Desert Isle Keeper
Heaven help the woman a Cynster male decides he wants for a wife. Against the Cynster charm and will she doesn’t stand a chance. Although fate plays a heavy hand in all the Cynster books, her machinations are less than subtle in Scandal’s Bride, the latest installment in the Bar Cynster series.
Catriona Hennessy is the Lady of the Vale, a long and honored title held by the women of her family. Considered a witch by many, she rules the Vale and the people in it with a fair and generous hand, relying on the visions the Lady sends her for guidance. But when the Lady sends her a vision of the man who will father her children, Catriona knows there must be some kind of mistake. The face she sees is the face of a warrior, beautiful and strong. A strong man does not fit in with Catriona’s plans. She must be the stronger in any union. She must rule the Vale.
On his way to hear the reading of his birth-mother’s husband’s will, Richard ‘Scandal’ Cynster never expects to find diversion in the highlands of Scotland. While out for a walk one frosty night he finds himself staring into the most incredible green eyes he has ever seen. Blood runs true they say, and being a Cynster through and through he can’t help but steal a kiss.
It’s him! Face to face with the Lady’s vision Catriona desperately searches for a loophole in the prophecy. She tries everything – even an aphrodisiac to guarantee having Richard’s child without marrying him. Fate has a way of ensuring her will is done, however, and a clause in Seamus McEnery’s will makes certain Catriona and Richard become husband and wife.
Of course the path to true love does not run smooth and Catriona and Richard are adept at conflicting with one another. What both are powerless against is the growing bond between them. Try as they might to keep an emotional distance, fate will have none of it, and neither will the rest of the Cynster clan who arrive in full force when Richard’s life is threatened by someone who doesn’t appreciate his presence in the Vale.
I’ve never been disappointed by a Stephanie Laurens book and Scandal’s Bride is no exception. Her heroes are strong, dependable and delightfully arrogant. The Cynster men are well aware of what few faults they have, and those who have been caught by the matrimonial knot willingly surrender to home and hearth. After all, To Have and To Hold is the Cynster family motto. Richard is no different. While not as enigmatic as his half-brother Devil, he is a dangerously attractive, likable rake who would rather have Catriona as his willing wife than just a bed partner. And what a Cynster wants, a Cynster gets.
Catriona is a strong female. Laurens has a knack for creating realistic women in that they are independent and self-reliant, but these women know their limits, and know when they need to ask for someone’s help. Laurens’s heroines are also not afraid to take the bull by horns – exactly the kind of attitude a woman needs when marrying a Cynster male.
Scandal’s Bride is the third in the Bar Cynster series, and while Devil’s book is still my favorite, I think this latest installment has to be the hottest! Catriona’s attraction to Richard begins before they even meet and Richard is a true, hot-blooded Cynster. They spend a great deal of this book making love, but Laurens keeps the passion from seeming gratuitous. Each sensual encounter takes Richard and Catriona’s relationship to a new level, but don’t be surprised if your fingers are singed by the time you reach the last page.
Fans of Stephanie Laurens will definitely not be disappointed by her latest work, and if you’ve never read one of her books before – what are you waiting for? There are more than enough Cynsters to go around, and with names like Devil, Gabriel and Scandal, you’re sure to find a favorite. Just not Devil. He’s mine.