffened. Outraged and furious she looked upon her father. "They are money grubbers and want your land--our land. They have no right to any of your estate."
The McClellan held back for a moment, seemingly aware there was more than just a little truth in what Allura said. "How indeed?" he questioned her. Yet his smile was tight, forced. "I grow old. I only want this land secured and my daughters happy before I die. You are twenty-two. I have given you ample opportunity to fall in love. I thought it time to bring new blood to this land, a new man. I thought perhaps one would take your fancy."
"That man," she began. Her hand shook when she pointed at the man who danced and whirled avoiding each blow as if he dallied in child's play. She trembled so violently she could not speak. “Is an Englishman.”
ISBN # 978-1-58749-722-3
April 10, 2009
Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc.
Rating: 4 Cups
Allura McClellan's father wants to see his daughters married before he passes on and has decided to run a contest to see who can reveal Allura's secret and, if correct, the prize is her hand in marriage as well as her land and titles. She fights her father every step of the way, clinging to the reasoning that she does not want to submit to a man and give up who she is because she takes pride in all she has learned and who she has become without a husband.
All Hunter Gray's life, he has been treated horribly for being an English earl's bastard son and as an adult, fought for his country and became a mighty warrior. Now, he sees a chance to get everything he feels he deserves, money and land, and all he has to do is seduce Allura into marrying him.
Even though a crackling fire rears itself every time Hunter and Allura are together, they truly try to fight the attraction, but for different reasons. As time goes by, feelings start to change and as they are in danger of losing themselves and more, can Allura and Hunter both get what they want?
I really enjoyed this book by Christine Young. It has mystery, humor and, whew, steamy love scenes! An awesome group of characters make this read very entertaining, from the tough as nails Allura to her meddlesome younger sister, Aiden. There is never a dull moment throughout this book and you will surely not be disappointed. I can only hope that some of my favorites get a story of their own. Well done Ms. Young.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More