His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2 ) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 11, 2017

A Love Denied
Kenneth Brodie offered for young Mary Catherine Rose but her father declined, then a year later accepted an offer from another clan. Furious at hearing Cat would be married soon to someone else, Kenneth fled to France and drowned his disappointment in wine, women and war.

A Love Lost
Two years after her father demanded they wait until Cat was older, she doesn’t understand why Kenneth hasn’t returned for her. Broken-hearted, Cat spurns yet another betrothal her father arranges and runs away to her cousin in St. Andrews, vowing never to marry.

A Love Worth Fighting For
By the time Kenneth returns home, trouble is brewing in Scotland. Sent to St. Andrews as hostage for his clan to the Regent, Kenneth resents being exiled—until he encounters his lost love, Cat Rose. When war breaks out, they must escape. And even though he betrayed her with more than one mademoiselle, he’s the only man Cat trusts to get her home to the Highlands. Can she forgive his past and renew the love they once shared?

••••••••••

REVIEW: His Highland Love is a historical romance, and is book two in her His Highland Heart Series The opening scene is in St. Andrews and the year is 1411.

Kenneth Brodie is our male lead. He had run away to France some years ago, heartbroken by the refusal of James Rose to let him marry his youngest daughter. The two were in love and he had offered for her hand in marriage, only to be told she was too young to marry. However, her father soon betrothed her to another clan leader. This news caused Kenneth to snap and thinking his love was married to another, he ran to France to fight in wars. He learned much and became a fierce warrior as well as wiser about life.

When Kenneth returned to Scotland, his friend and Laird Iain Brodie was angry he’d run away and punished him by sending him as the clan’s token hostage as demanded by the Duke of Albany. He was sent to Stirling, but later was moved to St. Andrews and his clan did not know where he was or when he’d be returned.

The lead female in this book is Cat or Catherine Rose, daughter of James Rose their clan laird. Her mother passed away while she was a child and she was raised by her father and her sisters. After her heart was broken by his refusal of her love for Kenneth, she was betrothed to three others…each failing for one reason or another. She always thought Kenneth would find a way to take her from here, but found he’d left for France. She’d had enough of this and still dreaming of Kenneth, she ran away. Her sisters helped her get safely away, keeping her from an unwanted marriage. She ran to St. Andrews to some family friends and left her father a note telling him why she left, but not where she was going.

That’s the basic gist of the beginning. Author Willa Blair is an award winning author and does a really good telling of the stories. Readers are also granted a small look at Highland confrontations and wars, the politics that was rampant in those times. Many Lairds married their daughters and even sons off for alliances, some worked…some did not.

If you love romantic highland stories of warriors and danger, love and honor, you’ll find this story intriguing as well as enjoyable. The characters and their motives are complicated with obligations warring with emotions. We’re treated to some secondary characters that are equally interesting and will be featured in future novels. I thought it was an interesting look at how daughters were beginning to find a way around the arranged marriage thing and beginning to follow their hearts. The sisters trying to help each other by manipulating their stubborn father was also interesting. Not that the practice of arranging marriages would end anytime soon.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews

His Highland Heart
His Highland Love

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna S

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The Highland Commander (Lords of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER (Lord of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
(Lords of the Highlands #2)
by Amy Jarecki
Release Date: June 27 ,2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland,romance

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The Highland Commander

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27,2017

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

Lords of the Highlands series: The Highland DukeThe Highland CommanderThe Highland Guardian

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH Amy I do love how you write an yummy Highland Romance! 🙂

The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki is the second book of her “Lords of The Highlands” series. A historical romance that takes a fictional couple and weaves it into a very real part of history. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when an author knows their history and can make a story come alive by allowing the reader the “What If” aspect. My senses were alive with vivid descriptions of scenery and culture. A good ole highlander romance always puts a smile on my face and this book certainly did just that!

Lady Magdalen (Maddie) is introduced to us at a ball. We learn she is a bastard, but has taken her life in hand and decided to work in hospital aiding women who have been abused. Maddie is innocent, but realistic about her station in life. It would seem her step mother really has no wish to have her in the family so she is raised alongside a ladies maid. When her father is charged with treason, her step-mama sure finds use for her really quick .. go save daddy dearest! Off Maddie goes, not expecting all she comes to find.

Aiden is introduced to us at the same ball we meet Maddie. They share a moment but know their paths will never cross again. Aiden is the second son of an Earl and is serving in the Navy. Once time had past, Aiden can never really get this lady out of his mind and before we know it, their paths cross again. Then their lives become entwined and we are off to one heck of a story!

Ok, I have to swoon for a second here! Aiden! OH SWEET AIDEN. The man is a virgin, sweet without feeling like you are dunked in a tub of honey, heroic and the total opposite of a rake. How fricken refreshing. I love my rakes .. I love me a bad boy, but then Aiden comes and I am the girl blow away at this character who isn’t a pansy ass but all MAN! My heart ached for this man, as much as it ached for Maddie.

The one liners and jokes these two share had me laughing out loud. I loved how they figured “love” and “loving” out together. I loved that their relationship wasn’t clear cut, but they both really deserved to be with the other. Honestly when it comes to highlander historical romance, you tend to read big burly men with either the innocent lass or the spitfire .. and this felt a whole lot different to me! These two have quite a few obstacles to overcome for their HEA, but it’s a joy to go through it with them!

Sorry I don’t give away storyline (that is for your pleasure), but I do tell you that if you have any amount of history buff inside you, you will seriously appreciate Amy Jarecki’s writing. She is well researched. If I have to give a negative amongst all this praise, it was slow to start. Once it got going I was completely invested.

