One thing I really love in historical romances are strong heroines, and Eva is the epitome of kick ass. Another thing I really enjoyed was this was a medieval. I haven't read a regency-set romance in a while, I think I'm a bit burnt out, and Defiant was just the historical setting I was craving.
Jamie Lost is the king's most trusted man. And he's been asked to fetch a well known priest who has just returned to England. This priest, who is known for his illuminated texts, has been in hiding in France after the king killed a few noblemen eight years ago. He left England with two heirs...heirs that could potentially create trouble for the king, who is facing disension from his nobles. On his hunt, Jamie realizes there is someone else after his priest.
Eva is after the priest because he is like a father to her. She ran away with him eight years ago to get a young boy, Roger, to safety from the King. When Father Peter was summoned to England to help with negotiations, she knew it was a trap, and she was right. So when she realizes Jamie is the lesser of a few evils chasing after Father Peter, they strike an alliance to recapture Father Peter.
Defiant was almost like a medieval road trip novel. They're running all over the English countryside chasing after a few villains and trying to save Father Peter. Eva has Roger, the young boy she helped save. But Roger is now a young man, and Jamie and his friend take Roger under their wing. She hates to see how Roger is slowly becoming the warrior he was meant to be. She raised him and she wants to see him stay innocent. Also, she can't fully trust Jamie and is only using him to find and save Father Peter. There is no way she is going to let Jamie hand Peter over to the King. But until that happens, they're working together in a tentative truce.
Despite her distrust of Jamie, he makes her feel safe, and that's something she hasn't been able to feel since she was 15. Right from the beginning with these two meeting, I loved their back and forth. Here's a good example of how their relationship starts out:
He looked over his shoulder and scowled when he saw she had not "come"' was not "over there."
"Sit," he growled. "And stay."
She narrowed her eyes and, very softly, barked.
LOL That's a good example of Eva's character too. I don't want to say she's fearless, because there's a lot she's afraid of and with good reason, but she is brave. She does what needs to be done and she's sacrificed a lot to keep Roger safe. I liked her character. And I like the little twist on her background.
Jamie is this big brute of a warrior who has lots of secrets and knows many things. He was the King's right-hand man and even though a lot of people are against the king, he's a loyal guy. But he's not stupid and he can see how things with the King are. He has a few secrets in his past as well. And even though he can't trust Eva, there's just something about her that draws him. Her spirit, her bravery. She's unlike any woman he's met and he knows he's going to have to walk away from her after their adventure is over. I like how Eva got under his skin even though he didn't mean for it to happen.
He dragged his eyes away from the ribbons and back to Eva, where she now stood, much closer to the burly jeweler with the appreciative eyes. She was very near him, smiling up at him...laughing. She was laughing with him. She touched his arm.
Jamie heard Gog say dimly, as if from a distance, "Eva doesn't wear ribbons, sir," and he heard himself say, "I'll take five."
Eva and Jamie really made this novel, but there was more going on than just the developing relationship between the two of them. And it was all so very good. I highly recommend Defiant and am looking forward to reading Kris' other books. 4.5 stars