Series: Lovers and Legends, #5
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Helissent is the sole survivor of a fire that killed her entire family, an event that left her scarred, both inside and out. She was taken in by the local innkeepers and after she healed, she worked hard to pay back their kindness, first at the inn and then later as their caregiver until they passed away. Now their son Rudd has come to claim his inheritance and considers Helissent part of his due.
Rhain of Gwalchdu has secrets, five years ago he learned everything he believed about his life was a lie, he left his home and became a mercenary, traveling and looking for answers. But after a moment of recklessness in which he killed Guy of Warstone, he is on the run for his life. Because now, Guy’s brother Reynold is hunting him and he knows his time is almost up. He wants to save his men from Reynold and is making his way to King Edward’s camp outside York, he will leave his men there and then deal with Reynold. Taking the road less traveled, he comes upon Helissent’s village and stays longer than he should – because of his fascination with her.
When he and his friend Nicholas save Helissent from Rudd’s plans for her, he unknowingly sparks something to life in her. She decides to leave the village and will start a new life in York. So when she shows up at his camp the next morning with honey cakes and all her possessions, Rhain grudgingly agrees to take her with them.
Helissent is surprised by the treatment she receives, the men do not ignore her, nor do they treat her differently because of her scars. For so long she has used her scars for penance, she lets people look at her in horror, she believes she deserves this for failing to save her family. But Rhain refuses to let her be shamed. He cares for her but knows nothing can come of it, as he will soon be dead. But he desperately wants to help her. They travel to Tickhill castle, where he shares some of his past with her and she with him. He agreed to take her to York, but he needs to keep her safe from Reynold and tries to leave her at Tickhill castle, but she refuses to stay and he is unable to say no to her.
The threat of Reynold looms and when then reach York, he becomes almost frantic wanting to ensure Helissent is not harmed by Reynold. He tries to keep his distance from her, but they are drawn to each other and when they share a kiss, Helissent knows her heart is lost to him. Rhain berates himself for giving into his desire for her, he knows he needs to stay away, but he can’t let her go thinking her scars are the reason for his withdrawal. He finds her and they share a moment of passion, but afterwards, he is cruel and tries to sever their bond, he is not worthy of her and with Reynold so close, he will do anything, even hurt her feelings, if it means he can keep her safe.
But Helissent is not willing to be cast aside and she will save the man she loves, from Reynold and from himself.
I thought this was a very sweet story of healing, forgiveness and learning to move on from ones past. The writing was very good and the story moves quickly. However, I felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions and the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I really would have enjoyed an epilogue set a few years later that perhaps wrapped up the loose ends. But overall, this was a good read with wonderfully flawed characters, great secondary characters, very mild love scenes, a few too many baking references and a lovely declaration scene.