Born in Sin

Claiming the Highlander

A Dark Champion

Master of Desire

A Pirate of Her Own

Sword of Darkness

The Warrior
by Kinley MacGregor
(Avon, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-006-079667-9
The Warrior is an enjoyable tale that is set in England and France about a Scottish warrior and his search for his long lost brother. It brings together many characters from previous stories in the series Brotherhood of the Sword. The only problem is that if one has not read those stories, there is much missing. I liked the hero and heroine, but felt I was without a lot of backstory, weakening my enjoyment.

Lochlan MacAllister is the Laird of a clan at war with the MacKaid. He embarks on a journey to find his brother Kieran when a piece of Kieranís plaid is discovered. Kieran was thought drowned in the loch but now there is evidence he may be alive. His journey takes him to France seeking a knight named Stryder at Rouen.

Along the way, he runs into Catarina as she is fleeing from some men who are harming her. Cat is the illegitimate daughter of King Phillip. She is fleeing him because he is about to force a marriage of convenience on her. Despite her royalty, she was raised by her mother and uncles who allowed her freedom. She despises the attempts at marrying her off for political purposes. She enlists Lochlanís help and gains his promise to escort her to her uncles, after they have visited the man in Rouen.

Theirs is a unique journey. Cat is used to traveling and doesnít complain. Lochlan has seen beautiful women who are untrustworthy, thus thinks all women are the same. His father convinced him he must trust no one and was actually a very cruel man. Cat shows Lochlan that not all is as it seems. She is stubborn, yet flexible. She is kind yet strong. They fall for each other and it is a nice romance.

Interfering in their bliss, besides their determination not to be involved, are men seeking Cat, men seeking to kill Lochlan and the mystery of where Kiernan is. There is a story about men who were held captive during the Crusades and lived to tell about it Ė this is the brotherhood. Kiernan was apparently one of them. Lochlan also discovers he may have another brother, one born on the wrong side of the sheets.

As I was reading this tale, I enjoyed the bantering of these two lovers, even as they fought their attraction. It was only after strong provocation that they consummated their feelings, so the build up to it was fun. The journey included many adventures and this maintained the pace too. The tale dragged a bit and this occurred when the brotherhood and its mystery was explored. This seemed almost superfluous to the main story. And Lochlanís continued belief that he was unworthy of love was disappointing at times. He was a sensible man with many good qualities until he started lamenting that he could never love.

Catarina steals the show. She is almost more than one could imagine in the time, yet, she knows when to assert herself and when to do the sensible thing. That was the saving grace to the tale.

If you have read the series, you will probably find this up there with the best. If not, then like me, you will enjoy the story of Cat and Lochlan in the middle of often confusing activities.

--Shirley Lyons

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