The Viper by Monica McCarty

Safety warning attached at end. This is book 4 in the highland guard. I think this book would be okay as a standalone, but I do recommend reading at least The Chief (book 1) because it sets up the whole highland guard, the members, and their purpose. Then I also recommend you read book 2, The Hawk, because it's still my favorite, it's soooooo good, and I believe the heroes are cousins from that book and this book. And then read book 3 because it's good too lol. Yeah just read in order. I really enjoyed this book. I think it's my second favorite of the series so far. I still think the Hawk beats it out but just by a tad. I love McCarty. I love her mix of action, history, tension, and melting kiss and sex scenes. This story spans 3 years or so, but doesn't feel like it has a long division of the characters. I think you would like this story if you like -big, lethal, green eyed highlanders -second chance romance (both hero and heroine have bad marriages in their past) -lots of action and sexual tension -aren't opposed to reading about torture and death. It's here, and makes the story feel so real -'older' characters – Bella is around 30 and Lachlan is mid 30's -Basically if you've read McCarty, you kind of know what you are going to get. I love her as an author. Lachlan is a bad boy mercenary. He has a reputation that he would sell his mother if he could make coin and happily turn his back on her suffering. It's all a mirage people, and I just adored Lachlan and felt his pain and reasoning for the life he has chosen. Bella has been suffering in a horrible marriage with her daughter Joan being her only bright spot. She knows where she stands in this war between England and Scotland and does what she feels is right, crowning Robert the Bruce, thus making herself a traitor to the crown. I also recommend you read up the real history on Isabella MacDuff. It's just fascinating. I don't usually love characters that have a past marriage, but I really enjoyed this story. I remember reading The Chief and loving it so much and I heard it was the best in the series. Then I read The Hawk and I loved it even more. They are all so good. I have been spacing them out and I think I'm going to keep doing that. Because I'm picky. And I go through streaks where I don't like anything. But I know I can come back to McCarty. And I'm going to be so sad when I get through all her books haha. I give 5 stars. Safety warning (possible spoilers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . death, murder, torture, verbal/mental abuse (implied)

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Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch

This is the second book of Enoch's newest series, Wild Wicked Highlanders. I haven't read the first, and this was fine as a standalone. I can tell you will have a better feel for all the characters be reading in order, though. The siblings were in this book, and I'm assuming at least Aden was in the prior book. The first book of the series is It's Getting Scot in Here). This book provided a bit more insight into how Coll's personality was and I'm assuming the next book will be about him (or at least that he will have a book at some point. I'm very excited for his story. He's a huge, brawny highlander and I'm half in love with him already.) Miranda is the perfect society lady. She has polish. She knows society rules. She has a wonderfully pleasant and engaging personality. Except when it comes to the burly Aden MacTaggert, whom she snubs upon meeting. I really enjoyed Miranda. She was one of those heroines that I just truly liked. I want to be her friend. She's not helpless, she's smart, but she's limited by her position and strength. And Aden fills in those gaps so wonderfully. She's not someone who is meek or has no backbone. I thought the ways she needed Aden were so touching and more real feeling for the time. Don't get me wrong, I love an independent heroine and one that can save herself and others, but this just felt different. Maybe I was in the mood for a big, hairy highlander to come in and save the day. Miranda pulls her weight for sure and they work together. She's not just a damsel in distress. Aden has been drug to London to find a bride. His family history was probably explained better in the first book. You know his mom left his father 17 years ago and now has an agreement to get all the brothers leg shackled before their sister. Niall has already found his love. Aden is open to the idea of marriage, but doesn't seem to meet anyone that inspires any strong feelings. I thought this book would be an enemies to lovers because of their brief animosity the first, but it turned into a lovely getting to know you, becoming friends, and falling in love. Miranda has a serious problem she must solve and she enlists Aden to help her. They become partners against a villain. This villain felt a bit different than the usual villain. The drive behind what he wanted was different. And boy did he inspire strong feelings of dislike in me. You were rooting for his disappearance. He is in the book a decent amount, but I found it didn't take away from Aden and Miranda's relationship. It bonded them stronger together, in fact, because you couldn't help compare the two and it made your heart melt all the more with Aden's actions. Heart melting is how I felt about this book. There were so many just adorable, cute, funny, sweet moments in this book. I'm pretty sure as I finished, I oozed into a pile with hearts floating above me. Aden is more of a beta hero, and betas are usually not my thing. But I loved Aden. He's just so sweet and caring and he just falls in love with Miranda so sweetly. He doesn't have some deep, dark, and lame secret why he can't marry. He hasn't sworn off women/marriage. He has these real feelings that are new to him, and he embraces. I'm getting goosebumps thinking about his love for Miranda. I loved how he loved her and I loved how he spoke about his feelings first. This book is my favorite Suzanne Enoch. This is my 6th novel by her. I plan on getting my hands on the first in this series soon and I will definitely be checking out Coll's story when it comes out!

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