Note: Because we'll be talking about a scene dripping with delicious despair, this post may contain spoilers for anyone who hasn't read The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood... but we promise it will make you want to read it.
If you were to simmer the melting pot that is romance down to its essence, you’d be left with relationships. All romance, at its core, is about relationships and people finding each other. Finding that person who makes you feel whole. That person who completes the puzzle and flips the proverbial light switch in your soul. The person who becomes your home, no matter where life takes you.
That’s what the hero and heroine in Lily Blackwood’s debut Scottish historical are looking for. Niall Braewick is the son of the Laird of Kincaid, spirited away by a warrior on the night his father lost everything to greedy men and was murdered. Niall has been in hiding, honing his skills as a mercenary, biding his time, when his chance for revenge presents itself in the form of the MacClaren chief, the man whose family now controls the former Kincaid lands. Falling for the MacClaren’s eldest daughter is an added complication he doesn’t need.
As the eldest, and with her father in poor health, Elspeth can no longer put off marrying. The problem is that all of her would-be suitors not only fail to spark desire, but some of them are downright odious. Adding to her dilemma is that she’s gotten her head turned by the mercenary – a man only known as Beast. As the pressure to wed intensifies, to do her duty for father and clan, Elspeth finds the walls closing in on what she thought was “home.”
She peered at him in the darkness, her eyes shining. “It’s just that…for the first time, my home doesn’t feel like home. Life has not always been perfect or happy, but I’ve always felt safe here. Protected.”
How strange to hear her speak words that mirrors his own boyhood feelings for this place, his home. Also her home.
“Now, I do not,” she whispers. “I do not know what life holds for me.” She turned away from him, toward the stones. “I do not want to marry either one of those men, or anyone like them. And I don’t trust my father not to force me to do so.”
As Elspeth begins to bow under the weight of family responsibility and her growing feelings for Niall, he finds himself drawn to the daughter of a man who played a role in the death of his parents, and possibly his two missing younger brothers. However, as much as Niall wants his revenge, as much as he demands it, he recognizes that while his feelings for Elspeth, while inconvenient, are steadfast and true.
“How could I ever betray you,” he answered gruffly. “When from the first moment, there has only been you?” He exhaled through his nose. “I see you…everywhere. Every time I close my eyes. Even when I sleep.”
It’s a lot for any romantic couple to overcome. Secrets, lies, betrayal, and that’s just in the first chapter. But overcome it they do, because after all – this is romance.
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