The Hawk (Highland Guard, #2)The Hawk by Monica McCarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, for all you who know me, we all know I’m a huge Monica McCarty fan- this book is no exception. I just love Erik MacSorley. He is half-Viking/half-Highlander and super hot! Erik is one of Robert Bruce’s new elite Highland Guard. We met him in The Chief, and I loved him then-he’s always got a joke and a ready come-back, but something about him makes me think it’s a front.
This is a small quote about Erik that shows his devil-may-care attitude. He’s playing a deadly game of chicken with a British ship, and his crew are wagering which way the English will turn, if they’ll capsize, piss themselves in fear, you get the idea, they’re boys being boys.
“Ellie would never understand men:how could you jest and wager at a time like this? They’d die going to the bottom of the sea and make a contest of who got there first.”
I had to laugh because I swear that’s my husband and my brother-in-law. So true of men!
Now in The Hawk, we see Erik dealing with Irish mercenaries and trying to get them to fight for the Bruce…and the Scottish crown. For those of you who haven’t read The Chief, this series takes place immediately following William Wallace’s execution. By the time we’re reading The Hawk, Robert Bruce is battle-weary and demoralized. In fact his whole company of men is, except the Highlanders, “Bruce didn’t think recognize fear if Lucifer himself opened up the fiery gates and welcomed them to hell.”
Erik, or Hawk as everyone calls him, is at home on the sea, and his job is to get the Irish to fight for Bruce, and then to take them to the rendezvous point to meet with the Scottish forces. It is during this meeting that the Irish leader hears a sound. Sending out his men they find a wet and bedraggled lass eavesdropping. Unfortunately for her, the Irish want to kill her, but Erik steps in and saves her, although he saves her by suggesting he and his men want to have fun with her first.
Enter Ellie, or should I say Lady Elyne de Burgh? Her father is the most powerful earl in Ireland, loyal to English king Edward, and father-in-law to Robert Bruce. And so begins the complicated twists and turns of Ellie and Erik’s story. Ellie doesn’t fall for Erik’s big baby blues, and he has no clue what to do with a lass who doesn’t swoon at his smile. Not to mention, Ellie hasn’t told him who she is, and he’s let her believe he’s a pirate. Usually misunderstandings on identity annoy me, but Monica McCarty wove hers seamlessly into the story and I was on pins and needles for the majority of the book! In fact, I fear that I now have a heart condition from the anticipation and tension that this book put me through!
I also loved Ellie. She may have been innocent, but she rarely came across as naive, and never once as idiotic-my biggest pet peeve in historical romances is when the heroine is portrayed as so naive she ends up coming off stupid. But Monica always writes strong heroines, and I find that incredibly impressive being that The Hawk takes place in the early 1300s.
During Ellie’s “captivity” with Erik, she gets under his skin like no other. Constantly portrayed as merely “passably pretty” Ellie made me love her almost instantly. She was great, and I could absolutely identify with her. Even after she and Erik had been intimate, she still didn’t tell him who she really was. And it broke my heart that her reason was to see if a gorgeous, sex-god of a man could actually care for her as she is, not because of her title, or dowry, or some misguided notion that he should marry her out of chivalry. And when he turned her away? I wanted to cry for her! I love me a good Alpha male (who doesn’t?), but the female heroine can make or break a story for me. Ellie was me, and I was in love with Erik, and I wanted him to say yes to me. And he didn’t. And Erik broke my heart too.
You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what happens from there. But I will say that anyone new to Monica McCarty will enjoy this book, and any of you MM fans out there know to expect her usual- she’ll deliver, and you’ll love Erik and Ellie too.

View all my reviews