Genre: Historical Romance

Weekly Reread: Ransom by Julie Garwood.

Posted January 3, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Weekly Reread: Ransom by Julie Garwood.Reviewer: Rowena
Ransom by Julie Garwood
Series: Highlands Lairds #2
Also in this series: Shadow Music

Publication Date: August 31st 2010
Genres: Romance
Pages: 546
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five-stars

For fans of Scottish medieval romances comes this beloved and classic page-turner from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers—only to be lost for more than a decade.

Now a beautiful young woman, Gillian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen, and with the friendship of a new ally, Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alford, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father's reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warrors, Gillian and Bridgid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest, betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat, and the greatest risk of all is to surrender to unexpected love.

With all the talk about Shadow Music going around and then finding out that Brodick was in the story, I thought it’d be cool to do a reread of one of my favorite Julie Garwoods of all time (Yeah so I’ve got a few of them but dude, this is totally one of them) to prepare myself for JG’s latest. I’ve got to say that I’m really scared to ruin JG for me since I absolutely love this book. From the beginning to end, I just loved the entire thing.

I enjoy reading about Brodick’s bullheadedness and his stubborn streak. The guy’s got a head harder than stone, but love him, I do. He doesn’t like the English and I do but man, love Brodick, I do. I love the transformation that JG gave Brodick from hard headed brute to hard headed brute …in love.

Brodick is this man of brutish strength. He leads one of the most elite band of warriors and is feared by both men and women far and near, well in all of Scotland anyway. He is the leader to the scathing soldiers who make grown men quiver in their boots. And he likes it that way. He loves that his clan lives like a bunch of cavemen, it suits him.

And he’s right.

Then there’s Lady Gillian who is the exact opposite of Brodick. She’s gentle and kind. And very, very courageous. When she comes into Brodick’s life, Brodick cannot believe the lengths to which Gillian would go to, to accomplish the tasks she’s set out to accomplish. Her mission was to return a little boy to his family, risking the wrath of her captors but she did it without thought of what would happen to her because she wanted the little boy safe from Baron Alford’s evil ways. She snuck away with Alec, Laird Iain’s son from The Secret and set about, getting him home safely.

She’s not above asking for help from Alec’s champion, Laird Buchanan and the lies and the stories she wove to get him to come to her, had me laughing my tail off. By the end of the book, I was mesmerized by everything surrounding Gillian. From the way she was with Alec to the way she was with Brodick and then her budding friendship with Brigid, I seriously thought that as a heroine, Gillian rocked the house!

The romance between Brodick and Gillian was easy to fall into. You really get that they are falling in love and that they’re both in this for the long haul and that they totally get each other. The fierce protectiveness that Brodick showed where Gillian was concerned warmed my heart and had me cheering the both of them on to the very end. It was that good.

Then there’s the secondary love story between Ramsey and Brigid.

I’m still pissed off that Ramsey was dicked out of his own story. I mean, I loved Ramsey right from the very moment he made his presence known in Iain and Judith’s story. The hot stud with the pretty face that he gets embarrassed about. I had every faith that JG could have made his story work, only we never got his full story.

Just the bits and pieces in this book.

But as far as stories go, I can’t say that I hated Ramsey’s story because I didn’t. I just wanted more of it. I enjoyed seeing how frustrated Ramsey was getting with Brigid turning down every Tom, Dick and Joe. I enjoyed Brigid for Ramsey because she was beautiful and she was witty and light hearted and just full of love and life. It was everything that Ramsey was missing in his. The scenes between these two where Ramsey tried to persuade Brigid into marrying one of his soldiers makes me laugh every single time.

Brigid was a great addition to the story, getting to know her through her friendship with Gillian made me love the book all the more. Her character was so lively and just …perfect for Ramsey. I would have liked to see more of her, get to know her personally the way we got to know Gillian. To know how she felt with the whole thing with her mother and that scene where she kicks that woman out of Ramsey’s bed is frickin’ hilarious! Cracks me the hell up, gosh she was a character!

The whole bringing the two clans together made for some good reading. All of the different things going on made the book a lot more fast paced and just intriguing. It wasn’t confusing, it wasn’t too much, it was the right amount of everything rolled up into one and I enjoyed the whole hot damn thing.

