Third book in McCarty's Highlander Guard series. This one is centered on Arthur "Ranger" Campbell, one of Bruce's secrete Guard members who infiltrates enemy ground to get revenge on his father's killer John Lorn chief of MacDougall clan. What he doesn't expect is Lorn's daughter Anna MacDougall, the sweet-natured warm hearted innocent girl who distracts him and intrigues him more than he would like to admit. Things get very complicated and a tangled mess when he and Anna grow closer together and can't deny the growing feelings between them. The question here is what wins out, vengence and justice or love?
This book seriously surprised me. In a good way. After reading the first book in the series "The Chief" I was underwhelmed and overall disappointed. I felt the intensity and drama that were present in McCarty's previous books was nonexistent. So it left me a little discouraged and just meh but the set up and backdrop she painted of the legendary warriors and their distinctive skills and dynamic personalities left me intrigued. In the first book she sets up the characters and their distinctive background and clan history really nicely. She's an author who pays a lot of attention to detail and historical accuracy. I couldn't not try reading another from the series. I'm glad I followed my instinct and snatched this up. As usual there was the ever-present McCarty equation seen in her work and overall style of writing which is: lots of tension and angst between the hero and heroine, if you don't like forlorn angsty couples then this isn't the book for you. Second, the battle and struggle of obligation, duty and loyalty between your family/clan and the person you love, here particularly it was very Romeo + Juliet. Falling in love with your sworn enemy and not realizing until its too late. Sorry for the cliche example but there it is. And of course it isn't McCarty book without some form of deception thrown into the mix. While at times it may be predictable given it's a HR book but there are dramatic twists and turns that you don't see coming which I really like. And of course the sexual tension is just oozing all over the place, I'm a romantic junkie so yeah I don't mind it. It's a bit over the top at times and cliche I'll be honest but seriously you have to give the author credit for her detail in everything. Her books are packed with historical information so she's legit in my book. To some it may just be another 'bodice ripper' romance book but to me it's much more. Loved it from beginning to end.
Arthur and Anna were just really sweet and very surprisingly innocent in the way they fell for each other. Arthur struggles incredibly hard to stay away from her and fights back his growing feelings but he gives in and boy! does he. :P And get your mind out of the gutter cause that's not what I'm talking about (well partly not. ha lol) He shows her exactly what he feels and how far he's willing to go to not lose her. What I loved is the character growth and realizations of what is really important. It's something McCarty loves to test in her books, demonstrating how far couples are willing to go for one another and test their love for each other. McCarty always makes sure to include in all her books that climactic moment where either the hero or heroine makes a life changing decision and must chose between loyalty, obligation and love. And I have to say I really liked the heroine in this, Anna. I've had issues with some of McCarty's heroines in the past, they were either too manipulative and fickle or incredibly naive and oblivious. Here Anna while yes was naive and had some things to learn, she was incredibly open-minded, generous with a big heart who was free-spirited and SMART. So I really liked her and I loved Arthur. They made an adorable couple who you really *believed* loved each other.Really great book nicely handled. Can't wait to read the other books in this series!