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WhiskeyintheGraveyard Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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The Warlord Wants Forever
Kresley Cole
My Immortal Highlander
Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands
Discovery of Desire
Susanne Lord

Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Most of All You by Mia Sheridan

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kidnapped and locked in a basement for six years, Gabriel managed to physically escape but years later as an adult, he is still somewhat mentally in that dark place.
Ellie lost her mother young and with a disinterested father, she slipped through the cracks. 
Two lonely souls are about to connect. 
 
Gabriel, a boy who hadn't let himself forget what love felt like, and me, a girl who had made sure I did not remember. 
 
With dueling pov chapters, this New Adult story deals with very dark issues but bathed in a very hopeful light. We are given the facts, Gabriel hates to be touched because of the abuse he suffered from his captivity and Ellie feels no personal value because of her father's neglect (she also experienced child abuse but takes awhile to acknowledge it as such). When Gabriel sees her at the strip club, he instantly feels she doesn't belong there and when Ellie hears he wants to hire her to help him grow accustomed to touch, she doesn't feel good enough for him. With a forced to spend time together occurrence happening, we get a lot of pushing and pulling.
 
While the facts and backgrounds given to our two leads are deep and dark, the author coated Gabriel with an almost angelic, optimistic light. He feels deeply for Ellie pretty immediately and without a lot of interaction between them, I wasn't quite sure why he fell so fast. Ellie's feelings for Gabriel were a bit more understandable as it was clear that he was the first man to ever show her respect. This had a very New Adult feel, with a wide-eyed young adult love, that my older (possibly too cynical) self couldn't quite follow. Gabriel's issue of not liking to be touched seemed to be gotten over pretty quickly. The work and meat of their relationship seemed to be left out in favor of a more airy fairy insta-love. Although, I did appreciate how, even kind of rushed towards the end, the author showed Ellie needed to do the personal work on herself, instead of being instantly cured by Gabriel's love. 
 
This story was a bit uneven with its heavy topics but fluffy feel. The secondary characters were worked in well but their relationships with the leads didn't always feel fully flushed out. The author obviously wanted the deep emotions giving her characters such pasts would do but didn't give us the heavy lifting; it ending up feeling insubstantial at times. 
 
This was a little slower moving but the often not seen more sensitive hero and heroine who needs to complete herself was appreciated. The steam factor is there at times but the very few sex scenes are safely glossed over with a more rose petals feel. If you're a New Adult fan, this will probably hit a sweet spot for you.
 
"I'm still not the right girl."
"I still don't agree."
 

Reading Update: 15%

Most of All You - Mia Sheridan

She’s as scared as I am. The thought caused me to frown. I wasn’t sure where it’d come from or why I’d had it at all.

Sneak Peek: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

 

DUKE OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Hoyt (October 17, 2017; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; The Maiden Lane Series #12)

 

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping.  Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos.  When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been atrifle hasty.

 

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them.  Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans.  But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

 

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed.  Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion.  But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters.  Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

 

DUKE OF DESIRE Long Excerpt:

Iris tasted of red wine—the red wine she must have drunk at dinner—and all the reasons he shouldn’t do this fled his mind. A vital chain broke in his psyche and everything he’d held back, everything he’d restrained with all his might, was suddenly set free. He surged into her mouth, desperate for the feel, for the taste of her, his wife, his duchess, his Iris. She was soft and sweet and warm and he wanted to devour her. To seize her and hold her and never let her go. The deep unfathomable well of his urges toward her frightened him, and he knew that if she became aware of them, they would frighten her as well.

But that was the thing—she wasn’t aware of them. She thought she was simply consummating their marriage or some such rot, God help them both.

She gripped his naked arms and the beast within him shuddered and stretched, claws scraping against the ground.

Dear God, he wanted this woman.

But he had to remember—to keep that human part of his mind awake and alive—that he mustn’t seed her.

Must never do as his cursed father had done.

He broke from her mouth, feeling the pulse of his cock against his breeches, and trailed his lips across her cheek to her ear. “Come with me, sweet girl.”

She blinked up at him, wide blue-gray eyes a little dazed.

He covered her mouth again before she could speak—either to consent or decline—and drew her slowly backward, step by step, toward the bed, until he hit it with the backs of his legs. He broke the kiss, looking down at her, her wet ruby lips parted, her cheeks flushed pink.

She looked edible.

