Title: His Stolen Bride
Series: Stolen Brides 0.5
Author: Shelly Thacker
Format: Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Published: May 19th 2015 by Summit Avenue Books (first published January 1991)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
She’s kidnapped on the morning of her royal wedding—by her groom’s most dangerous enemy...
Treachery leads battle-hardened Highland lord Darach of Glenshiel to abduct an innocent: wealthy Lady Laurien d’Amboise, betrothed to the knave who betrayed Darach and his men. Stealing the delicate beauty from the steps of Chartres Cathedral on her wedding day, he vows to keep her safe—and untouched—for she is a hostage to be bartered for the freedom of his beloved Scotland.
But soon he discovers that his lovely captive has unexpected strength, fire—and plans of her own. From a besieged French castle to the untamed Scottish Highlands, Darach and Laurien are swept up in wild adventure, dangerous secrets… and forbidden love that puts their honor and their lives at risk.
A full-length novel of 115,000 words. Originally published under the title Falcon on the Wind. This extensively revised Author’s Preferred Edition ebook includes new scenes never before published. Also includes exclusive bonus content: “The Making of HIS STOLEN BRIDE: The Story Behind the Story.”
It had seemed entirely sensible at the time. A simple way to test the truth of her claim that she had lain with de Villiers. To show her that lying to him was useless. To make a point.
Instead, he had ignited a desire that burned him like none he had ever felt before.
He had expected Lady Laurien d'Amboise to be a timid little convent mouse. Quiet and passive and pliant. Easily manageable. Instead she was outspoken and strong-willed...and stunning in a way he could not even describe.
An innocent beauty caught up in a deadly game that was none of her making....
Malcolm rose to leave, chuckling.
"And what is there to laugh about?"
Darach gave his jovial friend a dour look.
Malcolm stopped just long enough to do his best imitation of Darach. "'Simple. Kidnap one French lass, hold her for a fortnight, and return her to de Villiers after he meets our demands. Perfectly simple.'"
HIS STOLEN BRIDE by Shelly Thacker is a superb addition to Shelly's Stolen Brides series. I have previously listened to and reviewed two books from this series: HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH and HIS CAPTIVE BRIDE, with 5 Wine Glass ratings for both. I enjoyed them and Shelly's writing so much that I absolutely had to pre-order this one and start reading it on the day it was released. I just couldn't wait to delve into it and I wasn't disappointed. The story was a delicious treat, well-paced with plenty of action and swoon-worthy scenes.
Unfortunately, HIS STOLEN BRIDE hasn't been released in audio yet - though I have read that it will be later this year. I just couldn't wait, so this is actually the first Shelly Thacker book that I've read instead of listened to. I am happy to report that while I missed Julia Motyka's narration, it was still a most delightful read.
Each of the books in this series can be thoroughly enjoyed as a standalone as the romantic relationships and the development of the plot are fully contained within each of the installments.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the cover - the lovely model, the view, the plaid, the sky, the castle all illustrated in such beautiful, vivid colors - caught and held my eye and my imagination.
As the story opens, we learn that the Scots desperately need France to join with them in their battle against England. Comte Jacques de Villiers, the French King's most trusted advisor, has been demanding hefty bribes from the Scots in exchange for his agreement not to oppose the treaty. On behalf of the Scots, Highland lord Darach of Glenshiel, our hero, and his men undertake a risky mission to kidnap the Comte's new bride and hold her in exchange for the Comte's promise to ensure the alliance they need. But... Darach expects a timid little mouse from the convent; he gets Lady Laurien d'Amboise.
Lady Laurien d'Amboise, a novitiate at a convent and our heroine, has been betrothed against her will to a vile and despicable, power-hungry noble by her stepfather. One day she's at the convent tending her beloved garden there and seemingly the next, she's at the Comte's' villa. The morning of her wedding, she prays for divine intervention as she is abusively forced to prepare for the ceremony. She plans to make an escape attempt until her own plan is blown asunder when she is abducted by brawny Darach on a large black horse wielding a sword.
I fell in love with both Laurien and Darach. Laurien was spirited, strong-willed, and intelligent with a feisty outlook and a tender heart. Darach was the epitome of a sexy, tortured hero. He was doomed from the moment he laid his eyes on Laurien. The sexual tension between the two was delightful and scintillating.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes:
"As I have said, milady, I mean to keep you safe, not harm you. And it is not my habit to force myself on unwilling maidens."
"Aye, pilgrim?" she asked dubiously. "Next you will tell me you are as chaste as a monk." She backed toward the door.
A grin slowly eased the hard line of his mouth. "I did not say that."
She frowned at him. "Not every man thinks constantly of... of..."
Darach grinned. "Aye, they do, demoiselle. Every man, from the time he is about ten until the day he dies, thinks frequently of that."
He drew her into his arms, gathering her close, and dusted kisses over her cheek, her hair. Wrapped in his embrace, Laurien closed her eyes, murmuring a sigh of exquisite satisfaction. A delightful drowsiness overtook her and she gave in to it, snuggled securely against Darach's chest, lying on a stolen wolf pelt, in the hold on a ship of thieves.
He cleared his throat. "I wish I could take back what I said." He looked away. "I behaved like a thoin aiseal."
"What does that mean?"
"A donkey's arse."
She glanced down at the furs, found herself fighting a smile. "And how do you pronounce that? I somehow suspect I may have need of that phrase again."
I credit my love for historical romances to Kathleen Woodiwiss. I read three of her books: FLAME AND THE FLOWER, THE WOLF AND THE DOVE and SHANNA so many times that my copies literally fell apart and I had to buy new ones. (This was before there were kindles and nooks so I'm dating myself.) It is the highest compliment that I can give to state that Shelly's writing reminds me of that of Kathleen Woodiwiss'.
Shelly's writing paints each scene with a life-like touch. Sexy Highlanders, dangerous perils, seemingly insurmountable obstacles, heartbreak, and suspense galore keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Add in a sweet and steamy romance and you've got a splendid, well-balanced tale. This story will keep readers guessing right up to a warmly satisfying ending. This tale certainly kept me up way past my normal bedtime as I could not put it down. If you enjoy historical romance at its best, I would suggest that you rush to whatever bookstore you use and buy HIS STOLEN BRIDGE now!
Suggested Reading Order:
His Stolen Bride (Stolen Brides, #0.5)
Forever His (Stolen Brides, #1) - Review | Purchase