Calin MecLeod has been promised to the future daughter of Laird Killon, but after the child is born, Killon and his men murder to mother and Calin's own father, before switching the daughter out with a boy. Calin makes off with the girl and gives her to his friend, Kendrick for his family to raise. He plan on coming back for her later, making her his wife, and then claiming Killon's land for his own so he can bring about an alliance between MecLeod's and the Killon's. When he finally comes to claim her he discovers that she has been kidnapped and put up for auction so he must go rescue her. Calin takes Akira back with him, but he decides to wait awhile before revealing who he really is. He wants to learn about what Akira wants in a husband and in her life and when he finally tells her she eventually comes around to the idea, although he still does not want her to know the truth about her parentage. Neither really mind the idea of marriage as they are quite heartily attracted to each other.
The two embark on a quite tempestuous union, with arguments that are fairly and equittably resolved, lots of passionate lovemaking, and some changes to the way the clan is run. Calin is still determined to keep Akira's parentag a secret from her so that she will not leave him. Unfortunately King James wants Calin to make a match with Catriona, and Englishwoman who had been Calin's mistress for awhile. He says that he will not support Calin's uprising against Lord Killon unless he marries Catriona. Catriona has plans of her own and she does not like seeing Calin so happy with his new wife so she goes to Laird Killon and starts the war earlier than anyone had expected. Now Calin has to get his rebellion ready so that he can save the woman who has come to mean more to him than anything. But in the aftermath things do not go quite as planned and both of them will need to confront their own feelings and work things out between them.
Akira is definitely a fiery heroine who curses and hits, but I never felt as though it were being done just to make an impression on the readers. I came across as a real part of her personality and she only accessed it when the situation warranted it- such as being sold at auction. But what makes it even better is that, though he might not like her temper, Calin doesn't really regard it as a problem or a challenge, he just accepts it and knows how to handle it without making anything worse or without making her seem like she was being irrational for being upset. Double points for Killion. I really enjoyed the scene with Calin and Akira in the tree discussing her conditions for marriage- it struck me as a really genuine moment with two people discussing their hopes and fears about the future and their actions towards one another made it clear they were well suited for each other. It showed that these two really would make a great couple together. In addition the sex between them was really hot, not exactly inventive, but really well done and added to the story.
Obviously the big misunderstanding in this book is him not telling her that Laird Killon is her father and that she is supposed to inherit Killon. The war and the secret weaved themselves really well into the story and I found it easy to forgive Calin for keeping the secret from her. I have come to really appreciate books that show the protagonists working well together and this book succeeds very well on that front. The book did drag a little bit at the end after the "war" and there was some intense angst, but thankfully it didn't last long. I can forgive some forging around with history that claims Henry VIII had a sister who was married to the King of a random country called Malaga? And that said king would send his daughter to Scotland to be a paramour of a random Scottish Laird. I was a little thrown by the way that God popped up in the latter part of the book as she worried about pretending to be a witch and started talking about God's will. A tad unexpected, but not too bad or preachy really.
Rating: I really enjoyed this book and Killion did some great things with a feisty heroine. A good side plot and great characters.