Always

Bliss

The Brat

The Key

Lady Pirate

Love is Blind

The Loving Daylights

A Quick Bite

The Reluctant Reformer

Single White Vampire

The Switch

Tall, Dark and Hungry

Vampire, Interrupted

What She Wants

 
Devil of the Highlands
by Lynsay Sands
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13)† ISBN 978-006-134477-0
****
There is nothing new in this fun and energetic novel by Sands, but there is plenty of fun and energy along with a romance that makes you smile.† What more can you ask?† Devil of the Highlands is definitely worth your time.

Evelinde díAumesbery grew up with a loving mother and father.† When her mother passed away, her father remarried and you know what they say about stepmothers.† Her brother is off fighting the Crusades and now her father is dead.† Edda, the stepmother, hates Evelinde, so she decides to marry her off to the notorious Devil of the Highlands, the Laird of clan Donnachaidh, (pronounced Don-a-kay, we are told).† His reputation is that of a man who has murdered family to get ahead and one who is a ferocious warrior.†Evelinde is nervous but just canít wait to get away from the belittling she is constantly getting from Edda.

One day when she has escaped the keep and is off on her own in the woods near her home, Evelinde meets a man.† He is handsome, strong and when he assists her, she thinks he is gentle and kind.† He also kisses like nothing she has ever experienced and she allows him liberties that she never would have in the past.† Cullen, the laird, knows who Evelinde is and is thrilled that his betrothed bride is so receptive to him.† He finds her attractive and intriguing.

Thus begins their relationship.†Cullen is not the cruel man everyone believes, but he has allowed the reputation to form.† He is quiet and keeps his own counsel.† Circumstances surrounding the deaths of which he is accused has made him wary of sharing too much and trusting too many.† He has a core group of men he trusts.† Evelinde, on the other hand, talks constantly and shares everything.† They frustrate each other at times, but find they are well matched.† Their passion is hot and their attempts to find their way around each other are fun and amusing.† Cullen believes he is showing he cares through his actions, while Evelinde doesnít know him well enough to interpret his reasoning.††The first example of this disconnect occurs when Cullen decides to leave her keep immediately after the wedding for his home and they ride for three days without stopping.† He makes arrangements for his men to bring her maid and things later.† In his mind, he is getting her away from the witch Edda, while Evelinde only sees that she is forced to leave without her maid and her belongings.†

The story moved on the strength of their relationship and the mystery surrounding the deaths of Cullenís uncle who was shot ďby accidentĒ during a hunt, then his auntís sister, who presumably killed herself, then his father, who lost his footing on a cliff and fell to his death.† Finally, Cullenís first wife lost her life on those same cliffs.† All could have been accidents, but rumors abound that Cullen had something to do with them in order to take over the clan.† When Evelinde decides to clear his name, attempts on her life are made and now Cullen must figure out the past to preserve his future.

I laughed and smiled through much of this tale.† Evelindeís character is one of such energy, the reader canít help but be drawn in.† She is smart and yet at times, very insecure, making her attempts at doing things just go wrong.† Cullen is always there to assist her, and yet he never finds fault.† He does do the overprotective male thing to the hilt, but given the setting of the Highlands when men ruled, itís understandable.† What is fun is how Evelinde winds him around her little finger to get him to ultimately see things her way.

Devil of the Highlands is not a classic tale but it is fun and one of the more enjoyable historical romances I have read this year. †

--Shirley Lyons


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