“Raphael,” she whispered, his name on her lips like a plea, and something within him broke.

This wasn’t what he wanted. This wasn’t right. But it was the only thing possible and it would have to suffice because it was all he could do.

And trying to resist was killing him.

He traced a hand up her arm, over her shoulder, to her neck, and from there touched her bound golden hair. “Will you take down your hair for me?”

She gasped—a small, quick inhalation—and nodded.

He watched as she raised her arms, her stormy eyes locked on his, and withdrew the pins from her hair one by one until the heavy mass fell like a curtain around her shoulders. He bent then and gathered the locks in his hands, burying his face in her neck, inhaling her.

His woman.

He felt her tremble against him and then her fingers speared through his hair. “Raphael.”

He lifted his head.

Her hands fell away and she began undressing, her head bent down as she unhooked her bodice. He saw that her fingers fumbled and he knew that a better man would turn aside. Would give her privacy to collect herself and disrobe with modesty.

But he wasn’t such a man. He wanted all of her—her mistakes and her private moments, her shame and her worries—everything she held back from the rest of the world. As he wanted this. This moment of fumbling.

This moment of intimacy.

She pulled the bodice from her arms. Untied her skirts and let them pool around her feet before kicking them aside. Glanced up at him and then worked at the laces to her stays.

Her unbound hair fell over her shoulders, nearly to her waist, thick and swaying gently as she moved.

Beautiful.

She was beautiful.

She pulled her loosened stays off over her head and stood in chemise, stockings, and shoes. The tips of her breasts peeked out from beneath the thin cloth.

She began to bend for her shoes, but he stopped her. “No. Let me.”

He grasped her by the waist and lifted her to the bed.

Carefully he drew off her slippers, letting them drop to the hardwood floor before running his hand up her left calf. The room was so quiet he could hear each breath she drew. She watched him as he reached under her chemise, into that warm spot behind her knee, tugging at the ribbon of her garter.

Her breath hitched.

He glanced up at her as he found bare skin. Hot, so hot under her skirt. He could almost imagine he smelled her, standing between her bent legs. He pulled the first stocking off and moved to her other foot, smoothing his thumb over her arch, over that high instep, that sweet, delicate ankle. The curve of her calf—one of the loveliest curves in nature—elegant and perfect. Someday he’d like to draw her nude.

The faint, almost inaudible whisper as he pulled the ribbon off raised the hairs on the back of his neck. His nostrils flared and he couldn’t wait any longer. He lifted her bodily, moving her farther up on the bed, placing her head and shoulders against the pillows, and then pushed up her chemise, crawling between her spread thighs and settling to enjoy what he’d found.

There. There she was, her pretty, pretty pink cunny, all coral lips and wispy dark-blond curls. He hiked her trembling legs over his arms, ignoring her gasp of shocked surprise. He glanced up once and saw wide, wondering eyes gazing back at him. Her gentlemanly first husband had evidently never done this to her.

More fool he.

 

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

 

Social Media Links:

www.ElizabethHoyt.com

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Add Duke of Desire to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2vaU2Bp

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Reading Update: 30%

Bought By The Greek Tycoon - Jacqueline Baird

She gasped as his firm lips trailed up to her ear.

Blowing gently , he added, 'Because, however much you wish it wasn't true, I am your last lover. Not your long-dead husband.

 

I tell ya', this guy has the best lines. 

Lord Halloween

A Soul to Steal - Rob Blackwell

*Published 2011

Today is the first day of October. By the end of it, five women, five men and five children will be rotting in the ground. You cannot stop me, just as you cannot stop change. I am night. I am cold. I am flesh rendered and torn. I am steel. I am the harbinger of fail: I am death. You can call me Lord Halloween. 

Borrowing heavily from the Headless Horseman legend and adding some Jack the Ripper and Freddy Kruger elements, this definitely had a nice Halloween feel to it. Our heroine Kate finds herself having dreams where she is being chased by a headless horseman and her mother is trying to warn and help her. When Kate was little her mother was murdered by Lord Halloween and he always told her he would come back for her. Unable to ignore her dreams Kate goes back to her hometown to try and solve the Lord Halloween mystery.

