The Renegade and The Rose - Christine Dorsey (Book #1)

As the notorious Scotsman called the Renegade, fierce outlander Keegan MacLeod strikes terror in all who dare oppose him. Obsessed with revenge against Foxworth Morgan, the Englishman who destroyed his family and dispatched him to the gallows, MacLeod is a desperate man pursuing a deadly plan.

Lady Zoe Morgan's peaceful existence is shattered when a wild-eyed, half-naked stranger bursts into her home and takes her captive. Spirited to a remote castle in far-off Scotland, Zoe becomes the bait to lure her unsuspecting brother into the Renegade's trap. She is also the irresistible temptress whose innocent passion could damn MacLeod forever - or prove his only salvation...

Since I enjoyed her last book so much, I was eager to try more of Dorsey. I hoped her trademark sense of humor would be present in this book as well - it was !. Story wise it's a little similar to the Sea Fires in that the romantic interest is kidnapped, but this time for revenge. A classic scenario in romance stories, the background to this one is breathtakingly depressing, making you feel for MacLeod on multiple levels. It was easy to fall in love with both characters, including the heroine Zoe, who made me chuckle throughout the entire thing. While in Sea Fires the humor rested on a girl obsessed with zoology and science, here Zoe is a hypochondriac always convinced she's on her death's bed.

Twists abound as MacLeod must get his captive back to Scotland without getting captured and subsequently hanged, which isn't easy when his captive wants him to get caught at first. A sweet woman who's convinced of her brother's innocence, she can't help but of course fall in love with the dark warrior eventually. The ending dishes out a healthy climax, rich in suspense and the ending of how they save themselves is rather unique, if not slightly depressing for the culture MacLeod worked so hard to preserve.

The story moves swiftly and never lost my interest, demanding my attention through the complicated tale as the kidnapping reaches multiple levels. Dorsey's writing is easy to follow and addictingly smooth, always have an unusual twist in her books that most romances are devoid of. Her humor is contagious and I'm anxious to read more of her work. Sexual tension is strong in several scenes, with the payout being blissfully sweet. The Renegade and the Rose focuses primarily on story and less on erotica, but there's enough there to satisfy readers itching for mutual lust and deeper love.

I enjoyed Sea Fire a little more as the humor was heavier there and the plot more bizarre, but this second offering of Dorsey's work was a pleasure as well. While a little melodramatic at times, it's still a fun romance read that just doesn't stick out as much as it could have. The first in a trilogy.