You guys should definitely read this book if you’re planning on reading, Shadow Music…and since I am, I’m going to be brave like Gillian and read the damn thing anyway, you never know, I might love it more than the others…

…cross your fingers for me, will ya?

five-stars


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Review: Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty

Posted December 19, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Promises Linger by Sarah McCartyReviewer: Holly
Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty
Series: Promises #1
Also in this series: Promises Prevail (Promises, #3)
Published by Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: 2004-07
Genres: Fiction, Erotica, Romance, General
Pages: 432
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four-half-stars

Promises Linger By Sarah McCarty 1868 Wyoming Territory Elizabeth Coyote will do anything, anything at all, to save the ranch she loves, including marrying Asa MacIntyre, a broad shouldered, lean hipped silver eyed gunslinger with a ruthless reputation for getting the job done. Asa dreams of a place of his own, a wife, and the respect that comes with both. Marrying Elizabeth may have started as a means to an end, but nothing in Asa's wildest dreams prepares him for the excitement of unleashing the carnal woman beneath his wife's prim and proper exterior.

The first book I read by Sarah McCarty prior to this was Caine’s Reckoning. When Casee reviewed that book, she said something about the cover being a vast improvement from SM’s other covers…At the time, I said she was crazy, because I didn’t like the cover for CR. But then I saw the cover for this one and her other Promises books and now I understand…this cover is horrid. Those people scare me. shudder

Anyway, it’s lucky I don’t judge books based on their covers. This one was a fabulous read.

Elizabeth Coyote is in a pickle. Her father died and left her his ranch, but a woman alone in the late 1800’s can’t run a cattle ranch on her own..she needs a man to help her. So she marries the first man that comes a’courtin, Brent, only he turns out to be the worst scoundrel ever. Since it turns out the marriage wasn’t legal and never consummated, she turns instead to Asa McIntyre. He’s got a reputation for being mean as spit when he’s riled, but also gentle with women and children. She doesn’t have the best opinion of men, but figures to go with the lesser of two evils and marry Asa to save her ranch.

For Asa’s part, he’s always wanted a spread of his own and a lady for a wife. So when Elizabeth proposes marriage to save her ranch, he figures this is just God’s way of telling him dreams do come true. But he’s in for a surprise, because Elizabeth isn’t quite the lady he made her out to be, and saving the ranch could be his most difficult task yet.

I’ve never been a big fan of Westerns (Sorry Sybil). There isn’t a particular reason, they just aren’t my cup-a, but Sarah McCarty is going a long way towards changing my mind about this. I love her writing voice and the way she weaves her stories.

Before I go into my thoughts on this, can just say SM really knows how to open a story. Every book I’ve read of hers (I’m on my 4th now) so far has started off with a bang. This book was no exception. I was absolutely in awe of the heroine when she marched into a saloon, held her erstwhile husband at gun point and demanded he return her money and walk away from her. And when she smacked him across the face with a stool I cheered. Talk about starting with a bang.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the story of Elizabeth and Asa. He’s tough as nails, but also caring and tender when it comes to women and children. And though Elizabeth is stubborn and independent, she’s not gratingly so. She realizes she needs a man to keep her ranch going and though she makes a mistake the first time around, she quickly realizes it and does what she can to correct it. And once she marries Asa, she does her best to be a good wife to him.

Asa was good to Elizabeth, too. Though he’s always wanted a spread of his own and a lady for a wife, he doesn’t take it for granted once he has it. He treats Elizabeth with respect and does his best to tease her into good moods. He understands that Elizabeth has had a rough time of it since her father died and does his best to take care of her and keep her safe.

Elizabeth is scarred by more than what’s happened since her father’s death, however. Turns out dear old dad wasn’t a shining example of parenthood and she’s got some unresolved issues. But she doesn’t shy from Asa..much. She tries her best to overcome her fears to please him, and I was captivated by their story.

I did have a few issues, however. The main one being the way Asa constantly shrugged aside Elizabeth’s offers of help around the ranch. She just wanted to be thought of as an equal partner, and he just wanted to keep her safe, but the way they skirted around the issue without really talking it out started to bug me. Her good friend Aaron also got on my nerves. He acted condescending and rude, and Elizabeth just shrugged it off. That might not have bothered me, except whenever her husband acted that way (or one of his men did) she got her knickers all in a twist over it. That seemed incongruous to me. Of course, it all worked out in the end, though, so the above mentioned wasn’t enough to ruin the story for me.

I’m giving this one a:

4.5 out of 5

You can buy it in print here or ebook here.

Be sure to check out the other two books in the series, too.

