Monday, 13 September 2010

Review - The Highlander Series Bk 1: To Conquer a Highlander © Mary Wine

To Conquer a Highlander

The Highlander Series Bk 1

Author: Mary Wine

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre: Highlander (Historical)

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A fierce Highland laird ready to kill for king and country…

When Torin McLeren discovers his neighbor’s plot against his king, he takes their daughter as his prisoner, thereby stopping her father’s plot from going forward. But that leaves him with a woman under his roof whom he can’t ignore, and not just because she’s his enemy’s daughter…

A woman who’s as much trouble as she is temptation…

Shannon McBoyd decides to use her captor to experience passion for the first time, and then to destroy him. But her plan goes awry because once she has lured Torin into her bed, she no longer wants to hurt the one man who seems to value and understand her…

Even if her father will kill him—and her—when he discovers what they’ve done...

He blew out a breath that she heard because the hall was so quiet. No one was near and that heightened her awareness of him. Her heart beat faster because she knew they were alone. Every sense became sharper making her keenly aware of details that she normally didn’t notice. The way his lips curved or the manner in which his eyes darkened when he looked into her eyes.

And she could not deny that she was enjoying having his attention upon her.

“Maybe I need to show ye that my touch does nae have to be that of a barbarian. You were correct when ye told me to seek out yer father. My quarrel is not with ye Shannon.”

His voice deepened and the grip on her arm loosened becoming almost as gentle as the touch he’d laid against her cheek. She was keenly aware of it. The skin on her face still warm where he’d touched her. But on her arm, the layers of her robes did little to protect her from noticing how warm he was.

“Does that mean I am free to leave?”

“No, it means that I am left wondering what exactly is between us, since it is no a quarrel.”

Excitement leap up inside her, shaming her with how quickly it heated her belly.

“I prefer the quarrel, for you are not to my liking. I have never fancied a Highlander.”

He grunted softly, her barbed words finding their mark. Fury danced across his eyes and a moment later he tugged her forward. She stumbled past him and ended up in the corner with the stone wall at her back. Her captor took one long step and caged her there with his huge body, both of his hands flattening on the wall behind her.

“Be careful what ye demand of me lass, I am a Highlander and part of me will be happy to prove ye truthful in what ye say I am.”

©  Mary Wine

My thoughts

When Laird Torin McLeren comes home to find the slaughtered bodies of his clansmen – he is not only saddened but knows there is only one thing for this kind of  madness - to get revenge.

With some long hard ride and people in the right places, Torin finds out who has done this dastardly deed quite quickly and he aims to get his own back. Doing what all highlanders are prone to do, he gathers his own around him and plot and plan how best to go about storming another mans keep.

Torin is however not a man of haste and it is this sense of patience that enables him to be in the right place at the right time to find out about Shannon McBoyd, daughter of the man that Torin is aiming to bring down. Not only has Torin come to know of Shannon but he also becomes privy to a most unsavoury plot and not one to his liking or even one that is likely to benefit anyone from the highlands.

Shannon is the daughter of a madman, a man who has no use for girls except to line is own pockets.  Shannon although restricted from some of the yearly enjoyment of the maids of her time -  has been allowed to do her own thing and as much she knows the heavy hand of her father she is still opinionated and barely knows when to keep her mouth shut. Now after years of being neglected and living as the afterthought of her father, she is now to become a pawn in a madman’s game – but before she has had time to fully settle into her faith she is kidnapped by the last man she would expect – a man out for revenge – Torin McLeren.

Once these two connect it is a battle of wills with some nice moments of pleasure tossed in, but Torin can’t give his sole attention to Shannon as he has other matters to resolve that involves home and country, while Shannon is a child of a traitor and as such she is expected to be hang with her traitorous clan.

Something had to give eventually – because what a highlander kidnaps he keeps and one Torin McLeren has kidnapped Shannon McBoyd and he aims to keep her come hell or high water.

I have had some weird reasons for reading books, like the cool cover art, the blurb or even recommendation from my mom but I think my reason for reason TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER is probably the weirdest for me.

I read this book because Mary Wine is the other voice of Dawn Ryder – An author that I have read and liked alot and am awaiting the next book in one of her series. As the next book is taking a bit of time I thought I would see what was keeping her up at nights. (see I told you it was a crazy reason)

After starting TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER, it took me a little bit to get into – due to no fault of the author or the quality of the work, but more due to the fact that I have not read one of these book for almost twelve years.

Highlanders books for me are generally the same overall plot line, some power struggle between the people at the top of the food chain, pretty much an unhealthy amount of back stabbing and some neck stretching depending on how traitorous the bad guys are. Then at the lower level where the love interest comes in – as in TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER, this is where the actual action takes place, this is where I normally get most of my enjoyment and it was no different with this my first Mary Wine Highlander book.

With all the above said I ended up liking this book  ALOT. Firstly I liked the nice mix of characters in this book, not only were Shannon and Torin a good balance of strength and weakness, but with enough back history on them both I was prone to overlook some of the more TSTL moments of Shannon and most of the highhanded ways of Torin.  I thought they were perfect for each other and their dance of tease and will he, wont she felt more like a courtship than a struggle to get the other to bend to their will.

The support cast were just perfect, Torin’s two friends who will eventually  get their own book were not only a support to Torin and the highlander’s cause, but they were the main source of most of the levity in the book. I ended up having a smirk or two at their expense.

No journey to the highlands would be complete if there was not skulduggery afoot and there was at every level here. I thought Ms Wine got this element of the book totally right. The in-house struggles Torin had to deal with, while showing that despite the ruthlessness of these highland men –  some actually had the sense of building for the future and it is only by banding together and plotting that things will move and get done. 

The fine print of the book was great and I really enjoyed the pace set by the author. One word of warning, if you are like me, one of those readers who suddenly read in the language of the Highlands when you read these book, this is no different. Even with me adjusting to the lingo it has a nice pacing to it.

Other than Shannon’s and Torin’s struggle to fit together, there is definately a sense of right or wrong to this book and anyone or anything that falls in-between is  up to no good and you know them as soon as they make an appearance. No good book would be good without these people and I look forward to Ms. Wine fleshing out more of these characters in future books- as these people tend to be the catalyst that makes or breaks a plot.

Bottom Line

Now that I am aware of what is keeping Ms Wine up at nights – I will be adding the next book in this series to my TBR list as I want to find out what happens next to these highland men. TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER was a great introduction for me back into the world of the highlanders and without a doubt this was definately down to the authors style and her direct approach to the plotline.

6 Speak To Me:

Tracy on 14 September 2010 at 01:16 said...

I met Mary a couple of years ago and she is just a nice, nice woman. I've read some of her work too and liked that as well so it's a great package! lol

I've read her Alcandian series. While complete erotic menage fantasy they were fun reads.

Blodeuedd on 14 September 2010 at 08:09 said...

I so wanted his friends books after having read this one, they sounded so fun ;)

Chris on 14 September 2010 at 13:24 said...

*waves hello*

Erotic Horizon on 14 September 2010 at 15:16 said...


How cool for you tracy... I have to admit I love her smutty books more - but the Highlanders were cool as well.


Erotic Horizon on 14 September 2010 at 15:22 said...


I so want to read the other guys story - they were fun...


Erotic Horizon on 14 September 2010 at 15:23 said...


**Waves at Chris****