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Friday, August 24, 2012

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (323 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Laird Ciaran MacGregor discovers the beautiful, wounded Lady Rosalia Armstrong while journeying to the king’s court. Already burdened with the task of maintaining the peace in his lands, Ciaran has very little patience for this headstrong woman. She’s as fearsome as the men trying to kill him for his lands, and their verbal sparring leaves him burning for a more intimate relationship. And if Rosalia’s not careful, she’ll soon discover his prowess…on and off the battlefield.

Rosalia Armstrong just wants to find peace …to find herself.

Bruised and battered, Rosalia runs away from an unbelievably cruel mother and from having to marry the domineering Lord Dunnehl who is willing to pay lots of money for her. Her parents have no compunction about using Rosalia to replenish the estate’s coffers so they can continue living in the style they are accustomed.

Ciaran, Laird of the MacGregor clan, is already burdened with heavy responsibilities and does not need Rosalia added to them, but at every turn, he cannot see his way clear to leave her on her own after his men find her unconscious in a forest clearing with her beautiful black horse, Noonie, standing nearby.

Set in the time when King James of England was trying desperately to gain control over the forever-feuding Highlanders, Temptation in a Kilt focuses on the MacGregors and the “bloody Campbells”.

Determined to honor vows made to his dying father, Ciaran keeps the MacGregor holdings well defended against the greedy, power-hungry Campbells that always pose a threat. However, the never-ending burden Ciaran must deal with is his drinking, ‘wenching’, youngest brother Declan. Never having gotten over their mother’s death, Declan is defiant, disrespectful, and disgusting; but Ciaran never wavers in his effort to help him ‘grow up’ and find his place in the scheme of things. Their conflicts stir up strong emotions and at times unpleasant physical encounters.

Rosalia had set out for Glengarry in the far north rough country of Scotland with no idea how to get there or what she was getting into. She’d just hoped relatives, whom she’d never met would welcome her. When she ends up wintering at Glenorchy, the MacGregor Castle, life presents a whole new set of challenges. She is well liked by all but one person there, yet her low self-esteem keeps her at a certain distance from everyone. Even though she and Ciaran share exhilarating times, tense times, and dangerous times, they are hindered from getting on with their lives by Ciaran’s obsession with a vow he made about Declan and Rosalia’s obsession about being a burden. Even though Ciaran is truly temptation in a kilt, Rosalia does not want “just a tumble” and Ciaran does not feel free to marry, consequently love is in limbo. These obsessions may be a little overdone, but not enough to keep one from turning pages to see what happens next.

The secondary characters stir up an abundance of conflicts, keep a thread of humor present, and keep the action lively. Aiden and Aisling, Ciaran’s brother and sister-in-law, bring shining love and delightful humor to events. Beathag, Ciaran former leman, keeps a dark, threatening thread of danger present, while Declan, seemingly the most despicable of all does grow up, but not before his weaknesses are exploited.

The frightening, gut-wrenching events that lead up to the climax makes one’s heart pound and keeps adrenaline pumping. The many twists and turns that take place are skillfully interlaced with foreshadowing and subtle clues that are threaded throughout. Ms. Roberts weaves together historical events, exquisite descriptions, intrigues, humor, and compelling characters to create a love story that leaves the reader with a satisfied sigh—ah, yes, a happy-ever-after.