Kindle Edition, 357 pages
Published June 25th 2014
by Mary Jo Putney, Inc.
Genre: Historical Romance
Wrenched from a monastery before taking final vows, Adrian de Lancey's fighting skill wins him an earldom. Fierce discipline masters his darker nature—until he finds a winsome slip of a girl lost in his forest, an illegal falcon on her wrist.
Encountering the ice-blond warrior Earl of Shropshire, Meriel de Vere knows his dangerous reputation—and hides her identity to protect her brother's estate from the enemy earl. She does not expect to be arrested. Still less does she expect such a great lord to want her as his mistress.
Her passionate need for freedom clashes disastrously with his obsession with his enchanting captive. Given a second chance to properly woo Meriel, can Adrian learn tenderness? Will the two of them claim lasting happiness—or will they lose all to a brutal sworn enemy?
Mary Jo Putney is a name I see a lot of when discussing historical romance, but she wasn't an author I'd read before. I picked up this book on a whim and was glad I did. It was an engaging read, one filled with characters that doesn't seem stereotypical of the genre, and a story line that was unique.
Meriel nearly becomes a nun at the beginning of this book, but realizes that it's not her calling. Although she is disappointing most of her family, she refuses to take the veil and instead goes to live with her brother Alan, who hopes to make a good match for her someday. I doubt he was thinking it would take place exactly the way it did.
Adrian is a hero who really intrigued me. He is a religious man who nearly become a monk but because of the brutal murder of his father and older brothers, he was left heir to his family line--and he is also heir to avenging their deaths. Adrian has spent years seeking that vengeance when he meets Meriel in the woods and finds he cannot let her go. I wasn't very happy with the fact that he was holding Meriel prisoner for no real reason other than one: he wants her. It gave the story a twist and demonstrated that Adrian has both dark and light sides to him, but I wasn't sure how Meriel, who is strong willed character, would ever be able to forgive him. But after another interesting plot twist or two, which illustrate exactly how much Adrian does love Meriel, and in which Meriel learns of how much she has loved Adrian, these two find a happily ever after.
I've probably been a been cryptic, but I hate to spoil a book for anyone. If I say more, I'm afraid I might do just that, hence the vague crypticness. If "crypticness" is a word. Suffice to say that, the plot is engaging, the characters compelling and their actions believable. I loved that about this book--it wasn't only well written, with a plot that was well developed, but with characters that were sharp and true to life.