First up is Amanda Scott's The Secret Clan: Highland Bride (Warner Forever), with Bab (Barbara) MacRae who we met in the last "Secret Clan" book. Bab is none too happy about being shipped off from the Scottish court to the Highlands with Sir Alexander Chisholm, a boring fellow if there ever was one. She is intrigued, however, by the local outlaw--a real Robin Hood type--the Black Fox whose touch arouses her. Except she's got to marry Alex, and, funnily enough, that suddenly doesn't seem such a terrible thing. Being attracted to two men, however, doesn't make for an easy conscience. Claud and Maggie are back again to "help," along with Lucy and some other rather unsavory fae. An altogether engaging story, though the Black Fox charade did seem a little long to me. I'm looking forward to the next outing, with Kit Chisholm and another lucky lass. For this one, I'm borrowing four of Cupid's five arrows.
Next is another Scottish-set story, Donna Fletcher's Love Me Forever (Jove). Brianna Cameron wants only the chance to live her life now that her miserable husband is dead. What she gets is a carriage accident that leaves her unable to do anything except accept the care of a stranger who is also recently injured. Royce Campbell wasn't expecting to have to share his cottage with anyone. He simply wanted to heal himself, physically and otherwise. Yet he cannot turn Briana away, and though he knows it's not a good idea, he falls for her anyway. Imagine their shock when her dead husband turns up alive. I have to say, I think I liked this book far more than any of Ms. Fletcher's other books, partly because of the setting in Scotland and partly because of the characters. They're so well-developed and their conflict is so powerful you can't help but care what happens to them. I'm giving this one four and a half arrows.
Finally, we have Jo Beverley's St. Raven (Signet). Tristan Tregallows, Duke of St. Raven, is also "The Crow," a highwayman. He's not expecting to rescue a fair maiden, though, when he takes Cressida Mandeville up on his horse to get her away from the notorious Lord Crofton. Cressida's none too pleased to have her careful plans wrecked by the stranger, and her displeasure turns to shock when she realizes who her captor is. Tris and Cressida are now set on a quest that will upend all of their plans and surely leave someone with a broken heart, but neither is willing to go in another direction. Get yourself a fan before you get to their steamy encounter, and enjoy this one. It's a pure pleasure to read. I'm giving this one four and a half arrows as well.
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Until next week, happy reading! And happy Valentine's Day!