LORD OF THE ISLES
By Debbie Mazzuca
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Release Date: April 6, 2010
I was excited when I heard about the upcoming release of Lord of the Isles by debut author Debbie Mazzuca. Containing three elements that always draw me to a story - time travel, fairy magic and Scottish highlanders – I couldn’t wait to start reading. I’m happy to say that Ms. Mazzuca’s story more than met my expectations.
Traveling to Scotland on business, Dr. Aileanna (Ali) Graham is mistakenly taken to Dunvegan Castle instead of Dunvegan Hotel. Stunned by Ali’s resemblance to the portrait of Brianna MacLeod, wife of a sixteenth century laird of Dunvegan, Rory MacLeod, the castle’s caretaker offers her a tour of the castle and a chance to rest a bit in the laird’s bedchamber. Exhausted from travel, Ali gratefully accepts and drifts to sleep dreaming of the handsome sixteenth century laird from the portrait gallery. The last thing she expects is to awaken in that very man’s arms!
Suffering from severe battlefield wounds and still grieving the death of his wife two years earlier, Rory MacLeod thinks he’s dreaming when he awakens to find a beautiful woman in his bed. He soon realizes that it’s not his beloved Bree, but a woman he’s never seen before although one to whom he is powerfully attracted. He has no idea that his well-meaning brother, housekeeper and good friend have used the MacLeod’s magic fairy flag to call her from the future to save his life.
It was too much, and Ali didn’t plan on listening to any more of it, not without defending herself. With a closed fist, she whacked at the men’s feet. “Get out of my way,” she said, dragging herself from under the bed.
Two men dressed in old-fashioned attire – fitted suede pants tucked into their boots and white linen shirts – backed away from her with their mouths agape. The older one was tall and had a powerful build, his dark red hair threaded with silver, his brown eyes wide as he stared at her. The other man was much younger, his hair a golden brown, almost as handsome as the man from her dreams. He opened and closed his mouth, his gaze swiveling from Ali to his companion.
Hands on her hips, she turned to confront the man in the bed. “I didn’t try to kill you…you big jerk, and what the hell were you doing in my bed in the…”
The rest of the question died on her lips. It was him – Rory MacLeod – the man in the portrait. She rubbed her eyes, but nothing changed. He was still there, in all his glorious perfection – except he was bleeding. A circle of crimson spread over the thick white linens pressed to his side.
“You’re hurt,” she gasped.
Unfortunately, the fairy flag can only be used three times and it’s already been used twice so, understandably, the three well-meaning conspirators are not willing to defy their laird by using the final wish to send Ali back to where she came from. In fact, the longer she’s there the more they’re convinced that the fairies didn’t just send her to save Rory’s life, but that she was sent back in time for Rory. Now all they have to do is convince a man who isn’t willing to risk heartbreak a second time and a woman who is determined to return to the 21st century that they’re meant for each other, for all time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining “fish out of water” tale. The story moves along quickly, with delightful dialogue written in an authentic sounding Scottish brogue and snappy banter between Rory and Ali.
His laugh was low and husky. “That brings back a memory of the first time you were in my bed, mo chridhe.”
Irritation penetrated the passion-filled haze that engulfed her. When she glared at him, he laughed harder. “If you were any kind of gentleman, Rory MacLeod, you wouldn’t remind me of that night, especially since you now know how it came about.”
“Aileanna, have I no’ told you I’m no gentleman when it comes to you. And I’m thinkin’ I should thank the fairies fer deliverin’ you to me naked.”
With an engaging cast of characters, this book has a likeable hero and heroine I could cheer for and secondary characters that add humor and emotion while keeping the story moving forward. I especially enjoyed the housekeeper, Mrs. Mac, who fits nicely into the role of determined fairy godmother, guiding her Cinderella (Ali) into the arms of her Scottish warrior "Prince Charming" and Alisdair MacDonald, Brianna's father, who plays an unexpected role in bringing Ali and Rory together. His introduction to Ali is just one of the twists and turns that kept surprising me throughout the book.
If you like strong, sexy highlanders and feisty heroines in a fast-paced medieval adventure that holds your attention from cover to cover, curl up with a copy of Debbie Mazzuca’s delightful debut, Lord of the Isles.