THE RAIDER – Monica McCarty
A Highland Guard Novel, Book 8
Physically the strongest member of Robert the Bruce's secret Highland Guard, Robbie “Raider” Boyd is fearsome. These Scots warriors have helped Bruce regain footing in Scotland in the fight against the English, the enemy Robbie hates. They killed his family. He constantly fights in the Marches against King Edward of England's Keeper of Scotland, Robert, the first Baron de Clifford. In a retribution raid, Robbie captures Clifford's heir Roger, who is still a child, and Clifford's sister, Lady Rosalin Clifford. She seems vaguely familiar to him.
Rosalin knows Robbie, but he does not recognize her. Six years ago, she helped him escape from Kildrummy Castle in the Scottish Highlands when her brother was in charge of the keep. Robbie's size, appearance, and the honor Rosalin saw in him, attracted her. Her mistaken gesture to prevent the captives' starvation led to jeopardizing Robbie's life. Owning a strong sense of right and wrong, Rosalin felt honor bound to save him. Now she doubts if he has any honor, but she has reason to believe her brother will track these Scots and save her and Roger. Yet, slowly Rosalin, who has never seen war up close, comes to understand Robbie.
So much difference exists between Robbie and Rosalin that even with the strong attraction that grows between them it is difficult to imagine how they can come together. Rosalin is English; Robbie hates everything English. She loves her brother; Robbie hates him. They both fight their reactions to each other. Rosalin's position as a hostage to trade for a truce between the warring countries prevents any type of relationship; but then someone betrays Robbie.
Lots of historical detail help create a dangerous world, and the Highland Guard characters from previous books help Robbie keep one-step ahead of his enemy. The tension is high, the stakes even higher; honor and love are at odds with the grimness of war, making THE RAIDER a memorable read.