CONQUERED BY A HIGHLANDER – Paula Quinn
Children of the Mist Series, Book 4
Grand Central's Forever
Devon, England; Spring 1688
Colin MacGregor is the consummate warrior. As the youngest son of the clan chief of the MacGregors of the Isle of Skye , he's devoted himself to fighting. The last three years he's supported his kin by marriage, King James Stewart. In fact, at the young age of twenty-two, he's the general of the king's army. Besides being a warrior, Colin is a master spy and it's for that reason that he's masquerading as a Campbell, another related clan, but one on the side of the Protestant Prince William of Orange —who even now is preparing to invade England and take the throne for himself and his wife Mary, daughter of King James II. Colin joins the mercenaries manning the Earl of Devon's Dartmouth Castle expected to be the landing spot for William. His mission is to discover who and how many other traitors will join Devon in allowing William's landing.
As Colin seeks friendship with the garrison, he's careful not to show his real fighting ability. His mind is totally on his mission until, for the first time in his life, his feelings distract his firm focus…
Lady Gillian Dearly, daughter of the Earl of Essex, disgraced her family by producing a love child by a young man who didn't stand by her. Her parents sent her away to Dartmouth Castle to be hidden and guarded by Lord Devon, her cousin. Luckily, the man sent to guard her is a friend; otherwise she would be at the mercy of her licentious cousin, a truly nasty man who constantly belittles her.
Colin comes to admire Gillian for her courage, dignity, and devotion to her son, three-year-old Edmund, the only child in the castle. In spite of himself, Colin befriends the lonely boy…and his mother.
Secrets on each side and both their situations are great barriers to anything developing between Colin and Gillian. Besides, she's wary of trusting anyone. Colin's devotion to his king is somewhat shaken by James's treatment of the Protestants. They begin to resemble the persecution suffered by Catholics. Still, he's kin and better for his family than the usurper.
Very much a character driven novel, CONQUERED BY A HIGHLANDER seems a little simple at first compared to its predecessors, RAVISHED BY A HIGHLANDER, SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER, and TAKEN BY A HIGHLANDER. But once into the tale, one gets caught up in their lives and can only admire Gillian and Colin and be charmed by Colin and the boy's relationship. This seems to be the last of the stories of this generation. If you haven't read them all, be sure to do so and check the author's website to get the titles of their forerunners' series.