Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell is not a spectacular read. It is however a pretty solid read. I found several segments to be unnecessary and jumpy and predictable in others. This Highlander romance contains all the elements of the sub-genre including bride stealing, thwarted love, revenge plotting, and battle.
Thayer Saiturn is known as the Red Devil, a knight so fierce and courageous that his name inspires fear in the enemies. The second cousin in line for inheriting a title and land, Thayer knows his place in life is on the battlefield waging war to earn his bread and keep. He wishes for the finer things in life, namely a woman to warm his bed, but he knows his limitations. While men express awe and fear over him, women see nothing but an ugly, very hairy, very red brute covered with many scars (none on his face). He pays for the women in his bed, and does not seek one outside of this arrangement. Betrayed once by a beautiful woman, Thayer vows never to be so weak before another highborn beauty.
Gytha is promised by betrothal contract to the heir of Saiturn Manor. At first it was William, beautiful and strong bodied, but word came that he was dead. So too came word that the second cousin, Thayer was dead. Learning that she is to marry Robert, Gytha expresses disappointment. Robert is weak and his soft looks do nothing for her. She would prefer the knight coming in to witness the wedding – the tall one with flaming red hair, a lithe graceful body, and sweet soft brown eyes.
When she discovers that the red knight is Thayer, the true heir to Saiturn Manor, Gytha is relieved. Robert and his uncle are not but cannot fight the contract. Thayer is dismayed, having thought this to be William’s wedding he was attending, he finds no comfort in learning it is his own. The thought of the inheritance does not soothe him for his bride is the prettiest beauty he has ever seen. He was sure to be cuckold, made a fool of by his marriage to her. Men everywhere were vying for her attentions even as she walked down the aisle. He was doomed, for Gytha could not possibly want him.