Signet, Aug 2004, 6.99, 384 pp.
At a time he should feel euphoric for the birth of his heir, the embittered Earl feels anger at his wife because he believes she cheated on him though she denies his accusations. Worse, he learns that twins are born and that the midwife failed to identify which child came first. He informs his spouse that he will raise one child and she the other. The stronger lad will inherit the estate.
Years later, Xanthier has the inside path to the inheritance because his father raised him while Brogan was in exile with his mother. Although they were friends as lads without their parents' awareness, the siblings are now rivals. Xanthier's men tie up Brogan in the woods warning him to leave or die. Matalia McTaver sees Brogan and decides he is the answer to two questions: how to avoid marriage and what sex is all about. She teases and arouses her prisoner until he escapes. They share fleshly pleasures, but her father Lord Ronin catches them and forces Matalia and Brogan to marry. They fall in love as the brotherly rivalry, encouraged by Xanthier's avaricious wife, heats up and threatens both their lives.
This exciting medieval romance is an intriguing historical relationship drama as the story line focuses on a dysfunctional family.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner