Friday, 29 April 2016

The Dream Catcher by Marie Laval
Series:  Dancing For the Devil Trilogy: Book 1
Release Date: 28th December 2015
Publisher: Accent Press
Genres:  Historical Romance

Can her love heal his haunted heart? - Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847. 

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.
      His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.
      He bent down in front of her.
      ‘Well, well, who do we have here?’
      Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.
      ‘Rose…Rose Saintclair.’
      ‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’
      ‘I… I don’t have any.’
      ‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’ He held both his hands out.
      She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.
      His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.
      She wriggled to free herself but he didn't let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.
      ‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’
      His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.
      Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.
      ‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’
      ‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’
      She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.
      ‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’
      ‘Pretend what?’
      ‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’
      ‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’
      ‘Please don't scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’
      ‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’
      He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’
      ‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’
      She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.
      ‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’
      ‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’
      She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.
      Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?
      He stepped closer and offered his hand.
      ‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’
      He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.
      ‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’
      There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.
      She took another deep breath.
      ‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.
      'If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’
      ‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’
      He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’
      Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…
      ‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.
      ‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.
      His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.
      ‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’

Let me first start by saying that if you like a trilogy or series you will simply adore this book! The Dream Catcher is the first book in the Dancing for the Devil trilogy and what a book to start a series with! Exciting and swoon-worthy (not sure that's a word), The Dream Catcher is a book to fall into and become totally entranced with the characters.

Rose has sailed across the ocean to be with her new husband. A violent storm leaves her ship in need of desperate repairs and the ship's captain has no choice but to dock before reaching its final destination and leaving Rose entrusted to the guardianship of Bruce McGunn, sworn enemy of her husband Cameron McRae. Rose is furious and puts up quite a fight. She is feisty, firey and beautiful and Bruce has no idea what to make of her. Pretty soon Rose hears stories about her new husband that do not paint him in a good light but she refuses to believe gossip that she thinks is misguided and unwarranted. The villagers hate her and Bruce has a hard time protecting her. Confused about the new life that is before her and feeling trapped in the cold and unforgiving castle; a place with shadows, whispers and secrets of its own. Rose is desperate for escape.  Despite Rose's initial feelings towards Bruce she cannot help but feel confused by the contradictions between what Cameron has told her about him and by the man she is becoming increasingly attracted to.

The Dream Catcher had me totally enthralled and I found the story engrossing. With lots of little clues pointing towards a mystery and the attraction between Rose and Bruce almost setting my kindle on fire it was an easy novella to get lost in and I was able to read it in one sitting....... granted I almost set the house on fire when I was so into the book I forgot about the dinner cooking!  Marie Laval uses such descriptive language in the book I felt that I was there! This is a definite recommended read from me and I cannot wait to read book 2 in the series. Watch this space for that review!


Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION'S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.



One Response so far.

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful review, JB. I am absolutely thrilled that you liked the story! I must say that Bruce McGunn is a great hero who really captured my imagination...and my heart!

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