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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Legend of the Werestag by Tessa Dare

The Legend of the Werestag by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short
Heat: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

To capture love, sometimes you have to grab it by the horns…

If a woman could die of humiliation, Cecily Hale would have perished three hours ago. Luke Trenton had finally returned to Swinford Manor, only to cruelly spurn her long-held love. But she couldn’t conveniently die of shame on the spot—oh, no. Instead she joined her friends on this ridiculous search for a legendary man-beast. Now she’ll die here—alone in the woods, at the tusks of a snarling boar.

Luke left for war a dashing youth and returned a man—just not the same man Cecily fell in love with. His passion for her is stronger than ever, but the ravages of battle changed him in ways she wouldn’t understand. Pushing her away was supposed to save her, not throw her into the path of another inhuman creature…or into the arms of another man.

For it is a man who rescues Cecily, just as the boar attacks. A mysterious, silent man who disappears into the woods, leaving her with just a glimpse—of a fleeing white deer. Could her rescuer be the man-beast of local lore?

A dangerous myth has captured Cecily’s imagination, putting Luke on the horns of a dilemma. Unless he summons the passion and tenderness to win her back, he could lose her forever…to the Werestag.

Tessa Dare leads us into uncharted territory in her The Legend of the Werestag. Cecily Hale plunges into the depths of myth as she staggers from the impact of rejected love. Against all odds it is neither Luke, who knows he is no longer the same person that she loved, nor simply another man who steps from the deep of the forest.

Dare leaps away from every pre-conceived notion the title here might suggest. Cecily might believe in wild half-man half-beasts…but were-creatures do not abound in these pages. Instead, Dare takes us thundering back to a time when fierce woodland creatures were frightening enough on their own, without any magic involved, and to a time when a man might hold himself to a higher standard, and deny himself a woman he loves, so she might be better off. He might be lord of the rambling old manor, but his time at war changed him.

Luke Trenton, aka the cad, is eminently likable, and his sacrifice seems ultimately a shame, so we keep hoping against hope that the incredible and sexy man Cecily meets does not, in fact, become the object of her love. Cecily may claim to have a great desire for a gothic affair, but at heart, she really and truly longs for love. She wants someone who will care for her and protect her. It’s easy to feel a certain kinship for Cecily, and sympathize with her: she’s very real, and she tries hard to put a brave face on her feelings. The sexual tension between her and Luke puts even the amazing werestag to shame.

Funny friendships abound, from Denny to the dramatic Portia… the assorted secondary characters provide light-hearted banter (and a very frank alternative perspective) throughout.

Humorous situations – as well as the unpredictable – occur and recur, and this is a fun, super spicy read, with adult situations and humor.