More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest of men may fight for their love…The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.
Like a heroine in an ancient tale, Vivienne waited in the highest chamber of Kinfairlie's tower for her fated lover. In the darkness he came for her, cloaked and hooded so that she would not see his face. He loved her sweetly, thoroughly…and Vivienne knew she had met her destiny.
But in the morning light, her dream is shattered. Erik Sinclair of Blackleith is no romantic hero but a disinherited warrior who arranged her abduction to regain his own legacy. Outraged by Erik's insistence that he needs her solely to beget a son, yet ensnared by the passion he awakens, Vivienne realizes that there is more merit in her taciturn spouse than he would admit. Erik is skeptical of her growing faith in his honour and her desire to recapture his stolen birthright…Little does he suspect that his rare gem of a bride intends to capture his barricaded heart as well.
This leaden second entry in Delacroix's medieval-era Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy finds Alexander Lammergeier marrying off yet another sister for financial reasons and, as in the first book, The Beauty Bride, he feels the need to trick the bride into participating. Playing upon his sister Vivienne's love of fairy stories, Alexander spins a tale a mortal woman once fell asleep in the castle's highest tower and was seduced by a fairy prince that compels her to climb the tower and await her own fairy prince. Unfortunately, the lover she meets, a mysterious man willing to pay her brother a hefty sum for her hand, is thoroughly mortal, and their passionate encounter leaves her compromised, sadly disillusioned and handfasted to the gruff Erik of Blackleith, who needs a noble bride and an heir to re-establish his claim to his family's estate. As the pair head for Blackleith, Vivienne strives to thaw her husband's icy heart, but Erik is so charmless that it's hard to root for her success. Vivienne, in turn, comes off as weak-willed, essentially accepting her role as broodmare until she can breach Erik's defenses. A prominent fairy subplot is knit throughout, but it serves more as a distraction than a complement to a love story that often feels like a recycled (and diluted) version of The Beauty Bride.