Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: The Recruit by Monica McCarty

The Recruit (Highland Guard, #6)The Recruit 
By Monica McCarty 
Book #6 in the Highland Guards series
Historical Romance, Highlanders

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?


While England and Scotland pause their war under a temporary truce agreement, Kenneth Sutherland is using this time to prove himself worthy of becoming a member of Bruce's infamous phantom warriors, the Highland Guards. Mary of Mar was so disillusioned by her first husband that she has no desire to ever look for love or be married again and works really hard to appear unattractive. However, Kenneth sees beneath the drab and is captivated.

I loved this story, with its messy romance, convoluted politics and taut, suspenseful action. Kenneth is extremely handsome and arrogant about his charm while Mary wants no part of him or any man. Even though she looks like a nun, Mary is smart and spirited, creating a challenge for the over confident Kenneth. Her resistance is like catnip to him and his pursuit of her made for some interesting moments.

Robert The Bruce's campaign to separate Scotland from England serves as an extraordinary backdrop for this romance. Mary is forced to live in England and Kenneth must use subterfuge to continue his relationship with her outside of Scotland while continuing as a recruit for Bruce's Guards. Their transformations, individually and as a couple, were compelling, realistic and touching There was just the right balance of angst and lust, never wearying you of either.

I love this series with its brawny, delectable warriors and delightful heroines. There are at least twelve members of the Guard and I hope this series goes the distance with stories for each of them. The war between England and Scotland never read so good!

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)


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