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The Knight Before Christmas    by Jackie Ivie order for
Knight Before Christmas
by Jackie Ivie
Order:  USA  Can
Zebra, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Myles and his horse Rafe are caught in a snowstorm. Luckily they come upon a small croft (cottage) that offers safe haven until the storm passes. Inside they find a woman who Myles believes is the one he has been told to marry in an arrangement between their families. She is known as 'The Harridan of the Highlands', not a very flattering description. His first encounter with her confirms the rumors. The two fight over the croft, but as tensions mount, so does their passion, and it doesn't take long for a mutual attraction to develop.

Kendran's childhood was not a happy one, as her father was a very strict disciplinarian who beat his daughters and wife. Kendran does not trust men at all, sees them all as ruthless and evil, and assumes that Myles is the same. She is in love with Myles, but finds she HAS to marry someone. She and Miles spent a lot of time in bed in the croft, and she soon finds that she's pregnant. Because Myles has been promised to her older sister, she needs to make sure her child is not born a bastard, and to convince everyone that it's her future husband's baby. Myles is not happy when he learns of Kendran's asking Kenneth to come to the estate so she can be wed before her pregnancy becomes known.

Once I got past the first few chapters, the story picked up. This is a book for those who prefer their romances steamy. I gravitate toward books with a little more story, and did not care for the long drawn-out scene in which the two are trapped together in the croft, safe from the blizzard and from the outside world but not safe from each other. The story does get more involved once the two return to civilization and Kendran's family's estate. Other characters are introduced, in particular Kendran's two sisters. One has a reputation for predicting the future, and the other is the harridan who is to marry Myles.

Those who enjoy romances with a number of sexy love scenes will like The Knight Before Christmas. Jackie Ivie paints a well-drawn picture of life in the harsh Scottish highlands. She does a good job with the characters, all of them unique and interesting. While I was a tad disappointed with the pace of the first few chapters, I found the rest of the book worth reading.

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