Monday, August 28

Maiden Bride by Deborah Simmons

Gillian Hexham soon learned her new lord was more wedded to revenge than to her. For Nicholas de Laci had sworn to exact payment for the sins of her uncle. Why, then, did his eyes belie his words, speaking naught of retribution--but promising nights of love?

Fate had sent Nicholas de Laci the perfect bride to fill the aching need in his soul. With her tainted blood, Gillian Hexham would satisfy the raw hunger that near consumed him. But only in ways he could never imagine!

I really couldn't blame Nicholas de Laci if he was consumed by revenge the way he was. He was left wounded in the Holy Land when he thought help had arrived in the form of Hexham, lord of the neighboring lands that bordered his England home. But he was sadly mistaken as he was dragged into the desert sun and was left for dead under the Syrian sun.

He came back from the dead to claim his estates and have his revenge on his neighbor only to find out that his brother-in-law, the Red Knight, had already killed Hexham when the traitorous neighbor attempted to claim Belvry, Nicholas's properties. Deprived of his revenge, Nicholas was only too willing to marry Hexham's niece as decreed by the king to settle the disputes on Hexham's lands since there were no other heirs to claim it--and make her suffer instead. Nick expected Gillian Hexham to be a docile lady that he could break with his vengeance. But, boy, was he wrong as it turned out that this novice nun was as fiery as her red hair. It was fun reading him having to work on being angry at her, at being a jerk (honestly!). It didn't work because he wanted her too much.

So came my favorite part. Not the sex part--although it was tastefully done. No, sickness came to Belvry and since Gillian was tending the sick (against Nicholas's wishes), it was expected that she would contract the ailment. And during her bout of illness, Gillian had delirium--she asked her maid Edith not to tell Nicholas that Gillian loved him. But it was Nick who was taking care of her because Edith was sick, too. That was when he decided to stop his vengeance. Don't you just love a crying man!

And that was also when he decided to keep his wife safe forever--and that included not making love to her again because it could result to pregnancy and then to possible death at childbirth. Which was doubly hard to do because he had come to love his wife and she was hellbent on having the family she always wanted.

"My lord, you must wash it in vinegar."
What?! Exactly Nick's reaction when Edith's husband tried to give advice on ways how not to impregnate the lady of Belvry.

One thing I didn't like was how Nick relented on the matter of children--Gillian's brother showed up and Nick wanted assurance that his wife's affection didn't get divided between him and the brother she could barely remember. But I had to love Nick's patience because even with Hexham's heir showing up and determined to claim the lands of his uncle that were now Nick's, he didn't let his vengeance get the worse of him to spare Gillian's feelings.

Thankfully, it was discovered that the Hawis Hexham in their midst was an impostor before he could endanger Gillian any further as he had originally planned--so that he could solely claim the Hexham properties.

This book has one of my fave epilogues. Don't you just wish epilogues are at least half as long as the entire book? I do! Check this one out when Gillian was giving birth to their first child:
"How do you feel?" he asked.

"Lean nearer and let me twist your privates into a know, so you can know how I fell."

"You are the one who wanted this baby! Do not lay at my door the blame for your discomfort."

"Discomfort? Discomfort? I shall give you discomfort, you fiend!" 'Tis all your fault! You bedded me!"

"You seduced me!"
Final verdict: 8.5/10. Must read, must have.

*I've had this book for years and years and I'm still looking for its prequel, The Devil's Lady, the story of the Red Knight and Aisley de Laci, Nick's sister.


Dylan said...

Hey great review, I just might have to check this out!=)

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