Raised on rumours of The Devil of Jedburgh, Breghan McAllen doesn’t want an arranged marriage to the beast. The arrogant border laird is not the romantic, sophisticated husband Breghan dreams of—despite the heat he stirs within her.
In need of an heir, Arran has finally agreed to take a wife, but when he sees Breghan’s fragile beauty, he’s furious. He will not risk the life of another maiden by getting her with child. Lust prompts him to offer a compromise: necessary precautions, and handfasting for a year and a day, after which Breghan will be free. For a chance to control her own future, Breghan makes a deal with the Devil.
Passion quickly turns to love, but Arran still has no intention of keeping the lass, or making her a mother. He loves her too much to lose her. But when a treasonous plot threatens queen and country, Breghan has to prove only she is woman enough to stand by his side.
Breghan is not excited about getting married to a man that she thinks is truly the devil. She gets on her horse and rides the day before the wedding and ends up far from home – farther than she intended. Or did she purposely head far off as to avoid the man. She ends up hurt and being taken care of by three strapping men. She soon realizes that one of them, the one she’s most attracted to is her soon to be husband and figures that there is a lot of rumor in the stories that she’s heard of him all her life. But she’s still not happy about the marriage. She talks to him, calling herself Bree so he won’t know she is his intended bride, and questions him about what he wants in a wife. She soon discovers that the man who wants to take her to wife only wants a brood mare! He wants some strapping woman to bed and make babies. He doesn’t care about love or companionship or even if she’s attractive.
When Bree and Arran finally make it back to Breghan’s father’s keep all hell has broken loose because of her desertion overnight. Breghan’s father is madder than a hornet and isn’t willing to listen to a word that she says about anything. Arran was certainly no expecting a slim beauty when he made the deal with Breghan’s father. Since Breghan is the 13th child in her family and she has 12 strapping brothers Arran assumed that she would be a big strapping girl. Wrong. Arran agrees to a handfasting rather than a marriage (handfasting used to last 1 year and 1 day) and to let Breghan decide how their future would go thinking that she would bow out. Breghan agrees to the handfasting, which shocks Arran, but she has her own motives. She makes her father agree that if she completes the handfasting then her father will let her choose her own suitor after that rather than choosing one for her. He agrees.
Breghan and Arran head off to Arran’s home and he’s more than kind – giving Breghan time to get used to the idea of the bedding. He soon has her in his bed but he pulls out as he doesn’t want to get her with child. He has his secrets from his past and the demons that he lives with that make him want to prevent a pregnancy. As the months go on, however, they both fall in love – not that they’ll come clean about that – and Breghan soon takes matters into her own hands to force Arran’s hand. Yeah, life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will.
This was a great medieval story. I didn’t love the arguing that occurred between Arran and Breghan during the first part of the book but it was so very realistic I just had to keep reading. They were both so stinking stubborn but so very much alike that I was pulling for them from the start.
While I can’t say that I loved the deception that Breghan pulls on Arran but I understood it completely. As I said they were both incredibly stubborn! There was a bit of political intrigue in the book that, while it showed us what was going on in the kingdom in Edinburgh, I just didn’t think really fit in with the whole story. It almost seemed like it was put in just to put the couple in a stressful situation that forced them together. I liked those parts of it, I just thought them unnecessary.
Overall a really good medieval love story.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place