This is the First in the MacCarrick Brothers Series about an ancient family curse that dooms all male members of the family if they don’t find their for chosen mate and bind his body, heart and soul with her. This story is about the youngest brother, Court (Courtland) who is a mercenary by trade in the hopes of freeing his land from debit. The year is 1856 and in a small country on the boarder of Spain and France, Court gets involved in a political power struggle. Unfortunately he chooses the wrong side and almost ends up dead. After some quick thinking and sly maneuvering, he escapes his captors and is found by one of the local ranch owners. She takes in to her house to heal, only to learn that he is the enemy. But the Bible says “Love Thy Enemy” and that’s just what happens. After being kidnapped, dragged to London, through France twice and home again, she still wants him. Especial once she finds out that she’s his key to releasing him from the curse. This book started off extremely slow, but once I finally got into the storyline it picked up speed till the end just flew by. I think Cole could have done better at overall character development, but the two main characters, Court and Anna, were pretty well grounded. The storyline didn’t hold my interest well (the war in Spain and Andorra). As books go it was OK, but it’s not something that I would personally read again nor do I think I’m interested in continuing on with the series.
8 Sensuality: 8 Sub-Genre: 9
This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
Ms. Cole has taken a different direction for her third effort and as a result we’ve left the high seas, and this book is set in the country of Andorra. This was fun as not many books are set in this small country and the history that it has is not only unique but interesting.
Annalia is a strong woman that has much to loose. Her small country has been put right in the middle of a military conflict and her family lines have made her a political pawn. Her brother is being held by her enemy Pascal. Pascal wants to rule and he knows that his claim will be made all that more strong if he marries Annalia since she is a descendant to the Castilian line of Spain. Annalia wants to live a quite life and is concerned about the fate of her brother. One day on the way home from a walk she happens upon a beaten man. Recognizing him as a Scot she takes the chance and brings home the severely injured man. If he turns out to be the mercenary she thinks he is…she will simply kill him herself if he brings harm to her small holding in any way shape or form. What she doesn’t know is that Pascal has turned on Court and he will do all that he can to prevent him from succeeding in his quest.
Court MacCarrick’s family has been cursed. He has turned to the work of mercenary in order to fill his coffers. When Pascal orders him killed he does the only thing he can in order to survive. He jumps to his “death” into a river. Washed downstream he is saved by an “angel” only this angel has a sharp tongue and seems to be a bit of a shrew. Still this does nothing to tame the attraction that burns between them despite how badly Annalia would like to believe otherwise. The devil in Court though will not give quarter to the beautiful sharp tongued Annalia and he drives her to lengths that he can’t understand in order to save her brother from the evil Pascal. Court takes matters into his own hands and kidnaps Annalia before she can sacrifice herself to Pascal in marriage hoping to gain the release of her brother. Together these two people work towards the same end, protecting Annalia and her brother while at the same time bringing an end to Pascal and his evil ways. Will Court and Annalia be able to bring an end to Pascal and will they accept their attraction or will pride stand in the way?
This was a good read that was kept from being great due to our main characters. I had problems with Annalia and her attitude throughout the read. Although she is a strong character she rubbed this reader wrong. Her actions at times seemed more petulant and spoiled than well thought out. Prejudice kept her from seeing Court in any true light. Court on the other hand at times was no better. He would bait Annalia which in turn kept the spiteful behavior going. I had to put this book down several times due to sheer frustration. Still it was fun to read a book set in a location that for the most part is overlooked in historical romance fiction. For that alone I give Ms. Cole high marks for “thinking outside the box” and using her creativity. In the end I admit to not really caring what happened to these two characters. Their stubborn nature took away from the romance of this read. Secondary characters are colorful and plentiful and help to deflect some of the ridiculous actions taken by Court and Annalia. Overall this is a fair read. Come to this book with an open mind and you the reader should do fine.
9 Sensuality: 9 Sub-Genre: 9
This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
Kresley Cole has once again taken this reader on another romantic adventure romp with the first book in a new trilogy featuring the three MacCarrick brothers. Three adventuresome and darkly dangerous Scottish brothers who live life on the edge since believing an age-old family curse that predicts that the family line would end with them.
