4.0 out of 5 stars“Echoing across the stormy waters of Loch Ness came a gypsy’s haunting curse, foretelling a forbidden passion that would drench the Scottish crags with blood.”

Mary Carmichael and Hunter MacBeth find themselves caught in the midst of a feud between their two families that has lasted generations.  Drawn to each other despite their mutual hatred, Hunter eventually seizes his chance and kidnaps Mary but his plans of rape turn into something else entirely. Mary is eventually returned to her family, branded as a *whore* and almost banished unless someone from the clan will step forward. Will it be the gentle hearted Edward or his badder than bad half-brother Hugh? Or will she be able to escape to Hunter’s loving arms?

Yes, there is definitely a whooooole lot more to the story than that, but there is just no way I am going to be able to recap it properly, plus I have other things to do today. Let’s just say this was one hell of a roller-coaster ride with a Romeo and Juliet pair of star-crossed lovers who love each other like no one has before them. Mary and Hunter face hardship and suffering, misunderstandings and separations, murder and mayhem, rape and madness and a stormed castle or two as they battle the baddies among their own clans to keep their love alive and solve the riddle of the gypsy curse. Or is the curse something else entirely? Will it finally solve the mystery of how it all began and thus bring peace to the rival clans?

“Minutes later Mary knew to whom the grave outside belonged and knew too, the answer to the puzzle of the legend’s curse.”

“…for love is the answer to the puzzle of the curse of the legend.”

And you won’t know what that means until the very very end. This is a classic example of your *old school* bodice ripper and is not going to appeal to every reader. And yes, since this is a romance there is plenty of sex between the two, although not as bad as some I’ve seen and thankfully no sightings of nether lips or volcanos of honey. Whew!  All in all jolly good fun with plenty of action, loving and laughter (lol at Hunter and Cadman’s efforts to sneak in to see the king) and recommended for lovers of big fat historical romances. Four stars.