The Warrior Trainer
by Gerri Russell
Originally published in paperback in 2007, the Kindle edition was released in 2011. The Warrior Trainer is the first book in Gerri Russell's Stones of Destiny trilogy.
Scotia knew her duty: protect the Stone of Destiny at all costs. It was the key to Scotland's salvation, the reason she'd become the best warrior in the world--as had the generations of women who'd guarded the Stone before her. Yet those women had never been distracted by a man like Ian MacKinnon.
He'd journeyed to her castle to learn her legendary skills so he could exact vengeance against the brutal English mercenaries who'd killed his brother. On the battlefield, Ian wielded his sword with deadly precision. In the bedroom, he became a man of wild passion tempered by infinite tenderness. But soon he would be forced to move on and avenge his clan, leaving Scotia to face a conflict for which she had no training: her duty to the Stone versus her desire to follow her heart.
All in all this was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the relationship between Scotia and Ian. I liked each of them, though I really felt badly for Scotia, whose whole life had been crippled by this duty to guard the stone and the mother who raised her for the early part of her life. Then she was raised by two older people, Maisie and Burke, for the latter part of her life. She had no understanding of normal life and how people interacted. She had literally been sheltered from life.
She was only prepared to train men to be the best warriors they could be using the outmoded ways handed down to her mother from her ancestors. So she had to develop her own ways without any way to test them other than in her head or against challengers. Challengers, mind you. Not men who came to train. They no longer came. But men who wanted to best her for her reputation and lands. And the stone. Her mother's only relationship with a man had been forced. That was why she had told her daughter that she wouldn't want to have a child because it was all pain. But she had to continue the lineage by having a daughter. That was part of her duty as the Warrior Trainer. This was also why she had such a hard time giving in to her desire for Ian.
Ian wasn't the blood child of his clan. He was taken in by the clan and adopted by the chief as a son. He was trying to live up to the responsibility of being the next in line for that position by going after the Four Horsemen, who had killed one of the blood sons. The chief, his father, had given him this task of getting the training from the Warrior Trainer before he could go after revenge against the Four Horsemen. He didn't understand it, and he had no idea there was any history between his father and the people surrounding the Warrior Trainer. Ian was a strong fighter and well respected for that fact. He didn't need anymore training. He felt this was all a waste of his time. He wanted to go after the Four Horsemen, especially the White Horseman. He was the one who had killed Matthew, the son.
The meeting of Scotia and Ian was bound to be a bit rocky. A woman isolated from life who finds herself strongly drawn to this man in a way she fears and doesn't really understand. And a man who doesn't want to be there and isn't really paying attention because he wants to be on his way. Enter Maisie and Burke. These two try to stage manage a romance and get Scotia pregnant by Ian, once Ian decides he's staying for training. Well, once Scotia decides he can stay, after he decides he wants her training. These two go head to head over every little issue. They both are having conversations in their own heads about what the other is thinking and neither, of course, has a clue. Scotia, especially, has no understanding of men other than fighting. So they argue constantly to begin with and she makes him grovel a couple of times. He does it quite nicely, too.
Well, it's a romance, right? So, in the end, the bad guy gets tossed and the couple have their happily ever after. Well, they do get there by and by. It's a very rocky road with lots of hazards, including the Four Horsemen. Especially the White Horseman, of course. They have lots more misunderstandings until all the secrets are uncovered and told. In the end, Scotia pops out a big surprise on everyone.
I gave this a four because I liked it, story, characters, setting. But there were places in it when it seemed like they would think themselves to a standstill and just not ever get going again. I'm hoping that the author leaves out some of that thought process in the other two books in the trilogy. I'm looking forward to finding out when I read them. Book two is Warrior's Lady, and book three is Warrior's Bride.
eBook was purchased from Amazon Kindle. Review by Judi Easley.