After meeting Lord Dominic in Borderland Bride, the previous book in the series, I have been impatient to meet the woman who will tame him. Samantha Holt has done an excellent job in Borderland Beauty, which contains plenty of passion, humour and danger. Dominic battles to win the heart of the lady he becomes enamoured with, a lady who has every reason to despise his silver tongue and his reputation. The path to their HEA is further complicated by subterfuge, misunderstandings and the danger posed by the borderland reivers who plague Northumbria.
Dominic, who needs a wife to help him manage his keep and warm his bed, is surprised to learn of a marriage contract, pledging him to marry the daughter of a neighbour, Lord Montgomery. Dominic does not recall having met his daughter, Lucy, and invites the family to spend Christmas at Thornewall to see if they suit. However, Lord Montgomery, forbids Dominic to mention the contract, fearing Lucy’s reaction. As soon as Dominic sees Lucy he is smitten by her curvaceous beauty, strong personality and wit and intends to quickly convince her to become his wife.
Unaware of the contract Lucy reluctantly agrees to attend the festivities and she is mortified when Dominic takes an interest in her. Lucy has no wish to marry, especially a man such as Dominic, who she views as a degenerate womaniser. Lucy does not consider herself attractive to men due in part to unkind comments about her appearance, made in the past by none other than Dominic, when she was but a teenager and he a swaggering youth, comments he has long since forgotten. Lucy believes that Dominic views her simply as a short term diversion and refuses to respond to his charms despite being blindsided by a strong attraction to him. But how long can she keep up this resistance and what if she finds out about the contract?
Dominic is rendered tongue tied or says the most inappropriate things to Lucy– his usual charm deserting him. This I loved as it makes for some very amusing exchanges! There are many fun and sensual scenes which push the bounds of propriety as the two embark on a merry dance around each other. Yet will Lucy’s constant rebuttals be too much for even a man as determined as Dominic? Their love and trust will be truly tested by each other and meanwhile the borderland reivers are becoming increasingly violent and daring, posing a threat to all.
I enjoyed the couple’s romance. This handsome man who can usually effortlessly bend others, especially women, to his will is brought to his knees by a forthright and headstrong young woman whom he cannot woo with passion and sweet words alone, torture indeed! I loved the banter between the couple as their courtship progresses and how Lucy comes to realise that there is a lot more depth to the Lord of Thornewall than she originally thinks.
I welcomed the Yuletide setting of this novel and the descriptions of the customs and festivities in and around the keep, the author’s knowledge of the period adding depth to the tale. I also enjoyed the secondary characters in the novel, including Lucy’s parents, members of Dominic’s household and Dominic’s half-brother Jake and his wife Isabel, the hero and heroine of the previous novel, who also make a brief, but welcome, appearance.
Samantha Holt’s Borderlands Legacy series continues to deliver sensual and loving romances whilst giving readers an insight into life in the borderlands. I recommend it to readers who like to read medieval romances with alpha heroes and heroines who often test their love and devotion, making for some entertaining tales.
A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Find Borderland Beauty at Jupiter Gardens Press
Cover art by Valerie Tibbs
Please click on the links for A Reader’s Review Blog’s reviews of other Samantha Holt’s medieval romance novels: