Highland Heartbreaker by Julie Johnstone
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Of Mist and Mountains, #4
Release Date: January 17, 2023
After years of waiting for her betrothed to marry her, Elena MacLeod has had enough and plans to use the terms of the contract which say if they don’t marry by her 22nd birthday, she can withdraw from the betrothal. But the day before her birthday, Rolland MacKay aka the Highland Heartbreaker shows up to claim her. Elena is furious, she has no desire to wed a man who has tumbled practically every lass in the highlands while betrothed to her. But when she shoots him in the butt with an arrow, everything changes. They get to know each other, and love blossoms, a wedding is planned, but the night before they were to exchange their vows, Rolland leaves without a word. Later she hears that he was called away to a battle and acted dishonorably and was labeled a coward and a traitor by the king and that he took up with the king’s son, Lord Carrick. Elena is heartbroken, how could she have fallen for such a man? She needs to forget Rolland and move on, but each time she comes close to marriage, she breaks the betrothal – after 4 years and just as many broken betrothals, Elena begs to go to court. But trouble from her last betrothal follows her and when her life is in danger, her father betroths her to Rolland’s cousin, the new MacKay laird. Elena never expects to cross paths with Rolland again, but to her shock, that is exactly what happens and to make things worse, and tasks Rolland with delivering her to him. Could things get any worse?
Rolland never wanted to marry Elena, something he made clear to his father and hers when their parents betrothed them, but after years of rebelling, Rolland realizes that he is being selfish and that the marriage will help his clan, so he puts aside his rakish ways and travels to Dunvegan Castle to claim his bride. He was not prepared for the lovely woman who disguised herself to compete in the archery competition, who stands up to him and then shoots him in the butt with an arrow. This is not the biddable, boring wife he was expecting and suddenly marriage doesn’t seem like the nightmare he envisioned. But when the king demands his help in exchange for his brother’s life, Rolland will have to seemingly betray the only woman he has ever loved and give up not only his love but his title and his honor as well. And now four years later, he is finally closer to completing his task than he has ever been, but not close enough to reclaim his old life or Elena. And when he learns that someone is after her and she needs the protection of marriage, he agrees to deliver her to his cousin, even if it is the hardest thing he has ever done. He expected her wrath, but he never expected to fall deeper in love with the one woman who he can never have.
This was another incredible installment in a wonderful series. The book is well-written, nicely paced, and filled with amazing characters and lots of page-turning excitement. If you have read the other books and wondered about Elena and her broken betrothals, then this is the book you have been waiting for! This second-chance romance has intrigue, murder, betrayal, lies, secrets, wonderful secondary characters, action, life-and-death moments, steamyish love scenes, a little heartache, surprising twists, and finally a hard-won HEA complete with an epilogue. This is the fourth book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title. I was delighted to finally read Elena’s story and it was everything that I could have hoped for and more! I enjoyed this book and was a little sad to see it end, and hopefully, this won’t be the last we see of Elena and Rolland! I highly recommend this title and hope you love it as much as I did.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*