Published by Bantam on November 29th 2005
Genres: Historical Romance, Medieval Era
A tantalizing tale of a legendary knight and a headstrong lady whose daring quest for a mysterious crystal will draw them into a whirlwind of treachery-and desire. When the fearsome knight called Hugh the Relentless swept into Lingwood Manor like a storm, everyone cowered-except Lady Alice. Sharp-tongued and unrepentant, the flame haired beauty believed Sir Hugh was not someone to dread but the answer to her dreams. She knew he had come for the dazzling green crystal, knew he would be displeased to find that it was no longer in her possession. Yet Alice had a proposition for the dark and forbidding knight: In return for a dowry that would free Alice and her brother from their uncle's grasp, she would lend her powers of detection to his warrior's skills and together they would recover his treasured stone. But even as Hugh accepted her terms, he added a condition of his own: Lady Alice must agree to a temporary betrothal-one that would soon draw her deep into Hugh's great stone fortress, and into a battle that could threaten their lives...and their only chance at love.
Hugh The Relentless is on the hunt for a precious green jewel, to give his people peace from a curse that has fallen upon them. He isn’t known as the “relentless” for nothing. His search has brought him to Lingwood Manor and he has taken over like a storm over the sea. And he is determined to get the jewel, only one problem….Lady Alice is the only person who knows of its location. They barter and flirt their way into a marriage agreement, one that is very logical and even though Alice has always being a practical woman, she still wants more than just a practical marriage, she wants one out of love and affection. As they begin a search together for the precious jewel and learn each other along their journey….the find a love neither thought that they would discover and be able to hold onto….
Hugh is a man that has had to learn to fight every battle all on his own. His parents were killed in a brutal way, and he was raised by his grandfather. He has a bitter enemy….who his is own relation, but he vows to show what he is capable of and rebuilding his own estate and people to its former glory. Hugh is a hero who is a sexy knight for sure….a warrior, very alpha but isn’t the type of alpha that runs over the females in his life with his own dictates. He listens, and is respectful and even at his worst, he treats them as his equals and I loved him even more for that. Especially with the time period you are dealing with here. His character was sexy and charming and you crave more.
Alice is one of those heroines that is so unique to this time period and I loved her to pieces, she was very endearing and likable. I found her character to be one of those that you wish you saw more of in this genre. She is practical and logical, but even though she looks at life at a very straight view, she also doesn’t overlook emotion either. She craves more than what her parents had, she wants love when she gets married. Alice is a scientist, and at first she sees this “betrothal” as an opportunity to be Hugh’s equal, and she handles him quite well. Especially after they spend some time together, it quite wonderful to see how well she adapts to his personality and knows which battles to fight and which ones to let go. Not too often you see that in a heroine in the HR fiction.
Plot and Story Line
I had been meaning to get to this author, and even though I have read some of her books under her Jayne Ann Krentz name, I had yet to read any of her books under this pen name. And so while scouting my new library…I found Mystique and I was intrigue by the set up of the story. So I grabbed it up, and quite honestly I can never get enough of this time period. What I found to be so fun about this story was seeing the way that these two got along so quickly. They are both pretty compatible, they think in the same terms and even though they might have a few different goals, they balance each other quite well. In fact, it is so rare to see a couple work so well together from the beginning. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few hurdles to cross because they do, especially on Hugh’s side. However despite some stops they don’t give up on each other and I found that to be so heartwarming.
I really love the simplicity of this cover….and yes the Chest of Jewels has meaning to the story.
Mystique was fun, intriguing and full of some thrilling adventures and sensuality that will have you grabbing more of Amanda Quick!