The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
A Highland Fairytale, #3
Released: April 4, 2017
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “Turn around,” he said gruffly. She raised her chin. “I’m not leaving.” “I sleep naked.”
Enchanting. Exciting. Charming. The “Fairytale Twist” is a trendy trope these days and I can say that The Lady and the Highlander is the best of the bunch. It is everything you love about highlander/historical fiction mixed with the magic of Snow White. Laire is one of twelve daughters, her father a proud laird who has his sights on having a son. He is bewitched by the treacherous Bibiana, a witch whose obsession with youth and beauty drives her to insidious heights as she drugs, enchants and kills young beautiful women (daughters and sisters) of the wealthy, virile- yet malleable men she marries and discards once she’s gotten her fill. Bibiana is old. Oh so old and ruthless, her deceptive beauty and allure colliding to create a most seductive villain.
The hunter, Iain, is beholden to Bibiana and does her dark bidding. His own tragic past has jaded him, hardened his heart and his only goal is to finish out his years of servitude and go on his own way to continue to feel nothing into a world where he expects to find nothing, least of all absolution for his past. I loved him. He wasn’t always a good man, yet his soul was not as black as he believed. Much to his surprise and dismay it all changes when he lays eyes on Laire. Brave, fearsome, and the fairest of them all, she is targeted immediately by Bibiana and the hunter must decide – save the fair Laire or stand by and abide her killing. What’s a hunter to do?
While Iain wrestles with his unexpected and unwanted feelings for Laire, Bibiana and her misfit underlings are fast at work concocting potions and using black magic to control Laire’s father, sisters and entire clan. Refusing to drink Bibiana’s tainted drink, she runs for help, narrowly escaping her lands in search of someone who will believe and help to bring down Bibiana and save her beloved family and clan before it’s too late. Iain follows closely behind on orders from Bibiana that began as a search and find to “bring me her heart!”
Laire’s journey leads her into all sorts of dangerous and hilarious trouble. She travels the woods and seas meeting friend and foe along the way…also being trailed by the hunter who by this time is half in love and lamenting the death-blow he knows he must strike. Only mid-way through the story, it became adorably clear that Iain was the only one who believed for an instant that he would be doing any killing when it came to Laire!
“Why are you here?”she demanded again.
“To kill ye,”he growled. He was willing now. If he could get loose, he’d wring her neck. But her knots were well tied and held him fast. She went pale. Her face, her blushes and frowns and blanches, gave away her thoughts so easily. She wasn’t so certain now, but she held her ground, her head high.
“Why?”she asked. “You helped me, let me go.”
The adventure! The banter! The game of cat and mouse was entertaining from start to finish. Each character was real and tangible in their own way. While abroad, Laire is soooo close but so far from locating a relative she believes she can count on for help. Trouble clings to lasses traveling alone, especially when they are as vulnerable and naive as Laire. She runs afoul left and right and finds safety in the most unlikely form- seven children and young teens who are beyond adorbs! It is easily thee most cute and clever spin on the 7 dwarfs!
I am bursting to give every detail, uncover ever nuance! I’m also clamming up to remain safe from your surefire ire should I dare damage or spoil the unique spin on this particular fairytale. There is an HEA, there is love, high emotion, swoony love, steamy seduction and vanquishing of an evil “queen”. There was a place toward the end where some of the writing became a little muddled and “wait, what” but phooey on that! It snapped back into place and was but a wrinkle in time. On the whole it is utterly romantic, fairy-tale, escapism that isn’t the least bit corny.
Author Lecia Cornwall is masterful in her weaving of these seemingly disparate genres. This is the third of the series but stands alone, though nods to previous characters from earlier novels. I loved it and I’ll read it again and not just my bookmarks. It is an experience, from start to finish! I was also pleasantly surprised that no bozo prince came to save the day. Iain and his brawny and tortured kind of love was perfect indeed.
He stroked her hair, whispered sweet, soft things. He was so hot, so hard. She shifted her hips, and he let out the breath he’d been holding. His eyes drifted shut, and the muscles of his jaw corded. He withdrew, and drove into her again. He moved against her, filled her, over and over again.
“Lass,” he began, but her breath hitched , and her eyes widened, and he knew she felt what he did, wanted him the way he wanted her. He swore softly and looked away. “Ach Dhia, sweetheart, I need to get you home to your uncle’s before he thinks I’ve . . . done what I’ve done.”
But she came around the bed, took the shirt from his hands, and tossed it aside . She slid her arms around his neck, and sheet dropped away between them. “What we’ve done, Iain. My uncle isn’t here, and I don’t intend to tell him. Do you?” He shook his head, his throat closing with renewed desire. She smiled sweetly. “Then perhaps I don’t have to go just yet.”
Besides, who needs a prince when you’ve got a hunter!
Previous Lecia Cromwall Reviews: Beauty and the Highland Beast