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REVIEW

"His curse can not deceive the eyes of love"

There could be no doubt that Isabella Vernaducci would gladly lay down her life in exchange for her brother's. Lucca had been captured by the vile Don Rivellio, in retaliation for her refusal to become his bride. Rivellio had already laid claim to the Vernaducci lands and she feared that her brother would be soon die from the Don's cruel tortures. She had made every effort to gain Lucca's release and had failed. Now she had but one recourse.

She would endure dangerous weather conditions, forge a treacherous mountain path, brave wild beasts, to enlist the aid of the only man who could help her now. She would gain entrance to the forbidding palazzo of Don Nicolai Demarco and do whatever the man bid, in exchange for her brother's freedom. Strange rumors surrounded Don Demarco, it was said that he the man could control the vicious beasts that dwelt in his valley, and make them do his bidding.

Nicolai knows at once that this valiant maiden is the woman destined to bear his heir, a woman he could easily love, and because of his curse she would be destroyed by him. He had seen it happen before, had witnessed his own father kill his beloved wife in cold blood. It was the fate of every Demarco couple. Long ago an intangible evil had infiltrated the hearts and minds of the people of the valley, stirring up jealousy and hatred. Rumors had reached the then Don Demarco that his wife had been unfaithful. The evil had infiltrated his heart and made him doubt. His pride would not allow him to believe in the innocence of the woman he loved. He had put her to death, and with her last breath she had cursed him and his descendants. He would become attuned to the beasts and to all who looked upon him, he would appear as the beast he had become. Each successive Don would share his fate. They would be doomed to destroy the ones they cared for most, until the day a woman came who could see only the man, through the eyes of unconditional love. He should turn Isabella away before it became too late.

In a moment of weakness Nicolai lays down his ultimatum. In order to save her brother she must become his bride. Isabella readily agrees although she insists that a marriage is not necessary to gain her loyalty. Unlike the villagers, who avert their eyes in his presence, Isabella sees only a man tortured by the past and his fears for the future. She sees his scars as a badge of courage, admires his strength, and the beauty of his spirit. In spite of his efforts to frighten her, to make her see the danger of loving a man such as he, she refuses to give up on him anymore than she would give up on her brother. For Isabella love is unconditional, but her coming has reawakened the evil that had spawned chaos in the valley so long ago, and it would stop at nothing to deny their happiness. Once again friend would turn against friend, lover against lover, as their greatest fears were called to the surface. Would Isabella's love be strong enough to defeat the darkness once and for all?

I loved this unique twist to the beauty and the beast tale. Nicolai is an honorable man, the curse is not a result of his own deeds, but a dreaded inheritance. He would rather destroy himself than allow the woman he loves to come to harm. Isabella is a woman of strength and determination, she will hold on to those she loves with all her might, refuse to allow them to succumb to despair. Together they become a formidable force to overcome the dark side of human nature, to remind one and all of the good that dwells within each of them. LAIR OF THE LION will engross the reader from beginning to end. It is a tale filled with angst and inspiration, good reading at any time. I encourage you to enter the Lion's lair.

Copyright 2002

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted November 7, 2002

SUMMARY

THE BEAUTY
Impoverished aristocrat Isabella Vernaducci would defy death itself to rescue her imprisoned brother. Though fear formed a fist around her heart, she'd even brave the haunted, accursed lair of the lion - the menacing palazzo of legendary, lethal Don Nicolai DeMarco. . .

THE BEAST
Rumor said the powerful don could command the heavens, that the beast below did his bidding. . . and that he was doomed to destroy the woman he took as his wife. It was whispered he was not wholly human - as untamed as his tawny mane and slashing amber eyes.

THE BARGAIN
But Isabella met a man whose growl was velvet, purring heat, whose eyes held dark, all-consuming desire. And when the don commanded her to become his bride, she went willingly into his muscled arms, praying she'd save his tortured soul. . . not sacrifice her life. . .

Read an Excerpt

 

Lair Of The Lion
by Christine Feehan

Dorchester (Leisure Books)
September 1, 2002
Available: September 1, 2002
ISBN #084395048X
EAN #9780843950489
384 pages
Paperback
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Christine Feehan

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