Melissa Schroeder is an author whose work I've wanted to check out for ages and when I saw this book advertised, I thought I just had to get it. The first in her new paranormal romance series entitled, The Cursed Clan, sounded right up my street. I have to be honest and say the cover sure looked pretty! A paranormal series featuring highlanders but set in a contemporary setting and a mystery to solve, what's not to like?
Phoebe Chilton is the child of archaeologist parents and is herself deeply entranced by her chosen field. Offered the opportunity to travel to Scotland is a dream come true as researching Celtic legends stirs something deep inside Phoebe's soul. Arriving to meet the members of the Lennon family, who wish to engage her services, means she's almost immediately butting heads with the oldest brother Callum. Phoebe is no shy miss but Callum Lennon is the most hard headed male she's ever met! He wants her to translate an ancient diary that's written in code but he clearly doesn't trust her so what's Phoebe to do? Phoebe is not going to miss out on the chance of a lifetime but Callum's family has a secret and it's possible the diary may help unlock it. As Phoebe becomes more involved with Callum and his family, it's clear they are not the only ones interested in the diary. Callum will have to make hard choices.
I realise this author has previously written quite erotic and almost graphic books but hasten to mention, this is a more subdued and sensuous read. There's strong sexual tension that builds up between the hero and heroine which, although immediate, was happily played out by the author which allowed for more plot development .
As for the two main characters, their attraction is mutual and immediate, the author allows the relationship to develop at a realistic pace. This enables Callum to realise that it's possible Phoebe is more than just a passing fancy. He's clearly conflicted and unused to the idea there could well be a woman he wishes to settle down with and struggles against the idea. I guess it's not easy being an immortal! Luckily Phoebe gives as good as she gets and although her past has not been the happiest she's prepared to fight for what she wants. Loved the strong female portrayal as well as a strong man who heads up a business. Would be bored with anything less!
As for the curse, well unfortunately, that did seem to be downplayed a little and I wanted to know more. I'm sure Ms Schroeder will expand upon it in future books. I found the villain a little one dimensional if honest, but then again he is the bad guy! What I really felt worked was the standard of writing (Hurray!), as these Scots actually speak as if they are from Scotland! Just a gentle burr that really translated well to the page and no glaring inaccuracies that can so often ruin a good Scottish tale. As Callum spoke I could hear his brogue in my head and that's just how it should be.
So Scottish curse, sexy Laird, intelligent heroine and a nicely paced romance, I think this book has all that and more besides. This author has written the start of what could be a fabulous series and her talent shines through. The next book is about Angus and I for one will eagerly anticipate it.