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Redeemed by Kerrigan Byrne

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Redeemed (novella)
Highland Historical #5/The Mackays #2

Kerrigan Byrne
Medieval Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
Published in 2013

H/h - Daroch MacLeod/Kylah MacKay
Setting: Medieval Scotland.

Read in Apr, 2013.
My rating:

                                            [spoiler alert]

Now, this was gooooood! When I read the first book of this sub-series, Released, I was disappointed because some of the things didn’t work out for me. But with Redeemed, Kerrigan proves again that she knows what she’s about. Redeemed was the story of second banshee MacKay sister, Kylah and the mysterious Druid, Daroch. I mentioned in my review of Released that I could feel the intensity and attraction between the two and I’m glad to report that that’s how it stayed all through their own book.

I’d recommend to anyone wanting to read this book to start with book 1 of the Highland Historical series. They’re not intertwined in that sense, and Redeemed is not really connected to the 3 MacLauchlan installments but MacKays are introduced in those books. Reading those will give you an idea of how things came to be. Moreover, those books are awesome, so why not read them first?

Three sisters- Katriona, Kylah and Kamdyn died in a fateful night, together. Kylah, the middle and the most beautiful of them was the target of cruel laird of the MacKays, Angus. His repeated attempts to make Kylah his own failed, or were spurned by Kylah and her mother, so he did what he always did best; doing something horrible burning them alive! If he can’t have her, so no one ever will! Kylah was raped before she, her sisters and their mother were set on fire. Their mother somehow made it out but with severe burns, though the sisters never did.

Angus meets his end quite horribly too, to know how you’ll have to read the MacLauchlan Brothers’ series. I still didn’t know what he did to the girls, only that he was callous, cruel and plain disgusting. After gaining lairdship, Angus did nothing but harming and killing people, only think of his own pleasure and luxury. His younger twin, Rory was ashamed of his brother’s activities, and helped in the quest of getting rid of him for his clan’s betterment. When Rory becomes laird in Released, he inherits a lot of things and none was good; an appalling reputation thanks to Angus and their father, a clan with deep debts, empty larders and a bad army, among other things.

It’s been a year since the grotesque deaths of the sisters. We learn that Rory was in love with the eldest, Katriona but it never went anywhere when she was alive. Katriona and her family became the washerwomen for the clan after their father, the blacksmith, died. And after that incident, their mother’s plea makes the Banshee queen Cliodnah break the treaty that says no interference with humans, transforming them into banshees. A deal was struck so that they get their vengeance on the cruel MacKay laird and their family. They were supposed to have claimed one soul each. Katriona was supposed to have taken Rory’s, but things don’t go as planned. Seems like except for Rory, none of their supposed victim is alive, a fact the sisters weren’t aware of. Even then, she can’t kill Rory because he is An Dioladh (returned from the dead). On top of that, she then goes and falls in love with him all over again.

Yah it was a bit of a confusing mess for me, but the best part was that meeting of Kylah and Daroch.

Daroch, the mysterious Druid was summoned by Rory to take care of the banshee business. Daroch sees Kylah hovering in the keep, near Rory’s seat and somehow he denies his help to Rory on this. He couldn’t bring himself to do anything to that banshee.

When this story begins, Katriona is already married to Rory but she has another name and a body that doesn’t belong to her. Her marriage to the brother of a man who so brutally violated her upsets Kylah. She can’t bring herself to come to terms with it. She hovers around for a while, not knowing what to do. Somehow, she’s attracted to the grotto where the Druid lives; a place near The Allt Dubh or The River Black. Kylah remembers the man; his savage and intense eyes on her, his mud-splattered body and clothing. He seemed wild, a creation of Mother Nature. But who he really is? Kylah is very curious and so, when she finds him in his grotto she starts her ‘know yet Druid’ in her own way; by questioning him to aggravation! *heehee*

That was the fun part, as Kylah would be there, poking Daroch with questions that would annoy him immensely. He’d even try to show his annoyance, ask her to leave but without any real emphasis on any of it. Cause among all his logical thinking and truth-seeking endeavors, Daroch could see Kylah’s beauty, even through her pale, sickly green glow, while her sisters had bright blue ones. Daroch would deny his attractions but his nether region would choose to ignore his commands. After all, he’s a millennia old Druid, who has knowledge of ancient things and knows language that has long been dead. And he has been without a woman for around a hundred year since his return from the Fey world.

