Deception of a Highland by Madeline Martin
Overview by Amazon:
Scottish Romance doesn’t get much steamier—or more dangerous—than a spy hunting her quarry, and losing her heart to him instead.
To pay a seemingly impossible debt, Mariel Brandon has become a spy for Aaron, one of England’s deadliest minds. Aaron’s latest mission for the sharp-witted and daring Mariel is to find two people in a heavily fortified castle on the Isle of Skye, a castle headed by the clan MacDonald and the powerful Kieran. Mariel is to seduce Kieran and get him to take her to Skye. If she succeeds, Aaron promises to let Mariel’s young brother go, and to free both of them from their debt. If she fails, her brother will die.
What she doesn’t count on is craving Kieran MacDonald almost immediately upon meeting him. Now Mariel must keep a secret from Kieran—one that could get them both killed—as she tries to form a plan that will save her brother, get her out from under Aaron’s thumb once and for all, and keep her in Kieran’s strong arms forever.
After gorging on Outlander TV show, I was really in the mood for a book with a Highlander hottie. Well, I certainly picked a winner to read. This is the first book by Madeline Martin and after blasting through this story, I have very high expectations of her career.
This book has an amazing plot line with so much depth in the adventure. Mariel (isn’t that such a pretty name?) is not the typical courtier. She is a spy for a ruthless handler named Aaron. But Aaron isn’t working for the crown; he is working for who has the highest pay. He has kidnapped her precious brother Jack and is forcing Mariel to work for him to work off the debt she owes him. Mostly the work involves drugging unsuspecting Lords and wheedling her charms to get the information Aaron requires. He gives her one last mission and then promises her freedom. This time the mission is more dangerous than ever. She must infiltrate a Highland Laird’s home, find two people and then kill the Laird.
Mariel has been extensively trained by Aaron. She possesses crazy ninja skills and is lethal, although she balks at killing. She’d rather rely on her wiles and intelligence. Meeting Laird Kieran MacDonald is life changing for Mariel. She is taken with the broad shouldered warrior. He is interested in her, but not enough to take her up on her request to relocate to the Highlands. She wears him down and the adventure starts. Mariel shows herself to be a fascinating character. The life she has lived is tragic and yet at the same time, she has the most remarkable strength. She wants Kieran even though the guilt of her mission is crippling. She must prove herself to him and the clan. Regardless of her intentions, Mariel is honest in her actions and thoughts. She wants Kieran more than she has ever wanted anything besides Jack’s wellbeing.
Kieran is the perfect Highlander Laird. Strong, forceful and smart are attributes that only begin to describe him. He is naturally cautious around strange English folk and the clawing desire he feels for Mariel only make it worse. He wants to trust her, he wants her underneath him and he wants her in his life. I just love a Highlander who is a fierce warrior and yet so gentle with women. Kieran’s protective instincts make him an excellent lover. He begins to unravel Mariel’s story and his heart breaks at the horror she has lived through. When her guard is down, he can see the troubles in her soul. As hard as he tries, he just can’t stay away from her.
The heat between the two leapt off the pages. I’d use the word ‘cock tease’ but Mariel wasn’t teasing. At first she offered him her body as a method of getting her way, but as they spent time together, it was the truth. The kisses and banter between the two is so hot. When Mariel seeks to make Kieran jealous, I seriously fist pumped when he swooped in and claimed her. What on earth is so hot about a Highlander claiming his woman? I pride myself on being a feminist, but man, there is something so compelling about a man going for what he wants. They are sensual with each other as well as sexual. They talk, they bathe and they care about each other. There is real intimacy between the two – sometimes the walls that are built up crumble and leave them bared. Not to spoil anything, but the sex between the two has a surprising start and because of this it creates a bond that is crucial to the relationship.
The plot moves swiftly. Mariel has
a time frame to find the two missing people and kill the Laird, or as she sees it, come up with a new plan that allows Kieran to live. What pulled me in was the sense of dread I had while reading. I was so happy that Kieran and Mariel were advancing their relationship, but so tense because I knew the deception that weighed on her shoulders every minute of every day. How would she deal with it? How would Kieran discover her true intentions? What would become of all of those involved in the intrigue?
This was a great book. It has that special element that makes for a fantastic read. As the reader, I was sucked in with my emotions fully engaged. The book was so well researched and accurate to the time – the setting, the clothes, the food – it all set the stage for a wonderful romantic story. Mariel is an unexpected heroine and Kieran is the Highlander every reader dreams about. Madeline Martin has managed to capture all the components that make a fantastic story – love, action, adventure and passion.
Meet Madeline Martin!
Hi, I’m Madeline Martin. I write Scottish set historical romance novels and am represented by the fabulous Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency.
I am the mother of two young daughters known collectively as ‘the minions’. OldestMinion is an aspiring author at the tender age of 8 and YoungestMinion has made it her goal in life to add sass to the world. In addition to the minions, I have two cats: LapCat who has a shoe fetish and an penchant for world domination and SketchyCat who likes to stare at walls and eat fuzz.
I am a huge history fan with a deep burning curiosity for how people lived way back in the day and enjoy digging into the hows and whys. And you, dear blog reader, will be subjected to my findings. >insert evil cackle here<
In addition to working full time, writing, mothering and keeping all the pets fed, I also manage to (barely) keep a garden alive, support a Twitter addiction, hang out with incredible friends and engage in workouts that keep my life exciting. My accomplishments include a 50 mile mountain bike ride (with scars to prove it), my third year running doing the local 10k Mud Run to support MS research a year learning Krav Maga.
I can be found on several social networking sites such as Twitter (@MadelineMMartin) and Facebook ( http://on.fb.me/1ByLMIy )- so come check me out! I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Madeline agreed to do a Q & A about her upcoming release!