Only for a Knight
As the husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa! That novelty ditty kept running though my head the entire time I read this book. And honestly, if I hadn’t signed up to review Only for a Knight, I’d have stopped reading it about two chapters in.
After an absence of a decade, Robbie Mackenzie is coming home to his clan to marry Lady Euphemia Macleod, whom he agreed to wed before he ran off to find his lusty self. Lady Euphemia is on her way to Eilean Creag Castle, and their wedding will bring peace and joy to their rival clans.
Juliana MacKay is also on her way to Eilean Creag Castle. Her mother, now dying, asked her unmarried daughter to take all of their money to repay Duncan Mackenzie. That would be Robbie’s father, who sent them money when Juliana and her brother Kenneth were children, after Kenneth MacKenzie, her lover and bastard brother of Duncan Mackenzie, tired of her and threw them all out.
Confused yet? Good because it gets better… Robbie hears a scream. It is a lass. He runs to her aid, and after lustily staring at a wet woman (she’d just rescued an ewe from a loch) for a while, pulls her to safety and damns his luck for finding such a nice piece while he is on his way to met his betrothed. Because no lusty knight would dream of taking a leman while going to marry a woman he has never met, in Medieval Scotland.
Yes, that was sarcasm.
Robbie pulls himself together and decides the wet clothes must go, so he strips them down and tries really hard to look no lower than her eyes. Once she comes to, Juliana calls out thinking the man holding her is Kenneth, which really makes us wonder what she has been up to with her brother. Only she doesn’t know who Kenneth is because she has no memory! All this action and we haven’t even hit chapter three yet.
At this point in the story I had a pretty good idea where we were headed, even if I couldn’t figure out how the author would get there. If you can make out the sisters, brothers, uncle’s lover’s father twister, the reader is wise to the fact that at some point these two are going to turn out to be first cousins. Before the Reformation, intermarriage between first cousins was not allowed in Scotland, and even if it were, there’s that ick factor. But for now, just go with it, Scully.
The fact that this bothered me enough to go traipsing around the Internet to learn about it says something about my reading experience. And that is that these characters didn’t engage me at all. And then there’s the odd skanky sex the hero’s betrothed is having with some knight. If the sex weren’t skanky enough, the woman was. If that’s was what the author was going for – good show!
Really the only positive aspect of Welfonder’s story is its hero, who tries to be a good beta knight, but that might have worked better if the back cover blurb as well as all the characters in the book didn’t refer to his being a slut hound. His actions – wanting to win his betrothed’s affections, bringing her home a puppy, putting aside his want for Juliana because he won’t shame her by taking her as a leman – illustrated what a good and honorable knight he is, so I was never sure if he had just matured or his lusty slut hound act was just for show.
If only the rest of this book lived up to this line, when Robbie tells Juliana he would try and break the betrothal even if she weren’t a factor! “Because having believed myself unloved as a wee laddie, I long ago vowed ne’er to take a woman to wife who did not truly want me.” Oh well.
The first book in this series, Devil in a Kilt, was one I really enjoyed. I would so suggest picking that one up if you are looking for an enjoyable read but Only for a Knight, not so much.