Absolutely could be a stand alone, but snag the first book too, it’s also very good!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy provided by Publisher

the Highland Commander Teaser

 

excerpt

 

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.
He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.
God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.
Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.
At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.
Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.
Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.
She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.
Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.
“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”
Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”
Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”
Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.
Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”
“Have we time?” asked Maddie.
Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”
Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”
“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”
Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”
“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”
Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”
The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”
Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”
Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.
“What?”
“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”
Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”
“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”
Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”


 

About The Author Black and White

Amy JareckiAmy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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Highland Faith & Highland Hope (Wild Thistle Trilogy ) by Madelyn Hill-a review

HIGHLAND FAITH / HIGHLAND HOPE (Wild Thistle Trilogy ) by Madelyn Hill-a review

Highland Faith

Amazon. com Amazon.ca / amazon. uk /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 17, 2017

Lady Faith MacAlister wishes for adventure, be careful what you wish for . . .

Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: HIGHLAND FAITH is the second installment in Madelyn Hill’s historical, Highlander WILD THISTLE romance trilogy focusing on Faith, Hope and Honor of Clan MacAlister. This is Lady Faith MacAlister, and Captain Graeme Ross’s story line. HIGHLAND FAITH can be read as a stand alone without any difficult. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Faith and Graeme) HIGHLAND FAITH follows Lady Faith MacAlister as she becomes the captive of Captain Graeme Ross. Graeme’s father is about to lose his lands to the Crown and Graeme’s only chance to save his father is a quick influx of cash from an unlikely source. Enter Lady Faith MacAlister, second oldest MacAlister daughter and sister to the MacAlister Lairds. Lady Faith will find herself the victim of an abduction –but a willing captive within days when she loses her heart to Captain Graeme Ross. What ensues is the building relationship between Graeme and Faith, and the fall out when the ransom is paid.

The relationship between Faith and Graeme is one of enemies to lovers; a captive falling for her reluctant jailer but a man desperate in his attempts to save his childhood home. Graeme will find himself falling in love with the woman he holds hostage but a man that is more than willing to step up in desperate times. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of sexually graphic, over the top language and text.

Once again , there is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Faith’s sisters Honor and Hope, as well as Hope’s husband Aidan MacKerry-MacAlister. We are introduced to the crew of the Blue Boy, all of whom will fall in love with our leading lady.

HIGHLAND FAITH is a story of family, love, desperation and betrayal. The premise is entertaining and enjoyable; the characters are colorful, honorable and inspiring; the romance is passionate and fated. Madelyn Hill invites the reader into a captivating story line as one couple finds love on the stormy seas.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

________________

Highland HopeHIGHLAND HOPE
The Wild Thistle Trilogy #1
by Madelyn Hill
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance
Release Date: August 31, 2016

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About the book: RELEASE DATE: August 31, 2016

“Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan was second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the lairdship Aidan MacKerry seeks flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Hope, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right to be laird and prove, despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

••••••••••

REVIEW: HIGHLAND HOPE is the first installment in Madelyn Hill’s WILD THISTLE Highland, historical, romance trilogy. This is Lady Hope MacAlister, and Aidan MacKerry’s story line.

Told from several third person points of view including Hope and Aidan HIGHLAND HOPE focuses on Aidan MacKerry’s return to his boyhood home-the MacAlister Keep, and a legacy he hopes to avenge and retain. Years earlier Aidan and his family had been ousted from their clan, and in the process Aidan and his father lost any hope of retaining the title of Laird. Enter Lady Hope MacAlister, the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep, and the woman with whom Aidan would fall in love. What ensues is the building relationship between Aidan and Hope, and the simmering betrayal that lies close to the surface regarding Aidan’s return.

HIGHLAND HOPE is a slow building story line that follows Laird Hope MacAlister as she struggles to gain the respect of the clan and the council but not everyone is happy with a woman in charge. Aidan’s appearance brings with it a renewed sense of purpose for the council, but a purpose that hides a secret agenda.

The relationship between Aidan and Hope is acrimonious. Hope senses that Aidan knows more than he is revealing; and Aidan is a man determined to regain the title he knows he deserves. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of sexually graphic language and text. I had hoped for more interaction between the leading characters.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Hope’s younger sisters Faith and Honor, as well as an older woman named Nora who is more of a mother figure to the MacAlister clan.

HIGHLAND HOPE is an engaging tale of passion and power. The premise is spirited and dramatic but predictable-the requisite evil is easily deduced; the romance is sensual and uplifting; the characters are dynamic and inspiring. HIGHLAND HOPE will entertain fans of the Scottish romance genre.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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Kill or be Kilt (Highland Spies 3) by Victoria Roberts -Review and Book Tour

KILL OR BE KILT (Highland Spies #3) by Victoria Roberts-Review and Book Tour

Kill or Be Kilt

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 3, 2016

Lady Elizabeth Walsingham pined after the same man for years. When she finally realizes the brawny Highland laird doesn’t return her feelings, she decides to leave for London and start anew. It seems that her prayers are answered when she catches the eye of a charming actor at the Globe Theatre – a man who is the complete opposite of the Highlander she once loved.

Laird Ian Monroe spends his time avoiding the bothersome young girl who dreams of their union. But when he travels to London and discovers that she has a new love interest with a dishonorable agenda, his perspective changes. Ian soon realizes that Elizabeth is no longer a child with a crush, but a beautiful woman in need of his help. He may have what it takes to rescue Elizabeth from her scheming beau, but does he have the courage to reclaim Elizabeth’s heart as well?

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: KILL OR BE KILT is the third installment in Victoria Roberts’s historical HIGHLAND SPIES Highland, romance series. This is Lady Elizabeth Walsingham, and Laird Ian Monroe’s storyline. KILL OR BE KILT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from several third person points of view KILL OR BE KILT is an adventure that takes the reader from the Highlands of Scotland to London, England. It is 1613, and King James sits on the throne of England; Lady Elizabeth’s Uncle Walter, who sat on the King’s Privy Council, has died a tragic death; and the Scottish Lairds including Ian, Ruairi and Fagan are hoping for a meeting with King James’s Court. When Elizabeth declares that she is going to the Court and not returning home following their Uncle’s demise, Laird Ian has no choice but to guard the young woman with his life. What ensues is a series of attacks against the members of the King’s Privy Council, while Ian struggles with his attraction to the woman in his charge.

