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Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Daire is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.
When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Daire’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.
Although Daire does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Daire let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?
Dair was captured by the English and tortured. He helplessly watched his cousin get tortured and raped in front of him. When he returns home, he not only has physical scars but mental scars that can not go away. Most in his town believe he is mad but his father is determined to do anything to help him recover to the brave man that he used to be. Searching for a cure, he is told that a virgin bride would cure Dair.
Fia MacLeod is not the first choice for Dair but his father sees her ability to calm animals and cure them. He offers her a position in his home to help his son. Fia is a gentle and kind woman. Despite her physical scars and permanent limp, she is able to heal and bring joy to others around her.
The beginning of their relationship is rough. She is weary of his abrasive mannerisms and he is curious as to why his father would bring home a woman of her nature. The more time they spend together, Fia is able to see past Dair’s rough exterior and straight to his heart.
I love a slow build to my romance and this is perfect. There is an element of suspense and mystery as they face off with a villain. The twist was perfect but it was kind of predictable. The author gave enough of a hint to figure it out.
I love that both of the characters are flawed. There is a physically and spiritual aspect to the layer of pain that both Dair and Fia have experienced. The play on beauty and the beast theme is well executed. The fact that both characters are not perfect adds a wonderful element to the common trope.