In Bed with A Highlander
by Maya Banks
(Ballantine, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0345-51947-4
****
In Bed With A Highlander introduces readers to the first in a trilogy featuring three brothers in the McCabe clan, a group who have seen their world upended by a siege and death of their father. Ewan is the eldest and now the Chieftain while his brothers Alaric and Caelen are his biggest supporters and are prepped for their own stories.

Mairin Stuart is the little known niece of the king of Scotland and is set to inherit a special place called Neamh Alainn and all the riches it will bring. She has been hidden in an abbey for most of her life but the story opens as she is forcibly taken by the men of Duncan Cameron. She escapes with the help of an eight year old boy named Crispin McCabe and some of Cameron’s disloyal servants. When Ewan first sees her, she is dirty, sullen and slowly recovering from a beating from Duncan Cameron. She had refused to marry him and was brutally kicked and beaten for her denial. Now she is at the McCabes with a champion in young Crispin and a respectful allegiance from Alaric, who found the two returning to the McCabe lands.

Cameron is the enemy who almost destroyed the McCabe holding and who the McCabe brothers have sworn to get revenge. They have spent the last few years rebuilding and training their men to be the best warriors in the Highlands. Marrying Mairin Stuart and gaining her dowry will help them finish their rebuilding. Ewan is drawn to Mairin even before knowing her name. He is determined to protect if only because Crispin has stated he vowed to protect her and has transferred that vow to his father.

This tale is one of two people who are new to the other and who are fascinated, in sexual terms and in their personalities. Mairin was just protected enough at the Abbey to have a sense of expectation that everyone will be ready to assist and is thrilled to have family around, something she truly missed. She is also knowledgeable in book learning but naïve in much of life. Ewan was once happily married but after the siege became a man dedicated to revenge. Mairin is like a breath of fresh air to him and to his clan. Theirs is a fun relationship to watch unfold.

Of course, what are the Highlands without danger? The threats are fairly predictable, but the outcomes of what start off being formulaict keep the reader guessing and thus highly engaged. Ewan is an Alpha warrior covering a highly sensitive man. Mairin is a strong woman who often finds herself having to put on a brave front with an inner fear that she is certain will consume her. I found them both fascinating and wonderful characters.

Maya Banks has written a story worth reading and I look forward to the brother’s McCabe’s stories.

--Shirley Lyons


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