Jul 8, 2014

The Chief by Monica McCarty (Highland Guard #1)

The Chief by Monica McCarty
Genre: Historical Romance
Bottom Line: This is an emotional and action-packed highlander novel. I recommend it as long as you are prepared to hate the hero for a good portion of the book.

Highland Guard
1. The Chief
2.  The Hawk
3.  The Ranger
4.  The Viper
5.  The Saint
6.  The Recruit
7.  The Hunter
7.5  The Knight
8.  The Raider
9.  The Arrow (August 26, 2014) 

Synopsis (Goodreads):

An elite fighting force unlike the world has ever seen...

Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.

The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one—especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.

Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart—before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

Of course I did not rent this book because of the cover!  That would be utterly despicable...ahem, carrying on. It was tough for me to decide where I stood after reading this book. I really really tried to summon up all of my feminine outrage and curse Tor to the pits of hell, but I guess I'm just too much of a romantic. I'll say this: I have read quite a few macho-man, unlovable highland warrior novels, but Tor takes the cake on the most stubborn hero of them all. This book starts out with an arranged marriage, so you know there is bound to be some tension at the start.  But my god, Tor is determined not to show Christina any affection, even if he hurts her in the process.

I spent half of my time slamming this book shut in a fit of rage and the other half pitying poor Christina.  Christina is a sweetheart. She was a bit timid for my usual tastes, but she sure did stick in there. She was incredibly devoted to Tor, lovable, intelligent, and determined to latch on to any crumb of affection Tor chucked her way. It was a little depressing, but it definitely made me feel for her and it made the moments when Tor actually embraced his feelings that much more wonderful. There was plenty of hot highlander sex scenes, but don't be worried about swooning in the middle of the library because Tor manages to suck most of the romance out of that too.

I know, I probably should have waited a bit to write this review since I've still got my "Tor is a jerk" rant fresh in my mind. But in all honesty, I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it.  It made me mad (clearly), it made me excited, and at a few super touching moments, it made me pretty darn happy. The premise of this whole series seemed a little corny at first with the super secret highlander warrior-spy force, but it's actually kind of fun when you give it a chance. I plan on reading the rest of this series. I have high expectations for our remaining heroes since Tor has already claimed the jerk-of-the-year award.

Rating: 7

Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads | Monica McCarty

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