When Highland Lightning Strikes by Willa Blair
A Highland Talents Novella
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, paranormal
Length: Short Story (125 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle
A Man who would be Laird
Angus MacAnalen fully expects to succeed his dead brother as Laird. But on the day of the Clan Council’s vote, a new lass steals his breath and his heart, making him question the ambition that drives him. When he begins to suspect she has a hidden talent that could help his clan, he must overcome the painful disappointment of the past before it costs him the future he desires.
A Lass in Exile
Because of her strange ability, Shona’s village banished her to live with a distant uncle after her parents died. When she catches the eye of the prospective laird of her new home, she fears the clan’s scrutiny may cause her to be expelled again, or worse. But Angus seems determined to win her heart, and Shona can’t help wanting to give it to him, despite the risks.
A Love Lifted out of the Ruins
Broken promises and broken dreams litter their pasts, and their present. Can they build a future from the ruins?
Shona is a Highland lass who has seen enough death and judgement to last a lifetime. It’s no wonder she’s wary when Angus literally staggers up with a lame pickup line. It was also pretty amusing. I could see her sitting there, one eyebrow raised at his obvious inebriated come on. I was glad to see that she had a little spunk in her even if it often had to be repressed because of heavy handed men in her clan, namely her uncle and guardian.
I kept picturing Ian Somerhalder when Angus was described and I had no problem seeing why Shona was attracted. Outside the tendency toward premature celebratory drinking, which was likely common for the age, he had some truly noble qualities and he loved his clansmen. Still, he’s also a man and Shona is a beautiful lass who doesn’t hate his kisses. Circumstances put them in a position to protect each other and the outcome was decidedly sweet and sexy at the same time.
One of the first things I noticed is that the dialogue feels authentic. This is a Highland setting and I expected to hear the people speak with some form of brogue lilt. It was easy to fall into a pattern of reading it in my mind with the same pattern of speech but it also helped put me into the setting, to feel a part of it.
A couple of interesting twists kept this story alive right to very end. Also, the clan MacAnalen needs to build their hall away from trees, for everyone’s sake. Seriously, if this clan didn’t have bad luck it wouldn’t have any luck at all. I would have liked to have seen Shona have a little more self-confidence in her ability and not have taken quite so long to embrace it. She has reason to worry about how people will react but she takes on so much guilt at what she can or can’t do it’s practically paralyzing. Love is a very powerful motivator and in the end it lends the strength she needs.
There’s a paranormal element to this book, as with all the Highland Talents books. Angus sampled some of that talent in Highland Healer and was less than impressed. I was curious to see how he would react once he realized that Shona shared a similar talent.
There’s mention of what happened in the first book in the Highland Talents series between Toran and his healer, Aileanna, who also make an appearance in this novella. I haven’t read that one, yet, but I’d like to go back and see how this war that tore up so many clans began. Ms. Blair has an easy to read talent for bringing a story to life. Given another opportunity, I look forward to returning to the Highlands with this Ms. Blair to see what new talents make themselves known.