Elizabeth has loved Laird Ian since the age of fifteen, but the intimidating Laird is almost twice her age, and Ian is a man with little experience at wooing a woman. Not that the man is inexperienced but for all intents and purposes, Ian makes mistake after mistake in his courtship with Elizabeth Walsingham. Ian will battle his attraction to Elizabeth only to discover that jealousy is not an emotion he is willing to feel when not one but two other males vie for Elizabeth’s affections. Several times Ian has chosen the coward’s way out, and found himself on the outside looking in. Meanwhile our heroine’s acerbic personality is a little over the top for a woman of her time.

KILL OR BE KILT has a large ensemble cast of supporting and secondary characters including Ruairi and Ravenna (My Highland Spy), Fagan and Grace (Kilts and Daggers), and Elizabeth’s youngest sister Lady Katherine, who at fifteen, has a lifelong friendship with Torquil. The world building continues focus on the tepid truce between Scotland and England; the political temperament of the times-betrayal, spies, assassinations and potential war; and of course a little bit of ‘enlightened’ history with the British monarchy.

KILL OR BE KILT is an historical love story with a little bit of mystery and suspense; humorous and funny moments as Ian is ‘schooled’ about his treatment of women; secrets and lies. The premise is entertaining and delightful; the characters are inspiring, imaginative and captivating; the romance is a struggle to the finish-Ian’s inability to please Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s constant need to push everyone around.

READING ORDER and Previous Reviews
My Highland Spy
Kilts and Daggers
Kill or be Kilt

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Killl or be Kilt teaser

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Victoria Roberts Shares Interesting Facts about Scotland in the 1600s

Thank you so much for having me back at The Reading Café! It’s always a pleasure.

With the wild success of Outlander dominating tales about the 1700s-and with more medieval romances unleased to the world than I can count-not many Scottish historical authors write in the early 1600s. That’s exactly why I decided to write stories in this time period, and the Jacobean era continues to hold my interest today.

King James VI and I (Scotland/England/Ireland) was born on June 19, 1566. He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and great-great-grandson of Henry VIII. Those two facts alone are interesting to me. As a wee bairn, James succeeded to the Scottish throne at a mere 13-months-old. After Elizabeth I died without issue (no children) in 1603, James also became the ruler over England and Ireland until his death in 1625.

In the late 1500s, James became fascinated with witchcraft. He attended the North Berwick witch trials, which was the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act of 1563. He also supervised the torture of women accused of practicing the dark arts. A visit to Denmark may have sparked his interest in the study of witchcraft, which he considered a branch of theology.

James was determined to establish a single country between Scotland and England with one monarch, one parliament and law. But both countries opposed his views. In 1604, the Commons refused to grant him the title “King of Great Britain.” But with great power comes great responsibility. (I think Spidey’s uncle said that.) James simply assumed the title by proclamation rather than by statute. That same year at Hampton Court Palace, a new compilation of approved books of the Bible was commissioned to resolve any discrepancies among the various translations. Hence the King James Version of the Bible was born and completed in 1611.

In 1605, the infamous Gunpowder Plot came into play. On the evening of the state opening, Guy Fawkes was discovered guarding a wood pile in the bowels of the parliament buildings. But beyond the pile of wood was 36 barrels of gunpowder that he had every intention of blowing up underneath Parliament House. This plot inspired my award-winning novel X Marks the Scot.

The statues of Iona were enacted in 1609, which required Highland lairds to send their heirs to the Lowlands to be educated in English speaking Protestant schools. James also requested the lairds report to Edinburgh to answer for their actions. He firmly believed Highlanders were void of knowledge and fear of God, nothing but barbarians. Therefore, he decided he wanted to abolish the Gaelic language and destroy traditional culture. As a result, several imprisonments followed for men like Patrick Stewart, the Earl of Orkney, and his son, who led an unsuccessful rebellion against James. I’ve used the king’s edict and Scottish uprisings as a basis for my books Temptation in a Kilt, My Highland Spy, Kilts and Daggers, and Kill or Be Kilt. His orders gave me great material to work with because there was a lot of strife between England and Scotland…still is today. This information is only the tip of the iceberg, and there’s still much left to explore. No matter what genre or time period you read, I hope you escape to the destination of your dreams.

Happy Reading!

About The Author

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Victoria RobertsAward-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. RT Book Reviews named her “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres,” and she was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X MARKS THE SCOT.

Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine CELTIC GUIDE.

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun.

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Highland Spitfire (Highland Weddings #1) by Mary Wine-a review

Highland Spitfire (Highland Weddings #1) by Mary Wine-a review

Highland Spitfire

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 2, 2016

In the throes of fierce clan wars, the Queen’s Regent tricks the children of two feuding lairds into a desperate choice: marry or die. The union—however reluctant—of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families.

Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage. But she is rocked by the intense passion she feels for Bhaic—who is likewise taken aback by the fierce jealousy he experiences when he sees Ailis speaking with other men. Is it possible for fierce enemies to become ardent lovers?

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Ok I admit it .. I am a sucker for a historical highland romance that features a couple who begin as enemies and end as bonded soul mate lovers! I also will admit that Mary Wine is one of my fave authors for this genre. She writes lots of great story with fascinating characters, lush scenery, some hot scenes and just the right dash of conflict.

Highland Spitfire is the first book of Mary Wine’s new “Highland Weddings” series. It centres around two incredible main characters who just so happen to be from warring clans. When circumstance, ultimatums, attraction, lust, misunderstanding, jealousy and so many laughs are weaved into a story the way Mary Wine has managed to do, you are left with one fricken heck of a page turner.

