Heart of the Highlands: The Beast (Protectors of the Crown #1)

Hello and a very happy Monday to you, bookworms! I hope your week’s kicked off to a good start despite the fact that we have days in front of us before the weekend reprieve. It’s still bitter in my neck of the woods and today, we’ve added some sleeting rain to the mix, so I’m about ready to stay in bed with a pile of books for the next month or so. What do you think?

Anyway, lately, I feel like I’ve been getting more visitors in my little corner of the reading world, and in turn, numerous requests to read books for people, which has me stoked! I already have quite a list going for some of you and I can’t wait to read. I already have a mini pile of blog posts stacked up, so be prepared for a lot of activity here in the coming weeks.

Tonight, I’m kicking off my first of many reviews I’ve had sitting on my To Do List. I feel terrible because I was originally meant to talk about this book when I had initially signed up to participate back in December, but life got in the way and I was rather delayed. Thankfully, I’m all set and ready to talk about tonight’s book, Heart of the Highlands by April Holthaus.

This is the first book I’ve read by Holthaus, and this is also the first in a series of Highland novels, so tonight’s discussion is a bit of a double whammy. Luckily, if you’ve frequented this site before, you know that I have a thing for Scottish culture and folklore, so this book was right up my ally.

Kiera Sinclair is betrothed to the head of an allied clan, one Thomas Chisholm. Her marriage is priority for her family due to the continued conflict flaring between England and Scotland. Allegiance is key, and Kiera’s father knows this, and makes sure she leaves as quickly as possible to solidify the union. It’s when she’s on the road toward her new life that things take a drastic turn.

Ian Mackay is a protector of the crown. He spends his days with his men to defend the land and the people they love and hold dear. It’s when he comes upon the fiancée of one of his enemies, he can’t help but take her an hold her for ransom.

Disgusted and disgruntled, Kiera gives Ian seemingly more than he can handle. The two butt heads right from the get-go, but also can’t ignore the mutual attraction that seems to sizzle between them. The more they seem to push each other’s buttons, the more the attraction builds.

Ian has his own demons and a past he refuses to repeat. He already lost the love of his life due to the dangers lurking in the Highlands and he decides he won’t let anything happen to Kiera while she’s in his care. Once the pair given into temptation, that desire increases tremendously and adventure ensues.

This story had a bit of everything. There was conflict, history, romance, tension, and so much more. Reading it was like falling into the worlds of both Outlander and Braveheart at the same time. Combine that with the magic that is Scotland and you have a completely enchanting experience from cover to cover. Being among the pages of this story was like being back on my trip I had taken a few years prior. I adored getting lost in the hills and valleys of the Highlands with these rugged warriors.

I’m glad there are more installments in this series, because I’ve added them all to my TBR and plan on reading more about one of my favorite places in the world again soon.

If you enjoy a solid romance, and being whisked away to a magical place with some handsome, kilted men for awhile, grab up a copy of this book!

Until next time, bibliophiles… happy reading!

My Final Rating: four out of five stars

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