Tue
Nov 27 2012 5:00pm

First Look: Donna Grant’s Midnight’s Warrior (November 27, 2012)

 Midnight’s Warrior by Donna GrantDonna Grant
Midnight's Warrior
St. Martin's Press / November 27, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital

For ten long years, Tara has been a woman on the run, hiding from the magic-wielding Warriors and Druids of modern-day Scotland. Now, as a tour guide at a remote Highland castle, she hopes to finally escape her past—until one impossibly gorgeous man enters her life…and exposes her wildest secrets.

For centuries, Ramsey MacDonald has concealed his strength and skill as part Warrior, part Druid, for fear of unleashing the full force of his power. But when he takes Tara into his arms—and seals their fate with a kiss—Ramsey will have to fight for her love…though it may mean losing control of the magic inside him.

A lovely woman is manning the phones in a gorgeous Scottish castle-hotel—but she's not just in Scotland for the scenery. Tara is running from a secret past, and is afraid for her life. I hadn’t read the previous books in Donna Grant's Dark Warrior series, so I wasn’t sure whether Declan, the man Tara is thinking about, was good or bad—just that he was influential in Tara’s past. He’s certainly chasing her, but why? It seems Declan wants to bend her to his will. Tara had escaped from Declan ten years earlier, but she doesn’t want to leave her refuge in a Scottish castle and start running again.

In the past, Tara was quite intrigued by the handsome handyman Ramsey, even though the timing wasn’t right; “The problem was there was never a good time for her to get involved with anyone.” Ramsey is a brawny dark-haired Celt with eyes the color of gray ash, so rugged that he doesn’t even wear a coat outside, even though it’s bitter cold in the Highlands.

We hear Ramsey saying to another Warrior that “Declan was a menace who needed to be kicked, but he was devilishly lucky.” There’s something so fascinating about meeting seemingly ordinary people who have extraordinary ties to untrammeled forces. But warrior through the generations or not, heroes have qualities that are transcendent; “Ramsey had never been much of a talker.” The strong, silent hero is a familiar figure, but what’s with the magical tendrils of white smoke rising from Ramsey's hands when he gets close to Tara?

It can be difficult reading a subsequent book in a long series but Grant gives us just enough of the past to understand the present circumstances in which Tara and Ramsey find themselves. They are both the inheritors of centuries of powerful magic but that’s not something they can talk about easily. Ramsey needs Tara to trust him so he finds a way to unlock some of her secrets.

“How about telling me something you did that you weren’t supposed to as a child?”

She bit the side of her bottom lip, her blue-green eyes alight with pleasure. “All right. I used to sneak out of my house to swim in the loch.”

“That’s the best you can do?” he teased as he stirred the mixture in the bowl. “I didna just sneak out. I would talk something from my father and put it with one of my cousins so he’d get in trouble…”

Tara and Ramsey are strikingly similar, both loners for most of their lives. Ramsey has reached out to powerful kinsfolk, warriors like himself, because he knows he cannot defeat the evil—the powerful and frightening Declan—that chases Tara by himself.

Ramsey, a powerful warrior, must be gentle and welcoming in order to lower his lady’s defenses in order to protect her and save her from the lonely isolation surrounding her. And when they kiss, magic swirls through their veins. Ramsey and Tara can almost communicate without words because they’re so attuned to each other, but it’s a conversation between Tara and one of Ramsey’s brothers-in-arms, Charon, that really sums up the magic of the story. The scene has almost a Lord of the Rings last battle feeling to it, the idea that when it comes to the last fight against almost insurmountable odds, all good folk, magic or not, have to band together and throw their courage and hearts over the wall. Tara has agreed to speak with Charon. She knows now who Ramsey is—but why he is trying to protect her?

“You can keep running,” Charon said into the silence. “Eventually Declan will find you, but you’re aware of that. Or, you can take a chance and put a small measure of your trust in us. Ramsey will die before he allows Declan to harm a single hair on your head.”

“He doesn’t even know me,” she said as she raised her eyes to Charon. “Why would Ramsey risk so much?”

“Because whether you like it or no’, your destiny is tied with Ramsey’s.”

Whether your tastes run to fated mates, or you love a Scottish Highland setting with brawny warriors with their marvelous burr-filled speech, or you can’t resist a strong brave woman who lets down her defenses to let a brave man fight by her side—not to mention getting to know a magical clan of centuries old men and women—Midnight's Warrior will suit every desire. Particularly warming is the sizzling attraction Tara and Ramsey have for each other. The setting may be winter in the Highlands but the two of them set off sparks that ignite the page!


Janet Webb

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