Ailis Robertson is the clan laird’s daughter. She is everything that I love in a heroine and so much more .. seriously, if I could of jumped through the pages and high fived this girl, I would have. She is the epitome of highland strength in character. A true love she has for her father, propels her into a choice (not really a choice in my opinion) that will not only affect her life, but the future of her clan.

Bhaic MacPherson is the son of his clans laird (although not the eldest son) and he too was so awesome and I may have been a little smitten by him. He is somewhat of a lady’s man, strong and brutish in the way a man was in those days, and every bit as invested as his older brother is, in ensuring survival of his clan.

Both Ailis and Bhaic are pretty much forced into a marriage to end their clans famous feuding. When they agree to NOT consummate their marriage in hopes of obtaining a future annulment, that is when they start to realize that resisting is not going to be as easy as all that. Both experience fits of lust, jealousy of attention the other may get, and the understanding that maybe this marriage is the solution to a peaceful future. However, there are some people who just cannot let go of grudges and soon this couple finds themselves trying to save themselves and each other.

These two made this entire book. Ailis surprised me with her strength. Can you imagine leaving everything you love behind, and being plopped right in the middle of a group of people that hate you? She managed to not only find her place, but impress upon others that her love was genuine and her intent good. Bhaic is presented to us at first as somewhat of a savage who likes what he likes and when he likes it, but you see this incredible transition and growth throughout this story. He comes into what I would consider manhood by thinking beyond his own selfish urges and protecting his wife against people who are family .. clan.

Highly recommend this book to my fellow Highland romance lovers and while I am at it, recommend all of Mary Wine’s books too! LOL

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T

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The Rock (Highland Guard #11) by Monica McCarty-Review and Giveaway

The Rock (Highland Guard #11) by Monica McCarty-Review and Giveaway

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THE ROCK
Highland Guard #11
by Monica McCarty
Genre: adult, historical, Highland romance
Release Date: December 29, 2015

the Rock

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository / BAM

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 29, 2015

The first time he caught sight of Elizabeth Douglas, Thomas MacGowan thought she was a princess. To the son of the castle blacksmith, the daughter of the powerful Lord of Douglas might as well be. When it becomes clear that his childhood companion will never see him as a man she could love, Thom joins Edward Bruce’s army as a man-at-arms to try to change his lot. If he’s harbored a secret hope that he could close the gap between them, he faces the cold, hard truth when Elizabeth comes to him for help. She might need the boy who used to climb cliffs to rescue her brother from the hands of the English, but she would never see the son of a smith as a man worthy of her hand.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: 4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

I cannot believe I am not giving a book belonging to Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series a perfect 5 out of 5! It really bothers me because this was not a bad book and I highly recommend this series and this book to everyone. It is simply because Monica has delivered so high in her past books, that this one doesn’t shine as bright. How in fairness to this author and readers can I say that this rating should be at the same level as her last book “The Striker”? I just can’t. Let me be very clear however, this series rocks my historical highlander romance world.

Ok … now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s get on with the review!

In the early 1300’s Robert the Bruce has his elite team of highland warriors doing all they can to take back what the English have taken from their Scottish people. Highlighted in this story, is Thomas MacGowan, code name “The Rock”. Thom is the son of the village’s blacksmith, and therefore considered lower class. In his childhood, he befriends the noble Elizabeth Douglas, and the two become best friends despite their class difference. Thom knows his class eliminates him as a prospect husband for Elizabeth but he just can’t seem to hold his heart back. He falls madly and deeply in love with her.

Elizabeth has grown up in privilege, and as a child, she desired adventure. Years later, she is still that lovely young adventurous soul, but growing up has made her absolutely clear on what is expected of her. Marrying a blacksmith’s son is not an option.

Hoping to elevate his status, Thom joins Bruce’s elite team and is swept up in his missions and saving the Scottish people. Yet, Elizabeth still doesn’t see him as anything more than a friend and certainly not a husband. It will never be … or will it?

Much more to this story obviously but I am sure you can understand the basis. Monica McCarty did something a little different with this book. She really addressed the separation of class in the 1300’s. Her emphasis on this really threw me, and made me reflect on times that I just cannot understand. I did understand that Elizabeth has a duty, and must obey rules .. I do understand that people were perceived in certain way for certain reasons .. but I cannot imagine the heartbreak to deny one’s feelings .. one’s heart, because someone says it must be so. I really disliked Elizabeth always having to say no, and Thom fighting for her to say yes. She wasn’t playing hard to get .. this is how her life was paved out for her.

I love all the action and banter we get from these elite hotties. I love the strong true history the author uses to support her fictional stories (I have always said one of my fave parts in her books is the blurb she gives at the end), but I do not like the separation of class during this time. It broke my heart and made for senseless angst (again, true to the time).

WELL DONE Monica … I loved the different approach, while staying true to your warrior antics. I am in complete and utter denial that the end comes with the next book!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T.

excerpt

 

Douglas, South Lanarkshire, February 1311

hom (no one called him “wee” anymore) had waited long enough. He struck one last blow with the ham-
mer before carefully setting aside the hot blade.
Wiping the sweat and grit from his brow with the back of his hand, he pulled the protective leather apron over his head and hung it on a peg near the door.
“Where are you going?” his father asked, looking up from his own piece of hot metal—in his case a severely dented helm. The Englishman who’d once worn it must be suffering a foul headache. If he was still around to be suf- fering, that is.
“To the river to wash,” Thom replied.
His father frowned, the dark features made darker by the layers of grime that came from toiling near the fires all day. Every day. For forty years.
Though no longer the tallest man in the village (Thom had surpassed his father in height almost ten years ago), Big Thom was still the most muscular, although a few more years of Thom wielding the hammer might force his father to cede that title as well. Physically the men were much alike, but in every other way they were opposites.
“There is still plenty of time before the evening meal,” his father pointed out. “Captain de Wilton is anxious for his sword.”

