The Chief by Monica McCarty
Series: Highland Guard #1
Published by Ballantine on March 23, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 405
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal copy
Buy on Amazon

*Since Book Savvy Babe has transferred to Got Fiction, I am in process of moving posts over.  I have decided to re-post reviews from Book Savvy Babe blog for Throw-Back Thursdays (#TBT)! :)

The review below was first published to Book Savvy Babe blog on April 4, 2011*

Summary from Goodreads:

An elite fighting force unlike the world has ever seen…

Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.

The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one—especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.

Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart—before it’s too late.

Book Savvy Babe’s Review:

This book is the first book in a new series by Monica McCarty, The Highland Guard novels. The concept for these books is creative and intriguing. The time period is right after the fall of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce is trying to place his claim as King of Scotland. He is pitted against the cruel King Edward, as well as from other rival clans.

Robert’s plan is to employ a top-notch, secret group of super soldiers, trained to use pirate tactics to overthrow Edward and unite the Scottish clans under Robert’s claim. Robert wants Tormond MacLeod to train and lead this special team of warriors. In order to gain Tor’s co-operation, Tor is tricked into marriage to Christine Fraser. Their marriage that began with deception faces obstacle after obstacle. Christine tries to warm Tor’s cold heart, but he is stubborn in his ways and feels that emotion is only weakness that will lead to harm for his clan.
I liked this book very much, I understood Tor’s reasons for keeping to himself, but at times I just wanted to slap him upside the head. I loved Christine. She made a great highland wife. She faced her fears, stood up to Tor even when she was afraid, and made a place for herself despite having no support from her husband. She was young, a bit naive at times, but she learned quickly and was pretty tenacious. Most of the romance was in the night scenes in this book, as Tor hid all emotions as much as he could, but he couldn’t deny his lust for his wife. Time, care, and warmth began to seep into Tor and he found himself caring for the first time in a long time about anyone other than the clan.
As for the warriors Tor trained…I can’t wait for future books. They are true Highlanders, they are strong, fierce, and determined. There are so many clan and blood feuds in this novel, it was hard to keep up at times, but it made for interesting plot lines. I am looking forward to reading more about these characters, and I will be reading the next book, The Hawk soon.