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Highland Spy

(The Mercenary Maidens #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Ariana Fitzroy has lost her family and her fortune. The fight for survival leads her to the shadowed card games of court where she discovers she has quite a talent for slipping cards into her favor. While the winnings are enough to sustain her at present, they will not last forever…

Connor Grant, trainer of the fallen women from the English court and personal assassin to t
Paperback, 354 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Diversion Books
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Sissy's Romance Book Review
'Highland Spy' by Madeline Martin is book one in the "The Mercenary Maidens" series. This is the story of Ariana Fitzroy and Connor Grant. Connor lost lost his family and lands and now he is the King's assassin along with taken fallen when in to train them to spy. Ariana family were now gone and alone with them them money they had. So to survive Ariana has taken to cheating at card for money. On one such game she meets Connor who pulls her aside to inform her that he knows she is cheating. Conno ...more
Barbara Rogers
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Series: Mercenary Maidens #1
Publication Date: 1/10/17

Wonderfully interesting and exciting. It is sort of a Mission Impossible meets ‘Q’ from James Bond – only nobody is there willingly. The plot is well organized and revealed a little at a time to keep you drawn in, the characters are all interesting and the ending is spectacular.

Connor Grant came from a warm loving family and admired and adored his father. Then, one day, while Connor and is sister Cora were away from the castle, it was breache
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Connor Grant has the task of recruiting and training lady spies to serve the king even while performing deadly missions at the king's orders. He feels that he has sold a piece of his soul to do this in exchange for the change to restore him as the laird of his ancestral lands even as he works hard to care for and protect the troubled and vulnerable women that come under his care.

Ariana Fitzroy is reduced to cheating at cards to make ends meet after the deaths of her parents and brothers leaving
Aleen ~Lampshade Reader
Originally posted on

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Highlanders and spies come together to make the perfect match in this Historical Romance read. Highland Spy by Madeline Martin supplied a kick ass heroine and a troubled hero all in one page turning adventure.

Emphasis on kick ass.

It really is not just one lady who does the ass kicking, it’s several “broken” women taken in by Connor Grant and trained to become lethal weapons o
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Can I just say Wow! This book by Ms. Madeline Martin was truly an amazing read. How can I say that being somewhat new to Ms. Martin’s writing and this being only the third book of hers that I have read? Well for one thing I could barely put the book down I was so involved in the story which is written very well and the other thing was of course the characters which I’ll get back to in a moment. Ms. Martin wrote a highly intriguing story filled with suspense, spies, wonderfully strong feisty wome ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Highland Spy 

HIGHLAND SPY is perfect for fans of tales wrapped in romance, history, and suspense. The royal English court and hillsides of Scotland in the seventeenth century were the perfect backdrop to this exciting tale. Martin sheds light on the trials women face in this era while highlighting their strengths. Conner Grant, an assassin for the king, trains fallen females to be spies for the crown. If you love espionage and intrigue paired w
An intriguing Scottish romantic mystery and the first installment in Madeline's Mercenary Maidens trilogy!

He hated having to look for a new girl, a new spy to add to his band of fallen women. Yes, it was an opportunity to spare her before her ruin could be known, but a deep part of him hurt for the women in his employ and what they’d all endured.

Highland Spy by Madeline Martin is an intriguing Scottish romantic mystery and the first installment in her Mercenary Maidens trilogy which is about a
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highlander
I'm Hooked again.

This book takes you on a emotional roller coaster. Telling you tales not only about the horrific past each character went through but also how they come to work and support each other together. In the beginning, it felt as though Connor was using the girls as his pawn to help him accomplish his mission for King James, so that his home, Urguhart Castle held in the King's possession would be return to him.

Selfish? Not.

The story further unravels to show all of the girls except Ari
Kari Maass
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this

I loved the premise of this story from the first paragraph. Conner trains destitute women to be ruthless spies. He makes them strong, seductive and ruthless to serve the crown. But sparks fly when he meets Ariana and her training only makes her more seductive. Together they can find their HEA. Really good!
Teresa Toten
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highland Spy
(Mercenary Maidens, Book 1)
by: Madeline Martin
ISBN: 978-1-68230-295-8

Ariana Fitzroy is a determined young woman on her own and fighting for survival. Orphaned at a young age and left penniless after the death of her brother, she cheats at cards in order to pay the meager salaries of a few servants.

Connor Grant, a ruggedly handsome assassin for the King, catches Ariana cheating at cards and threatens to expose her if she did not go with him. With nothing lose, Ariana joins him and tr
3- stars

This is my first Madeline Martin books and I grabbed it not only because the promise of man in kilt, but ...women spies in the highland? The last I read this kind of story was Monica McCarty's The Ghost, so I really curious to figure this one.

