Title: A Hundred Kisses
Author: Jean M. Grant
Format: Paperback, 370 Pages
Published: May 17, 2017 (The Wild Rose Press, Inc.- Tea Rose)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.
Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.
Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…
Only one word describes a woman widowed for the second time on her wedding night – cursed.
A Hundred Kisses by Jean M. Grant is a lovely Scottish medieval romance intriguingly interlaced with magical elements and a lethal curse. The story swept me away from the very beginning. It is set in the turbulent Scottish Highlands as the thirteenth century is winding down. King Edward of England has invaded Scotland’s southern strongholds and is exerting pressure on King John to abdicate. Several Scottish nobles have stepped up to be contenders for the Scottish throne. Some of those contenders seek personal fortune and power, but a few truly love Scotland and aspire to Scotland’s independence.
As the story opens, Alasdair Montgomerie, our hero traveling under a false identity, is on a critical mission for one of the Claimants seeking the Scottish throne. He is unfortunately injured and being pursued by a cruel nobleman who is determined to put a halt to Alasdair’s efforts – even if that requires ending Alasdair’s life. As Alasdair passes a lake, he sees a vision of a woman au naturel descending into the placid waters. When she doesn’t come back up, despite his injuries, he doesn’t hesitate; he rescues her. Surprisingly, she is not appreciative.
Deirdre MacCoinneach, our heroine, regrets having gone for a swim. She had thought she was alone and had only sought to snatch a respite before settling for the night. The following excerpt is pulled from that opening scene. Deirdre refuses to turn around to face her rescuer until she’s dressed.
When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.
She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.
His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream – it was the man from the wood.
Deirdre possesses the unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies. She doesn’t understand how, but she fears that her gift somehow killed the two men she had previously married. Some are now calling her a witch, fearing her visionary gifts. Deirdre is desperate to learn more about her sensory abilities, but her mother, from whom she had inherited her gifts, died when she was young. When Deirdre discovers that her mother’s sister may still be alive, Deirdre is determined to find a way to visit her aunt. When she ascertains that Alasdair will be heading to the area where her aunt last resided, Alasdair becomes her ticket.
Alasdair and Deirdre have an undeniably strong chemistry, but Deirdre fears that, if she sleeps with him, he will also die in her bed. Alasdair, scarred by a tragic childhood betrayal and driven by his deep love for Scotland, doesn’t believe in witches, magic or superstitions. Can the two let go of their pasts and learn to trust themselves and each other… before the past catches up with them?
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from A Hundred Kisses:
“A man from the wood. A stranger from afar. He will break the curse by a hundred kisses...”
Did he actually believe in this curse? A curse! He snorted. Deirdre stirred.
Impossible. Curses were for witches, spell casters and the weak-minded.
“Perhaps we can start counting those kisses once more. I think you owe me a few.”
A Hundred Kisses is the first book Jean has ever published. She’s currently working on the prequel to A Hundred Kisses and a mainstream women’s fiction novel that she hopes to see published in the near future. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her bewitching debut and am excited to read more works by her in the future.
A Hundred Kisses features two likable, genuine characters in a fascinating, well-written adventure. The romance is passionate and the tale is suspenseful. The author’s love of history and of Scotland shines vividly in her writing. If you enjoy reading original historical romances that will hold you spellbound and leave you warmly satisfied, I encourage you to check out A Hundred Kisses.