Highland Warrior by Heather McCollum
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Sons of Sinclair, #2
Release Date: April 27, 2021
After the death of his wife in childbirth, George Sinclair lost his mind to grief and believed that end of days were upon them, in his grief he declared his sons the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and raised them to fulfill their callings. This story is of his second-born son, Joshua, dubbed the Horseman of War.
After his elder brother married, Joshua left Girnigoe Castle in Scotland in search of war and in doing so, lost his desire to battle. He ended up on the Orkney Islands training the Earl of Orkney’s men to defend themselves from the local inhabitants, who resented Scotland’s acquisition of their lands. It wasn’t until after he began training that he realized Robert Stuart, the Earl of Orkney and his sons are cruel tyrants and after a few months, Joshua decides to leave and return to his family. But with close familial ties to King James, the earl is a powerful man and Joshua must withdraw carefully, making sure the earl doesn’t take offense and turn the King against the Sinclair clan. He makes his goodbyes and sets out to find passage back to Caithness. He makes his way to a village and enters a tavern, hoping to find a ship sailing out and lodging for the night, but what he finds is trouble – in the form of a beautiful woman.
When Kara Flett learns that the “Horseman of War” is the man in the tavern, she forms a plan to seduce him into helping her people fight against the earl. Since her uncle, King Erik was taken by Robert, her people have looked to her to lead them, but she knows the only way to defeat the earl is to have her people led by a true warrior and hopes that Joshua Sinclair will help them. After a dust-up with some locals trying to steal his horse, Kara takes Joshua back to her “den” to tend his wounds and they spend the night making love. The next morning, she asks him to lead her people against the earl – Joshua feels betrayed and used and refuses – mainly because he cannot risk the earl’s wrath against his family – as the illegitimate son of the previous king, the earl is the King James’ uncle and fighting against him could see his family ruined. But Kara doesn’t give up and asks him to meet her people. After seeing the conditions that they are forced to live in, Joshua offers them refuge with his family and agrees to train her men to defend themselves.
After consideration, many of the islanders agree to move to the mainland and join the Sinclair clan, including Kara. But after a run-in with Robert’s son Henry and the return of her uncle, everything changes and when her son is taken, she refuses to leave without saving him. Joshua knows he must save her son and he also knows that doing so will endanger his family – so he does the unthinkable and cuts ties with his clan to save Kara’s son. But things go from bad to worse and Joshua’s sacrifice may not be enough to save Kara from the earl’s ultimate wrath.
This was a well-written, fast-paced, amazing read and of all the books I have read by this author, this one might be my favorite. This book is a non-stop adventure from the first page to the last, it is filled with action, steamy love scenes, truly evil villains, amazing secondary characters, nail-biting fight scenes, shocking twists and turns, and an ending that is sure to bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face! I loved this book, it was very intense, and to be completely honest, it is a bit more graphic and steamier than most of the books I have read by this author – that is not a complaint – more of a heads up to readers that might be sensitive to that sort of thing. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone title and I highly recommend it!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. *