Quinn works at the local paper and immediately is drawn to the new reporter Kate. He's also been having dreams about a headless horseman chasing him. Coincidence? I think not! What follows is a murder mystery involving a Lord Halloween who writes letters to reporters describing his murders and wanting them printed so he can get the respect he thinks he deserves for everyone celebrating his holiday. There is also a paranormal mystery with the headless horseman chasing Quinn and Kate in their dreams and real life. There is a sizable cast of characters that work to keep you guessing as to who the murderer/s is/are and how Kate and Quinn tie in to it all. 

I think adding the paranormal aspect overly complicated matters and gave the story a looser feeling; I couldn't follow along with it. The graphic and at times creepy letters from Lord Halloween were adequate enough to provide some spook factor. This looks to be a continuing series and I imagine the paranormal storyline and connection Quinn and Kate have will be continued on and maybe flushed out a bit better. 

The writing was overall good but like I said, the murder and paranormal plot lines had a tendency to get a bit loose. A great October read though to get you in the Halloween mood. 

We are night. We are October. We are flesh rendered and torn. We are the rider that was promised long ago, the harbinger of fall: We are death, riding on a black horse. You can call us the Prince of Sanheim. 

Halloween Bingo Card

I didn't have three called bingo squares called but I'm back in it now!

 

 

Ghost - Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Cozy Mystery - The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Witches - The Hunter and the Witch by Rachel Chanticleer

Werewolves - Soulless by Gail Carriger

Modern Masters of Horror - A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell

Reading Update: 10%

A Soul to Steal - Rob Blackwell

 

She had wonderfully red hair, an easy laugh and a certain twinkle in her eye when she smiled. Oh, in case it’s relevant, she screamed delightfully when I sliced into her. Unfortunately, I cut a little too close to the left lung and she began choking on her own blood, which rather diminished the effect. No one heard her.

She died at 11:33 a.m. this morning.

Pinky up while fighting

Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger

 

Lord Conall Maccon,Earl of Woolsey, was Alpha of the local werewolves, and as a result, he had access to a wide array of truly vicious methods of dealing with Miss Alexia Tarabotti. 

Alexia is a preternatual, she has no soul and is therefore, something between the living and the supernatural. Whenever she touches a supernatural she renders any powers or offshoots of their supernatural ability moot. 
Conall is an Alpha werewolf leading the Woolsey pack and works for BUR, an organization that monitors, investigates, and keeps supernaturals in check. 
Alexia and Conall's back and forth sassy and grumpy chemistry was fun to follow along with but the supernatural world dominated this story.

The puritans left Queen Elizabeth's England for the New World because the queen sanctioned the supernatural presence in the British Isle. The Colonies had been entirely backward ever since: religious fingers in all their dealings with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. It made America into a deeply superstitious place. 

It's the Victorian age and with a bit of alternate history, the world knows about supernaturals. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and the very rare preternaturals all knowingly exist. It took me until around 40% before I felt comfortable in the story. The pace and tone is written in a bit of a frenetic way and with so many new terms, beings, frameworks, and relationships thrown at me, it took awhile for me to catch up. 

"I am beginning to understand," she said in a quiet deadly voice, "who is the monster." 

The story is written with a bit tongue in cheek, is it more damning that our heroine is a preternatural or spinster? English decorum must always be displayed, regardless if one is dealing with vampires, werewolves, or villainous scientists. I liked this bit of irony on manners and how the author subtly took a jab at cultural norms, ideals, and human nature. 

I could have stood for more structure and development of relationships and less of the felt forced in steam punk components but overall, this was a fun world to visit for a couple hours. I'll read the next in the series and hopefully the groundwork laid in this one will allow me to hit the story running and secondary characters and relationships will flourish more.

Psychically X-treme!!!

A Sexy Time of It (Extreme) - Cara Summers

"Speaking of serious---I didn't think about it before. What about protection? They still have that in your time, don't they?"

He nodded. "I took care of it. I can do it psychically"

 

What a line, dude! 

 

Why I imagined this qualified for Extreme Blaze:

 

- Psychically time traveling

- Psychically having sex

- Jack the Ripper time traveling psychically to murder women every 120yrs

 

If you couldn't tell, this was all a bit out there and you probably don't want to question the time travel theories too closely, or you'll drive yourself crazy like I did. 

 

Definitely an interesting concept that was intriguing enough to keep me reading. The characters and story components were all a bit breezed over and for this being Blaze, I was a little shocked at the lack of frequency and fervor of sex scenes but never fear, they are there. 

