Sunday 27 April 2014

Highlander Taken by Juliette Miller - Book Review
From the Blurb:

In the midst of a Clan divided, two unlikely allies must confront the passion that binds them… and the treachery that may part them forever.

To secure her family's alliance with the powerful Clan Mackenzie, Stella Morrison has no choice but to wed the notorious Kade Mackenzie. Unable to ignore the whispers that surround him, she resigns herself to a marriage in name only. Yet as the fierce warrior strips away Stella's doubt one seductive touch at a time, burgeoning desire forces her to question all she holds as truth.

Leading a rebellious army should have been Kade's greatest challenge…but conquering the heart of his reluctant bride becomes an all-consuming need. Now more than ever, he's determined to find victory both on the battlefield and in the bedchamber. But the quest for triumph unleashes a dark threat, and this time, only love may prove stronger than danger.

The Review:

When Stella is forced to marry Kade Mackenzie to fulfill a clan marriage alliance, she resigns herself to the knowledge that her life is not her own. She must forget about her feelings for the blacksmith Caleb, and do her best to simply survive her marriage. After all, she's heard gossip about her new husband that leaves her with no doubt he is a vicious brute. She's a little surprised, therefore, when he will not consummate their marriage against her will, and promises to teach her to trust him, in and out of bed.

OK. I admit it. I have a teensy-weensy obsession with highlander heroes. But let's be honest, who doesn't? They're just so swoon worthy, and Kade Mackenzie is no exception. Although he barely knows Stella, he is in love with her from the start and despite their marriage being necessary for political purposes, he has no regrets, only desire for his new wife.

Unfortunately, Stella is terrified of Kade, so convincing her she is safe and that his desire is genuine love takes some work. He refuses to give up on Stella though, determined to prove himself to her, while also showing that she also has her own strength to own. Believing in herself, however, is as hard for Stella as trusting a man such as Kade, as she has been treated terribly by her father and his men. Stella might have had a difficult past, but with Kade's assistance she has the chance to find herself as well as a passion she never thought possible.

Although she takes some time to realise it, Stella is as spunky as Kade is sexy, so when they get together the heat level in this novel sets fire to the pages. The story line of Kade coaxing Stella's trust before he consummates the marriage is ostensibly one of delayed sexual gratification, as he refuses to take her virginity until she is ready. However, there's more to sexual satisfaction than the requirements of consummation and Kade soon shows Stella just how much he can pleasure her. In her words:

"...I entered a state of physical transcendent enlightenment..."

Only in a romance novel and only with a highlander hero could such a statement be taken as a face value description of a climax. I admit, some readers might find Juliette Miller's writing overly flowery, which it is, but I loved it, just as much as I loved the first person narrative. First person in historical romances is pretty rare, and I am often very dubious about its use, but I loved hearing this story direct from Stella's perspective. It made it so easy to understand the changes she went through, not to mention really amped up the heat of the sex scenes. While we're on the topic, it's also worth noting that these sex scenes included light bdsm, which was pretty incredibly delicious with such an alpha highlander hero.

Along with the romance in Highlander Taken, there is also an action packed plot of clan intrigue. While Kade attempts to seduce his wife, he is also busy trying to establish himself as the laird-to-be of her clan. A rebellion is in the works, however, and Kade (with the assistance of Stella!) must ensure that the clan remains secure.

I could say a lot more about this story, but I'll stop before spoilers slip out! While it appears to be a simple historical romance, there is a lot more to this novel, most especially the interesting characters (including Stella's sisters). This romance is super sexy, with a strong heroine and a hot-as-hell hero. Highlander Taken definitely gets my highest recommendation for those who love highland heroes, as ready to sweep you off your feet as they are to tie you to the bed in the process.

Highlander Taken by Juliette Miller was published by Harlequin on May 28, 2013 and is available from Amazon.