By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general.
I love forbidden love/romangst tropes: you know, where there's some seemingly insurmountable reason that the hero and heroine can't be together, so their relationship is doomed, and the longing is so painfully delicious. This was such a book.
Keeley and Alaric fall in love while she nurses him back to health after he shows up on her doorstep, barely concious and bleeding to death. Alaric had long envied the loving relationship his elder brother Ewan has with his wife, Mairin (see book one of the McCabe Trilogy, In Bed With a Highlander), so it is all the more wrenching when he finds a similar love with Keeley, knowing she cannot be his lady. Alaric can't marry Keeley because he's already betrothed to Rionna McDonald, the daughter of a neighboring laird, and their eventual marriage is the key to an alliance that is critical not only for the interests of the McCabe and McDonald clans, but also to peace in the highlands, because the two clans need to be united to stand against the villainous Duncan Cameron as he plots to overthrow the king.
The emotional torment on Keeley's side of the relationship ratchets up because Rionna is her cousin and best friend from childhood, and Keeley would not betray her (though Rionna has betrayed Keeley, by standing complicit when Rionna's parents banished Keeley from the McDonald clan years ago).
In light of these circumstances, the lovers try to resist temptation (Keeley tries harder than Alaric, it must be said), but their attraction is so powerful, it can't be denied though no good can possibly come of it.
As with In Bed With a Highlander, Maya Banks makes only the barest efforts toward historical realism--(or actually, realism in general: For example, Keeley delivers Mairin's baby in about three pushes, and there's no afterbirth to interrupt the post-labor celebration)--so if historical inaccuracies drive you batshit, this book isn't for you. If all you care about is a good story, and maybe even a good cry, read on!