Reading Update: 15%

A Sexy Time of It (Extreme) - Cara Summers

“What exactly just happened?” she asked. "We both still have our clothes on, but I was sure we…”

"Had sex?”

She swallowed. “Did we?”

"Mentally, yes. Physically, no.”

 

This Extreme Blaze may be too Extreme for me  

Hopefully finds a better home in library

Bound By Temptation - Lavinia Kent

I've finished the book and I'm still not sure the hero and heroine even like each other, let alone love.

Reading Update: 20%

Bound By Temptation - Lavinia Kent

That did not make his words less painful now. Clara did flirt. She did smile and flaunt and use every bit of her feminine wiles to control a situation. It was the only way to survive. She wished it were not so. Women who managed to survive without using those tarnished resources earned her greatest admiration. There were so few of them. Men criticized a woman for using her femininity and punished her for not. It was the way of the world.

Witch on Witch violence

The Hunter and the Witch (Crescent City Arcana) - Rachel Chanticleer

 

The vision she'd seen in the waters of her scrying bowl under the glow of tonight's moon showed her yet another witch with the potential to become more powerful than herself. Helena couldn't ignore it. She had to act.

 

This was a Kindle Freebie I had downloaded a while ago, so I didn't do too much investigating beyond the title to make sure it matched the square. It is more of an introduction and set-up to the series. We are introduced to Lucius, a gladiator/Roman slave and Helena, a witch. Helena forces Lucius into a pact that saves his life but binds him to her for eternity as her assassin. It seems Helena needs to kill up and coming witches for their power. This part isn't explained too much with the ins and outs of it all.

We then fast forward to present time and meet Bethany as Lucius is in the middle of trying causing a car accident to kill her. She has no idea she is a witch but manages to blast him with her power. This shocks her and, I don't know, impresses/turns on Lucius and he leaves her alive. 

Fast forward four years and we catch back up with Helena as she questions and demands Lucius find Bethany to kill her. He claims he still can't find her but Helena knows what's up and has him followed as he goes to warn Bethany. 

Some green blasting fighting with witch on witch violence and suddenly Bethany and Lucius are our new power duo.

The writing was pretty good but the magic, witch, and paranormal side was underdeveloped; Bethany accepted being a witch much quicker than I would have. 

As an introduction to a series, I'm a little intrigued. Hopefully, with more pages the author will have the room to develop the story and flesh out the characters more. 

Production line romantic suspense

Dare You to Run: An Unbroken Heroes Novel - Dawn Ryder

A lot of tell, no show. Insta-lust/attraction between our leads, with a first kiss off-screen. The time jumping was a bit off and made it kind of a stop and go feel. It's like the author knew where she wanted the story to go but didn't take the time to connect the dots. The second half became just a sex-fest between leads. 
Pretty interesting suspense arc (continued from book 1) with shady, powerful, and working towards the greater good people. 
Heroine was ok with wanting to control, and taking steps to, her own life but she was put into kidnapping situation after kidnapping situation so felt like just a token to show off hero's soldier skills. 
Hero was bit of a blank slate just growling with intimidating stares that also had burning eyes. 
The editing and lack of fluid story connection made this pretty shallow and surface. Gives you the military hero and needs rescuing heroine tropes but no depth to them.

Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

 

I was a little disappointed in this one, I already knew/heard some version of the stories before. I kept wondering if I had read the book before because I thought this was original content. 

 

Our Neighbor's House

I've heard this one before, so I knew it was a little out there ending. 

 

A Lady's Hands Are Cold

Did my grotesque horror heart well and had some creep factor to it. The ending though didn't satisfy. 

 

His Face All Red

Was so disappointed the scenes were cut before the gore could really get started. I had to remind my slasher movie loving self that this was supposed to be for the kiddos. Again, the ending had me side-eyeing. 

 

My Friend Janna

This one was the creepiest to me.

 

The Nesting Place

My favorite even though I've heard the story before.

Hidden gem

Truly - Mary Balogh

Someone smarter than me needs to review this book. Like, STAT. This would make an incredible book club selection, the conversations and discussions would be great. 
Ok, so like a Rose Lerner and Courtney Milan book, this is impossible for me to write a coherent review because of thoughts and feelings. The gist is Geraint grew up in Wales with people thinking he was a bastard but at age 12 he is whisked away because his mother didn't lie, she was married to an Earl's heir and Geraint is now the heir. His grandfather forbids him any contact with his mother and past friends, Marged and Aled, from Wales. After a little over a decade away, he returns and is pretty much shunned by everyone because of how awful the economic system has been running, poor getting taxed to death. The author uses the real historical Rebecca Riots as a plot point and to help Geraint integrate himself with the people. 
 
