Monday, November 21, 2011

Highland Hero (Scottish Knights Trilogy #2) by Amanda Scott

"Come with us, Marsi."

She was a ward of the King and the Queen's own niece. Just before Queen Annabella died, she made two requests. The first was that her youngest child, Jamie, be spirited away to someplace safe. The second was that her niece, Marsi, not be forced to marry someone against her will. The King's younger brother, Albany, had a way of getting the King to bend to his way of thinking. The Queen feared he'd use both Jamie and Marsi as pawns to gain power. He was after all third in line to be King. When Marsi learned Albany was on his way to the castle and most likely would attempt to force her hand against her aunt's wishes, she feared the worst. The man he'd chosen for her was old enough to be her father and only wanted her for her inheritance. When she learned the King was sending her cousin Jamie and her former nursemaid, Hetty, away she despaired. When her cousin posed a simple solution that she come with them, she thought perhaps her fate was not sealed after all. The plan was simple enough--to pose as Hetty's assistant who would help take care of the young prince. She didn't take into account that if Albany found her she'd face his wrath, nor that being with the young prince would make Albany that much more determined to find them. He might be able to afford loosing one of his pawns, but not both. She also didn't anticipate the feelings she would end up having for a certain Knight...

He was the man whom the King charged to escort his son to St. Andrews. He was assured Bishop Triall  could keep Jamie safe. Known as the Hawk, Sir Ivor Mackintosh, was part of a secret group called the Brotherhood of St. Andrews. While he was prepared to escort Prince Jamie and protect him, he wasn't prepared for her...

This is the second book of the Scottish Knights Trilogy. I must confess I haven't read the first book, but will need to add it to the books I wish to read. Not reading the first book, 'Highland Master', in no way took away from this book. I didn't feel lost or confused. I found 'Highland Hero' to be a delightful tale that kept my attention and made me smile. From the first meeting of Hawk and Marsi, in chapter one, I knew this would be a fun book. Seeking the comfort of her former nursemaid, Marsi climbs into bed with her like she did when she was little only to find that the person she thought was in the bed wasn't. In Hetty's place she finds a naked male in the midst of a steamy dream for which he mistakes her for the lass who's the star of it.

Marsi is smart but somewhat naive because she's led a sheltered life. Her friendliness is often mistaken for flirting and has the potential to cause trouble especially while traveling incognito with a bunch of males. Not used to doing what others tell her, she is at times reckless. Plus, her attempt to pull off the disguise of a maidservant is not easy. She needs to speak differently and do things she's never done before like cater to the needs of others.

Hawk is a fun character who finds himself in the difficult position of guarding a woman he is very attracted to. Had he realized Marsi was a ward of the King he probably would have curbed his feelings for her. Plus, his main objective is to protect Jamie, the young prince. So he needs to try to not let Marsi distract him from that endeavor. He's loyal, fierce, and knows, once he finds out who she is, that he'll make himself an instant enemy of Albany if he decides to act on his feelings for Marsi.

The attraction between the two is instantaneous and fun to watch. Somehow Ms. Scott magically makes the relationship seem to take it's own sweet time and not feel rushed while at the same time not making it feel dragged out. There are some fun twists, bumps in the road, and I always love a little bit of a tension  brought on in a relationship by a forbidden love. The drama created by Albany's attempt to use Marsi to gain the loyalty of another key player adds a little more substance to the story. If you're wondering, Ms. Scott can conjure up a darn good bad guy. So be prepared to take a step back in time and lose yourself within the pages of this delightful tale.

On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one get a Steam rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. Overall, this one gets a 4 out of 5 roses.

Order of series: 
3. Highland Lover - Coming March 27, 2012

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