20 Monica McCarty

Thom gritted his teeth. Although the villagers in Douglas had no choice but to accept the English occupation of their castle—with the current Lord of Douglas a much hunted “rebel”—it didn’t mean he had to jump to their bidding. “The captain can wait if he wants the work done properly.”
“But his silver cannot. Those tools aren’t going to buy themselves.”
Though there was no censure in his tone, Thom knew what his father was thinking. They wouldn’t need the coin so badly if Thom wasn’t being so stubborn. He was sit- ting—or more accurately sleeping—on enough silver to replace every tool in the forge and expand to take on a handful of apprentices if they wanted them. But that was his father’s dream, not his. His mother had left him the small fortune, and Thom wasn’t ready to relinquish it—or the opportunity that went along with it.
They wouldn’t need coin at all if the current Lord of Douglas wasn’t so busy making a name for himself with all his “black” deeds that he actually gave thought to those who were left in his wake and bore the brunt of English retaliation. Thom tried to push back the wave of bitterness and anger that came from thinking of his former friend, but it had become as reflexive as swinging his hammer.
The last time Sir James “the Black” Douglas had at- tempted to rid his Hall of Englishmen—about a year ago when he’d tricked the then-keeper, Lord Thirlwall, from the safety of the castle into an ambush but failed to take the castle—the remaining garrison had retaliated against the villagers, whom they accused of aiding the rebels.
“War is good for business,” his father liked to say. Ex- cept when it wasn’t. Big Thom MacGowan, who’d never been shy about his loyalty to the Douglas lords, had paid for that loyalty with a nearly destroyed forge and the loss of

The Rock 21

some of his most expensive tools. Tools that were probably in some English forge right now.
Fortunately the garrison and commander who’d re- placed Thirlwall, De Wilton, seemed a more fair-minded man. He didn’t blame the villagers for the actions of their rebel laird, and he and his men were frequent custom- ers of the village smith, or as the wooden sign not-so- imaginatively proclaimed it, The Forge. His father might not like the English, but he was happy to take their silver, especially at his special English rates.
“I’ll finish it soon enough,” Thom said. “And Johnny is almost done with the mail, aren’t you lad?”
His fourteen-year-old brother nodded. “A few more rivets and it will be as good as new.” He grinned, his teeth a flash of white in his blackened face. “Better than new.”
Thom grinned back at him. “I don’t doubt it.”
Although more like their father in his even-keeled, con- tented temperament, Johnny possessed the same instinctive skill with the iron as Thom. Big Thom liked to say his lads were born to it, which made Johnny beam and grated on Thom like emery under his plaid. The instinctive skills such as knowing just when to pull the metal out, where to strike it with a hammer, and how to make it strong enough to do its job without being so hard that it shattered or broke that made his father so proud felt like a chain wrapped around Thom’s neck.
It would have been far easier if he’d never showed any talent for the work. If he’d shattered one too many blades by cooling the metal too quickly or striking it in the wrong place while hardening. If he were less precise in detail, couldn’t fit a handle to save his life, a poorer judge of tem- perature, off on his proportions . . . anything.
His father didn’t understand how someone with Thom’s

22 Monica McCarty

“God-given talent” wasn’t content. Skill like theirs was meant to be used.
Which was part of the problem with Johnny. Johnny was too good with the hammer to haul coal and operate the bellows, the tasks normally given to a young apprentice. With Big Thom handling most of the day-to-day smith- ing work, from repairing cast iron pots to shoeing horses, and Thom with more sword work than he could handle, they were turning away jobs as it was. Big Thom wanted Johnny at the forge, which meant they needed someone to do the apprentice work. But Thom couldn’t bring himself to give up the one chance he had to change his destiny. His mother had wanted to give him a choice.
Thom opened the door and—ironically—coughed at the breath of fresh air. His lungs were so accustomed to the black smoke it was as if the purity somehow offended them. Day- light at this time of the year didn’t last long, and night was already falling. The mist, however, was not. The stars would be out tonight in full force. That was what he was counting on.
He wasn’t all that surprised to hear the door open be- hind him. “Son, wait a minute.”
Thom turned, seeing the features so like his own aged by time, hardship, and loss. He knew his father had a woman in town he sometimes saw, but no one had ever replaced Thom’s mother in his father’s heart. Not that you’d ever hear his father rail or complain about the injustice fate had handed him. Like everything else, Big Thom had taken his wife’s death with unquestioning, stoic acceptance.
Thom never accepted anything. It was his curse, and the source of his discontent. He envied his father and brother sometimes. Life was simpler when you didn’t question. When you didn’t want more than what birth so capri- ciously allotted.

The Rock 23

He met his father’s worried gaze. “Don’t go, son.”
“I’ll finish the sword—” “I know she’s back.”
The words fell with the weight of an anvil between them. Thom stiffened, his jaw clamping down like a steel wall, an implicit warning that beyond there be dragons. The subject was not one he wanted to discuss with his father— ever. It was a subject upon which they would never agree.
But his formidable father wasn’t one to back down from dark looks—or dragons. “I know Lady Elizabeth is back, and you are going to try to see her tonight. But don’t go, Thommy. No good will come of it. Leave the lass be.”
“You don’t know what you are talking about.” His father had never understood about him and Ella—or Jamie for that matter, when they were still friends. From the first time he’d come home after rescuing Ella from that tree, his father had tried to discourage his friendship with the Douglases, warning him not to get too close. But the four of them had been inseparable before Ella had been sent away to France for her protection at the start of the war— and Jamie had discovered Thom’s secret. He’d lost the girl he loved and his best friend in one day.
Thom tried to turn away, but his father took hold of his arm. “I know more than you think. I know she’s been back for the better part of a fortnight. I know she’s staying at Park Castle with her stepmother and younger brothers. I know that she could have come to see you, if she wanted, but she hasn’t. I know you’ve loved her since she was a little lass, but she’s not a little lass anymore. She’s a lady. A noble. The sister of our laird. She’s not for you. She’s never been for you, and there is nothing you can do to change that. I wish it were different, but that’s the way it is.”

