Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Sons of Gregor MacLeod
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Amber MacPhearson is desperate, years ago Machar Murray took over her clan and has been pursuing her ever since. It was not so bad when her father and grandmother were alive, but since their deaths, Murray has escalated his attacks, going as far as to break into her cottage, she has kept him at bay by pretending to be a witch, but now even that is not working. So with the help of a clansman, she cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and escapes. Only to be captured by Laird Lachlan MacKay.
Lachlan has spent the last five years hunting the man who killed his brother and tried to kill him and he has finally found him, Machar Murray is finally in his sights and he will finally have his justice. He is scouting the castle, when he sees a boy go over the wall and head straight for them, he grabs the boy and takes him back to his camp. Once there he learns his young cousin Adaira has stowed away in one of the supply wagons, so he ties up the “boy” and deals with Adaira. He and his foster brother Callum then leave to take the castle and kill Murray.
Amber is glad that Lachlan is going to kill Murray, but she is worried for her clan and as a healer, she wants to be there to take care of the injured. She tricks Adaira into releasing her and then overpowers her guard and returns to the castle.
Murray bolts, but not before he takes aim at Amber, she runs from him, right into Lachlan. Lachlan is floored to realize the “boy” is actually a woman, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Desire flares between them, but before they can act on it, Earc (the guard) shows up with Adaira, she was stabbed by Murray and left for dead. Amber uses the situation to her advantage, she promises to heal her, if Lachlan will take over the clan. He agrees and Amber immediately takes over, she tends Adaira and all the injured. Lachlan is both impressed and annoyed by her and worries for her health and does little things to ensure she is taken care of, including diverting the castle priest, who hates her and calls her a witch.
Once all the injured are tended, Amber rests and then goes up to a chamber to bathe. Lachlan walks in and they realize that Niall, the castle steward is trying to compromise them, there is an amusing scene with Lachlan trying to hide from him, so he doesn’t end up wed to Amber.
Lachlan is frustrated that Murray escaped and they find several tunnels and bolt-holes, they have had no sightings of him. Callum speculates that he will not have gone far, he is obsessed with Amber and won’t leave until he has her. Callum suggests setting a trap, with Amber as bait.
When Amber is injured during an ambush by Murray, the clan decides that she must marry, Amber agrees, but has rules, she chooses Lachlan, thinking he will refuse and is shocked when he agrees to marry her.
Lachlan cares for Amber and despite his best efforts, he has not been able to run Murray to ground or keep her safe. Murray is an incredibly intelligent villain, so Lachlan hopes with the aid of Gregor and his foster brothers, they will be able to outwit him and finally be free of his reign of terror.
This is a very well written book and is filled with non-stop action from the first page until the last, there are steamy love scenes, wonderful secondary characters, amusing moments that keep the book from being too dark, an amazingly brilliant and supremely evil villain and finally a very touching and sweet HEA.
I really enjoyed this book and while it is not necessary, I am glad I read the first book in the series before reading this one. This book can be read as a stand alone, but if you want to learn more about Gregor and how he ended up with his foster sons, I would recommend reading Highland Promise.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*