Published by Diversion Books on November 14th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.
Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.
Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal?
He held her face in his hands, all the affection she’d never known shining in his eyes. “Elizabeth.”
Delilah stiffened at the sound of the other woman’s name, and Kaid gave a hoarse groan of pleasure.
Kaid’s mouth brushed hers, but she no longer felt the warmth of his kiss.
In fact, everything in her had gone cold.
It wasn’t she, Delilah, whom he made love to with such passion, such love—it had been Elizabeth.
Delilah had known better, of course. She’d been fooling him the entire time, after all.
Why, then, did it make her feel so empty inside?
The threat of tears prickled warm and certain, but she snapped the emotion shut inside her.
She would not fall into sadness as she’d done the last time she fancied a man in love with her. She was stronger than that now.
The hollow twinge in her chest grew, and she nurtured it. She wanted the cold nothing, the lack of feeling.
She still had a job to do.
Kaid stared down at the woman he thought her to be with love he didn’t know was fake, but this time Delilah did not allow herself to be moved by it.
Anger tightened through her. She slipped her fingers between the folds of her skirts, grasped the hilt of her concealed dagger and whipped the blade up toward his neck.
He jerked, the way any warrior might do, then gave a confused little smile, as if he were embarrassed at having darted back from a blade. “What are ye doing?”
“I’m abducting you, Kaid MacLeod,” she said in a cold voice. “The same as you tried to do to me.”
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Comment with your answer to this question…
Would you be willing to be a body double in an effort to save someone (like Delilah does for Lady Elizabeth)?
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Highland Ruse is the second book in The Mercenary Maidens series by Madeline Martin. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the first one yet, so can assure you that this book can easily be read as a stand-alone one.
Delilah Canterbury is one of 15 children in a poor family. She thought her fortunes had changed for the better when she went to Court and took the King’s fancy. Unfortunately, he only wanted her for one night. Not being able to face her rejection she leaves Court and her life takes a turn that she could never imagine. She becomes a mercenary spy!
Kaid MacLeod is the new MacLeod Laird. His father and many of his people were murdered when their enemy, the MacKenzies raided the village and killed men, women and children. The MacLeods want vengeance but Kaid is sick of the endless fighting and deaths. He wants a peace treaty and finally finds a way to hopefully broker that peace.
Laird MacKenzie is to be wed to Lady Elizabeth Seymour. Kaid reckons that if he kidnaps her on her journey to the man that he can barter her for two things; peace and for the return of his father’s sword that MacKenzie stole. After careful planning, he does manage to kidnap the woman. The only problem is that he hasn’t kidnapped the real Lady Elizabeth Seymour, he has kidnapped her decoy who just happens to be Delilah.
Delilah’s first solo mission is to act as a decoy, allowing Lady Elizabeth to reach her destination safely. Also if somebody does kidnap Delilah she has to then capture the person and have them answer for their crime.
The problem is that apart from Delilah finding herself liking Kaid, she also understands what he has gone through, and how important peace is between these two warring clans. She is only meant to allow Lady Elizabeth time to get to her wedding safely, then arrest Kaid. She’s not Lady Elizabeth and she can’t help Kaid, or can she?
What an amazing story this is. From the very first page, I was gripped. Poor Delilah’s hopes being shattered by the King made me want to weep, and that was just the tip of the iceberg of emotions I felt during reading this book. The suspense of not knowing if Delilah would tell Kaid who she really is, and whether or not she could or would help him was nail-biting stuff. I couldn’t read quickly enough to find out what was going to happen next.
The passion between Delilah and Kaid was explosive, even though both had reason to keep away from each other, they both found it more and more difficult. I love those will they won’t they situations, especially when they finally give in!
The story and its outcome were very believable, enjoyable, and well worth my reading into the wee hours of the morning to finish it. I am definitely going to have to read the first book and the following books to this one in the series. I am sure they will be fabulous and I will recommend them as highly as I do this one.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.