Published by Forever on July 31, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
He is the last man she would ever marry…After being unceremoniously jilted by her betrothed, Lady Mairi MacKenzie is humiliated and heartbroken – but she’s not desperate. As the daughter of an earl, she won’t give her hand to just anyone, and she definitely isn’t swayed by a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. The powerful clan chieftain may be disarmingly handsome and charming, but he’s not a nobleman. Mairi doesn’t want his pity or his charity – even though his dark smoldering gaze makes her melt with desire.
She is the only woman he could ever love…Dunn may be a battle-hardened clansman, but he’s always had a soft spot for Mairi. For years, she tormented him with flirtation – only to reject him. But he’s not giving up. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats, Dunn goes after the woman he loves. Through brute strength and fierce action, he will protect her life at any cost. But to win her heart, he will have to show her the tenderness in his own.
~~Reviewed by Tracy~~
I enjoyed this addition to the Lords of the Highlands series. When we last saw Lady Mairi MacKenzie, she was reeling from being jilted by Reid MacKenzie, the Earl of Seaforth. They had been betrothed as children and Mairi grew up believing she would be his countess, but instead, he breaks their betrothal and marries Audrey, his ward. Mairi isn’t exactly heartbroken, but she is feeling sorry for herself and turns down a proposal by Duncan “Dunn” MacRae, believing the Highland laird, a man who swears fealty to Seaforth is only proposing out of pity.
Dunn has long desired Mairi, but as Seaforth’s betrothed, she was off limits. When he proposes and is rejected, he knows he should just move on and forget about her, but the heart wants what the heart wants and forgetting her is just not possible. When Mairi is in danger, Dunn risks his life to save her, he kills three English dragoons that were intent on raping her and rides away with her when more soldiers show up. He had planned on returning her to her home immediately, but her father convinced he abducted her, has placed a bounty on his head and he cannot safely return her.
They hole up in his favorite spot, the Cavern of the Fairies and Dunn does his best to keep his desire in check. They spend time talking and Dunn offers to teach her how to defend herself. All is going well until Mairi gets ill and Dunn is forced to leave their sanctuary to get her to a healer. He takes her to his home Eilean Donan Castle and nurses her back to health.
Mairi has always been attracted to Dunn, but she never acted on it, first she was betrothed and later didn’t want to be pitied by him, but now she has come to realize there is much more to Dunn than she believed and she would like nothing more than to explore the feelings he has invoked. Before they become lovers, Dunn again proposes and she accepts, she is aware her father has other plans for her, but she is sure she can convince him to accept Dunn.
They enjoy their time together, but they long to get her father’s blessing and when pleas to Seaforth to intervene come to nothing, they decide to confront her father. But things take a terrible turn and Dunn is imprisoned. Mairi is devastated, she loves Dunn with all her heart and is forced to go to London with her father to save his life.
It seems all is lost for our lovers, but Dunn is not willing to lose Mairi again, he is relentless in his quest to marry her and more than once, his life is put in jeopardy. But when all seems lost, help comes from unexpected sources and Mairi will have to decide if her love for Dunn is enough to give up her family.
This was a fast-paced, very emotionally driven story with a sigh-worthy hero who loves Mairi with a steadfast devotion rarely portrayed in romances these days. The story has action, steamy love scenes, a really vile villain, heartbreak, cameos from Reid and Audrey and a truly beautiful soulmate type love. The only thing that really bothered me was that the villain really didn’t suffer any repercussions for his treatment of Dunn and Mairi. But that aside, it was a good read and had a completely different feel from the previous books in the series. This is the fourth book in the Lords of the Highlands, but I think it could be read as a standalone with no problems, however, if you want to go into this book with a better understanding of the relationships between Dunn, Mairi and Seaforth, I would highly recommend at least reading Highland Guardian first.