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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

His Captive by Diana Cosby

His Captive by Diana Cosby
Publisher: Zebra Books/Kensington Publishing Corp.
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (315 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

With a wastrel brother and a treacherous former fiance, Lady Nichola Westcott hardly expects the dangerously seductive Scot who kidnaps her to be a man of his word. Though Sir Alexander MacGruder promises not to hurt her, Nichola's only value is as a pawn to be ransomed.Alexander's goal is to avenge his father's murder, not to become entangled with the enemy. But his desire to keep Nichola with him, in his home - in his bed - unwittingly make her a target for those who have no qualms about shedding English blood. Now Nichola is trapped - by her powerful attraction to a man whose touch shakes her to the core. Unwilling and unable to resist each other, can Nichola and Alexander save a love that has enslaved them both?

Right smack dab in the middle of the war between Scotland and England a charming and misguided but honorable rebel kidnaps a woman and gets more than he bargained for.

Alexander is the reluctant hero. Oh, he’s a risk taker, don’t get me wrong, but the role he plays in this story has him questioning his path and his beliefs. He has to take a stand on a few issues and face a few facts about himself that are surprisingly brutal. It proves the measure of the man and the result is Alexander being a character I could respect and root for. He doesn’t run. He gets a bit twisted because he’s eventually played by someone he trusts, but in the end he stands up for what is truly right. His emotions are all over the place because it’s a time of war. Who to trust? How far is he willing to fight? How true to himself is he being? How can he want to hug her and run from her all at the same time?

The ‘her’ is the heroine, Nichola. Wow, talk about a woman put on the spot. I guess the best way to describe her is as a piece of taffy. Her emotions are pulled, stretched and twisted all over the place as she starts off in fear and then gradually comes to understand the other side of the coin, so-to-speak. Because she is initially a victim, her verbal fighting, mistrust, bad temper and standoffish ways are perfectly in line with an innocent woman of means being forced to deal with the enemy. Perhaps it went on a bit too long for my tastes but who knows how I’d actually fair if I were in her position. My perception could have been my impatience in wanting the romance to progress faster because I really did like the relationship between Nichola and Alexander and I wanted them together.

Speaking of impatience, the sensual buildup, the seduction and courting of Nichola, even when circumstances botched it at times, was well done but slow. By that I mean, there was a war on and Alexander himself is ping-ponged back and forth with wanting to trust her but at the same time was thwarted by being held back by his family’s distrust of her. Plus people kept interrupting the good stuff! Both of them end up being pretty frustrated at times but it made the final coming together all the more poignant and special. I figured after all they went through, through the course of the book, their love will be as hard as diamonds and granite. If they can survive this, they’ll survive and persevere far into the future. It’s a solid happily ever after.

Oh, and I really wish I could have ‘met’ Alexander’s grandmother. She left this little legacy that makes me very curious about who or what she was. I could tell she loved her grandsons but I have to wonder if she was more than just a loveable and wise old lady. Especially with that little sentence towards the end – my curiosity is definitely aroused.

Secondary characters are Alexander’s brothers, a few soldiers and Nichola’s brother. All played pivotal roles in advancing the plot or showcasing interesting quirks about the hero and heroine. The villain was a shock and brought sadness to me. The author did a great job of ensuring that I harbor no ill feelings toward him but instead a great sympathy. It got really tense at one point and I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, but the author did what was best for the story and the characters. It was a harsh and brutal time and there was even mention of the real Scottish war hero, but I’m hazy on the details of his life. The book made me want to Google and do some research. Nothing like making history come alive.

His Captive is a gripping glimpse into life in Scotland during times of unrest and war. The fact that romance can survive despite incredible odds is a testimony to the endurance and power of love. This story drew me in and kept me wondering how well earned distrust could be overcome to allow the roots of love to grow and flourish. It’s a well told tale with clever and true to character dialogue with a hero and heroine sure to earn a place in a reader’s heart. I’m so glad I read this and look forward to the next installment because after all, Alexander does have brothers and they’re just as yummy as he is.