|Lois Greiman: Highland Hawk|
Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-80367-4
Lois Greiman, author of more than ten historical romances (mostly set in 16th century Scotland), tells a memorable tale about independent women and muscular men in kilts. She masterfully manipulates sexual tension, and her love scenes will steam your glasses. Her villains drip evil, even as they lurk in the shadows, their faces and identities hidden until the final pages.
Catriona Baird, bewitching Gypsy lass (some say she's a princess), calls the villain of Highland Hawk "Blackheart." "Blackheart" holds Cat's brother Lachlan hostage, and will only to release him in exchange for the young King James. Cat doesn't know who assists this villain, and she trusts no one.
Catriona desperately struggles with her mission to kidnap the king, her friendship with the young monarch and her growing love for Haydan "Hawk" MacGowan, the king's personal protector and head of the king's guard. Hawk stands between Cat and her brother's rescue, and once she succumbs to his charms, Hawk could also foil her plans.
Hawk and Cat share a history -- they met during Cat's childhood. Upon seeing the girl, now grown into an enchantress, Hawk feels their age difference in every scar that marks his magnificent but mature body. But as hard as Hawk fights the attraction, his destiny draws him to love the beautiful Catriona and protect her with his life.
The multi-layered story includes a royal court rich with nicely developed personalities, a loveable and innocent boy-king, warm humor and chilling subterfuge which all adds up to an enjoyable read. True, Greiman casts Hawk as the warrior -- a rather over-used hero type. But Hawk is a warrior with issues and with heart, a more three-dimensional and vulnerable character than usually seen in historic romance.
Yes, the author's female characters might fit more comfortably in 1994 than Scotland in 1524. But what she lacks in historic accuracy, Greiman more than makes up for in the important elements of a romance: sexual tension and sex scenes that leave you gasping. Greiman offers no graphic sex, but richly worded scenes without trite phrases. She creates and maintains suspense from the first sentence until the final joining of lips and lives.
Readers jumping into Greiman's Highland Brides series with Highland Hawk, will find explanations of past relationships unfolding as needed. But beware, this book unleashes a need to read Greiman's other novels such as Highland Scoundrel, Highland Enchantment, The Lady and the Knight ... . As I said before, set aside time for this book, you may end up reading the entire series.
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