24 Monica McCarty

“So I should just give up, is that it? Accept it?” Thom shook him off. “That isn’t me, that’s . . .” You.
He stopped before the word was out, but it was too late. He saw the flinch reverberate through his father’s big frame. His father, who was one of the toughest men in the village, who’d broken up more fights in the alehouse be- cause no one was fool enough to strike him, could be hurt by his son’s unthinking words.
“I’m sorry,” Thom said, raking his fingers through his sweat-soaked hair. “Don’t listen to me. I’ve no right to take my foul mood out on you. I just wish you’d try to under- stand.”
“I do, Thommy, more than you know. I was in your place once. But the daughter of a household knight is a far cry from the daughter of one of Scotland’s leading nobles and sister of one of Robert the Bruce’s chief lieutenants. The lass has spent the better part of the last five years in France; can you honestly see her happy with the life you could give her?” His father’s words struck too close to the mark, raising fears Thom didn’t want to give voice to. “Ella isn’t like that.
You know her.”
His father’s eyes leveled on him somberly. “I knew a chattering magpie of a ten-year-old lass who I had to ban from the forge so you could get some work done, and I knew the sweet, teenage lass you used to sneak out to go visit at night.” He paused at Thom’s look of shock. “Aye, I knew about that. Just as I knew that if I tried to stop you, you would only find another way. The lass looked at you like a brother, I didn’t think there would be any harm. But I was wrong. The Douglases put ideas in your head. They made you think this wasn’t good enough.” Thom started to protest, but his father put up his hand to stop him. “Maybe not in words, but by bringing you into their world. A world

The Rock 25

in which you don’t belong. Not even your mother’s coin will raise you high enough for a Douglas—whatever you try to make of yourself. You’ve a God-given gift, son. With your skill you could be making swords for a king one day; don’t waste it by chasing a foolish dream.”
Thom tightened his jaw. It wasn’t foolish. The bond be- tween him and Ella was special—different.
Acceptance. Fate. He didn’t want to hear it. “So I can stay here and chase your dream instead?”
Thom regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. But it was too late to retrieve them.
His father stilled, his expression as tight as steel hard- ened right to the shattering point. After a pained pause, he stepped back. “Perhaps you are right. I’ve no right to in- terfere. You’re a man now. Three and twenty is old enough to make your own decisions. I’ll not try to hold you here if you wish to leave. But make sure you are doing so for the right reasons. Leave because you don’t like being a smith, not because you think it will give you a chance with Lady Elizabeth.” He paused and held Thom’s gaze. “I know how you feel about her, lad, but if she feels the same way, why hasn’t she come to see you?”
It was a good question, and one Thom would have an- swered tonight.

The old stone peel tower of Park Castle wasn’t as easy to climb as Douglas Castle. Or maybe it was just that Thom was out of practice. It had been nearly five years since he’d scaled the walls of the tower house of Douglas Castle to meet Ella.
Their rooftop meetings had started not long after his father barred Ella from the forge, where she would some- times (often) “drop by” with some excuse to watch him

26 Monica McCarty

finish his work. His father was right. The lass could chatter for hours. But Thom had never minded. He’d listened to her stories and her silly jokes and even cleaning up had sped by.
Knowing how disappointed she was, and missing her company more than he’d expected, one night he’d decided to surprise her. She’d mentioned that sometimes when she couldn’t sleep, she climbed up to the roof and sat on the battlements, looking at the stars. He had to climb the tower five nights in a row, but on the sixth she finally emerged.
She’d been shocked, excited, and amazed. Not just at his ability to climb the keep, but also that he could do so while evading the castle watch. It hadn’t been all that dif- ficult—although he certainly didn’t tell her that (even back then he wanted her admiration)—people didn’t look where they weren’t expecting to see anything. All he had to do was watch the guardsmen on patrol, figure out their pat- tern, and stick to the shadows. The castle itself, although “enceinte,” and fortified by a stone wall, was of wood frame construction, giving him a virtual ladder to climb.
For the next handful of years, a few times a month on the nights the mist permitted the stars to shine, Thom would wait in one of the outbuildings for the castle to quiet and then climb the tower where Ella would be waiting for him. They’d talk for hours—actually, Ella would do most of the talking, except when he’d point out the constella- tions and tell her the old stories his mother had passed on to him before she’d died. He didn’t know how many times he’d had to retell the one about Perseus and Andromeda, but the lass never grew tired of it.
Those nights on the tower were where their friend- ship had turned to something more—at least for him.

The Rock 27

The meetings had been their secret, until Jamie discovered them right before he’d marched off to join Bruce. Or so Thom had thought. He still couldn’t believe his father had known this whole time and never said anything.
Thom’s arm muscles strained as he reached for a gap in the rock big enough to grab on to in the rough surface of the stone wall. He made sure his grip was solid before moving his right foot and then his left up another couple of feet. Finally, with the next handhold he was able to reach the edge of the crenellated parapet wall and lift himself over and onto the battlements.
Christ, that had been harder than he’d anticipated. His arms were burning as he took a moment to look around and catch his breath. It hadn’t looked that difficult, but the jagged stone walls of Park Castle didn’t provide as many foot- and handholds as the wooden framework of Douglas Castle. Although the tower was small and no more than thirty feet high, he might not have been able to climb it at all had it not been neglected for years, with much of the lime-rendered harling—meant to even the surface and protect the stone from weather—cracked and worn away.
Park Castle had been built as a watchtower years ago by the church, but was purchased some years back by the English knight Lady Eleanor Douglas had married after the death of the old laird. William the Hardy had died in the Tower of London about two years after Thom’s mother for rebelling against King Edward again. Ella had been forced to leave Douglas Castle for a couple of years then as well. It had been a difficult time for her, one that she didn’t like to talk about.
With the English and Sir Robert Clifford in possession of the old Douglas lands, Park Castle now served as home