Highland Spy set in early 1605 England with King James on the throne. Connor Grant, heir to fallen Urquhart castle was tasked to recruit and train fallen women of the court and be spies for the crown.

The web of women spies here were totally differ
Tracy Emro
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that I received from NetGalley and the publisher*

I liked this book, I was expecting a sort of "Point of No Return" type story and while there were some similar aspects between this book and that movie, this was definitely it's own story. This is a very hard book to review without totally spoiling the story, so I am going to just give the basic premise of the story.

Ariana has been supporting herself by cheating at cards since her parents and her broth
I have to say, I really rather enjoyed this one, provided by the publisher in return for a review. As well as having two solid protagonists and a well-rounded group of supporting characters, it had a dynamic, and pretty well thought-out plot with a couple of fun twists and turns.

The hero and heroine are fairly well matched. Neither were really sparklingly attractive HR characters that made you quiver at the knees or sigh in sheer joy, but neither were they annoying or unrealistic. The one real c
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the beginning of another great series from Madeline Martin. As usual, she doesn't disappoint, as she weaves an amazing story for us. Intrigue, romance and edge of your seat suspense make for an enjoyable read with all the wonderful characters Ms Martin so aptly creates. The whole crux of the story intrigued me; from female spies to a reluctant assassin. The synopsis describes the story so well that I don’t feel the necessity to add a description. Suffice it to say that this story grabs y ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From page one I LOVED this book. Picture a room crowded with tables of card-players and your attention is drawn to her.... because she's cheating and because there's something about her that can't be ignored. Perhaps an air of desperation, her beauty, or her uncanny way to fool all others at the table. Ariana is all of these things and more.

Connor needs another girl for his circle of spies. But they need to be woman down on their luck so he can take them and train them to be assassins, or spies,
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book with good storyline and strong female lead.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offered up a mixture of adventure and intrigue. I loved the "Charlie's Angels" in the medieval highlands vibe of the story. It was interesting to watch the various characters bring their personal skill sets along, in addition to acquiring physical fighting skills. Throw in plenty of emotional baggage and surprise blurred lines between enemies and allies and you get a satisfying romantic thriller. I can't wait to see whose story comes next in this series.
I voluntarily read an advanced r
Teri Edney
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the Mercenary Maidens series! Arianna is sassy & eager to learn and fits the need of exactly what Connor needs and then some! My heart wept for the emotional roller coaster that Connor goes through on dealing with his past. I recommend this book and hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book: Highland Spy by Madeline Martin
Series: The Mercenary Maidens
Reviewed by: Barb Massabrook of Tartan Book Reviews and Celtic Barb’s Tartan Book Review Blog and Purple Tulip Book Reviews
Heat setting:
Overall setting: 5/5 stars

Highland Spy

London, February, 1605

Ariana Fitzroy has lost everything her fortune and family. Connor Grant is the trainer of fallen women from the English court and personal assassin for the King. Connor was missing a girl another spy and despised he had to find another t
Maria Dariotis
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highland Spy
by Madeline Martin
Rating 5 stars
Conner and Ariana's story.

Connor Grant is the last Laird -his clan, friends and family brutally murdered. The only survivors is his sister which he's placed her in a convent for safekeeping. With his sole clansman Murdoch, life for Connor hasn't been easy betrayed he seeks vengeance and swears one day he'll take his rightful inheritance back through any means possible. He pledges his sword to the kings service for ten years, tasked as the Kings assas
Kat Tolle
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Madeline Martin you did it again! Highland Spy was AWESOME!!! This book is just full of surprises. The ending just took me by surprise and I love when I have no clue who the vilian is in a book. I loved this book from the beginning until the end. Madeline has such a way with word that it is hard to put this book down, I just wanted to keep on reading it.