Promises Linger
Promises Keep
Promises Prevail

four-half-stars


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Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux.

Posted December 19, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux.Reviewer: Rowena
Simple Gifts by Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
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five-stars

In the snow-covered hills of Virginia, a young widow finds that miracles really do come in the least expected packages, in "Just Curious," praised as "one of Devereaux's best (Philadelphia Inquirer). "Change of Heart," set in modern-day Colorado, is the touching story of a clever twelve-year-old who plays matchmaker for his bighearted, impractical mother.

Every year, I read this book around this time. It’s like my Christmas is not the same if I haven’t done my yearly reread of this book and this year was no different. My book is starting to look worn out, I might be needing a new book soon…hehe, I love new books.

Anyway, on with the review.

Just Curious

Hero: MacAllister Taggert
Heroine: Karen Reed
Grade: 5/5

This was such a good holiday story.

I loved it right from the very beginning. When we meet Karen and learn of her husband’s death and how she can’t get over it and how she’s let herself go and to see her getting dicked around the office, getting roped into doing others work while they get the glory from it made me angry on her behalf but then Mac comes into her life and turns it right upside down. I loved that! I loved how their love story came to be, with Mac asking her to take a job “posing” as his girlfriend at his friend’s wedding and how he did everything just so that he can be with her because she could tell him and his brother apart, it was just the cutest story and a great thing to read around this time. Mac’s friends were great and his family was wonderful too. This story never ceases to bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I loved how Karen thought the lowest of Mac and how he proved her wrong. I loved the first time these two made love, it was such a cute scene and then when they’re awakened on Christmas morning and the kids are in the room and they go down to Christmas morning where Karen is bombarded with gifts, gift she knows that Mac bought and not the others written on the tags. Just to see the lengths in which Mac went to, to snare Karen was just what this romantic loves to read about…I swear you will enjoy this story, a lot…or else something is wrong with you, JUST KIDDING!

Such a great read! Oh and I loved her little notes she’d leave around the office, Magnificently Jettisoned or some other, so frickin’ hiliarious!

Miracles by Judith McNaught.

Hero: Nicki DuVille
Heroine: Julianna Skeffington
Grade: 3/5

A lot of JM fans were disappointed in Nicki’s story because they felt that he deserved his very own full length novel and I wouldn’t have been mad if JM had decided to write that because I didn’t really enjoy this story..for Nicki. He’s trapped into marrying a girl that was pretty much trying to get ruined so that she wouldn’t have to marry anyone and so that she can live the life she’s always wanted to live. Of course, none of that happens because she has to marry Nicki and Nicki banishes her to one of his residents and she’s left all alone, her only recourse of expressing her feelings is through letters to her late grandmother. It is through these letters where everything comes out, the truth behind the night that Nicki “ruined” Julianna, her feelings about her mother, her feelings about Nicki and just every dang thing. This is one of those misunderstanding plots and I’m not really fond of those story lines especially because this was Nicki’s story. I wanted a better and just more for Nicki and I didn’t even like Nicki that much in this story. He was so hard and nothing like the Nicki that I knew and loved from the other books…it was just…okay. Oh and he didn’t even say I LOVE YOU JULIANNA, he only said, “I yearn too!” That is not at all the same thing, Ugh.

Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux

Hero: Frank Taggert
Heroine: Miranda Harcourt
Grade: 5/5

This was another fantastic and very romantic read. When I talk about this book to my sisters and my friends, the storyline sounds so cheesy and it kind of is but I don’t even care, I love this story so much! I loved that Randy was such a “real” woman, she wasn’t the thin heroine we’re used to reading and she loved reading romance novels and she was struggling to make ends meet. She sometimes cried at her circumstances but she never gave up because her son needed her and I just super duper loved that about Randy. I loved her son as well, Eli was such a great character and the wealth of love that he had in his little body for his Mother just warmed my insides. The lengths to which he went to make sure that his mother was taken care of before he pursued his own dreams was admirable for a young boy of 12. With his genius IQ and his friendship with millionaire, Frank Taggert, the little things that he would get into with his best friend had me laughing and sighing at the same time. They were just too cute, how they put the whole thing together with the help of Mike and Sam Taggert was just fantastic. I loved how it all came together and how Frank’s issues with Randy were real and how Randy reacted to all of it was just fantastic! This book brings out the romantic side in all of us and the ending was just soooooo great! This is such a cute read that I highly recommend everyone read it!

