Disclaimer: Reading a Teresa Medeiros novel is not conducive to a good night’s sleep!
Why the disclaimer you might ask? Because I believe in giving fair warning before luring innocent new readers into the web of magic Teresa weaves, that makes it highly impossible to set one of her books down until you’ve made it all the way through. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times I have struggled at four in the morning to keep my eyes open long enough to get past one—last—chapter.
Whether she is giving a new slant on a fairy tale theme, zapping a loveable, but bumbling Puritan witch through time to the 20th century or helping a tortured rogue vampire find salvation through love—her creative magic sustains a steady spell through each and every one.
What I love best about Teresa’s stories is that the characters are not always easily labeled into the category of “damsel in distress” or “knight in shining armor” as often it is the heroine who does her fair share of the dragon slaying to win the heart of the irresistibly flawed hero. In the midst of the couples journey to happiness, colorful characters abound and scenes of side-splitting, laugh-out-loud hilarity pepper the pages along with moments of “Gulp!”, stone in the throat, emotional right hooks. From the start a symbiotic connection is created that allows the reader to feel what the characters are feeling, see what they are seeing—virtually participating in the story like a ghost in the machine.
He scrambled up the winding stairs, hoping to reach the sanctuary of the north tower before they brought him down and began to tear him apart like a pack of snarling mongrels. The wooden door loomed before him. He lunged for its iron latch and shoved, praying his sweaty grip would hold. Something groped at his ankle. For one bone-chilling instant, he feared he was lost. Then the door swung open.
He lurched across the threshold, shaking off the grip of the thing that had seized him, and slammed the door behind him. Only when the crossbar had thudded securely into its iron brackets did he dare to collapse against the door and suck in a great, shuddering breath. The enraged howls and demands for his surrender escalated, then subsided into ominous silence.
“Please, Lord,” he muttered, not yet willing to give up on his old ally. “Not that. Anything but that.”
He had once endured four months in a Calais dungeon, chained to a dank stone wall with only lice and rats for company. When his captors had fed him rancid gruel, he’d choked down every bite and asked for second helpings. After they had stretched him on the rack, he’d confounded them by enjoying a most satisfying nap. When they had branded his flesh with a glowing iron, he’d bit back his howls of pain and laughed in their faces. But not even his most diabolical enemy had managed to devise a torture so cruel, so likely to break a man’s will and make him beg for mercy than…
Bannor groaned in mortal agony.
It came again–the dulcet lisp of an angel. “Papa? Won’t you come out and pway wif us?”
Only Medeiros could make a seasoned knight tremble in fear as he lies under siege by his mischievous passel of offspring. Inspired out of desperation to find a wife—one built for mothering and unattractive enough to keep him from his bed and adding to the elfin army holding him captive in his own home.
Enter Lady Willow.
Tired to the bone from caring for a houseful of siblings Willow seizes the opportunity for escape offered by Lord Bannor’s man Hollis, not noticing his look of shock once the betrothal is accepted and the secret of her beauty is revealed. Bannor was going to kill him!
Needless to say the solid waste hits the fan when Bannor finds instead of the homely, biddable hag he requested for a bride, he is shackled to a desirable minx who instantly stirs his blood. Willow is no happier, when the truth of the situation is brought home immediately by way of a crying bundle thrust into her arms by the handsome husband she had only seconds before been blessing her lucky stars to find waiting for her.
“He sensed that his bride was only a step away from bolting. Fiona’s words came back to him—I’ve yet to meet a lass who could resist a strapping fellow with a babe in his arms.
In a effort to erase her stricken expression, he thrust his burden into her arms. “My children and I would like to welcome you to Elsinore, my lady.”
She eased back the blanket, then stood gazing down at the feathery perfection of the babes head.
Her eyes were as cool as ash from yesterdays fire. “No, thank you” she finally said, handing it back to him. “I’ve already eaten.”
Sweeping the fur trimmed train of her cloak behind her, she turned and climbed right back into the chariot, slamming the door in his face.”
Bannor and Willow’s story is just one shining example of the wit and charm of a Medeiros novel and one of my many favorites from her library which will expand in September with the release of THE DEVIL WEARS PLAID.
AN INNOCENT WOMAN
Emmaline Marlow is about to wed the ancient patriarch of the Hepburn clan to save her father from debtor’s prison when the Hepburn’s sworn enemy Jamie Sinclair bursts into the abbey on a magnificent black horse and whisks her away. Jamie is everything her bridegroom is not—young, handsome, virile…and a perilous temptation for her yearning heart.
A DANGEROUS MAN
Jamie expects Emma to be some milksop English miss, not a spirited beauty who will defy him at every turn. All of his plans to use her as a pawn in the centuries old Highland feud begin to go awry when irresistible passion flares between the two of them. A man can kidnap a bride, but is it possible for him to steal her innocence without losing his own heart?
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of Summer and you can be sure to find a review here, as soon as I am able to get my greedy paws on a copy.