The Bewitching Twin

Dark Warrior

The Irish Devil

Irish Hope

Love Me Forever

Magical Memories

Magical Moments

Taken by Storm

Bound to a Warrior
by Donna Fletcher
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-06-193471-1
Bound to a Warrior is the first book in the new Warrior King series and has me anxiously waiting to read the sequel. Donna Fletcher's story is attention-grabbing and well written.

Bound to a Warrior is set in the Scottish Highlands in 1005 and immediately starts off with Duncan MacAlpin and Mercy shackled to each other by the wrists, being prodded along by the King's soldiers. The soldiers lead them to a cliff and give them the choice to jump or be killed. Duncan and Mercy choose to jump into the river below and they struggle to safety because Mercy can't swim, but at least they survive. Their goal now is to get to Duncan's homeland, but they have no food and the shackles prove to be a challenge.

Soaking wet and seeking shelter, Duncan and Mercy prepare for their first night together. They build a fire, set their wet clothes to dry by the fire, and sleep close to keep warm. Of course, they are naked and this is proving to test Duncan;s chivalry as he lays awake most of the night. The moment they jumped off the cliff, their relationship as strangers changed and was filled with trust and a growing attraction.

After a few hours of travel the next morning, they come across a croft with a man and wife who offer them food for their continued travel. The croft owners can offer no more as the King's soldiers are in search of Duncan and Mercy and helping them further will bring harm to the kind strangers.

There is a belief in Scotland that the current King is an imposter and the true King will come forward to overthrow the phony to take the throne. The current King is cruel and pillages the land and people out of greed. The Scottish people believe that the true King will be discovered and come to save them, and Duncan was raised as a warrior to ensure that happened. He needs to get back to his land and his clan to ensure the mission can move forward. His oath is being testing by the love Duncan and Mercy come to share and protection he promised to provide to her.

Bound to a Warrior starts in the middle of the plot, which I wasn't sure I would like, but after a few pages, I was hooked. More than half of the book describes Duncan and Mercy's travels to Duncan's home and while they come across confrontations and obstacles that make the story interesting, I believe the author could have gotten the point across in 50 fewer pages.

After Duncan and Mercy arrive home, the story really gets exciting. The secondary plot does not overshadow the love story, but is intriguing. The characters are believable, but the dialogue tries too hard to be old-fashioned and proper. Mercy's background is not exposed until well into the story and provides additional complexity. The secondary characters are appropriate and give more dimensions to the story, which will be helpful to the rest of the series.

The only problem I have with the story, besides feeling 50 pages too long, is the contradiction between Duncan's chivalrous personality and his behavior with Mercy in his family's house. They are not married, but the story expresses no problems with their intimacy and sharing a bed every night in the house that his parents and brothers share with him. It is surprising when a historical romance doesn't stay true to the mores of the time or describe the conflict with the principles that are being broken.

Bound to a Warrior is a captivating story that ends with a cliffhanger. You think it's going to have a predictable ending, but the answers you're looking for aren't revealed. I look forward to reading the next book in the four part series, and was disappointed that Donna Fletcher's website does not mention when it will be released.

--Nichole Howell

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