A definite win in my book! I'm loving Kerrigan Byrne's style of writing.
Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 2, 2016
They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent... in the game of love.
Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena—and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart... without surrendering his own?
Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known as the Demon Highlander and it is well earned. His brutal childhood shaped him into a man to be feared and respected but when Miss Philomena arrives to care for his children, Liam feels he may have met his match. As the two spend more and more time in each other’s company, Liam starts to suspect that Mena is hiding something from him but he can’t figure out what but that doesn’t stop him from trying to win Mena as his own.
Kerrigan Byrne has such an uncanny talent for producing a believable and erotic romance between two characters in the middle of a dark, violent setting. I can’t get enough of it! Byrne provides enough detail to drive home the hopelessness, fear, and despair but doesn’t drag the reader down because she also brings in the hope, the light, and the happiness that comes at the end of a struggle. I loved that about The Highlander.
I can’t say enough about Mena. There’s something special about a woman who has survived being brutally abused, raped, and imprisoned in an asylum that is little more than a place where the patients are treated like animals. Even when Mena was absolutely terrified and beaten, she was a survivor. I loved how she didn’t have to try hard to be brave and admirable, it was just something she was. Mena’s vulnerability was what made her such a remarkable character to me. She was far from perfect and she had a long way to go in her recovery but I loved her. She really was the central focus of the book and often overshadowed other characters, including Liam.
Liam was such a tortured character. His childhood was basically nothing but abuse and horror and that shaped him into the man he was at the beginning of the story. Liam spent so much time being ashamed of who he was and who he had to become in order to protect others that he didn’t realize that he was a victim too. Kerrigan Byrne crafted a virtually indestructible character but at times that mask of the hardened warrior cracked and showed a vulnerable man who never dealt with the fallout of his upbringing and the horrors of war. While not immediately obvious, Liam’s outbursts and bouts of anger and possessiveness were all results of not really knowing how to relate, communicate, or deal with people. At least to me that’s what it seemed like.
While Liam and Mena’s backgrounds are so heart wrenching and bleak, it added much more feeling to their romance in my opinion. The chemistry was slow to develop but it was believable that a woman with Mena’s history would be slow in showing an active interest in a man, especially one like Liam. Both characters just didn’t know how to handle their attraction and I enjoyed that. Liam wasn’t the smooth talking seducer and Mena wasn’t a seductress. They had to learn together.
The main setting for The Highlander is Liam’s home and that kept the supporting characters to a minimum. I enjoyed seeing previous characters as much as I enjoyed Liam’s half grown kids. They often provided Liam and Mena a chance to interact with others and to learn and grow as individuals.
Final Verdict: The Highlander is another solid, addictive romance by an author who can balance out the raw, dangerous side of life with passion, love, and hope.
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