I went on a mini vacation last week and as I do before every vacation, I went looking on GR’s for books to read. As I was paging down I came across The Chief by Monica McCarty. The blurb sounded intriguing and it had a lot of good reviews so I thought I would give it a shot. The blurb for the series goes like this:
Handpicked by Robert the Bruce to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule, the Highland Guard is an elite fighting force unlike any the world has ever seen. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. As the tides of war turn, one elite warrior is all that stands between victory and defeat.
Pretty quickly in I realized this is a series with a lot of books and I wasn’t going to be able to stop at one. So here I am a week and a half later and I am on book four. Since I am liking the series so much, I thought I would talk about the first four just in case someone else out there is looking for a good historical romance glom!
The Chief AMZ * BN * KOBO This is book one in the series and basically the foundation for everything going forward. It starts off talking about Robert the Bruce and this crazy idea he has to form an elite fighting force. He handpicks the men and Tor MacLeod is their temporary leader. He is only recruited to train the men because he wants nothing to do with war and only wants to keep his clan at peace. His job of training is a difficult one because he has people from enemy clans on the team and he has to figure out a way to get them to overlook their century long differences in order to fight for the cause.
The romance isn’t overlooked. Christina Fraser is forced upon Tor and though he needs to focus on his men, he can’t seem to stay away from his wife. Tor is unable to ignore her in order to complete his task and they are slowly drawn together.
Overall, between the suspense and the romance I was almost immediately hooked on this series.
The Hawk AMZ * BN * KOBO Book two in the series is Erik MacSorley’s story. In order to keep their identities secret, each member of the team is given a name outside of their birth name. Hawk is the seafarer and dare-devil. He is always teasing the lasses and never takes anything seriously. His story follows a little after Tor’s and he is tasked with gathering rebels to help fight for Robert’s cause. Robert has suffered many recent defeats and things are not looking good.
In the midst of his mission, Erik stumbles across Lady Elyne de Burgh. Ellie does not give her real name so Erik has no idea she is daughter to one of the most powerful men of the day. Ellie was raised with beautiful brothers and sisters so she is able to turn a blind eye to Erik’s charm and looks. This confounds Erik and he takes winning Ellie over as a challenge. Little does he know this challenge is not in his best interest as Ellie is also Robert’s sister in law. Things get a little harried between these two toward the end of the book but what a ride they took the reader on.
The Ranger AMZ * BN * KOBO Sometimes the reader is unsure of who will have the next story. I had no idea Erik would be book two but with book three we know it will be about Arthur “Ranger” Campbell. In book one, Arthur is kicked out of the group for failing a challenge. Only known to him and Tor, at the time, he is really being sent to the enemy camp as a spy. His story involves being planted in the home of the man he hates most, the man he witnessed kill his father. It is also the home of that man’s beautiful daughter, Anna MacDougall.
This was probably my least favorite of the books so far because Anna is a ninny. She shows moments of strength but good grief, if I had to hear one more time about “their connection” or how she just knew there was something between them, I wasn’t going to make it through this book.
The Viper AMZ * BN * KOBO If you have read these stories, I bet you would agree this one was the one you were looking forward to. I was. Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is the man nobody likes, trusts or even wants to be around. For three books he is not looked upon very favorably but he has the ability to get in and out of any place without getting caught. In The Chief he is sent to bring Bella MacDuff to crown Robert the king of Scotland. He gets her there but not without lying a lot along the way. The connection between the two cannot be denied so he spends long months trying to ignore her existence until he is tasked by the king to take her and the other women away from danger. Instead of protecting them, they are captured and Bella spends two long years in a hanging cage. Lachlan’s last mission for Robert will be to rescue Bella and the other women.
Since Lachlan had been a bit of a bastard for four books, I was really looking forward to the moment Lachlan admitted his feelings for Bella. The Viper takes place at the same time as the first three books in a flashback form, but then ends up in what is sort of the present time.
So that is where I am with this series. These books are intertwined so perfectly and so skillfully written. Each story is different enough to keep my attention and boy, the sex scenes are hot. The books almost remind of old school Julie Garwood so if you like those, grab The Chief. Maybe you will be like me and find yourself with 12 new books to read!