Daroch was kidnapped by someone there. Whom, we don’t know until the story progresses quite a bit. It was hinted, however subtly, that Daroch was indeed that Fey’s kept, slave boy. He was big, manly and good-looking and was ensnared young. His family and the ones he loved were torn from him. He was with the Fey for a few months. By then, millennia has passed in the Human world. We learn of his history, as he later tells Kylah and how he became to be a MacLeod, though that’s not his own clan. His people do not exist anymore.

I enjoyed their banters throughout the story thoroughly and was glad that Kylah was having some fun because she deserved it. All her life, she’d been ‘wanted’ by everyone, even people whom she never wanted or needed. She suffered much. Now she wants to be with someone who apparently doesn’t want her. Daroch started out irritated by her ‘whys’, and yet, as time passed, he begins to get used to with their seemingly unwanted communication and her adorably curious ways. He even begins craving her presence. Daroch is alone and he craves for human touch, no matter how vehemently he likes to deny that.

Once, when Kylah stops visiting him suddenly, Daroch is restless and goes to find her. And on that journey he discovers the sad truth of Kylah’s death, along with some more heartbreaking revelations. This shakes Daroch to the core. It seems like his Banshee has suffered a lot. He takes care of the business there, hoping that Kylah would follow him. Which she does, thankfully. Kylah can’t feel but be more attracted to Daroch. She doesn’t know what this means though her body indicates things that confuses her. Sex is not pleasure for her, but pain and humiliation.

This time, Daroch seems to be more open and talks more about what he wants; which is her of course. But it can’t be. She can’t touch him, neither can he her. Daroch tries to teach Kylah about the pleasures of a woman’s body to help her forgetting the memories of that dreadful night. It was... quite amazing, how he instructs her about self-pleasure, something that would make her aware that she can have that pleasure. That it’s not all about forced invasion, pain and humiliation. Kylah is intrigued and proves to be an apt pupil. But when it’s time for him to do something about his own pleasure, Daroch becomes cold and aloof once more. Kylah unintentionally mentions about watching him pleasure himself which triggers some of his own shameful memories, however long ago those were. For Daroch that is a no-go area.

In between, it’s reveal that Daroch has been working on mixtures and so on to destroy the Fey. He hates them with a vengeance, and for a good cause. And Daroch would die trying to fulfill his quest. We also learn that it was Cliodnah who kidnapped and kept him. I was quite disappointed because she proved to be helpful, albeit in a total give and take way, for Katriona. Never thought she’d turn out to be such a horrendous b!tch! She sends her best assassin Ly Erg to kill Daroch. In the fighting that followed, Daroch wins somehow but not entirely unharmed. He soon discovers a secret weapon that might prove to be very promising for his quest. Kylah is a little hurt that he wants to destroy the Fey because she’s almost one of them now but when she learns of Daroch’s history, she is adamant to help him.

They come closer, and start spending more time together, of which Cliodnah is alerted. One day, she visits Kylah and hints at dirty things about her and Daroch. Kylah finally understands who was behind her Druid’s misery, a fact that only emboldens Kylah’s hatred for the Banshee queen. Then Cliodnah blackmails her. She knows what Daroch is planning, though not about the secret weapon he found that would kill the Fey like any human and Kylah is adamant to keep it that way. Cliodnah gives Kylah her human body back, in return Kylah only has to kill Daroch and save the Fey.

But Kylah is a smart-a$ and she spends that one night with her Druid by making love, and then informing him what Cliodnah has asked her to do. Daroch was just... wow, sooo HOT in bed! He was simply crazy about Kylah and you can imagine what it did to him when, finally, he could touch her to his heart’s content.

That was just... oh my! Ooh la-la ... *gets distracted*

Back to the review... :p

I must say, the final showdown had me totally glued to the pages. It was very well done. I loved how things turned out for Daroch and Kylah in the end. It was just perfect, so much so that I wanted the story to go on! The end of this book promised more goodies. There’s a new Banshee queen, Tah Lia and Kamdyn has left with her, hired to act as her new hand maiden. I was thinking Kamdyn might be paired with Lorne, Rory’s right-hand man but right now, I’m not really sure. Then again, it’ll be like unwrapping a gift when the next installment is out. I can barely wait!!

Kerrigan please write fasterrrrr!! Hahaha

4.5 stars.


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