His Wicked Ways
by Samantha James, historical (1999)
Avon, $6.50, ISBN 0-380-80586-3


This book makes me feel good after finishing it. I can't really put a finger as to why, but I know I enjoyed this book tremendously. Trust Miss James to take the tired old Rampaging man kidnaps enemy's daughter to avenge dead family tale and makes it very readable.

The daughter in question is timid, very timid Meredith Munro who hides in a nunnery after being sexually abused. She is terrified of men. Then came the avenging angel Cameron MacKay, laird of his clan who is out for her father's head. He kidnaps her to his place, and soon is obsessing over her to such an extent that he offers her freedom if she would give him an heir. You can hear wedding bells in the air already.

Maybe I love this story because of Meredith. A shy, mousy woman, she soon gains confidence to speak out loud and stand on her two feet. I find her transformation too soon to be totally realistic, but hey, I'm having fun so I'm not actually complaining.

I also like reading about Cameron and Meredith's relationship. Cameron is a caring and kind man who is certainly a wonderful hero. Their relationship is akin to sitting under a shady tree and dipping one's feet into a cool shallow brook while munching on Godiva chocolates - fun, just right in the amount of poignancy and heartfelt emotions needed. I also love the epilogue, which is surprisingly tender and brings a tear to my eyes.

But what I don't get is the abrupt metamorphosis of Cameron from avenging demon to tender lover. One moment he's hating her, then kapish! He's in love with her. Huh? He is so cold and cruel to Meredith at the first few chapters that if you blink, you'd be hard-pressed to reconcile this man with the kind, gentle man who takes care of Meredith as if she's the most precious jewel ever. From a man bent on avenging his family, Cameron has a surprisingly wishy-washy stand. He hates her. He wants her. He loves her. He marries her. What happened to the initial hatred and stuff? While I don't respect a man who would strike out at a woman to get at another man, and I'm glad at the transformation, I'm also surprised by the abruptness of it. It doesn't seem real.

And if Miss James' last highland romance A Promise Given has the heroine unable to complete a sentence, this book has way too many exclamation marks. Every page has at least three sentences that read like this! Yes! Really! I couldn't save her! I couldn't! I don't usually notice these sort of things in books, but somehow, the usage of so many sentences - like this! - becomes rather distracting. It's like everyone's perpetually surprised. Yes!

I still can't pinpoint exactly why I love this book. But then again, when a book makes me feel good, warm, and fuzzy inside, who needs a reason?

His Wicked Ways? Oh yes indeed.

Rating: 86


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