The Accidental Highland Hero by Terry Spear

HERO
The Accidental Highland Hero by Terry Spear
Publisher: Vintage Romance Publishing, Vinspire
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Lady Eilis Dunbarton’s life undergoes a drastic change with the death of her cousin, Agnes. Now she’s faced with the disagreeable prospect of marrying the man who was to be her cousin’s husband. Not by a change of contract, though. Instead, by deceit—pretending to be her cousin. But if her husband-to-be discovers she’s not really Agnes, her life is forfeit. So what choice does Eilis have but to flee?

When Laird James MacNeill’s clan rescues a half-drowned lass from the sea, there is speculation she is of the enemy clan, especially since she doesn’t remember her own name. James is immediately enticed with the lady, but his focus must remain on finding the proper bride. For if he does not wed soon, he must give up his holdings to one of his younger brothers. Focus slips away with each day Eilis is close, and James finds himself contemplating the thought of taking her to wife without knowing her true identity. But how dangerous would the end result be? And what will happen if Eilis’s husband-to-be comes looking for her only to find her in the arms of another man?

A Scottish Highlander thinking he must wed makes his choice based on competence in the bed furs. His mom sees another option and with a mother’s cunning manipulation the hero discovers it’s folly to underestimate a matching-making parent – especially when the woman is 100% right.

James is the man in charge. He has the responsibility to care for his people, his family and provide his clan with a legacy. That’s the type of man worth admiring. He doesn’t bully and in fact, stands up to those that do. All around great guy, James made for a convincing hero. Just because he’s supposed to be in charge doesn’t mean that everything goes his way. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have challenges to deal with and hard choices to make that would make a lesser man turn to drink. James has to deal with all of those in a very condensed amount of time and it’s all brought about by one tiny half-drowned lady with no memory. I very much enjoyed watching the hero go around in frantic circles trying to keep up with a woman he should not want but for some reason can’t stop thinking about, or sneaking kisses from and generally mooning over her when he should be seriously trying to woo someone else. The descriptions of his reactions to every one of Eilis’ escapes kept me entertained.

Eilis, the heroine with memory issues was a challenging heroine. She’s feisty, stubborn and actually very sweet. She’s at turns written as shy yet bold, tender but firm, determined yet loyal and has her heart in the right place. Too bad she can’t remember where that place is supposed to be. Her dilemma as she remembers bits and pieces of who she is was fascinating to read. The author described her emotions at each step of the way in a very convincing and easy to read manner had me believing I understood her character. Eilis is a worthy heroine.

Aside from the main romance between Eilis and James, is the trouble with James’ brother and best friend get into. It’s quite funny in its way and what I found interesting was how the author managed to weave the importance of what happened to them, twice, into the overall romantic story arc between the hero and heroine. One thing it did do was make me want to get to know Dougald better. He’s commanding like James but he seems to have a bit more of a sense of humor. I like that in a character. I can’t wait to see if he’ll get his own story.

Secondary characters were important because most of them were family. There were a few others that peppered the tale that contributed to the conflict, the romance or the general feeling of a well-run keep. I liked Fia. I did not like Lady Catriona, as I’m sure I was meant to. Her character was a typical plot technique whose only presence was to arrive when needed, stir the plot and then leave. I’d have preferred her character to have a bit more oomph in the villain department but I guess it was okay because there’s no way I’d want that woman’s spite to poison what was essentially a fun, upbeat although frantic read, what with Eilis getting into all the trouble that she does.

Eilis’s penchant for trouble provided many moments of grins and giggles. I liked that too.

The Accidental Highland Hero made me laugh. It has adventure, sword fights and daring-do with the right type of writing to make it come alive for a reader. I enjoyed myself immensely, never quite knowing how or when Eilis would get her memory back and how it would affect the course of the romance between her and James. Because I enjoyed getting to know them so much, time flew and the read was easy and fast. It’s pure escapism and I loved every moment. I want to escape back to the McNeil clan for some more fun – there’s other unmarried brothers to visit. Yay!

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