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Monday, February 9, 2009

Naked on the Staircase by Skhye Moncrief

Naked on the Staircase by Skhye Moncrief
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Full (166 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Orchid

A demon stalks Druidess Aron MacKintosh, trying to use her to gain control of the timeline in present-day Scotland. Time plows toward Samhain when the doorways open between the Now and the Happy Otherworld. She finds herself in a strange alliance with an unusual time guardian, Cowboy. The duo struggles to defeat the demon. If Cowboy can’t earn her trust, all known history could change. Only Cowboy’s charm and southern idea of chivalry has what it takes to leave an ancient evil bound NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE.

Cowboy, a Ring Master cadet with the Brothers, is sent through time to rescue the kidnapped Druidess Aron MacKintosh. He finds her naked, hanging from chains on her wrists above a staircase where all the males who pass can touch her. Using armor which makes him invisible, he rescues her, then finds himself semi-naked when she demands he give her his clothes to cover her nudity.

Aron is not sure she can trust Cowboy. Why has he come to rescue her? He says he’s following orders, but he doesn’t even have a nidium claymore to steer them through the time travel circles. Surely one of the more experienced Brothers should have been sent instead. The Druid Code requires her to remain a virgin until she bound her spirit to her chosen man for eternity, but she can’t help being strongly attracted to Cowboy.

A strange ‘entity’ tries unsuccessfully to stop them escaping via the standing stone circle. Using the arsenal of grenades Cowboy has brought with him, they manage to blow up the entity, but after a while the beast reconstitutes and follows them to Cowboy’s time. At first they think the entity is chasing Cowboy, but doubt sets in when Cowboy and Aron are put in a place of safety under the Brothers castle and still they are unable to escape the thing following them.

Aron hears a man’s voice in her head telling her not to trust Cowboy. The voice says Cowboy is not what he seems and he is the one controlling the entity. Unable to consult the Druids, Aron doesn’t know what to do. Should she follow her instincts and trust Cowboy, or believe the voice in her head?

Druids, magic, time travel. They’re all present in Naked on the Staircase. The title of this book intrigued me, but by the time I’d finished reading I understood why the author chose this intriguing title. The entity is a mystery being whose identity is not solved until the last few pages, but its very existence holds the story together. Cowboy is a fighter. He fights his attraction for Aron;he fights the entity; and he fights against the knowledge he has been used by the Brothers.

Aron is a strong minded woman who becomes totally confused by her purpose in life until she’s not sure what to believe. One thing she does know is the strength of her attraction to Cowboy, but is he the one she should bind her spirit to?

Naked on the Staircase is well written with intrigue, mystery, magic and time travel, ingredients that work well in a fantasy novel. I found the reason for the Brothers existence, and how this complemented the Druids, a bit confusing at times, but this didn’t really interfere with the main plot. The interaction between Aron and Cowboy was excellent and the background of the story was skillfully woven into the book. I enjoyed reading Naked on the Staircase and would like to read more of Skhye Moncrief’s novels.