28 Monica McCarty

to Lady Eleanor (recently widowed for the third time), her stepdaughter, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s two half brothers, Archie and Hugh.
He looked around. The pitched wooden roof and sur- rounding battlement were deserted. Thom tried not to be disappointed. It was early yet. Ella usually waited until well after everyone went to sleep, making it easier to sneak up to the garret to access the small door.
Despite the clear night, it was cold, and Thom was grateful for the extra plaid he’d tossed into his sack as he sat to wait. He’d been right. The stars were out tonight. Cou- pled with the nearly full moon, a soft glow had been cast across the quiet countryside. It seemed so peaceful it was hard to believe they were in the midst of a long, brutal war.
The village of Douglas had seen more than its share of conflict, and as long as the English occupied its castle, Thom knew it would see more. If James Douglas had to destroy the entire town, he would to rid Douglasdale of the English for Robert the Bruce. Thom wanted the English gone, too, but Jamie’s vengeance went too far. His former friend had changed.
Had Ella?
Thom didn’t want to think so, but why hadn’t she come to see him? When she’d left, he’d been so certain that she’d begun to feel the same way as he. “Will you wear my rib- bon around your sleeve when you are a knight in a tourney, Thommy? ” or, “I know you hate it, but how will we go to France when we are older if you don’t learn to speak French? ” She’d been thinking about a future with him, even going as far as telling him one of the rare times he lost his temper with her that if he were her husband, she’d put spiderwort in his soup (which was known for its digestive effect), and give him cause for his black mood, if he ever snapped at

The Rock 29

her like that again. He’d been chastened and enchanted. His little princess had some fire.
If only Jamie hadn’t sent her away, damn it.
Time passed slowly while Thom waited. After a few hours, he was forced to concede that she wasn’t coming. He stood and started to stuff the plaid back into his sack. He was a fool. His father was right. Five years was a long time. She’d probably forgotten—
The door opened, and his heart dropped.
He glanced up as she stepped over the threshold, a beam of moonlight catching her in its hold and taking his breath along with it.
Jesus.
He might have jolted. The glimpse he’d caught of her with her stepmother, as she’d ridden through the village a couple of weeks ago, had not prepared him for the vi- sion before him now. Long, shimmery waves of flaxen hair tumbled around her shoulders in a silky veil down her back. Her features were small and even, perfectly positioned in an oval canvas of snowy white. Her mouth was red, her cheeks pink, and her chin delicately pointed. Dark arched brows and long feathery lashes framed round, wide-set eyes the unusual blue of peacock feathers. She was gowned in an ice-blue dressing robe lined with white fur, the thick gold braid belt around her waist emphasizing its trimness as well as the softly rounded curves above and below. Her breasts were firm and generous, her hips slender, and her legs long.
Ella had always been beautiful, even as a child. But it had become so commonplace to him that he stopped thinking about it. The last time he’d seen her at a just- turned-sixteen, she’d still possessed the vestiges of the girl who’d traipsed all over the countryside with him and Jo. But the woman standing before him didn’t look like

30 Monica McCarty

she’d ever traipsed anywhere—she floated. She didn’t look real; she looked like a figment from a faerie tale or an ice princess from the lands of the Northmen. Refined, sophis- ticated, and utterly untouchable. She looked nothing like the girl he remembered.
Thom didn’t second-guess himself very often, but he did so now.
It was only when he looked down on her wrist and saw the faint edge of brass that he felt some of his confidence return. She still wore the bracelet he’d given her right be- fore she’d been sent away. She hadn’t forgotten him.


 

About The Author Black and Red

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Monica McCartyMonica McCarty is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the widely acclaimed, award-winning Highland Guard series, as well as the MacLeods of Skye trilogy, and the Campbell trilogies. Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School

After realizing that her career as a lawyer and her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player were not exactly a match made in heaven, she traded in her legal briefs for writing about sexy Scottish alpha heroes. Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

www.monicamccarty.com

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Highland Escape by Cathy & DD MacRae-a review

HIGHLAND ESCAPE by Cathy MacRae and D.D. MacRae-a review

Highland Escape

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 9, 2015

Fleeing the English army that murdered her family before her eyes, Anna Braxton rescues two young women, kidnapped by a barbaric Highland clan only to find herself unjustly imprisoned by the clan she aided. Disgusted by her treatment, she counters their belated offer of friendship with anger and distrust. But she does not count on the unexpected effect the laird’s son has on her heart.

Duncan MacGregor does not understand his da’s command to imprison the young woman who saved his sister’s life. He is more than intrigued with Anna’s skill with a bow and sword—in fact, he is fascinated by everything about her, in spite of her lack of feminine wiles. Straightforward and with a deep-seated sense of honor, Anna Braxton disrupts his entire notion of a suitable woman.

Trained as a warrior and unwilling to be any man’s chattel, Anna shuns the idea of marriage—until Duncan coaxes her into a world of acceptance and passion she never knew existed. He wants her as his wife. She will agree, but only on her own terms—conditions Duncan is not sure he can accept.

•••••••••

REVIEW: HIGHLAND ESCAPE is an historical, Highlander storyline that follows Lady Anna Braxton –of both English and Scottish descent- who must flee to Scotland following the murder of her father and brother Edrick at the hands of the English army. What ensues is the capture of Anna by the MacGregor Clan and the potential for disaster when Anna attempts an escape from the prison in which she is being held. Anna’s only sin was to save two young women from potential assault-not knowing one was the Laird’s daughter. The Laird is determined to protect Anna from those wishing to do her harm by placing her in the care of his eldest son. Not only is the MacNairn Clan looking for Anna but some of the Laird’s men are not too happy with the Clan’s latest English acquisition.

