Sunday, July 27, 2008

Highlander Unchained by Monica McCarty

Book Description:
Lachlan Maclean will do whatever it takes to protect his clan -- even if it means abducting the most willful woman in the Highlands with the secret intention of wooing her for marriage. A born searing sensual leader possessing brute strength, and an imposing command, Lachlan is unprepared for the beautiful spitfire Flora MacLeod, who jeopardizes his plans to save his clan, and digs beneath his hard, chiseled exterior to expose a tenderness that may be his undoing.

The greatest marriage prize in the Highlands, Flora is determined at all costs to avoid her mother's fate of being bartered away as a political pawn. Vowing to make her captor pay for his ruthlessness, she boldly engages him in a battle of wills, sweetening the challenge with dangerous passion -- even as the lingering curse and deadly ghosts of a past tragedy reach out to thwart a tender love that has yet to be spoken.

This was by far the best book in this trilogy of books about Scottish Highlanders in the early 17th century. I was not all that thrilled with the 2nd book, but this one more than made up for it.

The story of Flora and Lachlan is complex. She doesn't want to marry out of duty, knowing only too well how her mother suffered for it by being married off four times to men she never loved. Lachlan must marry Flora in order to save his brother who has been imprisoned by King James and to get her large dowry and win back his castle which had been seized by Flora's dastardly half-brother Hector. The trick is, Lachlan cannot let Flora know the bargain he's made with her cousin, the influential Duke of Argyll who has told him to marry Flora and he'll see that his brother is set free. Flora must marry of her own free will, she cannot be coerced into it. Lachlan must woo her.

And so the story goes, she hates him at first, and even stabs him, but there is no doubt about it, they are attracted to each other, their passion for each other creates steamy sexual tension, culminating in some great sex scenes once they consummate their love. *fans self* Lachlan is the usual tall, good looking, muscular alpha male, (well endowed, I might add). Flora is feisty, willful and stubborn, but beautiful as well and determined to get her way. The two make a great pair and have lots of chemistry between them and many sexy moments that aren't overly sappy or gratuitous.

Another aspect to this book that I loved is the "Lady of the Rock" folk tale that is brought to life. It's a true tale of a highlander laird's wife set on a rock alone to drown since her husband wants to be rid of her because she cannot give him an heir. She is saved at the last minute by a kinsman and lays a curse on the laird and his descendents. The story and the curse come into this story very well, and it's all well thought out, bringing the tale and the curse full circle.

I really enjoyed this book a lot, and the character or Rory McLeod from Book 1, Highlander Untamed is in it too. It's one of the best Highlander romances I've read to date. I highly recommend it!


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