At Her Service

By Queen’s Grace

The Conqueror

The Ideal Husband

Knave of Hearts

Once a Bride

Twilight Magic

 

 
Magic in His Kiss
by Shari Anton
(Grand Central, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-446-61756-3
****
Magic In His Kiss is a surprisingly tender love story, complete with a grand adventure to keep the reader riveted.  Rhodri ap Daffyd is a Welsh warrior, who believes in bravery and duty. His enemies say that he is dangerous and conniving, and they are correct. He is also a talented musician who plays the harp beautifully, and an honorable man who fights to protect others. 

Rhodri is asked by his liege lord, Connor, to kidnap his orphaned niece Nicole de Leon from the king’s guard and return her to him. Rhodri accepts the mission as his duty to his lord. He remembers that eight years earlier, a spoiled young Nicole caused him much grief with her shrewish ways. 

However, upon meeting Nicole again in the nunnery where she has spent the last few years, Rhodri sees that she has changed.  Nicole is still a willful princess, but her experiences in the convent’s infirmary and the time she’s spent with the nuns have taught her devotion and love. She is completely without arrogance.

  Unfortunately, there are the king’s guards at the convent as well as a corrupt earl who wishes to ensure that Nicole is safeguarded from Rhodri.  Nicole’s value to the king lies in the preservation of her innocence and also in keeping her in a guarded place where she will remain untouched. 

Rhodri and Nicole make a daring escape from the convent and go on the run across the countryside, heading back to Conner’s home, called Glenvair.  The king’s guards hunt them as they go along, forcing them into close confines. At this point, Nicole surprises Rhodri by confessing that she can summon spirits and in essence, communicate with the dead. He listens carefully, without judgment. They are forced throughout their journey to work together to catch food, and to survive.

Nicole and Rhodri are both tenacious survivors that face the rough reality of travel without complaint. As they near Glenvair, Nicole discovers that that Rhodri intends to deliver her to Connor. Connor has a plan of his own to determine Nicole’s future.  She is crestfallen to find out that she has fallen back into the same trap...she now has a different master with the same plan to decide her fate and expects nothing but obedience from her.  However, Nicole is not quite the same as she was when she left the convent.  She now knows passion, and deception. She can decide what her new course will be.

Magic In His Kiss has a lot of interesting historical background, an exciting chase through the countryside and a sweet romance.  Nicole and Rhodri share a genuine affection, sense of humor and teasing. They seem to build a real liking and respect for one another throughout their adventure. Their love scenes are smoking hot; Rhodri is an alpha male warrior in bed. While Nicole is a virgin, she is not a fading flower. 

The epic travel was well-paced and interesting; however there was a little too much description of the historical background. While the characters certainly had depth, they were a little clichéd. I loved that Nicole was an eager participant in the lovemaking, but she was too reticent in making her own decisions. Since she was described as willful, I expected to see more spirit from her. Also, Rhodri is portrayed as a dominant man with angelic musical talent, and he is not quite as sexy out of bed as he is in it. A little more sizzling dialogue would have helped.

All in all, Magic In His Kiss is an easy, sexy summer read.  

--Amy Wroblewsky  


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