Hunter’s heart stopped, his gaze poised on the young lady who stood next to The Laird. Beside Hunter his trusted friend choked then whistled softly.
"This cannot be the girl," Hunter said, his voice rasping, anger and disbelief sweeping through him. His features heated as he strove to stamp down the rising tide of emotion. In the short time he’d been at the castle, he’d followed her, dodged her footsteps, but he’d never been close enough to her to clearly see her features. He studied her hard then grinned.
"What did I tell you?" Blade asked, the question knifing through Hunter.
Hunter paused mid-stride then inhaled a deep, ragged breath before wondering what his next move in this game should be. Then he knew. "I don’t care what she pretends to be or what charades she tries to dance before my eyes," he told Blade. No, he had come to McClellan lands with one purpose, and he meant to continue in the same manner. He understood his motives and what he wanted. The homely appearance of his bride-to-be could never change the course of events he’d set in motion. He could see clearly through her ploy.
"Hells bells, I’m glad I don’t have to crawl into bed with her every night." Blade slapped Hunter on the back. "At least she has all her teeth." His low, deep chuckle unnerved Hunter, but he resigned himself to this fate and the length she was willing to go to in order to forgo a marriage to him. The winnings sure to come his way were worth whatever game she meant to play.
The coveted prize he sought was not the lady, he reminded himself. Once again he watched her and began an ardent perusal of Lady McClellan.
Allura McClellan, the woman he sought to marry, stood before her father with her hands clasped white knuckled in front of her and chin tilted slightly sideways. Her lips were pursed and her eyes so squinty he could not discern the color. With her hair raked tightly back from her face and formed into stiff coils, Hunter wondered if she could even think. He paused then stared at Blade.
Hunter wanted to say something courtly. Unable to think of anything flattering to say, he grimaced instead, telling himself he should be able to say something that would not sound absolutely stupid in this strange circumstance.
"I hope the power and the land are enough." Blade spoke to Hunter before Hunter turned and strode forward, his hand outstretched to greet the laird. He ignored Allura for a moment, and then he turned and bowed, his smile mocking.
Hunter wondered who he was mocking, Allura or himself.
Allura turned to him, her pose regal despite her pinched features. She glared at Hunter and said stiffly, "I am Allura McClellan." She paused before she walked forward to stand only a few feet in front of him. Her chin rose another notch as she spoke. "Just who do you think you are?"
"Bloody eyes," Blade whispered, his smug smile disappearing. “She’s as rude as she is perverse.”
Quick wits kept Hunter’s mouth from falling open in astonishment. Not only had her appearance surprised him, but her hostile and belligerent manner caught him off guard. He stared at her stupefied. This unfashionable, tall and scrawny creature in a deplorable and ill-fitting gown squinting so fiercely at him was Allura McClellan of the McClellan castle. But it was her attitude that caused his polite smile to fade from his lips and his dark green eyes to harden with speculation.
ISBN # 978-1-58749-722-3
April 10, 2009
Rogue Phoenix Press
Ebook , Kindle, Nook
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