by Scottie Barrett, historical (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-464-4
Scottie Barrett's The Heat Of The Knight is a revised and expanded version of a previously released story. Google doesn't bring up any further information, so I can only deduce that not many people will own the original edition of this short story.
We are in 1364. Yes, this is a true blue historical romance, folks, with nary a werewolf or ghost in sight. Beckett de Saxby, our hot playboy Earl of Dareford, has a wonky leg but that only affects his self-esteem, not his continuous success rate with the ladies. When the story opens, he makes a bet with his loft buddy Colin (no, they are not doing it, so don't too excited, folks) whether Colin can score with a virgin. Imagine Beckett's facial expression when Colin sees his sight on our heroine Christiana, whom Beckett considers his best friend forever. Beckett accuses Tiana of being a whore and she doesn't react well to that, as you can imagine.
Cut to years later, when Tiana, an unmarried woman, insists on staying at her home even when some people are moving in for the kill after the death of her father. Tiana's biggest objection to seeking protection against the danger she is in is that she'd rather marry for love (which she certainly won't if she insists on doing what she is doing, which says a lot about her brainpower capabilities) and she doesn't need any man's help in her life. Pride and stupidity, the most irritating combination I can think of to see in a romance heroine. Oh, and she also loves the kids and what not.
As for Beckett, he wants to see Tiana safe, so of course he will say and do all kinds of things to exasperate her. I wonder about this man's continuous success with the opposite sex. Are we sure that his courtship of them doesn't involve the medieval version of a piece of cloth soaked with chloroform? That or those poor women see no choice in having to submit to the Earl, I suppose, since their livelihoods depend on it, because I sure cannot imagine that this guy charms his way into their beds.
The rest of the story sees these two behaving like petty and jealous kids whose idea of a courtship is to pull each other's hair and annoy the other person. Still, I have to admit that the worst parts of this story are its first half, when the two characters are being really ridiculous. They are still silly brats late in the story, but at least they are being jealous and petty rather than stupidly obstinate like Tiana can be in the early half.
Can you tell that I am not enamored of The Heat Of The Knight?
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