Never Love a Highlander
by Maya Banks
(Ballantine, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0345-51951-1
****
The last of the Highlanders trilogy from Maya Banks is a hot, engaging, fun and exciting story. It will help if you have read the other two, but even without, you can probably follow along and figure out the main plot. This is the best of the three.

Caelen McCabe has married the heiress to the McDonald clan and part of the agreement is for Caelen to take over as Laird upon their marriage. The marriage will unite the two clans, cement their alliances with other clans and allow the McCabes to join with the King of Scotland to fight off the usurpers to the throne, mainly one Duncan Cameron. Cameron nearly destroyed the McCabe clan a few years ago, and Caelen blames himself. He was drawn into a relationship with Cameronís sister and once he let down his guard, she betrayed him. Caelen has sworn no other woman will ever put him in that position again.

Rionna McDonald is a unique woman for her time. Raised by her father to almost be a man, she has trained to be a warrior and even prefers dressing in pants. She is short on all the womanly pursuits yet is one of the most beautiful woman around. She was engaged to both of Caelenís older brothers, who both broke the engagements when they met other women and fell in love. She is slightly afraid of Caelen, due to his normally sullen disposition, but she is convinced he can be good for her clan, with her at his side.

This is a tale of two people who have to reconfigure their whole lives and yet, find they are well matched in the bedroom and even in the other areas of the keep. Once they fight a few battles and learn to compromise, their relationship grows stronger. This is their foundation and is tested when the real battles begin and one has to judge the activities not from what one sees, but from what one knows.

Rionna is a great heroine; one who is feisty and confident and also vulnerable and uncertain. Caelen has learned to be calm and yet, he is determined. He soon wins over the other warriors and his attitude with Rionna cements the sense of family and clan.

I have enjoyed this series and this final story cemented it for me. I truly enjoyed how the author showed the strengths of the three brothers and matched them with women who were their equal. Never Love a Highlander is the best of the three books and one I can heartily recommend.

--Shirley Lyons


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