Tracy’s rating: 4/4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Highland Warrior, #3
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Derryth MacClaren is sent away from Inverhaven by her sister Elspeth for her own protection, rumors suggest that the Earl of Buchan aka the Wolf has once more set his sites on Inverhaven, so she is being sent home until the threat has passed. But their plan is thwarted when a few hours into the journey, they are captured – by Cull the Nameless, a member of the King’s Guard.
Cull saves Derryth from being raped but he cannot let her or her kinsmen go, he takes her back to his tent to keep her safe and tells her she and her kinsmen will be set free once they have taken the castle. Cull is acting on orders from Buchan, the man who rescued him from slavers as a child and trained him as a warrior. He hasn’t seen the orders to take Inverhaven, but he trusts Buchan.
Derryth keeps her identity a secret and at first tries to escape Cull, but when that doesn’t work she torments him. When Cull arranges for her to see Fiona and Deargh, Deargh suggests that she could be useful by keeping her eyes and ears open for information that will help her family beat Buchan. She changes her tact with Cull and soon discovers he is not the beast she thought he was. As they grow closer and she learns of her, her secrets weigh on her – she cares for Cull and desires him, but giving into her desire would be a betrayal to her family.
Cull is falling for Derryth, when he learns part of her secret, he will have to decide if his loyalty to Buchan and the promise of his greatest desire is worth more than his love for her. But when he believes Derryth has betrayed and used him, he tries to forget her and focuses on taking Inverhaven and the promised reward that comes with his success. However, all is not as it seems and when Robert (Buchan’s son) questions the orders to take Inverhaven, Cull realizes he is being used and goes to see Buchan for answers. When he gets to Craven, he finds more than he ever imagined and the truths he has known his entire life will be turned upside down. Truths will be revealed, promises will be made, secrets will be shared, jealousy will be rampant and others will interfere to keep our lovers apart and help will come from an unexpected source.
Of the three books, this one is far and away my favorite, it is a well written, fast paced, steamy read with a lot of secrets, twists and turns, betrayal, shocking revelations, a little heartbreak and finally a very satisfying HEA. There are a couple of things that kept this from being a 5 star read for me, but none of them are major, a dropped storyline, a couple of scenes that did nothing to move the story along and an unbelievable love scene – nothing that ruined the story, but did distract me, but please note, the copy I read was an uncorrected edition, so issues I encountered, may well be corrected before publication. This is the third book in the series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone title. I am happy to recommend the book and hope Ms. Blackwood is planning a story for Robert, because that is a book I definitely would like to read!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*