Title: The Highland Henchman
Series: Highland Force #2
Author: Amy Jarecki
Format: Paperback, 355 pages
Published: April 1st 2014 by Rapture Books
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N
Intent on winning a Lowlander’s tournament, Bran MacLeod travels south with his laird. All goes as planned, except spirited Miss Enya Ross continually distracts him, and in the oddest situations. With no business lusting after a baron’s daughter, Bran decides to return to Raasay—until his laird pledges Bran’s services in the fight to reinstate Mary, Queen of Scots to the throne.
Enya has no deference for the lines of nobility, or for the Great Divide that separates Lowlanders from Highlanders. The way Sir Bran’s eyes hunger for her ignites an internal fire Enya cannot quell. All her life she’s wanted adventure and excitement, but now her every thought is consumed with the rugged Highlander.
With all odds stacked against them, can their forbidden love withstand the tumult of war and the menace of betrayal?
Wow! Wow! Wow! Have you ever read a book that had you alternately swooning and hyperventilating? I have to confess that I actually had to put this down more then once just to get my heart rate down. The Highland Henchman is the 2nd book in Amy Jarecki's INCREDIBLE Highland Force series. I had picked up Captured by the Pirate Laird, the 1st book in this series, from Net Galley a few months ago and was totally blown away. Honestly, it was one of the best books I've ever read, hands down. If you are a fan of Kathleen Woodiwiss' books like The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove and Shanna, you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Captured by the Pirate Laird. Of course, I'm a lush for Highlanders. Add in the pirate factor and I'm a goner. Forgive me, I digress. To say I've been looking forward to reading the follow-up is putting it mildly. OMG, I was NOT disappointed.
This is the story of Bran MacLeod, who we met as a gawky young cabin lad serving his Laird in Book 1 and of Enya, Lord Ross' daughter. Bran has grown up into a big handsome Highlander. He's been knighted by his Laird and is as good of heart as they come. He has accompanied his Laird to the Lowlands to compete at a tournament hosted by Lord Ross. Enya longs for adventure but she's been promised to another Lord, a peacock of a man who makes my skin crawl. You know the type. Yuck! She's torn by loyalty to her family and her attraction to Bran. She's a feisty lass with an adorable spirit. She's a damned good archer, and not one to follow rules. She reminded me of Princess Merida from Brave. Bran is bull-dozed by Enya from the first time their eyes meet. I almost felt sorry for him as he wasn't able to resist her and she was quite forward. Their sizzling trysts in the hayloft were some amazingly yummy story-telling!
“The softness of her touch, the emerald eyes gazing into his when they held hands and circled, attacked his defenses and flung them aside as if he were a helpless lad. If she'd come at him with a dagger, he might have let her stab him in the heart.”
Queen Mary figures prominently and we get to meet her along with sojourns in dungeons and the abbey, definitely not a place of refuge. A happy ending for Bran's & Enya's relationship seems doomed, but I kept telling myself that love had to find a way...
There's not a dull moment in this book. Amy's writing is top-notch. If you are looking for a Scottish romance, she weaves it with dashing class! She's a fabulously talented writer and I am so looking forward to reading more from her!
The Highland Henchman can be read as a standalone containing interconnected characters. Even the eagle fledgling from the first book returns! However, I highly recommend reading all the books in this series in order as they are ALL fantastic and it would increase your enjoyment of each exponentially!. By the way, Amy's Beauty and the Barbarian, Book 3, is due out in June! You can read a free 17-page blurb of it at Amazon now as it's an ABNA nominee. If you love Highlander tales with a bit of history, adventure, suspense, PASSION and a happy ever after to rock your dreams, do yourself a favor and read Amy's books! I wish I could give The Highland Henchman more than 5 wineglasses!