This is a re-release of a 1996 adventurous romance sweeping from Queen Elizabeth’s court into the halls of Clan Douglas; seat of The Black Douglas, the most notorious Boarder Reiver in the Debatable lands.
Connor Douglas, is fighting a war on both sides of Hadrian’s wall. As if it wasn’t bad enough to be fighting the Maxwells, a clan barely half a step from being Sassenach’s – Gaelic for Outlander, a derogatory term for the Anglos – he’s also at war with his younger twin brother, Colin. When Connor discovers the Queen has arranged a marriage between a courtesan raised Sassenach – with a wee bit o’ Maxwell blood flowing through her veins – to his brother, in an attempt to tame the Middle Marches, Connor is furious. If anyone is going to unite the two clans it will be he, not Colin. After all, how long would he have to put up with a dainty courtly bred wife? He’ll be lucky if she survives the winter, much less long enough to give him an heir.
Gabrielle Carelton is an “overstuffed goose” among the covey of quails Queen Elizabeth surrounds herself with. So it’s little wonder why she’s sending Gabby to marry Colin Douglas and she’s pretty sure it has nothing to do with that drop of Maxwell running through her blood. The only thing she can find to be thankful for is that her marriage is not to Connor, the Black, for he is the “bogey man” of children’s tales and warriors ballads.
So it’s debatable who’s more astonished when Gabrielle arrives and realizes she’d been kidnapped by Connor’s men without even knowing it. As she faints Connor quickly realizes she’s not the dainty courtesan he expected, but a lovely voluptuous woman who could more easily sneak past his defenses and steal his heart than he could sneak into Maxwell keep. And he's done it, several times. Now if Gabby can just realize she got the better of the two Douglas twins while avoiding being kidnapped. Again.
I love books where the heroine isn’t a size two. Especially in a historical day and age when men wanted women to bear children, and breasts and hips were sexy. So it was a little disappointing that her weight almost overshadowed a great romp with The Black Douglas as he Raided his way through some great history in a time when Tudors fell and the Stuarts reigned.
Regrettably, while I loved everything else about this book I just could not warm up to Gabby. It was as if the author had transported a contemporary, with all her foibles, through time and dropped her into Connor's lap. Literally. Connor is a sexy border raider who lives up to the name "The Black" in looks and deeds and you can't help fall for the bad boy. This history was great, the story arch strong, drawing you in. Overall a decent read.
Gabrielle Carelton is one of Queen Elizabeth’s most devoted ladies-in-waiting. But her loyalty is put to the test when Her Majesty commands her to marry Scotsman Collin Douglas. When Gabrielle is kidnapped by Collin’s twin brother, not even Good Queen Bess can save her. Dubbed the Black Douglas, devilishly handsome Connor is known throughout the land for his magnificent feats of strength and cunning. But now he is in need of an heir. An English bride will bring peace to the warring nations — and give him the son he craves. What he doesn’t expect is a woman as passionate as she is proud … and a desire that knows no boundaries. Set against the pageantry and savage splendor of 16th-century England and Scotland, here is the story of a man and a woman who begin as enemies and strangers — and find a love that will triumph against all odds.