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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Betrayed by Claire Robyns

Betrayed by Claire Robyns
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (411 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fern

Two Feuding Families
Amber Jardin has no taste for the bitter feud started before her father's banishment. But now that he's passed, she's had to return to Scotland and his barbaric people. After her bloodthirsty uncle kidnaps one of the family's rivals, Amber is in turn captured by Krayne Johnstone, the enemy laird. Despite their enmity, their attraction is immediate—and unfortunate, as Amber has sworn to escape.

One Lusty Temptation
Krayne is amazed at the wildcat's repeated attempts to flee. He should steel himself against her beguiling ways—yet with time, he is driven more witless with lust. When the ransom exchange fails and Krayne is left with Amber, he finds he cannot tolerate the thought of her with another man—and she cannot tolerate the thought of returning to her uncle's home.

Will passion and love win out over mistrust and betrayal in time to prevent an all-out war?

As a fan of Scottish romance, I couldn’t wait to read Betrayed. The blurb suggested there would be plenty of tension, plot twists and turns, and I was anxious to see how author Claire Robyns would weave her story.

When Betrayed begins, you are introduced to the heroine, Amber Jardin. She arrived from England only to find herself in the middle of clan wars and discovers that her life is now irrevocably changed. When things go from bad to worse, and she seeks to intercept the one person who has provided her friendship before he comes to harm, she is taken by the gorgeous and intimidating Scot, Krayne Johnstone. It is his kin who is endangered by Amber’s uncle, and he openly confesses that she will be used in an exchange to get him back. Yet things are not entirely as they seem. When Amber is forced to lie in an effort to gain her freedom, she unwittingly takes on the persona of a seductress. And Krayne, who is attracted to the wildcat female in ways he cannot deny, soon realizes he will do whatever it takes to keep her by his side.

From the beginning, Betrayed takes you on an unpredictable journey. There are so many interwoven plots that come together, each of which seemed destined to tear our hero and heroine apart. To complicate matters further, Amber and Krayne lack trust in each other. Although understandable, their distance and unwillingness to listen creates a substantial barrier that requires even more doubt, lies, and deceit. As the story progresses, it’s apparent that eventually everything will be revealed and the consequences will be dire. This is the catalyst that drives the reader to continue forward to learn exactly what happens next.

While I did enjoy a majority of the story, I found myself putting it down on several occasions as some of the scenes seemed drawn out and Amber’s heroics and escape attempts became redundant and predictable. Strong female protagonists are wonderful, but I couldn’t help but question her motives and kept waiting for her rash and reckless decisions to land her into serious trouble versus the possible “threat” of it. Fortunately, Krayne was an exceptional hero and his character was one who ensured I kept coming back for more. His devotion to his people, as well as his gentle hand with Amber (who at times didn’t deserve it), made me positively melt. He’s definitely the kind of character I love reading about -- strong, intelligent, devoted -- and his growth over the course of the story was extremely well timed and presented.

The writing itself is very well done and the attention to detail is excellent. The secondary characters are expertly developed, so that you learn about them as needed and the plot unfolds, and there are definitely a few unexpected surprises along the way. Betrayed is more than your average romance, with an intricate storyline that you have to follow carefully. While certain portions were slower than others, the overall pace for a novel of this length is steady from start to finish.

Historical romance fans will enjoy Betrayed. There is romance, a multitude of thrills, and enough sexual chemistry and tension to keep you squirming in your seat.