But oh my dearies, this book is so much more, the economic and class issues are the main theme with sexism also being touched on. To be honest, the romance took a definite back seat for me and I actually liked the secondary couple better than the main. The first three chapters or so give this a really slow beginning but stick with it, the author weaves an incredible tale. It is emotional, thought provoking, and intelligent; I don't find books like this too often. This has been in my garage sale book box for many years and I'm actually glad it took me so long to get to, I don't think I could have appreciated this when I was younger; I think this would be better for a mature audience. I would call this a mash-up of Rose Lerner (class/economic issues) and The Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss (main couple's relationship). 
 
This is a book to help you get it, why and how people's fear and helplessness create anger because they have nowhere to turn to or recourse and the courageous and dangerous acts this produces. I am disappointed this doesn't have a re-issue in ebook format. I also want to start the battle cry for Idris to get his own book.
 
If I was a part of book club discussion:
 
But the challenge of journalism is to try to separate truth from prejudice and hysteria and report accurately what is fair to both sides. 
 
I don't think the relevance of this book will ever die out but this line hit me extra hard. The importance journalism plays in this story, well, it will remind you why we need to keep fighting for a free media system. 
 
 
 
But Geraint had always felt disliked. Not that he had ever been self-pitying about it. But he had built defenses, of which Aled, as his one close friend apart from Marged Llwyd, had been aware. The defense of not caring a fig for anyone as a child. The added defense of aloofness as an eighteen-year-old and the firm hiding behind his newly acquired Englishness and his gentleman's manners. 
 
We don't get heroes like Geraint very often; he was the epitome of still a hurt, lonely child inside mixed with strength, compassion, and courage. The author did an amazing job showing how people create defense mechanisms to help them survive and how this can help and hinder them in their personal relationships. 
 
"Goddammit," Geraint said, "we were friends, Aled. You and Marged and I. Marged told me to get away from Ty-Gwyn. She told me I could shove my sympathy for her down my throat---I believe she was itching to suggest a different location. She told me I was not welcome. And you tell me I have a vivid imagination. Don't make this lonelier for me than it has to be, many. What have I done?" 
 
When Geraint finally returns to Wales, he finds he can't just waltz in and be accepted. He's rich and part of the system destroying the people's lives, like his old friend's Aled and Marged. Aled was such a great character, shy but bold in his strength. Aled was the friend who tells it like it is, without anger or hate towards Geraint but with a calm open your eyes and educate yourself.
 
 
 
"Ignorance is no plea, is it?" he said. 
 
Not then and especially not in 2017.
 
Most were enthusiastically in favor of showing their displeasure and their frustration---and their fear---in some active manner. 
 
Fear was a dreadful emotion when it was accompanied by utter helplessness. 
 
Something was wrong. It would have been farcical if it were not also deadly serious. 
 
Using the Rebecca Riots was brilliant and helped educate me (I had to immediately go and research it further) on a personal little known historical occurrence. It beautifully showcased all the angles people take when injustice is massively tipped to one side. 
 
And yet he saw now more than ever before that people of his class could not act as individuals for all their privileges. If they did not act as a class, as a unit, they might all crumble. 
 
Again, the author was brilliant in showing all sides and directions of classism and how that can create injustice and as Geraint discovers, there is no easy fix because it is a system and not an individual person to easily attack. 
 
The necessity for rebelling in order to draw attention would be past. 
 
"I am fighting against a system, Marged," he said, "against an injustice that is larger than one person. I do not hate anyone." 
"It shows," she said. "You are so very careful that no one if hurt during the smashing of gates, either on our side or on the other side. And somehow you arrange it that those who suffer material loss are compensated. You are a compassionate man. Is that why you are doing this, then? You are fighting against a system rather than against people?"
"Yes," he said. 
"It is better than hatred," she said. "Hatred---hurts."
 

 
People as a whole don't want to constantly be at odds, they want to be a part of society and contribute. They want the system fixed or the first step at bare minimum to be taken, acknowledgement that the system is broken and needs to be fixed. 
 
 
 
She was still angry. Perhaps angrier with him than she might have been because she was angry with herself. 
 
