By Juliette Miller
Book #1 in the Clan MacKenzie series
Historical Romance, Highlanders
Since her adoption by peasants of the Ogilvie Clan, Roses has been marked as an outsider. Her fair hair and golden complexion set her apart, as does a mysterious tattoo she keeps hidden at all costs. So when Laird Ogilvie corners her with an indecent proposal, Roses has no ties to stop her from fleeing. Outcast and alone, her escape across the Highlands is interrupted by Wilkie Mackenzie, the wild and handsome brother of nearby Clan Mackenzie's leader.
Wilkie is honor bound to marry into the family of a valuable ally. But when Roses sweeps him off his feet—literally—settling for an arranged match is no longer an option. Torn between duty and desire, Wilkie dedicates himself to Roses's protection, but Laird Ogilvie knows her secret and will stop at nothing to steal Roses back. Now, these star-crossed lovers find themselves in a fight to defend both their hearts…and their lives.
Roses sets off on her own to find another destiny than the one guaranteed with the Ogilvie Clan. The laird attempted to rape her and had plans to force her to be one of his many mistresses. Having Wilkie Mackenzie interrupt her escape ended up being her blessing. To say he became obsessed with her is to put it mildly and her devotion to him didn’t fall far from the same.
This was an interesting story with an even more compelling conflict. Knox, the laird of the Mackenzie Clan and Wilkie’s oldest brother, had some very serious issues with Roses relationship with Wilkie. They were facing a potential war to defend the legacy of King William and the alliance formed from Wilkie’s marriage to the daughter of a neighboring clan was essential to their preparedness. Laird Ogilvie was also a constant threat as he was doggedly determined to get Roses back and not just because she injured him and ran away.
Wilkie’s obsessive love, however, was a bit of a distraction. I was willing to accept that he was lovestruck almost at first sight but the level to which he expressed his feelings was harder to swallow. He was willing to forsake just about everything to be in Roses’ constant presence. In spite of this, I thought their romance was sweet and pretty steamy most of the time. There are plenty of other feisty and interesting characters who I look forward to learning more about in the next two books.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the story, even though the first person narrative unnecessarily slowed the pace of the tale. Roses’ story has a twist (it wasn’t hard to deduce, by the way) that adds tension to the already boiling over conflict. I also plan to continue the series and am looking forward to the next book involving the youngest Mackenzie.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley)