At fourteen he found his father crouched over his mother's battered, bloody body...That same night, his home and his clan were attacked by an enemy clan and Gavrael Roderick Icarus McIllioch sold his soul to Odin in exchange for the strength he needed to save his home, becoming a legend, a Berserker.
Not wanting to have anything more to do with his name, especially the madness his father professed coursed through the veins of their clan—the madness that surely made his father kill his wife—Gavrael became Grimm Roderick, spending the next fifteen years in the employ of the king, trying desperately to forget his legacy...And the beast inside him.
Then a missive comes from an old friend, calling upon the vow Grimm had made when he was sixteen. To protect the girl who found him, covered in mud, hiding in the woods. "Come for Jillian", the missive says and nothing could stop Grimm from racing to the side of the girl who's turned into the only woman he's ever loved. The only woman he could never have...imm from racing to the side of the girl who's turned into the only woman he's ever loved. The only woman he could never have...
This is one of my favorite books in this Highlander. It has it all, a legendary warrior, secrets in the past, determined enemies, and a pair of star-crossed lovers caught in the midst of inner and outer turmoil as they navigate their epic romance.
This book stars Grimm Roderick, Hawk's best friend and captain of the guards and the wish upon a fallen star Adrienne made at the end of the previous book. Because that wish came true. ;)
I loved Grim to bits. What's there not to love about an obtuse man so utterly and completely in love with a woman that it's made him stupid. So stupid in fact, he tries to push her away for almost half the book and almost accomplishes his goal in the second half. Yes, he was an idiot, a jerk and as ass, but at least he had a reasonably good excuse for his behavior (a wrong one, but he didn't know that until almost the end).
So he hurt the woman he loved, and, bless her heart, she endured. Lucky for all of us, Jillian was too stubborn for her own good and once she realized the truth about how the man truly felt for her, she dug in, and refused to be defeated.
I just loved these two together, how they changed from the aloof, poised individuals they were separately, into bratty, sometimes childish, and rather stupid couple that was the epitome of the saying "if he teases you, he likes you". There was a lot of metaphorical hair pulling involved, but once they crossed the proverbial line in the sand, their feelings, their connection was almost palpable.
But because this is a romance and the story isn't short, there were quite a few hurdles to overcome before the requisite HEA, but instead of the story feeling stretched out and overblown (like Beyond the Highland Mist for example), the reader (at least this reader) was so "involved", having come to know the characters, what drove them, what drove the conflict, and having seen what could be, that the pages simply flew as fingers were being crossed that all would end well.
The overall conflict between the McIllioch and McKane clan was also very well done, and rather "realistic" in terms of combating force (compared to the mystical elements involved in the previous book). This conflict wasn't between a human and Fae, but between two Scottish clans, echoing the savagery of the time and the locale in which the story is set.
Though we never got to see a real battle, the "danger" was there.
But what I liked most of all, beside the romance and the main couple, in this book, was the supporting cast, especially Quinn, Grimm and Jillian's friend and the voice of reason in their love story (wonder if he'll ever get a book), and Balder, who made an appearance quite late in the book, but had by far the best lines in the whole story.
Gone were the inconsistencies of the first book, this one was well-written, well-paced, offered a pretty good twist of a bad surprise in the end, and delivered one hell of a romance. I'm still starry-eyed. ;)