Anna Braxton is not the typical fifteenth century female heroine: she has been trained in the Chinese martial arts; sword and knife fighting; hand to hand combat; and the healing herbs; in this, she is a force unto herself. But Anna has caught the eye of the Laird’s son-Duncan MacGregor-and a relationship builds as Anna attempts to find a place within the MacGregor family dynamic. Duncan MacGregor fell in love the moment he set eyes on Anna Braxton but the beautiful English/Scottish Lady was not what he had expected. Jealousy threatens his relationship when he is unable to come to terms with Anna’s independent nature, and the hand to hand combat training she does with the other men.

The relationship between Duncan and Anna begins acrimoniously although Anna is not aware of Duncan’s attraction, to her. She believes she is being held prisoner because of her English descent, and expects to be sentenced to death for crimes against the Scottish people. When Duncan’s well meaning sister Nessa, and mother Mairi take Anna under their wing, the truth about Duncan’s attraction to Anna will be revealed.

HIGHLAND ESCAPE is a storyline with a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including the MacGregor family, the Clan, and the people in the surrounding village. We will be introduced to Anna’s only remaining family, an uncle and her Grandfather Elliott, but in this, we learn very little about Anna’s early years with her father and brother. I would have liked more background information about Anna’s history and the family in which she grew up.

HIGHLAND ESCAPE is an engaging storyline; a fast paced, lively and enjoyable read with an independent, strong willed, inspiring heroine, and a swoon worthy hero who has eyes only for the Lady Braxton. The $ex scenes are seductive, sensual and romantic but limited in number as Duncan hopes to keep his bride-to-be chaste in advance of their wedding night. The premise is imaginative; the characters a unique mix of amusing, evil, and tragic; the romance intimate and heartwarming. My one complaint is the ending which appears to be a rush to the altar and a happily ever that we know nothing about. There is a potential story building for Duncan’s sister Nessa, and I hope that Duncan and Anna’s story will continue to unfold in a future tale. There is also an addendum that references some factual history that has been blended throughout the novel.

Copy supplied by the authors.

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Arrow (Highland Guard #9) by Monica McCarty-a review

The Arrow (Highland Guard #9) by Monica McCarty-a review

The Arrow

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

Release Date: August 26, 2014

As King Robert the Bruce of Scotland plots to retake his English occupied castles, he needs the stealth and skill of his elite soldiers, the Highland Guard. Fearless and indomitable, no men are more loyal to their king, or cherished by the women they love.

The talents of legendary marksman Gregor “Arrow” MacGregor are crucial now, as Bruce moves to reclaim his Scottish holdings. Gregor is considered the most handsome man in Scotland, and his fame as an archer is rivaled only by his reputation with the lasses as a heartbreaker. But when his infamous face is exposed during a covert mission, Gregor is forced to lay low. He returns home only to find a new battle waiting: a daring game of seduction involving his now very grown up and very desirable ward, Cate of Lochmaben.

A born fighter, Cate was clinging to life when Gregor rescued her after a vicious English raid on her village left her mother dead. But five years later, the once scrappy orphan Gregor took under his protection has become a woman. Brave, strong, and skilled in warfare, Cate is determined to lay claim to the warrior who refuses to be trapped. The heat in his eyes tells her she has his attention . . . and his desire. But will Gregor allow his heart to surrender before danger finds them, and the truth of Cate’s identity is revealed?

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Well … she did it again. Another fabo book in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. If you are a highlander historical romance fan this series a MUST READ. Monica weaves in real historical facts and characters into her stories and if you are a history lover like I am, you will appreciate how that can make a book really come to life in your mind. She is a very descriptive writer as well, never leaving you to question what you are seeing in your mind while reading. Many authors at this point in a series (this is the 9th book) tend to go off track, or take a series in weird places hoping to keep their reader captivated .. well there is no need to try anything like that with this series. The backdrop for her story lines keep the momentum going and she always matches her lead characters perfectly. No gimmicks or tricks, just pure old fashion romance/wit with a side of action. PERFECT BLEND! 🙂

Gregor “Arrow” MacGregor is one of Robert the Bruce’s famed Highland Phantom Guard Warriors. Exceptionally handsome (he is always getting digs at his male beauty), trained as a brutally accurate bow and arrow marksman, strong and loyal, Gregor finds himself in a rut of sorts and is ordered back to his own personal castle after a botched mission. He is to rest, relax, indulge and push his reset button. Well little does he know that his reset button is NOT the only button that about to get pushed.

Many years ago, Gregor came upon a wee lass at the bottom of a drained well. Seeing as she is clearly traumatized, he decides to take guardianship over her and sends her to his castle. Now, the wee lass is no longer .. wee! Cate has bloomed into a beautiful young woman and is fierce despite her size. She is well trained to defend herself and has taken to mothering orphans. She is also madly in love with Gregor and is hoping he will now see her as a woman.

Gregor certainly sees the woman inside and tries all he can to fight it. Cate is a wise woman who knows what she wants, and she goes after it with no regret. Secrets are being kept on both sides however that may change the course of their relationship. Menacing and scheming parties also add turmoil to the mix setting our couple up to fail. Well brutal truth is served on a big ole platter and watching how it is dealt with is a whole lot of fun …LOL

Revenge, love, lies, lust, sweet, erotic, disgust, action, history .. these are just a handful of words that describe this book. It is in the readers best interest to read this series in order. I suppose you could read it out of order but there is so much you will miss if you did! Again, one of the BEST highlander historical series out there and another direct hit by Monica McCarty. Can’t wait for the next one!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Read the reviews for:

The Saint
The Recruit
The Hunter
The Raider

Highland guard

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