This is the third book in the series and tackles the third MacAlisdair sibling. Judith has been in the background through the first two books and she actually lives in the family castle high up in the Scottish Highlands so I was excited to get her story. I’m not sure if this is the last of the series, but she is the final dragon sibling so I’ll assume that’s the case.
The story is obviously part of a series, but like the other two, it can be read alone or out of order though it’s obvious that the siblings stories go in a certain order.
The story opens with Crown special agent, William Arundell, sent out on a mission to solve the possible ritual murder of a boy and curious way of killing some livestock near a remote highland village where the local lady of the castle is reclusive and mysterious. William has been doing his job long enough to believe most anything is possible and danger can lurk in the most innocent of disguises. He observes everyone, notes anything out of the ordinary, and is struck by the Lady Judith MacAlisdair who is definitely more than she seems, but is she guilty of killing and black magic?
Judith has lived a long life and with her brothers has successfully preserved the family secrets. She does not need a curious outside poking around in her village and nosing about for his own mysterious purposes. She definitely doesn’t need a dangerous killer who may or may not be human. She has cared for her people and her lands for a long time and by claw and flame or her own strong will, she will continue to protect them. However, her long drought from intimacy has her interested in Mr. Arundell and for more reasons than just to suspect his activities and his investigations.
I love dragon shifter stories and I also love historical romance particularly set in the Highlands so this was an easy please me. And for the most part, I did enjoy it and found it engaging.
That said, it took a long time to get going so that it was well over the half-way point before any dragon sightings or excitement begins.
The same is true of the romance. They had some sparks sizzling before that and after a time got up to some real heat between them, but thoughts of any sort of relationship or romance wasn’t present until near the end. I do like that at least it wasn’t an insta-anything and I certainly thought William and Judith were a great pair together all around.
It was pretty cool that William was like the James Bond of the Victorian age with his spy work and magical gadgetry and that Judith was this experienced and engaging woman who had already seen it all. There was a real sense of her age unlike many paranormal romances achieve. She is dragon and powerful. William has no insecurities on that score and doesn’t mind taking turns with whose in charge so that was definitely a plus.
The conflict was pretty exciting and wow that was an intense grand finale and denouement for the main characters. I was a tad disappointed when the explanations behind the villainy occurred because it stayed vague. I was given clues that there was some complexity, but not much on explanation. So I got the full force of the evil activity and the rap-up without the psychology behind it if that makes sense.
Like I said, I’m not sure if this was the end, but I liked how things were updated with the other MacAlisdairs and left things with a clear direction for all their futures.
In summation, it got off slow, but built to an exciting and rewarding finish. There was dragon excitement, a paranormal mystery, a strong heroine, an exciting Victorian spy, and a satisfying all around story. Historical Paranormal Romance lovers would probably adore it.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #229 HR
Cliché Klatch #141 ‘You can trust dogs to be dogs’
Historical Romance #57
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