So travel back in time to 1605 London where Connor catches Ariana cheating at cards and decides she would make the perfect spy. Arianna has to
Candy Briggs
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ariana Fitzroy plays cards to support herself and her household. Only she doesn't do it well. Connor Grant works for the king and is looking for another girl. He sees her, watches her and knows she will do nicely.
This is a very powerful and complex story. I was amazed at the things the ladies, could and did do. There is death, betrayal, intrigue and daring in this wonderful tale. The characters are so life like and determined. They have to be because they all are trained in combat, they are all
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s 1605 & Connor Grant is in search of a lady. Not a bride, but a woman to become a skillful and seductive spy in the service of King James. In addition to being the King’s personal assassin, Connor heads a group of female spies who aid him in his work, women with nothing left to lose. Ariana Fitzroy is the perfect mark. Destitute, orphaned, and completely alone and cheats at cards to survive. When Connor catches her in the act, he threatens to expose her, unless she joins his elite roster of ...more
Anna Holmes
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book free for a honest review. Let me just say, I LOVED it! Connor Grant is tasked with taking the women that have failed at court and turning them into well trained spies. His life is on task to get his Scottish castle and Laird-ship back until he meets Ariana Fitzroy. Ariana becomes a well trained lady spy, but she also earns the love of the one and only Connor Grant.

Ms Martin gives you an incredible storyline with not only primary characters, but secondary characters, too. I
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unusual storyline.

A Laird without his home, women with no protection, find training and a life as spies for the King. Only one is an assassin. Betrayal is the motive. Interwoven is a love story. Excellent plot that moves quickly with twists and turns.
Candy Laine
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While a historical romance, this book is nothing like the genre. You have the enigmatic Scotsman Connor Grant recruiting ladies from polite society to do things that most would not dream of in the time. Training physically to fight and defend themselves, learning languages to blend into different crowds, disguises, dresses and costumes, it's almost as much fun for the reader as it is for the characters to undergo the transformation.
The story itself, has two main characters who were broken in the
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great historical with action, secrets, spies, betrayal, and many strong characters and two loved leads. Medieval is not really my style anymore, but I enjoyed this book during the time of King James and the enmity between Scotland and England.
Christine Woinich
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story! The idea of female spies intrigued me. Ariana is a strong woman who has seen better days. She accepts Connor's offer to train and this leads to mistrust, learning, and love. It was a fun read, and I look forward to the next in the series.

I purchased this book, and this is my unsolicited review.
Candace N
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exciting and unpredictable!

Woah what a plot twist. Without giving any spoilers this book had me guessing from beginning to end. It's so refreshing to read a book and have no sweet clue what is going to happen next.  The characters were great and the storyline was fun. Loved the writing and the story moved at a pretty good pace.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ariana has no family left and has to take care of her self plus staff. Connor has had his family, land and clan taken away. Connor has girls that he trains to be spies. These girls he has found have has problems were he had helped them. Ariana becomes one Connor's spies. As they work together they start to care for each other. Ariana had never had anyone love her and Connor is scared to let anyone get close to him. This book this the best. I could not put it down. Dying for the next book to come ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Nov 06, 2016 06:51AM  

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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.

She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She loves Disney

Other books in the series

The Mercenary Maidens (3 books)
  • Highland Ruse (The Mercenary Maidens, #2)
  • Highland Wrath (The Mercenary Maidens, #3)

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“He poured a splash of liquid into a second cup. “Come in and warm yerself by the fire.”
Ariana walked deeper into the room, toward the glow of the hearth. It’s heat enveloped her skin and eased away the chill with such expediency, she almost sighed.
Connor appeared beside her with a metal cup extended. “I canna sleep often myself.”
She closed her fingers around the cool surface and glanced at the dark liquid within. A sharp scent hit her nostrils.
“Whisky,” Connor said.
He was perfection in the firelight. Shadows etched his jaw while the light softened his face, his lips. The powerful lines of his chest were visible at the neck of his leine, as well as a dark peppering of small curling black hairs.
“Whisky,” Ariana said with a forced stare at the cup instead of him. “Of course. I drink this all the time.”
“Aye, I knew that about ye. When I first saw ye, I thought, ‘Now there’s a lass who can handle her whisky.’” Connor winked at her with disarming playfulness. “It’ll do ye some good. Take off the chill and settle yer thoughts.”
“Why do you assume my thoughts are unsettled?” she asked.
He took a swallow from his cup. “Because sleep comes easily to those without weight on their minds.”
Ariana took a careful sip from her own cup, the way she’d seen men at the card tables drink. The liquid burned like sin down her throat and caught in her chest.
She gritted her teeth and swallowed hard several times to keep from sputtering.
Though she’d hoped to keep her reaction discreet, the grin on Connor’s face told her he saw through her guise.
“It’s good.” Her voice came out in a croak and Connor laughed. It was a warm, rich sound and she found it terribly pleasing.
His eyes crinkled. “Now that we’ve discovered yer love of whisky, why dinna ye tell me what’s got yer thoughts heavy?”
“I canna let you die like Da,” he said softly.
“And yet ye canna let me live,” she replied.”
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