Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Spotlight Review--TALL, DARK, AND KILTED by Allie Mackay

Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0451-22551-1
November 2008
Paranormal Romance

Dunroamin Castle in Scotland's Far North, the Present

In an eerie prologue, a medieval Highlander, one Sir Hardwin de Studley of Seagrave, bargains with a lord of the underworld. It seems "Hardwick," so named for his proficiency at pleasing women, was cursed by a wandering wizard/bard. For 700 years, Hardwick has been forced to pleasure a different woman each night...without ever being able to find release himself! Even a lusty Highlander would eventually tire of such an existence. The devil promises to send Hardwick into that long, peaceful sleep if he proves himself by lasting a year and a day without being fully aroused by a woman. If he fails, Hardwick will be thrown to all the hags of hell for their pleasure. Hardwick chooses to spend that year and a day where he will surely face no temptation.

After being dumped by her boyfriend for a conniving other woman who, she suspects, had a hand in ruining her business, Cilla Swanner of Pennsylvania travels to Scotland to stay with her uncle and aunt at Dunroamin Castle, a registered care home for the elderly...the very same place Hardwick chose for his chaste sabbatical. Worse, it turns out that Cilla is one of those mortals able to see ghosts. And she likes what she sees! The feeling is mutual, for Cilla is also Hardwick's worse weakness, a lush damsel in distress.

Meanwhile, there is trouble in Dunroamin Castle. Guests are leaving in fear of the roving bands of fierce Viking ghosts haunting the grounds. The few that are left are a colorful set of oldsters who add humor to the plot and a welcome diversion from the steamy thoughts of Cilla and Hardwick. She longs for him like she's never longed for any man, and he constantly fights his own arousal while mentally toying with her. She won't know who and what he is or why he won't make love to her for a good part of the book, but the author starts in right away to treat us to earthy, explicit desires on both their parts. And I mean "parts" both figuratively and literally. I could wish more time was spent on developing the side plots and less on sexual fantasies, but that is just a matter of taste. The minor characters, mortal and not, and speculation on otherworldly matters -- especially the chances for lifting the curse -- added interest to the whole.

TALL, DARK, AND KILTED is an imaginative, intriguing, and sensuous novel. It's also connected to Ms. Mackay's HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS and HIGHLANDER IN HER BED. A search on HIGHLANDER IN HER DREAMS's title in RRT's home page search window will turn up our review of it in which Sandra recommends it highly. All the titles exhibit the author's knowledge and love of Scotland and its Highlanders.

Jane Bowers

1 comment:

Estella said...

Wow! This sounds great. I love stories about Highlanders.