Published 1999 Republished November 2012
Scottish Highlands Historical Romance
Iliana is desperate to find a way of escape for herself and her mother from a vile baron who desires her lands for himself. So she agrees to marry a stranger and a Scot. When she first arrives she is shocked to discover the place is a disaster zone, and her future husband stinks like he hasn’t bathed in six months. She wonders if she has made a mistake but knows for her mothers sake she must stay true to the course that she has set, and must marry this man that seems to live in a pigsty and is totally fine with it. However Iliana is determined to turn her home into something livable even at the wrath of her husbands fury. When he wants to consummate their marriage however, she has a trick up her sleeve, because she refuses to make love to someone without him bathing first so she puts on a ‘chastity belt’ with the key hidden from him. Here begins the test of wills between the two which will turn into the battle of true love.
Duncan, Laird to Dunbar Castle, has lived a life of freedom and without restraint. Going where he pleased and doing as he pleased. Ever since his mother died when he was young, his father gave him free reign. Now he is 29 years old and feels its time to marry and have children. However what he doesn’t realize is how having a wife will turn his content world upside down into chaos. At first he finds Iliana a proper wife, beautiful, restrained, but then she tries to change everything in his castle and home, and to top it all of refuses to bed him until he bathes….unbelievable……he is surprised to discover how much he is starting to like his new wife despite her stubbornness and refusal to obey his every command. He then comes to the realization that he is falling in love with the woman and would do anything to make her happy……
Iliana, has suffered greatly as well as her mother. After finally managing to escape from her wicked step father in search of way to save her mothers life. She finds one…marry a barbarian of a Scot, then she knows she is in trouble but she also knows she has some tricks up her sleeves to make Duncan compromise with her….only things never go as you plan them. Before she knows it he is confusing her left and right and his kisses tempt her for something more and feels her heart weakening toward him….
The Key is the second book in the Deed trilogy. I had previously read a historical by Sands but didn’t like it that much, but The Key totally changed my mind about Sands historicals. I just fell in love with this one, even though there were parts of it that would never really happen, but turned out to be humorous and flowed really well with the story. I just loved how creative Iliana is throughout the story, and how blunt Duncan is and at times how much of a hunk he is. I also loved the spark that flies between Duncan and Iliana, there were many moments I was laughing out loud…..a very engaging story, and I have to say as much as I liked Duncan, I was secretly cheering on Iliana’s side. I really loved how even though she is shy and reserved, she has a inner strength to be admired, and is a lot tougher than she looks. Overall a fun and witty read, with a magnifiscent plot that engages the reader, and a love story that will bewitch you….A JEWEL OF A ROMANCE!!!
My Grade On This Book