Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5Original Review Link
Lachlan MacRuairi is a sword for hire, loyal only to those who can pay him. The latest bargain he has made is with Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s new king. Because of Lachlan’s talent for stealth and his warrior prowess, he is now part of an elite special forces unit for Bruce. But few members of the Highland Guard like Lachlan, and fewer still trust him, the man known as “Viper.” Lachlan doesn’t care what the others think of him. No one matters to him; not anymore. Then he’s sent to protect and escort Bella MacDuff to Bruce’s coronation…and everything changes.
It’s tradition for a MacDuff to crown Scotland’s king, and Bella risks everything by defying her husband to crown Bruce. She doesn’t know if she can trust Lachlan, but she can’t deny her attraction to the dark warrior.
Then everything goes wrong, and Bella is taken captive by the king’s enemies. Imprisoned and cut off from her daughter, Bella’s only hope to be rescued and reunited with her is Lachlan MacRuairi, the man she believes betrayed her.
Author Monica McCarty is a master of blending fact and fiction, and that talent is showcased in THE VIPER. Lachlan and Bella’s story is a spectacularly entertaining romance, and the intrigue and danger that stem from the battle for Robert the Bruce’s kingship make THE VIPER come alive.
I love that Lachlan MacRuairi and Bella MacDuff are based on their real life counterparts. THE VIPER’s Lachlan and Bella are characters you have to love. Bella risks everything for what she believes in, and the cost is enormously painful. She can be a bit short-sighted at times, but her flaws ultimately add to her character. As for Lachlan…for the majority of the book, he is a hero worth drooling over. I love watching the rough “bad boy” of the Highland Guard struggle with his feelings for Bella. The contrast between his stone-like outer shell and the red-hot emotions inside is hot as hell.
There is a wealth of passion in THE VIPER, making it an emotionally fulfilling read. I got caught up not only in Bella and Lachlan’s romance, but in the war for Scotland’s sovereignty. I haven’t yet read the first three HIGHLAND GUARD books – THE CHIEF, THE HAWK and THE RANGER – but I cannot wait to do so. Bring on more of Ms. McCarty’s sexy-as-sin warriors!
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.