The myth of the League of the Blade continues with the brother of Adam from Taken and Seduced in this story. The second in the Raised by the Blade trilogy has Robert Hilliard traipsing about Medieval England to prove himself to the League. The third will no doubt follow the youngest Hilliard brother.
Robert Hilliard is sent to investigate the murder of Viscount Drayton. Suspected, but not accused, of the murder is Sarah Audley, the nursemaid to Drayton’s young son, now the Viscount. Many also believe Sarah is the late Viscount’s mistress as well, since he took her in after unproven rumors she may have killed her husband. Robert in disguise, with his fellow Bladesman, stay at the Drayton keep to conduct their investigation.
Robert begins to believe that Sarah is innocent of everything she’s been accused of and sets out to find the proof. While doing this he begins to admire Sarah’s resiliency and independence. He then begins to think of the life he missed due to his unusual upbringing by the League sequestered from society. Robert also struggles to be a gentleman with the widowed Sarah, though he begins to fall for her quickly.
Sarah knows she always has to work for what she has. She can read and write, though that didn’t save her father’s estate, nor herself when her husband died. When Drayton hired her, she felt she could finally have a home and cared for Drayton’s young son, Francis. When Drayton dies, Sarah fears she may be forced from the place she now calls her home. Robert’s arrival complicates things, especially when she finds out the gossip about her being Drayton’s mistress and possibly killing him. Both Sarah and Robert work to clear her name from suspicion, find the real killer and find their own happiness.
Sarah was a good heroine, if a little complacent. She is a woman of her time, figuring out how to work for her living based on her skills, instead of living by what a man could provide for her. She does begin to whine a bit near the end about where she’s going to go next, convinced she’ll be tossed out on her ear and Francis will be raised by someone else.
Robert’s predicament is that he is a young man who enjoyed his freedom and didn’t live up to the impossible standards set for him by the League. Since he has to prove he’s capable of being a member of the League and not just another noble out for pleasure, his easy-going nature is subdued in the book. The experiment to raise the Hilliards obviously failed, but the League seems to not want to admit the mistake or understand the behavior of the boys coming out of that situation.
Other than that, the murder is solved satisfactorily in the end, with the suspicions correct in some ways. What didn’t work was the constant attempts to implicate Sarah, which distracted from Sarah and Robert’s story. The story would have worked better as well if the League’s reasons for sending Robert weren’t so flimsy and the subterfuge necessary on Robert’s part to investigate Sarah. But then there wouldn’t be a book at all.
Reckless Sir Robert Hilliard has one last chance to remain a member of the League of the Blade, the daring fraternity of elite knights that secretly raised him. A Bladesman has been poisoned, and Robert must uncover enough evidence to hang the murderess. It seems quite simple, really…until he meets the red-haired beauty and falls hopelessly under her spell.
He may be handsome, but Sarah Audley quickly discovers that Robert’s no knight in shining armor. He’s out to convict her for murder! Though Sarah vows her innocence, forces beyond her control are gathering against her. Even worse, she cannot deny her own flaming desire for this man who’s so dangerous…and so irresistible.
To satisfy their burgeoning passion, Robert may have to sacrifice his only dream. But he’ll gain something even more precious–Sarah’s undying love.
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