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This is first in series about the Murray daughters. This is also a story that is told differently than many others in Howell's Highland books. This story starts 10 years earlier when Elspeth finds Cormac near death and saves him to be healed by her mother. She is only 9 and there is not love plot involved at that time. Her girly heart has a crush for him - but nothing else. 10 years later, he is at a keep where he delivered his cousin for a wedding - he finds Elspeth kidnapped and held by a man who wants to marry her. Since she has said no, Cormac frees her and escapes with her. He is on his way to Kings Court to find and wed the woman he pledged himself to more than 10 years ago (not knowing she was the cause of his murder attempt). During the ride to safety, Elspeth finds out that this woman who holds a vow of marriage over Cormac's head is really using him for her own gain and for deadly purposes. The woman has been married 4 other times - all to men who mysteriously die. And that Cormac was even named as a murderer in the first. She finds he is her destined "mate" and sets upon a course to win him and his love from the binds of his vow. No one would hold him to such a vow - they both know it, but Cormac feels honor bound due to his family history. Of course, there is danger, they fight, they love and they get where they are going. Once there and Elspeth is safe, there is a battle for her love and she feels she has lost once the woman comes to Cormac and she over hears their conversation. She leaves with some parting words of wit and goes home to mend her heart. Cormac is left with his woman only to find she again is plotting. She plots against him and against her newly betrothed. He overhears her plots. He is forced to stay and show cause and evidence against her in her trial. All the while knowing he wronged the woman he loves. He comes back - after wooing Elspeth for several weeks. He shows his love in the one way she has stated (in anger) she would consider taking him back. You will enjoy the levity in the book and also the lengths he goes to in order to win her back. After all, he must pay as dearly as she did while trying to gain his love.
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