Double Exposure by Judith McNaught

Hero: Spence Addison
Heroine: Corey Foster
Grade: 4/5

This story was pure cheese. The prequel to JM’s Remember When showed the romance story between Diana’s step sister, Corey Foster and her childhood crush, Spencer Addison. We see how these two end up together and all that jazz. When I read RW, I was hecka in love with Spence, I thought he was a straight up stud, I still do and though I liked his story well enough, it wasn’t my favorite. I thought it was cute even though I couldn’t believe that Spence thought he could pull marrying Corey without her knowledge FOR REAL off. I mean, seriously…yes, he was desperate and yes he realized that he loved her and we all do stupid things when we’re in love with love being blind and all that but seriously, that was really stupid. I thought his niece and the chap she was marrying were a bit much but I loved seeing Diana and Corey’s Mom and the grandparents, the grandma was hilarious! That scene at the table when they’re telling the story of Spence standing up Corey and her being all heartbroken, I thought it was so cute. How they wanted Spence to know the truth and how he felt bad and then went on that crusade to win Corey back for real and forever was….cute. This story was cute and it still brings a smile to my face even after all these years of rereading it. What’s the holidays without some cheese, huh?

Overall, this book is a wonderful read. I read it without fail every year and every year I enjoy it all over again. I am not yet sick of these stories yet so that’s a good thing because I seriously love it…you guys should definitely read this book and it will be a great holiday gift for your Mom, Sisters, or whoever reads romance like us.

Read These Now!

five-stars


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Review: Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas.

Posted December 10, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas.Reviewer: Rowena
Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Bow Street Runners #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Genres: Romance
Pages: 388
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Goodreads

Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.

Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished - but that was before he met the lady in question.

For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who could destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition - one he has never offered before.

He asks her to be his bride.

And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know - that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London's most notorious lover might claim Charlotte's body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

I went into this book, knowing it was going to be a good book and that Nick Gentry was going to give Derek Craven a run for his money in the stud muffin department and though I rather enjoyed Nick Gentry’s studliness, I have found that I prefer Derek over Nick…and I think I blame Dain from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels because I have found that I’ve still got him on the brain.

Funky, huh?

Goodness, I enjoyed this book well enough but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I probably would have, had I not read LOS before this one, which makes me feel bad because Lottie and Nick’s story was quite the romantic story and by the end of the book, I had forgotten about Dain in my OMGOSH I LOVE ME SOME NICK GENTRY love. So, without further adieu, here’s the review.

This book started off with my eyes dang near popping free of my eye sockets with Nick going to Gemma Bradshaw for some lovin’ lessons. I wan’t expecting that because usually in my romance novels, the heroes are born with the ability to pleasure ALL women, whenever and wherever…to see the beginnings of Nick’s lovin’ ways was frickin’ great and to see that Lottie was only the SECOND girl to find her way into Nick’s bed should have shocked me but I loved it!

Downright, effing loved it!

I haven’t read any of the other Bow Street Runner books so I don’t know if they’re any good or anything but I’m going to read the rest of them just so that I can read about Ross and Sophia and then Grant and his wife. Those are the couples of the other books, right? Hmmm…and plus, I can only imagine that there’d be plenty of Nick in Ross and Sophia’s book, which is always a bonus.

I can’t wait, but I don’t have those books anywhere near me so I’m going to read another book before I tackle those books.

I really enjoyed Charlotte and Nick’s story. Even though I knew what was going to happen with the whole Lord Radnor thing and I even knew what was going to happen to HIM, I still enjoyed this book quite a bit. I love the way Lisa Kleypas can draw you into whatever world she’s writing about and make you fall in love with her characters and the stories she writes.

Besides the predictability of this book, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I loved Nick’s strength and Lottie’s understanding of the way Nick was and wanting to be with him anyway, the way she accepted him flaws and all, even though he knew that she was going to turn away from him made me love the heck out of them all the more. The scene at the ball when Lord Radnor shows up and the wealth of love these two just showed each other when Nick wasn’t being a butthead was just fantastic. I loved the sense of family between Ross Cannon, Sophia and Nick…Ross knew that Nick couldn’t stand his ass and yet they were family and he wanted what was best for him and went about putting everything together because he knew that Nick would never do it. It was great stuff.

I enjoyed Lottie coming to Ellie’s rescue the way she did and I enjoyed watching her stomp through her old home like she owned the place and putting her money hungry, spineless parents in their place while she announced that she was taking Ellie home with her..and when she told Ellie that she will always come to her rescue, I was cheering her the heck on.

