Highland Heat is the third book in Mary Wine’s Highland Trilogy and features the love story of Deirdre Chattan whom we meet in the first book of this...more Highland Heat is the third book in Mary Wine’s Highland Trilogy and features the love story of Deirdre Chattan whom we meet in the first book of this series, To Conquer a Highlander.
Our heroine, Deirdre, is a naturally passionate and feisty woman…a strong woman, proud of her Highland heritage, who succumbed to the deceitful seduction of a man who promised her marriage, but her villainous lover’s real intentions were only to use her as a tool of revenge against his rival and enemy in To Conquer a Highlander. In Highland Heat we meet Deirdre again, struggling to accept her life and her lack of choices. She is disgraced, and bears the shame of her actions as well as the deceit of the man she thought she loved with dignity and pride. She strives daily to accept her life as it now is, with no hope for the life she once dreamed of; love, marriage, family…all lost to her because of her mistake of loving and trusting the wrong person. We find her living in a nunnery, her dowry has been given to the church, but she is denied the option of taking vows…not that this is what she necessarily wants, but it’s the lack of options, of having very few choices in the direction her life will take that she regrets more than anything…that is until the Queen of Scotland promises her an alluring alternative. If she is willing to risk her life by leaving the safety of the convent and become a decoy to lure the Queen’s pursuers away from her true destination, Deirdre could be rewarded with a position in the Queen‘s household. Adventure, with the hope of restoring some of her lost honor both for herself and her family…it’s a tempting offer that Deirdre can’t refuse.
Quinton Cameron is a young Laird who has been betrayed in love, just as Deirdre has, when his fiancée wed a man with more power and wealth than he had, and now sees no need to wed. But that doesn’t stop him from enticing Deirdre to his bed. After capturing her in her ruse as a decoy, he does what he can to incorporate her into his bed, his life and his clan. Even going so far as “gifting” her with the official title of Mistress to the Laird. Deirdre however, doesn’t see this as an honor, but one more stain on her already tarnished name, despite their undeniable and passionate attraction. Quinton doesn’t believe he can risk giving her more than he already has, and Deirdre doesn’t believe that she can happily live without the love of the man she loves, nor can she accept being a mistress and not a wife.
Deirdre Chattan is the most interesting of all of the heroines in Ms. Wine’s Highland trilogy because of the situations she finds herself in. Betrayed by the man she loved, having to accept the consequences of those actions, and trying to rebuild her life when she had very few options left to her. Because of Deirdre’s passionate nature, and Quinton using her passion against her to gain her affections, Highland Heat definitely brings the heat! However, while there were numerous steamy love scenes I felt some of the emotion behind them was missing. Deirdre’s attraction to her hero was undeniable, but her reasons for loving him were never quite clear…especially since he asked her to sacrifice so much, with little care to what it would cost her and any children they might have had.
Overall the story had all of the elements that I love from historical romances set in the Scottish Highlands during this time period. It had great suspense, some pretty great villains, chemistry between the hero and heroine…so why didn’t I love it more than I did? Because I didn’t really get a good feel for the emotions behind the characters…the guilt, the betrayals, the love….all of these emotions played very big and pivotal parts in the choices both the hero and the heroine made. For instance, there was one point in the book where Quinton accuses Deirdre of trying to trap him into marriage. The reader knows that his reaction is based on his experiences with his ex-fiancée, but there is little to base his accusations on, therefore you conclude that his response is more emotionally charged, rather than supported by evidence. Despite knowing of his being betrayed, the reader doesn’t get to fully appreciate his emotions surrounding the event, and as a result you can’t understand his conclusions, his resistance to loving Deirdre…basically how he feels about all of it outside of his actions. More clearly described emotions from both the hero and the heroine would have made this good romance, into a great romance, at least in my opinion.
Despite these thoughts, I felt that Highland Heat was an enjoyable read, and the best book in her Highlander Trilogy...with a great heroine, and a hero that is worthy of being called a Highlander. And even though it is the final book in this series, I don’t think that it is necessary to have read the other two books in order to fully appreciate this story.