Title: The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #1)
A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…
They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…
Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?
Author: Lily Blackwood
Published by St Martin's Source: Publisher
Published: May 31, 2016
Genres: Historical Romace
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I was completely swept away by this debut medieval historical romance by Lily Blackwood. (Note: Lily Blackwood is also Lily Dalton, a Regency romance writer, so this isn’t her debut novel by any stretch.)
The opening chapter had me in tears. What a terrible scene she puts forth, with such beautiful, haunting imagery. I was captivated and horrified and brokenhearted. It set up the rest of the novel so well that I hated the MacClaren laird as much as Niall (our hero). And Elspeth, the feisty daughter of MacClaren himself, was such an independent Scottish heroine that I was immediately impressed with her.
Starting with Elspeth, she was a great character. Throughout the story, she acted bravely, but with her people in mind. She wasn’t willing to be sacrificed for alliances, and instead of throwing a fit or meekly acquiescing, she came up with a solution that highlighted her intelligence and self-preservation skills.
Niall had a hatred burning deep in his heart, as well he should after the first chapter! He was cunning and ruthless, but Elspeth humanized him with her sweet and bold nature. I loved how they interacted – they sizzled on the page. Their chemistry was as hot as it was deep, and I enjoyed the two of them immensely.
I had one major problem with this book, though.
When Niall fully humiliates MacClaren the moment after the wedding, and Elspeth is sent to their room until Niall comes to her, I understood why Niall had to do it. But Elspeth didn’t – nor should she have at this point in the story. This is why I didn’t understand, and was disappointed by, the reason why Elspeth actually “makes love” with him all night. By all accounts, she is rightfully furious that he used her to get to her father. She’s also rightfully brokenhearted that the man she believed she was tricked into loving wasn’t the man he claimed to be. Yet, within a minute of him entering the room, she goes all melty and they end up going at it all night long? Yeah, no way. Not within the character that Blackwood set up. She showed us that Elspeth was strong, smart, and a leader…yet then she ruins her a little by making her weak in the face of sex. Not cool, and, like I mentioned, I was sorely disappointed.
**END SPOILER ALERT**
Despite this, I still fully enjoyed the story and believe in Niall and Elspeth’s HEA. I cannot wait to read the next two in this series.