Highland Rake by Terry Spear

Highland Rake by Terry Spear
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (205 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed byXeranthemum

Dougald MacNeill is the next to youngest MacNeill brother and he’s not about to settle down, until Lady Alana Cameron is placed squarely in his lap…and then, the trouble begins.

When Dougald finds Alana roaming the heather on the MacNeill lands, he takes her in hand to see his laird brother James at Craigly Castle to determine her fate. But who has sent her there and why? Her uncle, laird of the Cameron clan, that has warred with the MacNeills for years, has made a marriage arrangement with another clan and now that is even at stake.

Having witnessed her father’s death, and even believing he had returned her home when all along he had been dead, Alana discovers she has the gift, or curse, of seeing the newly departed and sometimes those who should have long ago passed over. Her own deceased brother continues to plague her, the rake, and now another, who is very much of the flesh, Dougald MacNeill, has her thinking marrying a rake might just have its benefits. Dougald’s sister, who is one feisty ghost, has offered to help Alana keep Dougald in line if he thinks of even straying.

But who sent Alana on a fool’s errand in the first place to remove her from the Cameron’s lands and set her squarely in Dougald’s care, and who really killed her father and her brother, and what has it all to do with Alana? Will she and Dougald learn the truth before it is too late?

I found an impish sort of delight in reading about a secondary romance in this story between two ghosts. They appeared to tease and guide and, when possible, assist the heroine on her own rocky road to romance with a most dashing and tempting rogue in a kilt. This story has enough twists and turns to keep a reader captivated. There are two mysteries to solve, killers to catch and enough witty dialogue to keep the pages turning.

This is a standalone read and follows another MacNeill brother as he finds his own one true love. If anyone has been following this series, this is the brother who always seems to find himself in a dungeon and has to be rescued by a winsome lass. The tradition continues, much to my delight. I also gave this book a high rating because I’d read it once and didn’t write a review right away. Too much time had passed so I figured that I would just skim it to refresh my mind of certain facts. Instead I found myself drawn back into the story and I re-read it again from cover to cover. I still found myself enjoying the plot, the characters, the camaraderie and the dialogue. I’d forgotten some key parts and was amazed all over again. I laughed, smiled, giggled and snickered because there were so many clever quips and digs between brothers and friends, jesting and general fun sprinkled throughout the book, it was a joy to read. Even when there were sad moments or times of reflection or distressing realizations, Ms. Spear never let the somber facts drag the story’s optimism down. This novel is a celebration of life and love.

Alana is the heroine and she is cursed. Of course she’s not really cursed but that’s what everyone whispers behind her back. Only a few know the truth. The actuality is fascinating and provided a lot of entertainment. I also commend the author for her writing skills. Alana sees what others cannot. The hero accepts this unusual behavior which allowed for a challenging writing dilemma. How does a person write about a character who sees other characters from the point of view of a different character who can’t see anyone else at all? How does an author convince a reader that the hero truly does accept the impossible all the while listening to only one side of a conversation? Ms. Spear pays attention to details, that’s how. It’s the words the author chose as she described Dougald’s reactions and his feelings that appealed to me and convinced me.

Dougald is a wonderful hero. He has quite the reputation to overcome and once he admits to how he truly feels about Alana, he knows he has his work cut out for him to prove he has found ‘his one’. The hero is a romantic at heart and I enjoyed discovering that about him. He’s a strong, fair, upright man, with a wicked wit. I loved how protective he was of Alana – he didn’t talk down to her. How he talked to her, dealt with her and handled her showed respect, reverence and a healthy dose of lust. That last part caused him no end of trouble and a lot of fun for me.

There were wonderful cameos from Dougald’s brothers, like James, Angus, his cousin Niall and even his sister, Seana. I liked Alana’s brother a lot and I also liked the Cameron, although I wasn’t too sure about him in the beginning. I actually felt bad for Hoel, but not too bad because he did act like a spoiled brat. I even felt bad for Landon and was totally sad about Alana’s dad. Love is a very strong theme throughout this book and it takes many forms. A reader can only understand the scope of it after reading the book. The flip side of love is hate and there are shades of that too which causes some unique double mysteries that plague Alana, her clan and Dougald. It’s another aspect that kept my eyes glued to the pages.

One of the most fun elements is when Dougald introduces Alana to the joys of being a woman. It wasn’t the hero’s prowess that impressed me. It was Alana’s reaction, quick learning style and her blossoming cheeky wit when it comes to wrapping her man around her pinky. Just thinking of the two of them together makes me smile.

Highland Rake is a sure pleaser of an adventure. Yes, it has sexy Highlanders, some terrific Scottish brogue, some sword fights, quite a few surprises and a satisfying happy ever after, but it’s the romance that is the star of the novel. It’s wonderfully scripted and its delivery has exactly what I look for to push my happy buttons. The editing was clean, the characters were engaging and the story has a strong re-readability factor. I should know, I read it twice and loved it each time.


  1. Connie Terpstra Dowell says:

    I’m so happy I read this review. I went to vote for another author and found this one, and I LOVE it~! Everything I look for in a book. Including LUSTY!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL! How exciting it is to find a new author to absolutely adore and you need to find everything they ever wrote. So I’m depending on the review a lot. It just makes me furious to get a book and there’s not one dang good thing about it. So if it’s boring, huge letters, double spaced, wide margins, and the only thing to recommend it was the cover art, what a rip off. You soon learn to stick with your favored authors and not waste your hard earned dollars!!!!!!! Looking forward to a Happy New Year of delighted reading! Connie

  2. Xeranthamum says:

    Connie, your comment made me blush. 🙂
    Thank you!
    I really hope you do find the book as exciting as I did. I like Ms. Spear’s works in general but this one had me laughing a lot & was so much fun.
    The strongest draw for me was their relationship and dialogue, never mind that there’s so much more I “didn’t” say that I wanted to say in the review.
    Happy New Year and happy reading, Connie!

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