The good news, I liked it.
The bad news, I had me some problems.
Oh, wait! Pet Peeves or Silly Cindy Thingies
1. I'm not much on books where the H/H have known each other most of their lives.
2. Especially if they grew up like siblings.
3. Ages of the H/H would have been helpful in the beginning of the story so I didn't have to do awkward math to figure out just how long these two people lived in the same house *like* siblings. I never really figured it out.
Maybe I should have saved those for the 'awkward review' section of this post.
Oh, well. You've been here and seen worse with my brain.
Cindy Blurb (for real this time) :
I have no writing steam, so this will be morbidly more awkward than normal.
Cindy Blurb (shut up) : We have Kev Merripen, a gypsy boy that was raised by a brutal Uncle who used him as a fighting machine. His childhood isn't played out long in this book which is nice because I'm not much for flashbacks but it was enough to know Merripen never had it easy. His tribe was attacked at some point and he was left for dead.
Win Hathaway's father found the boy near death and brought him home to his family. The boy was almost feral and wouldn't let anyone near him until the day Win came into his room. An immediate connection was made.
Lord knows how old there were cause I sure don't. Maybe it was revealed in the previous book which I haven't read. Bad Cindy.
So, there is some growing up where Kev stays on the outer lining of the family, learning about trust and what it's like to be cared for. Then Win's father dies and her mother shortly follows. While reeling from this the Scarlet fever hits the family and Leo Hathaway, Win's brother and Win are close to death. Kev remembers an herb that could cure or kill and both are given the dose.
Win and her brother survive but Win is not the same and lives the life of an invalid unable to do normal tasks without being winded. She decides she must go away to get better because she wants a life with Kev (even though he wouldn't think of touching her).
Years later - again, can't remember and still don't know how old anyone is - Win comes back stronger and with a fresh need to get on with her life. She also comes back with a suitor but it's Kev she wants.
Kev wants Win to have everything but him and believes she must be kept in a glass case to be safe.
Well, romance to a point.
There is a scene where I didn't think much of Kev Merripen and I didn't think he was acting at all like a hero. The scene made me cranky and if I had been Win I'm not sure I would have forgiven it as fast as she did but then, she knew what she wanted and that was Kev.
All the same, I liked Kev because he was extremely rough around the edges. Even at the end of the book I got the impression that he wouldn't become this huggy lovey dovey kind of person with his family. With his kids and wife sure but not with the rest of the people he had grown up with.
I liked that Win's family knew about her love for Kev and always supported it even when Kev was being an ass.
Yeah, that's right, I said ass.
But I do so love men who can be asses.
There is a mystery to be solved about the origins of Kev that the new Brother in
Law Cam goes after with vigor even though Kev could care less about his past. There's the suitor issue. There's tension between Win's need of a normal life and Kev's need to protect her life at all costs.
Oh, I should mention that I found the family quite fresh. I liked the intelligence of the siblings, that no matter how the older kids try and protect the younger ones, they know exactly what's going on.
Though once again, I found confusion in what the house was like that they lived in. For some reason as kids I thought it was like a small cottage but when it's mentioned that Kev is re-building it after a fire (from the first book in the series I would imagine), it sounds like a much bigger and regal home.
All the same I'm keeping this book because I do love the way that Kleypas does sexual tension.
That said, I'm going with a straight B for those things I found confusing and for that one scene that got me a bit riled up.
Okay, that's it.
Not sure if this helps you or makes it more confusing for you.
Glad I could help.