Tuesday, June 21, 2016

4 stars-- Beauty and the Highland Beast (A Highland Fairy Tale #1) by Lecia Cornwall

Oh there was so much fun in Beauty and the Highland Beast. For starters I'm a total sucker for the whole Beauty and the Beast trope. Total. Sucker. Thrown in a growly, injured, maybe mad hero, a scarred heroine who was gentle and kind, a devil cat named Beelzebub who put the fright in big brawny highlanders and had them doing his bidding, a little magic and danger lurking where least expected. Gah, yes. It was entertaining as all get out. Plus...that cover!

The quick of it is that Dair--the laird's son and future heir--has been gravely injured after being captured and tortured and a healer claimed only a virgin would be able to save him. So off his daddy went to find him a virgin bride. And options a plenty were found with the neighboring clan who's laird had like a dozen daughters. One of which was Fia who had injuries of her own, was often forgotten, and quite wanted an adventure. And oh one awaits her as she ventures away from home to see if she can help.

Dair and Fia were wonderful. They're both scarred and damaged--walking with limps, scarred skin, and plagued by things that have happened in the past. He's brash and bold and she's gentle and caring. I loved them together. They both needed someone to see past the scars and damage and just see them. It was wonderful seeing the strength and confidence he gave her and seeing the peace and calm she gave him in return.

There were a couple storylines happening and I enjoyed them both. First was Dair and his injuries. Both physical and mental. He had PTSD from being captured and forced to watch his cousin die a horrible death. Not having been able to save her haunted him. There were some really heart breaking moments watching him trying to deal with it and people thinking he'd gone insane. I loved seeing Fia's gentle touch heal him.

Then there was something afoot in the clan. Strange happenings and stirrings. Murmurs that Dair wasn't fit to rule the clan after his father's passing and was truly mad. Murmurs of witches and evil and just some shady stuff. I definitely was wishing harm on a few people by the end and definitely wouldn't have been as forgiving as Dair and Fia. I'm curious to see what will happen next with the series but man some of the folks are really gonna have to win my forgiveness for certain behaviors.

One thing that could have just been me was this is a Highlander romance with lots of yummy Scots but I kept feeling like it had an English vibe to it. It was a strange feeling. Took a little getting used to but still...a good time.

Overall, I had a good time with this one. It's a fairly lengthy read but I just flew through it and kept "needing" to take breaks from work around the house to read another chapter... or four. A beautiful romance and touching journey. Cornwall is definitely on my radar now.

Aaaand a quote because Fia's cat was a freaking floor stealer. Bel was amazing and hilarious.
The cat took a few easy steps out of the stable. Niall Sinclair caught sight of the beast approaching him. He muttered an oath and called out a warning. The four men in the bailey instantly froze and turned to watch the cat.

"Good day to you, cat," Niall said politely. He reached into the pouch at his waist as the cat regarded him steadily. "I have it here for you," he said, as if the cat had spoken.

Niall tossed a bit of bannock at the cat. Instead of mocking him, the other clansmen waited quietly as the cat approached the tidbit. When it was accepted and devoured, they hurried forward with their own offerings. Dair watched as his father's clansmen--guards, warriors, sailors all--made smacking noises with their lips, cooed and crooned like anxious mothers as the cat considered their offerings.

"Makes a nice change from mousies, eh?" Jock asked the cat.

Dair frowned. And they called him mad...

After eating his fill, the cat stretched and swaggered forward. He stopped when he caught sight of Dair, his yellow eyes narrowing. Dair held the beast's glare with his own. Beelzebub looked away first, but only to flex one paw and extend his razor-sharp claws. He honed his weapons with long, leisurely strokes of his tongue. The implied threat was not lost on Dair. He noted that the dogs that usually lounged in the bailey were absent, and the clansmen were giving the cat a wide berth. It appeared that Fia MacLeod's devil cat had taken over.

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Challenges: Pick Your Genre (historical) | New to You (series) | Goodreads

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