To Tame a Highland Warrior
by Karen Marie Moning
(Dell, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-440-23481-6
Take a legend and embellish it; create a legendary hero, then find him the perfect mate. Put together a plot that allows the hero and heroine to share the same general space but make sure there's a good, reasonable reason why they can't live happily ever after until the last chapter.

Sounds like a winning recipe for historical romance and it is, To Tame a Highland Warrior has some fine romance ingredients and a winning story line. However, I do think that there are too many twentieth-century terms in this "historical."

Son of a highland chieftain, Gavrael Roderick Icarus McIllioch leaves his home and takes the name Grimm Roderick to protect himself and those he cares for. Grimm is a wanted man: the clan McKane has vowed to kill him. When he was fourteen the McKanes attacked his people and Grimm transformed into a Berserker -- a killing machine.

Grimm leaves home thinking he's as inhuman as his father -- a man capable of killing the woman he loves. Wondering about Scotland, Grimm comes upon a young girl, Jillian St. Clair, who is immediately captivated by this beast/boy.

Jillian's father fosters Grimm; Jillian grows up regarding Grimm as her hero. As a Berserker, Grimm can only have one mate, and as the years pass Grimm he realizes he loves Jillian and that she loves him.

Grimm leaves Jillian after the clan McKane attacks Jillian's family. Before he leaves, Grimm and Jillian share a devastating kiss. Although the kiss shakes both Grimm and Jillian to their toes, Grimm convinces Jillian he doesn't care for her because he wants her to be safe from the McKanes and from him.

Five years pass and Grimm gets a message from Jillian's father to come for Jillian. Thinking Jillian is in danger, Grimm rushes to her side. What Grimm and Jillian do not know is that her father is trying to play matchmaker by inviting the best looking, most virile men in Scotland to woo his determined-to-remain-a-spinster daughter.

After Grimm arrives, he desperately tries to conceal his feelings for her, but watching other men court Jillian is driving him, well, berserk! For her part, Jillian is not going to allow Grimm to ignore her; she intends to show him she's a woman fully grown.

There's a lot to like about To Tame a Highland Warrior. Grimm is noble, brave and has never been with another woman since he kissed Jillian all those years ago -- you gotta love that kind of devotion! There's good chemistry between these two characters and the story moves along at a nice pace.

My problem with To Tame a Highland Warrior was the use, in quite a few passages, of modern terminology like "invading someone's space" or "rocking their world." I realize that if the author had used the actual language of this historical period, few romance readers, myself included, would understand the story.

However, when I read passages where the language sounds like it belongs on a 1999 sitcom, I'm no longer picturing men and women wearing medieval clothes and living in a castle; instead, I see them wearing jeans and hanging out at the mall. So that's my peeve with To Tame a Highland Warrior; other than that, I enjoyed this "legendary" romance very much.

--Judith Flavell

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