Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Novel Feature: Tarah Scott's "My Highland Love," Highland Lords Series - Book #1

Back of the Book

How does a woman explain to her betrothed 
that she murdered her first husband?  

Elise Kingston is a wanted woman. Nothing, not even Highlander Marcus MacGregor, will stop her from returning home to ensure that the man responsible for her daughter's death hangs. Until she must choose between his life and her revenge.  

Shipwrecked in the Scottish Highlands, American heiress Elise Kingston quietly plans revenge for the deaths of her daughter and the brother who sacrificed his life to save her. When Marcus MacGregor, Marquess of Ashlund, returns to his Highland home to discover a stunning American woman has been taken in by his clan, his attraction is instant and he resolves to make her his--no matter what secret she's keeping. 

Elise is shocked by her need for Marcus and, too late, discovers that her feelings make him a target of her enemy--a man powerful enough to destroy even a Scottish nobleman.

Elise headed for the great hall. At the postern door, she entered and saw Marcus standing near the hearth. He broke off his conversation with the two men who stood with him and glanced over his shoulder. The drawn look on his face snapped into a dark scowl. He started forward. Elise faltered when she saw he meant to intercept her. His companions disappeared up the nearest staircase and a hum of apprehension began deep in her stomach.
Marcus rounded the table and reached the midway point when she blurted, "Good afternoon, Marcus. How are you?" 
"Where have you been?" he demanded. 
"I—" She fell back an unsteady step when it seemed he would ram into her. He halted three feet from her. "I have just returned from visiting Michael." 
"So I was told," he replied curtly. "Winnie's warning did nothing to deter you?" 
"Winnie's warnin—" Elise recalled her encounter with Winnie that morning. Good Lord, Winnie had told him she saw her leave. 
Marcus's eyes narrowed. "Aye, you remember. Fortunately for you, I only just discovered your absence. Unmanageable wench," he added in a dark voice. 
"You have your answers," she shot back. "Why bother asking?" 
"Because I couldn't believe you were traipsing about the countryside." 
"I was not traipsing about the country. Not that it's your business." 
"It is my business—and I will see to it you no' do it again." 
She ignored the warning bell the definite hardening of his brogue set off inside her head. and said, "You're insane if you think I'll be ordered about." 
"Ye will do as you're told," he said in a quiet voice that was perversely more unsettling than a shout. 
"I come and go as I please, just as everyone else at Brahan Seer." 
A keen light shone in his eyes. "If you will note, the women are staying close to home." His expression hardened. "At the express command of their men." 
Elise gasped, then glanced past him, gauging the distance between him and the freedom the kitchen offered. He stepped closer and her temper flared. She raised her hands to shield herself from his advance and her palms met the unexpected warmth of his chest. She gaped at her fingers splayed across tanned skin where his shirt lay open, and her senses reeled at the raw power in the heavy rise and fall of his chest. 
"Lord," she whispered, and yanked her hands away. 
The vague realization that strong fingers had gripped her wrists was overshadowed by the jolt she felt when Marcus forced her hands back to his chest. Her mind screamed to break free, but the sight of her palms gliding over his dark skin—the need to touch every contour, to know intimately his powerful body—held her rooted to the spot. She tore her gaze from his chest and looked into his eyes. The fire blazing there drew her—commanded her—and she leaned into him. 
"There ye are, lad. I was just look—" 
Elise twisted as Cameron reached the bottom of the nearest staircase. He lifted a bushy brow. She looked back at Marcus. His hold loosened and she snatched her hands away. She retreated, stumbling over her own feet. Marcus reached for her, but she dodged his hand with another unsure step backward. 
"I-I must go," she stammered, and fled the room. 
"Elise—bloody hell!"  Marcus's voice echoed off the stone walls as she shoved through the postern door.

My Highland Love rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  September 22, 2012
Highland Lords Series, Book #1

How are the sex scenes?
Sexy and enjoyable.  This novel is sexual, but not all about sex.  
Marcus's pursuit of and patience with Elise makes consummation all the more attractive.

How are the story lines?
Good, interesting and they deal with sensitive issues.  
(Such as death of a child, murder of a spouse and some shocking things that happen towards the end.)  
All make up great obstacles for the couple to overcome.

Would you read it again?
To ensure I caught all the information, I read it once and skimmed it a second time.  
I will read the second book in this series.


Heroine Elisabeth "Elise" Kingston washes up on the Highland shores and is taken in by the laird of MacGregor keep.  His son, hero Marcus MacGregor returns home and decides he must have her.  

Elise is hiding at MacGregor keep and has no time for Marcus - especially since she is instantly attracted to him.  (Instantly attracted to, not instantly in love with.)  

"She flushed at the spectacle of his open shirt but couldn't stop her gaze from sliding along the velvety dark hair that trailed downward and tapered off behind a white lawn shirt negligently tucked into his kilt."     
Read Sallie's tweet about this quote

She often defies Marcus, because she is from America and does not fully understand Highland ways.  Love this.  It lends humor to Marcus and Elise's relationship and boldness to Elise's character.

From the start Marcus strongly wants Elise.  I questioned his intelligence at times, because he goes through an awful lot of trouble for mere lust.  But in the end he figured it out - and was swoon worthy while doing it.
"But wouldn't it be more honest to admit you love me?" 
Her eyes widened.  
"You can trust me." Marcus discerned a quickening of her breath. He'd hit the mark. "For you know," he added, "I love you."
Marcus is this intense, brooding and determined throughout the entire novel.  R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C.  He crosses oceans just to protect the memory of his beloved and is the reason he and Elise remain together.  

For his dedication to Elise alone, My Highland Love is a worthy read.

You liked it, why didn't it receive 5 stars?

Gaps in time can strengthen a hero/heroine relationship without many words, yet this novel has the gaps with no words (in the beginning).  When the last sentence has the heroine furious with the hero and the next sentence she's holding her breath waiting for him to enter the room - I want to have a couple lines as to what made the change.  

The location change at almost 3/4 through the story is confusing for me.  I understand why it happens, but introducing new supporting characters, new sub-plots and new obstacles to separate the hero from the heroine is a bit much to take in so late in the novel.  This is the reason My Highland Love received a 3.5 star rating instead of 4 or higher.

In all fairness, I read an ARC.  Many of these things could have been modified and clarified during the editing process.  

Huge thanks to Tarah Scott for letting me review My Highland Love.  Her generosity is proof that authors do listen listen to their (slightly obsessed) fans and this novel has endeared me to her even more.  Mwah!  - Sallie

Learn more about Tarah Scott and her upcoming titles on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Published by Silver Publishing
Disclaimer:  No compensation was received for this review.  ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review.

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