When destiny brought Sir Balfour Murray and his wounded brother down the same road as Maldie Kirkaldy, she offered her services as a nurse even as she tried to deny the desire this dark-eyed knight had ignited at first sight. Soon they discover that they both share a mission of vengeance, but Maldie cannot tell him her true identity—to do so would brand her a spy.
Sworn to avenge his family as chief of the Doncoill Clan, Balfour vows to destroy his greatest foe, with Maldie at his side. Yet Balfour knows that he can no more afford to trust her than he can ignore his lust for this sultry beauty. Now, he is not only determined to unearth her deepest secrets, but also to pursue his passion for her. And nothing will stand in his way—even if it threatens to divide his clan . . .
Howell (A Taste of Fire) kicks off her new 15th-century Highland trilogy with the story of Lord Balfour Murray, laird of Donncoill. His arch-enemy Sir William Beaton kidnapped Balfour's younger brother, Eric, and an attempted rescue ends in defeat and injury. During the retreat home, Maldie Kirkcaldy emerges from the bushes and offers her healing services. She, too, has a score to settle with Beaton and wants Balfour's help. Although the unkempt Maldie protests loudly and frequently about not being a whore like her mother, she and Balfour quickly become lovers. Torn between lust and duty, an increasingly suspicious Balfour imprisons Maldie, who escapes to Beaton with Balfour hot on her trail. While the narrative is rich with detail and the plot promising, the pacing is uneven and the dialogue clotted with "havenae"s, "cannae"s, "isnae"s and "verra"s that add little authenticity but much confusion. And any reader who cannae ken the wee secret, isnae trying verra hard.