I loved how LK had Lottie fight her own demons that came in the form of Lord Radnor instead of having Nick coming in and swooping to her rescue, I loved how Lottie was true to her love for Nick through the most trying of times…I only wished I knew what happened at the house after Radnor took Lottie away, what happened with the parents? What happened to Ellie? WHAT HAPPENED?

On the whole, this book was a pleasant few hours of reading. It had lots of things that made me laugh, wistful and all things romantic. Nick was a fabulous hero and Lottie was a fantastic heroine, the secondary characters were great, not overpowering of the story as a whole and it was a very pleasant book.

Good read, if you haven’t read this series, you should definitely check it out…I’m glad that I did.


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Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

Posted December 1, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.Reviewer: Rowena
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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They call him many names, but Angelic isn't one of them . . .
Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Bane and Blight of the Ballisters"—and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best—sin and sin again—and all that's going swimmingly, thank you . . . until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.
She's too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world . . .
Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him—and with him, her family and future—means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is—herself!

I started this book not too long ago and I’ve finished it already and I’m not too happy about that, as a matter of fact, I’m downright pissed off with myself for finishing the book because, I wasn’t ready to part from these characters. This book was soooo good. I don’t think I had any gripes with this book, AT ALL.

Seriously.

I mean, right from the beginning of the book I was drawn to Dain’s character. When he was that lost little boy of 8 years, grieving for the mother he loved and wanted most of all, to see the scared little boy in the grown adult man made me yearn for him to find that someone that will give him what he so desperately needs…which is love. I was over the moon that Jessica was that woman. She was completely perfect for him, seriously perfect for him.

It was magic every time they were together before they got together, all the witty banter flying back and forth between them was so refreshingly cute and the bickering was such an entertaining way to get to know these two. I loved everything about their relationship, right from the beginning when they both hate each other (but not really) and up to the very end when they’re both utterly besotted with each other and totally in love.

My favorite line in the book is when Dain tells Jess how besotted he is with her and curst if he knows why.

This line:

He pulled away the glove, and at the first glimpse of her fragile, white hand, all thoughts of negotiation fled. “I don’t see how matters could become worst,” he muttered. “I am already besotted with a needle-tongued, conceited, provoking ape leader of a lady.”Her head jerked up. “Besotted? You’re nothing like it. Vengeful is more like it. Spiteful.”

“I must be besotted,” he said evenly. “I have the imbecilic idea that you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”

OMGOSH, I frickin’ loved that line, I didn’t like what happened after that little bit of dialogue but I seriously LOVED it. I loved the names they called each other, the first kiss in the storm with him all half naked and following her after she stomped out of the room where he was with his cows.

LOL!

I’m telling you, this book was off the chains fantastic, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. I enjoyed all of the characters, even the butthead characters that got on my hot damn nerves like Vawtry and Bertie…goodness, Bertie was one dumb ass of a character, don’t you think?

My favorite thing about this book though were the names Dain and Jess called each other, my favorite name that Jess called Dain?

A conceited clodpole!

Oh my how I laughed when I read that, all the insults Jess threw his way never ceased to crack me the hell up. This was a fun book, it was all things great and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

I loved the watch that Jess got for her grandmother, I loved the relationship that Jessica shared with her Grandmother, Genevieve and I hella loved when Jessica yelled at Bertie for being a dumb ass when he was trying to get the horses under control, oh man Jessica was the bomb.

Oh dude, and when she shot him? Holy hell, this girl be keepin’ it gangsta! When she went in there, calm as can be and whipped out her gun and shot that fool and then turned around without blinking and walked out like she was Billie Bad Ass, I was rollin’…dude, this girl has got so much nerve and I loved it!

This book was off the chains, ya’ll should totally read this book…one of the things that I worried about throughout the book was that Dain’s bastard wasn’t going to be dealt with but man am I oh so glad that things worked out for the best on that score, I enjoyed getting to know Dominick and to see him grow into the boy that he was at the end…and to see the way that his presence changed Dain into the father he didn’t have, how he changed Dain with Dain not thinking he could, how everything was just so instinctive and for Jess to trust in Dain to do the right thing, sigh it was just jolly lovely!

I LOVE THIS BOOK, if you haven’t read this book, what are you waiting for? FIX THAT PRONTO! GREAT GREAT BOOK!


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