Synopsis: Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.
Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed.
The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?
My Thoughts: Earlier today I finished The Recruit by Monica McCarty and was wowed by it. This is the first book I've read by her and found it to be rich in history and rich in well fleshed out characters. There was a time I felt a bit overwhelmed by it's length (it's about 75 pages over an average historical romance which for some reason intimidates me LOL) but then I was totally swept away by the conflict of Scotland to England and the people who took sides (or was trapped between the two) and the sizzling passion between the two main characters. This is the 6th book in the series and I will go back and read the ones before (especially with the glowing reviews of the first one The Chief) but probably not right away. I want to savor this one a bit longer and don't want to gorge myself until I puke on the Highlander yumminess that are McCarty's Highland Guards. I might have given this book a full 5 stars but for the constant misunderstanding between the two main characters because they didn't communicate... although as a disclaimer I should mention there were very good reasons for Mary to mistrust her husband so the conflict was necessary and explainable. I just got a wee bit tired of it. Oh and Kenneth every now and again would think or say something so chauvinistic I wanted to thwack him with his own sword. Even his boorish attitudes on occasion was explainable as this was medieval times and in 1309 men could pretty much do as they pleased and women had no say (this is something I struggle with while reading romances from this time period.... my inner Gloria Steinem tends to be appalled for all the oppressed women every time.)
In a nutshell I would totally recommend this book to historical romance readers everywhere.