(The Campbell Trilogy Book #3)
by Monica McCarty
Genre: Historical Romance
Duncan Campbell is a natural born leader, possessing all the attributes for a Highland chieftain except for one: legitimacy. Forced from the Highlands for a crime he didn’t commit, Duncan has earned a reputation as the fiercest, most skilled mercenary on the continent. Vowing to restore his name and clear the cloud of treason hanging over his head, Duncan returns to the Highlands to find the one person who might hold the key to his freedom: the woman he’d once loved who’d betrayed him. But when he surprises her swimming in a loch, he finds himself facing the bad end of a pistol. Told she was impulsive her whole life like her mother who’d destroyed their family when she’d run off with an Englishman over twenty years ago, Jeannie Grant had never believed it—until she met Duncan Campbell. The bastard born son of a chieftain was not a suitable husband for the daughter of a powerful Highland chief, but Duncan made Jeannie willing to risk everything. She gave him her innocence and he failed her, forcing Jeannie to learn the hard way what happens when you follow your heart. Now Jeannie is shocked to find that the brigand she’s shot is the same man who broke her heart all those years ago. But the hard, ruthless man is nothing like the charming young scoundrel she remembers. When their attempt to prove Duncan’s innocence uncovers a deadly secret, not only their lost love, but their lives hang in the balance.
No matter that a brutal war is brewing for Duncan's clan or that Jeannie is secretly being betrothed to another man by her father, they meet at Stirling Castle and within two weeks fall madly in love and hope to fight the odds to stay together. Unfortunately, their last rendezvous leads to a treacherous mistake that both regret for years to come. Since that fateful night, the two have been separated with no contact for ten years. Now, Duncan has returned with a new reputation of being the "Black Highlander" of Ireland and Jeannie is back on the marriage market with kept secrets of her own. Can they overcome their past mistakes and find the truth that both desperately seek?
Considering this is the first book I've read by McCarty, I was presently surprised with Highland Scoundrel and thoroughly enjoyed the story full of historical facts and fun romance. It has some nice plot twist that I wasn't expecting and as soon as I really got into the story . . . I couldn't put it down. Their innocent infatuation when they first meet was sweet, but their intense passion upon meeting up ten years years later was smoldering. I got so caught up in the emotions of it all, that before I knew it - it was 3 am and I was still reading. Signs of a great book!
I haven't read a nice highlander story in quite awhile and once I saw the blurb on the back of this one - "If your heart belongs to the Highlands, then don't miss these novels" - I got suckered right in. Silly, right? Yet, I'm glad I did! After finishing Highland Scoundrel, I found I read Book #3 in the trilogy first. Oops! So, I guess I'll be working my way backwards since in my TBR pile is book #2, Highland Outlaw.
Likes: How Duncan would stand up for Jeannie, no matter how horribly disgruntled they were with each other. Always a joy reading about a true gent, especially one that's a highlander . . . yum!
Dislikes: About the story - The blunt reminder that women held such little power over their lives in the early 1600s of Scotland. Poor Jeannie! About the book itself - I found some editing mistakes (duplicate words) within the first chapter of the book, catching misprints like that while reading really messes up my feeling of getting "lost" in a tale.
Words of Wisdom book quote: "...that we make our own destiny not by our birth, but by our actions." (pg. 331)