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Predictability, contrivance and flat dialogue abound in this historical romance by acclaimed author Small. In 1461 war-torn England, Alix Givet is forced to marry a baron's cruel son in order to find refuge for her dying father. When her husband commits suicide, Alix's relief soon turns to horror as her father-in-law announces that he intends to marry her. On foot, Alix runs across the border to Scotland, where she's rescued from a wintry storm by Malcolm Scott, a gruff laird who vowed never to marry again after his first wife betrayed him. A few graphic sex scenes later, the two have fallen in love and married; the rest of the novel they spend dealing with the English baron-cum-raving madman who is convinced that Alix is rightfully his. Two-dimensional characters-either without flaw or completely unredeemable-and hastily dispatched political/historical background sink the story, but Small's included enough steamy scenes that fans should find what they're looking for. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.