Setting the first book in the principality of Andorra, 1856, in a startling and attention grabbing opening, Courtland MacCarrick, youngest of the three brothers, was discovering that hiring himself out as a mercenary for the very evil despot General Reynaldo Pascal was not a good thing! As Pascal was about to have Court’s heart carved out of his body, Court opted to propel his bound body into the water and take his chances with the raging torrent below him.
Days later, on her morning ride, Lady Annalia Tristan Llorente discovered the half dead beat up body of Court, and realizing by the remnants of plaid that remained on his body that he was one of the despised Scots barbarians that had been hired by Pascal to subjugate the surrounding villagers she fought her initial feelings to leave him rot on the banks of the river. In spite of the fact that he was an enemy, kindness won over her fear, and she dragged Court to her home setting his broken bones and caring for his wounds. When Court regained consciousness, the battle lines were drawn as Annalia’s scorn set the tone of their relationship insisting he leave. The beautiful, fiery and tantalizing Castilian aroused feelings in Court he’d long since thought he’d conquered and her feelings of superiority also raised his hackles so the fur certainly did fly! When Courtland realized that she was about to sacrifice herself to marry, his enemy Pascal in order to save her brother, Court kidnapped her, if only to save her from herself – or so he thought! The journey along the way proved to be a rollicking sensual adventure that gives new meaning to the word ‘steamy’!.
*** I thought this was a deliciously entertaining read that kept the sexual tension high; the adventure exciting; and culminated with a fabulous love story. Annalia and Court were really great together providing entertainment both when battling and definitely when loving. Court thought Anna petulant and spoiled; she thought of him as an ungentlemanly barbarian; definitely the ingredients for a lively romance. When Court finally discovered that Anna, the petite dainty beauty had courage, strengths and a passionate nature it brought out both the best in him as well as bringing him to his knees. The lively mixture of secondary characters, from Court’s brothers, his crew of comrades, and Pascal’s daughter Olivia, were all well-defined adding additional layers of depth to this very sexy romance. The dialogs, not only between the main protagonists but also between the numerous secondary characters were wonderful adding one more layer to this superb read! The only thing I must say I don’t like is having to wait another year for Hugh’s story, which judging by the sneak peak at the back of the book looks to be another fabulous read and a worthy addition to this newest trilogy which is going to end up on my keeper shelf!
Annalia didn’t need Courtland MacCarrick, but she wanted him! The man was stubborn, aggressive, and deadly - and she wanted him! Forever, Annalia hated her mother’s adulterous ways, she hated her mother’s uncontrolled passion - but now she understood! Inside her heart, she understood! For now, shamefully Annalia Llorente lusted for a man - the ruthless Court MacCarrick. Quietly she wondered, why him? Why this fierce Highlander who sold his soul for money? Why this man who killed and maimed for gold? Why this man?
Courtland MacCarrick admitted she had him tied in knots. He couldn’t think straight when she was near. Yet, they could never be lovers! Unfairly, Courtland MacCarrick carried a family curse! He would never be free to love a woman. He, the hardcore mercenary, could never give Lady Annalia Llorente a life!
Kresley Cole’s IF YOU DARE is reminiscent of Johanna Lindsey in her heyday. This is the stuff of romance fun - a tough, sexy hero and the little lady who brings him to his knees. Kresley Cole’s hero sprouted enough ayes, doonas, and dinnas to tantalize her reader forcefully. My, my, my . . . this hero and his husky brogue created enough desirable magic to pull the reader straight into IF YOU DARE. Moreover, Cole’s heroine, Lady Annalia Elisabet Catherina Tristan Llorente, is simply wonderful. She is loveable, sympathetic, and exquisite - the stuff of romance fantasy! More important, as a heroine, she has that irresistible quality that makes the reader cheer for her eventual happiness. Nicely done Kresley Cole and yes, this reader will be checking out your next entry in this robust series - IF YOU DESIRE.