Oh, Marged. I can see some great discussions happening about this heroine. The quickest and easiest assessment to make of her is bitter and hateful. Our heroines have to be kind, softhearted, and forgiving at all times, don’t they? Marged burns that thought to the ground. Marged is angry, she's angry that Geraint left her when she loved him as a child, she's angry at the system that killed her husband, and instead of crying on the inside, she flings her anger at Geraint. 
 
Hatred, she was discovering, was too powerful an emotion. Too like love. Sometimes the two were indistinguishable. Perhaps if she had not loved him, she would never have hated him. She would merely have disliked and despised him. 
 
Marged's anger and helplessness finds a convenient and pretty undeserved target of Geraint. Her warring of emotions gave their relationship passion. For every review I see that says they hated the heroine, I want thesis after thesis discussing the complexity of burdens of womanhood, their rights and privileges during this time period, how women are “allowed” to behave, and how individuals deal with convoluted emotions. 
She also helped to provide the story with some romance angst ;)
 
 
 
"I am glad you were so stubborn," she said. "I am glad we never married, Aled." 
He swallowed awkwardly. "I love you, cariad," he said. 
"No," she said. "It is something other than love that rules your life, Aled. It is hatred and the desire for revenge. It is the desire for destruction and violence." 
"It is the desire for a better life," he said, "and the conviction that we have a right to it. It is the belief that I owe it to myself and to my neighbors and to my unborn children---if I ever have any---to do something I cannot allow others to do for me, cariad."
"Neither could Eurwyn," she said bitterly. "But he died and left Marged and his mam and gran to manage without him. And no one has a better life as a result of what he did."
He lifted one hand to cup the back of her head. "It is what you are afraid of?" he asked softly. "That I will die and leave you alone? It is better, you think, not to marry me and not to have my little ones if I recklessly court death?" 
She was crying then and trying to pull away from him. But his arms closed about he like iron bands. And he kissed the top of her head, the wet cheek that was exposed to him, and finally the wet face she lifted to him. He kissed her mouth with hunger, parting his lips with his own. 
"Tell me you love me," he whispered against her lips. "It has been so long since I heard you say the words. Tell me I am your cariad."
But she struggled then and freed herself and turned back to face the gate, his coat held about her shoulders with both her hands. "No," she said. "You are not my love, Aled. And I do not believe Marged is my friend any longer. I am sorry for it. Marged is causing mischief and you are talking of breaking down tollgates with perhaps hundreds of men to make a mob. Someone will get hurt. It may be you or it may be Marged. But worse, it may be someone else, hurt because of you or Marged. I cannot love you any longer. No, let me put it differently. I will not love you any longer. But you knew that. We have argued it out before. Let there be an end now. No more scenes like this. It is over."
"And yet," he said, "you still love me." 
"You were not listening." She released her hold on his coat and let it slide to the ground. 
"Ah, yes," he said sadly, "I was, cariad."
She said nothing more. And he could think of nothing more to say either. She would not give up her conviction that protest and violence were never justified, and he would not give up his conviction that they were and that if he wanted to see change and thought someone should do something about effecting it, then he must be willing to do his part. He could no longer stand back and let the Eurwyns of this world do his fighting for him. He must fight for himself. Even if it meant giving up the one good thing in his life that had given it meaning and direction for the past six years. For four of those years he had worked long , hard hours in his forge, making himself worthy of her, making for her a secure future and preparing a comfortable home. And now for two he had taken the course best calculated to drive her away forever. But there was nothing he could do to change that. For if he could not offer her his integrity, then he had nothing worth offering at all.
 

 
Aled and Ceris were the secondary romance and I ate them up with a spoon. Talk about two sides of a coin and a wonderful showcase of how society needs both ways of thinking in order to challenge and change the system and keep societal civility. If Aled and Marged were the hundred reasons to passionately act out, Ceris was the hundred reasons to intellectually not to. Aled and Ceris' relationship, gah, their quiet love for each other just killed me. 
 
This is a little slow at times and to ensure a happy ending, two very serendipitous moments had to occur but it was all so worth it for me.
If you're looking for more romance, this probably wouldn't be for you. If you're looking for a quick and easy story, this probably wouldn't be for you. If you're looking for complexity in thought and emotion, this is definitely for you.
This whole story felt like a very intimate peek into people's lives, they weren't just characters to me.