Title: Guarded by the Warrior Conquered Bride Series, Book 5
Author: Eliza Knight
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: Scottish Highlands, 1303; 1308
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published Date: November 28, 2016
Arrives before Christmas.
A lady in need of protection… Suffering through a short marriage to an enemy of Scotland, Lady Emilia MacCulloch manages to escape just before her husband dies. But the Ross Clan will stop at nothing to get her back, for she plays a big part in their plans to thwart Robert the Bruce. She fears not only for her life, but for her family who will be labeled traitors. Placed by her king as a governess in the household of a devastatingly handsome warrior, Emilia finds herself drawn to the man when she had previously sworn off love altogether. His passion, charisma, loyalty, and strength shake the very foundation she’s built around her heart. A warrior in need of saving…
Ian Matheson has spent his entire life trying to prove himself. To belong. When his father passes away and his mother takes her vows at a nearby abbey, he is suddenly left in a position he was wholly unprepared for. And then his father’s dozen illegitimate children arrive on his doorstep in need of a father figure of their own. They are adorable and reckless, and he’s certain they’ll drive him mad. Just when he thinks he might actually need to find a wife to help him, Lady Emilia is presented to him by the king. She needs his protection and he needs her help with the bairns. Ian is tempted by her angelic face, her fiery tongue, and the secrets that surround her. He must resist the growing desire that’s laying claim within him. He must prove to his clan that he is a worthy leader. But maybe, just maybe, he can have the respect of his people and Emilia, too.
My Thoughts: The prologue introduces us to a nasty piece of goods – Ina Ross, whose mind is demented, yet cunning. One night her cousin, Padrig, was brought to her door, more dead than alive. Ina and husband were schemers. Unfortunate , Padrig was one of their pawns. Lady Emilia, used as payment for the debt her family found themselves, is another pawn upon the chess board these two are placed.
After three months of marriage to the bed-ridden, emancipated Padrig, he surprisingly provides the means for her escape, along with some documents to be given into the camp of Robert the Bruce, his revenge for the cruelty of his cousin.
Lady Emilia escapes, but must keep looking over her shoulder. If she were caught, Ina Ross would utterly destroy her and maybe for good. For her protection she joins laird Ian Matheson’s clan at the Balmacara Castle. She is thrust among a dozen children to be their governess. This challenge and opportunity she takes with an open heart and in turn the children quickly learn to trust her. She has problems trusting the laird, however. She’s been ill-used for some time, it’s hard to trust these new conditions of acceptance, generosity and kindness she’s surrounded by. A talent few women have, is knife throwing. Ian knows of this talent and has great faith in her skill.
Ian Matheson, newly laird to his clan, isn’t very confident about who he is and unsure if he should be laird. He’s always second guessing himself. What will his people think about the way he deals with problems? Will they accept him or reject? Will they follow him?
When his father’s twelve illegitimate children show up at the keep, he could see no fault of theirs being born out-of-wedlock. He took them in. He blamed his father, but not the children. The children were very unruly and Ian tries his best to be what they need. This is where we truly start seeing the kind of character this laird is. When the king presents Lady Emilia, supposedly his cousin, to him as a governess to the children, Ian sees the merit of having her. Immediately the children and Lady Emilia connect.
There seems to be a connection between Ian and Lady Emilia. As their relationship grows, so each are more confident in who they are. Ian is the perfect, understanding laird, quite flirtatious, one who knows that women adore him. Can Lady Emilia resist, or should she? Even though she’d been married, she is yet untouched, a surprise and delight for our hero – that is—when he gets around to following his desire!
There is an abundance of levity in this tale, suspense and danger lurking with surprising twists. Ian was my kind of hero with a heroine of matching quality.