Sep 4, 2014

The Viper by Monica McCarty (Highland Guard #4)

The Viper by Monica McCarty
Genre: Historical Romance
Bottom Line: I found the heroine to be a bit vexing at times, but this was another wonderfully sensual and action-packed story. 

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 

Synopsis (Goodreads):

The war for Scotland’s sovereignty rages on as Robert the Bruce is crowned king and the Highland Guard, his elite fighting force of legendary warriors, battle for land . . . and love.

Prized for his snakelike stealth and deadly strikes, Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a warrior to enlist but not to trust. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by bitter betrayal. All that changes when Lachlan is tasked to protect and deliver Bella MacDuff to the king’s coronation and the proud, lushly sensual countess unwittingly challenges him to his greatest battle yet: to love again.

Passionate and devoted, Bella has defied Britain’s king and her own husband to place the crown on Bruce’s head, and for this she pays a terrible price: Losing her daughter and her freedom to her husband’s vengeance. Imprisoned with barbaric cruelty, she vows to reclaim her child, even if it means selling her soul and her body to a dark, lethal warrior whose eyes glint like steel, but who makes her skin tingle and her breath race. Together they embark on a rogue mission with sinister twists and turns that threatens not only Bella’s gamble to save her daughter but also her heart.

My Thoughts:

This novel had a nice twist: the most hated of the highlander guard we've met so far turns out to be a misunderstood sweetheart. We met Lachlan in the previous novels and he always seemed very surly and uncaring towards anyone but himself...but we also got a sense that he was very torn up over Bella's capture.  In this book, we finally learn a bit more about him.

Lachlan's good name was ruined when he was younger, and since he blames himself for the incident, he sees no value in correcting anyone's negative opinions of him. Thus, he is known as a heartless mercenary and is not trusted by many. When he is commanded to keep Bella MacDuff's safe, he finds himself wanting her to trust him--something he hasn't expected from anyone since his former wife's betrayal.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Lachlan and Bella. At the start, Bella knows only of his bad reputation and refuses to trust him at all. She has also learned to be wary of any male attention due to her husband's jealous nature and the reactions that her beauty generally garners from men. When there is a spark of attraction between Bella and Lachlan, they both try hard to fight it.While I was easily drawn in by both the plot and the delicious sexual tension between the hero and heroine, I was a little annoyed by how selfish Bella could be. Between her strong will and Lachlan's need to see her happy, she constantly sent him on missions that put him into danger, then generally rewarded him with a guilt trip for being attracted to her...I guess it was a nice change to be pissed off at the heroine instead of our highlanders.

This series continues to impress me. I can't wait to continue on and see what else McCarty has in store for our highland guard.  

Rating: 8

Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads Monica McCarty

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