By April Holthaus
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
For hundreds of years, Scotland has battled the English for their freedom. Now, they face a new enemy. In a divided world between politics and religion, the young King James V faces the threat of his own people rebelling against him. As civil war breaks out among the Highland clans, James recruits a secret group of warriors for protection. He calls them the Protectors of the Crown.
Ian MacKay has one mission; to defend the crown no matter the cost. Along with his men, Ian’s mission is to hunt down one of the most dangerous men in the Highlands. But when the daughter of an enemy enters his life, his heart becomes captured instead.
Keira Sinclair has lived a life of peace and simplicity until now. With her clan on the verge of losing everything, she is forced to wed a Laird from a neighboring clan to ensure that hers survives. During her travels to her new home, her carriage is attacked and Keira is taken hostage by a ruthless man.
Caught in the middle of a war that she does not understand, will Keira’s secrets be safe, or will she succumb to the Highland warrior who now threatens to capture her heart?
This was one of the most enjoyable Highland romance books I have read – I really enjoyed April Holthaus’ writing and her story and character development. I also was thankful that the historical components made sense and I didn’t need to flail around trying to understand those dynamics.
I especially enjoyed how the relationship between Keira and Ian evolved, and that Ian was able to grow beyond the death of his wife eight years prior. There is humor, annoyance, loyalty, and eventually love. Ian commits to saving Keira from being taken away by agreeing to marry her and keep her safe as his wife.
Though the initial story seems rather straightforward, it becomes evident that there are deeper evils at work. Without spoiling the story, Keira will receive quite a shock when she is eventually kidnapped and the evil-doers attempt to set Ian up to die.
Holthaus does a good job of following through on the story details and delivering a satisfying HEA.
The humor Ian found in Keira’s actions was cute, and Ian’s growing love and commitment to Keira was intoxicating. The scene in the tavern when Keira told King James (who she didn’t know was the king) what she thought causing Ian to spit out his ale and nearly choke was a hoot…especially when King James didn’t disagree.
Original review posted on Amazon and Goodreads on March 29, 2016.