This is probably my favorite book of the series so far. I probably have said that before so…if I did…this one tops it. The half of the book was slow but the last half of the book kept me so captivated that I couldn’t stop reading. I stayed up until 6:00am to finish the book.
We’ve met Gregor MacGregor (no kidding, that’s his name) in the previous books of the series. He’s said to be the ‘most handsome man in Scotland’ and he is also the best archer in Scotland. Women fall at his feet so he has no lack for bed partners. That’s good since he only keeps them for one or two nights. Gregor is part of a secret elite group of warriors called the Highland Guard. Each warrior has his own specialty. Gregor’s specialty is his archery. The Highland Guard is known to the rest of Scotland and England as Bruce’s phantoms because of their dark clothing and how they fade in and out of the mist (rumors and stories have made them larger than life). Nobody knows who they are or if they actually even exist and they want to keep it that way to keep their family and friends safe.
Cate was fishing when she heard soldiers in her village. When she got to the village, the English soldiers were killing everyone including women and children. She knew it was because the villagers had given refuge to Robert the Bruce and his men. When she got to her home, a soldier was raping her mom who was eight months pregnant. Cate hit the soldier with a hoe but the soldier killed her mom and then threw her in a well to make her suffer by starvation before she died.
Cate is small for age from malnutrition so when some of Bruce’s soldiers find her in the well, the only survivor of the village, they believe she is twelve years old. She says nothing and lies to them about who she really is, giving them her step-father’s last name instead of her noble father’s last name. Her noble father left her years ago so she was teased about being a bastard all of her life.
Gregor MacGregor takes her to live with his family. His mother always wanted a daughter. Gregor is rarely there but goes home to visit on occasion. His brother John teaches Cate how to fight like a man so she will never be helpless again. She wants vengeance on the man who killed her mother and Gregor has told her that he would find him for her. She asks him every time he visits if he’s found him but Gregor always tells her that he hasn’t. Gregor is lying. He knows who the man is but the man has been safe in London for years and he fears Cate will do something rash like travel to London to kill him.
Lately, Gregor’s aim has been a little off which has never happened to him. He’s afraid he is losing his skill. Bruce sends him home for a much needed rest until after the New Year but once he sees Cate, he knows there will be no rest. Cate has grown up and has her heart set on loving him. He’s had many women in love with him and has had to let them down easy but he fears he may feel something for Cate in return and he doesn’t want to fall for the girl who has been his ward for over five years.
My heart breaks for Cate many times throughout this book. When Gregor kisses the girl who has been mean to her for years to get Cate to stop pursuing him, I felt so bad for her. But it’s what he does after they get together that made me want to cry. My heart literally felt tight and heavy while reading that part. I kept thinking how that was the end of their relationship forever and grieved with Cate when her heart broke and her love died for him. I knew he would regret it. And that was before he shot her and almost killed her.
The men in this series, whether they are trying to discourage someone from loving them or whether they think they have been betrayed, do some cruel things that I don’t think I would ever forgive but the women who love them do forgive them or see through what they are trying to do.
I can’t wait for the next book to come out. I’ve looked it up and know it’s about Striker and that it will be out sometime in 2015 but not when in 2015. I hope I don’t have to wait too long. Highland Guard withdrawals are going to be rough.