She hates all Warstones.
Can this one win her love?
Balthus of Warstone secretly loved Séverine, even though she was unhappily married to his brute of a brother, then she fled six years ago. Now her husband is dead, Balthus must find Séverine and reclaim her sons as his father’s heirs. Balthus’ desire is to claim her too, and despite his battle-maimed arm and her distrust of his family, he’ll prove he’s a suitor worthy of such a courageous woman
Séverine was torn from her dreams of joining an abbey when Ian of Warstone selected her as his bride. Six years ago she took their sons and fled him and his cruel family. Balthus fell in love with Séverine the first time he saw her and he has now tracked her down. He's not her husband and she hates his family, but he must convince her to see beyond their pasts to find a future.
Eleventh in its series, there are moments where I feel the weight of the backstory as it becomes apparent that Balthus's quest to find Séverine is more than a simple family retrieval. His brother Reynold is the hero of book eight and there is frequent reference to the events of book ten. As such, I feel like I started this book at a bit of a disadvantage.
Having said that, the story stands quite well on its own, once you understand that you won't understand everything. Balthus and Séverine have both suffered at the hands of the Warstone family in different ways. Balthus in particular has been steeped in a toxic masculinity and has a strong degree of self-hatred due to the recent amputation of his left hand. I loved that we got a real sense of Séverine - a woman who longs for peace but is driven by fear. She has done her best for her sons but constantly worries if she has done the right thing by forcing them into a years-long 'game' of hide-and-seek. Both shy away from their mutual attraction for different reasons and it takes quite a while for them to really talk to each other due to years of mistrust.
While definitely on the darker side of things, I found this a compelling and well-written romance as two scarred souls learn to open up again. I do wish there was a bit more closure with regards to the overall storyline but the romance was solid and well-resolved. There was a bit of head-hopping and a few editing errors, hopefully those are fixed in the final version.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Rachel's Random Reviews; all opinions are my own.
Nicole is the author of Harlequin/Mills and Boon Lovers and Legends Historical series. If she isn't working on the next book, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com, Facebook, and Twitter!
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