The MacGregors and Fergussons are enemies. It all started over a childhood fight when Tristan MacGregor and Alex Fergusson fought but Alex cheated and broke Tristan’s nose, winning the battle. Alex’s father, after drinking way too much killed Tristan’s uncle, Robert Campbell, Eleventh Earl of Argyll, with his bow and arrow. Angered by this, Tristan’s father hunted down Archibald Fergusson, Alex’s father, and cut him down with his sword. It’s been almost eleven years and the clans still hate each other.
Tristan is womanizer who flirts with just about every woman and usually gets what he wants from them. His clan is wealthy and he is a second born so he doesn’t have all of the responsibilities of his older brother, Rob, who will one day become clan leader. Tristan uses his time seducing women and living for the moment. He is not like the rest of his clan who are quick to anger and solve problems with the sword. He prefers to use words to solve disputes. He wanted to be just like his uncle, chivalrous and gallant, but when his uncle was murdered, he stopped caring and became a playboy shirking his responsibilities.
Isobel has had to raise her six brothers since her father’s murder. Her mother had died before her father so she and her siblings were left orphans when the Devil MacGregor cut her father down outside their home while they watched from an upstairs window. The rest of the clan left them on their own and moved, fearing that the MacGregors would come back and kill all of them. Her life has been difficult and her family barely has the means to survive. What they do have, other clans raid and steal because they know the Fergussons have little protection and can’t fight against them. Because of this, Isobel’s hatred for the MacGregors has flourished.
Isobel Fergusson and Tristan MacGregor meet in the Privy Garden at Whitehall Palace while their clans are there for the coronation of King James II and start flirting with each other. Neither one knows who the other one is when they first meet. Tristan tries to seduce Isobel but she isn’t so easy to fool as other women. Just because he has a pretty face, doesn’t mean she will allow herself to be ensnared by his charms. Tristan is beguiled by Isobel’s sharp tongue and her wit and believes she is unlike any other woman he has ever met. But when Isobel finds out Tristan is a MacGregor, she tells him she wants nothing to do with him.
After returning home, Tristan can’t get Isobel out of his mind so he travels to where Isobel lives far from his home. When he gets there, he thinks her home has been abandoned but then hears her working in the barn. He tries to sneak towards her but gets ambushed by her brothers. One brother shoots him in the arm with an arrow while the other hits him in the head with a rock from his slingshot. Tristan ends up with one arm tied to the bed and Isobel taking care of his injuries, not because she cares but because she is afraid if he dies, her father will come and seek revenge on her brothers.
I love Isobel’s brothers, especially the youngest, Tamas, who was wild and out of control. Tamas likes to play practical jokes on people. While Tristan is in bed, Tamas puts honey on his chest and sets hornets loose to sting him. Tristan tells him that he will get him back because he is the master of trickery and terrorized his brothers when he was a kid.
Tristan ends up having to stay a while to heal and all of Isobel’s brothers, besides Tamas, start to really like him as he helps out on their farm and even fights some men who came to burn their crops. Tristan believes there can be peace between the Fergussons and MacGregors if only Isobel would allow it. But Isobel and her brothers have a secret. It wasn’t her father who shot Tristan’s favorite uncle but one of them. It was an accident and her father took the blame to protect them.
What will Tristan and his family do to them when they find out?
I have to say, I enjoyed this book tremendously but at times tired of Isobel’s hatred towards Tristan. I thought she was a bit rude and cruel at times too and I think it went on for way too long. Other than that, I am really enjoying getting to know the characters in this series.