Enter Our Giveaway/s!

We Can Also Be Found On:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy #1) by Maya Banks



Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe.

But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

Goodreads lipsB and N LipsAmazon Lips

 My Review

Finally!  I get to review a Highlander book for the blog, and what a good one!  Maya Banks writing is as sensual, plot driven and alpha-male as ever.  There may be no genre she can’t tackle.  I love Highlander books because it tells of a people who considering the time that they lived in, did very well despite harsh conditions.  They were self-sufficient, learned and determined.  They believed in family, clan and bedsport (not necessarily in that order).

As we begin the book, Mairin Stuart, illegitimate princess but highly coveted for her enormous dowry, is being kept in hiding at a convent.  When a rag-tag group of ne’er-do-well’s bust into the convent looking for “Mairin Stuart” and start breaking Mother Serenity’s fingers, Mairin reveals herself to the goons.  Mairin has great courage of heart, but standards too, and there are any number of men wanting to spirit her away to lay claim to her dowry and the land that her first heir will inherit, Neamh A’lainn, the most beautiful and prosperous land in the whole country.  Cameron Duncan is the man who has stopped at nothing to find her and who chose to send the mercenaries after her.  They spirit her away with no difficulty.

Just by happenstance, along the way  Mairin’s abductors pick up a small boy named Crispin and plan to ransom him back to his family.  Mairin takes to Crispin like a lioness to her cub.  She protects him over her own well being.  It was then that she wormed her way into my heart.  Crispen is so strong and honorable for a little boy, worried that paying a ransom would hurt his clan.  He promises Mairin that he will take her to his home and his Papa will protect her.

After a few twists and turns, a pit stop in Cameron Duncan’s evil lair, and a beating that nearly cost her her life, Mairin and Crispin escape.  Luckily, Crispin’s Uncle Alaric finds them and brings them home to the McCabe keep.  There are three McCabe Brothers ladies!  All scrumptious, all strong, all capable, and then some!  When they first ride into the keep, there is of course a misunderstanding about who stole Crispin, but the boy sticks to her like glue, telling his Papa that he promised to protect her and a McCabe always keeps his word.  If you don’t fall in love with this little boy, you have no heart.  He is so wonderful to read; vibrant, funny, sweet, affectionate, kind and selfless.  He is whole hearted in every endeavor – clearly a McCabe trait.

Eventually, Ewan realizes that if Mairin marries him, the funds from her dowry will save his clan from the harsh winter upon them and convinces Mairin that he is the lesser of two evils.  Mairin is not immune to Ewan’s charms, but does not want a marriage based on her dowry.  I just adore the way Banks has written Mairin.  She makes many mistakes and wrong assumptions, is strong willed and even stronger tempered, but she has great courage, grace, and fortitude.  She has such heart.  She grows to love the McCabe clan and they love her.  She is sort of like Lucille Ball on ‘I Love Lucy”.

Ewan McCabe is a Warrior laird with a heart of gold.  He wants what’s best for his family and clan.  He is everything to his clan; hunter, trainer, protector, healer, judge, and psychologist rolled into one.  The author does a great job of showing how he spreads himself thin to make sure no one is cold or goes hungry and that they are ready for battle at a moment’s notice. 

The cast of characters that make up the people of the clan will make you laugh so much sometimes, you’ll forget that this is an erotic romance.  (Don’t worry, it’s very erotic).  Like when Mairin goes to Maddie and the girls for sex advice since all of her wifely teaching came from Mother Serenity!  Hahaha!  Or when she tells that Ewan kisses the wrong way because you shouldn’t use tongues.  So funny!

There is so much plot in this great book, it’s hard to cover it all, but I’ve only touched the surface.  I love that Banks balances the details of life at that time with the need to move the plot along.  Not all Highlander books fare so well.  I wasn’t bored a moment reading this book and you won’t be either!  It’s very carnal and steamy, but there is such deep feeling that goes along with every encounter, it’s very moving.  Recommended read.

PS- Books 2 & 3 are also wonderful!  It’s a first in a series worth investing in.



The man was huge, and just as mean looking as Alaric, and she didn’t know how she could think it, when there was so much joy on his face as he swung Crispen into his arms, but he frightened her in a way that Alaric did not.

The brothers were very similar in build and stature. Both had dark hair the fell below their shoulders, and both wore braids. As she looked around, though, it be- came apparent that all his men wore their hair the same way. Long, wild, and savage looking.

“I’m so glad to see you, lad,” his father choked out.

Crispen clung to the laird with his small arms, reminding Mairin of a burr stubbornly clinging to her skirts.

Over Crispen’s head, his gaze met Mairin’s, and his eyes immediately hardened. He took in every detail about her, she was sure, and she twisted uncomfortably, feeling horribly picked apart under his scrutiny.

She started to get down from her horse because she felt a little silly when everyone around her was dismounting, but Alaric was there, his hands reaching up to effortlessly pluck her from the horse and set her down on the ground.

“Easy, lass,” he cautioned. “You’re healing well, but you need to take care.”

He sounded almost concerned, but when she looked up at him, he wore the same scowl he always wore when he looked at her. Irritated, she scowled right back. He blinked in surprise then pushed her toward the waiting laird.

Ewan McCabe looked a lot more threatening now that Crispen was out of his arms and back on the ground. She found herself backing up a step only to collide with the mountain that was Alaric. Ewan looked first at Alaric, bypassing her as if she was invisible, which was just fine with her.

“You have my thanks for bringing my son home. I had every confidence in you and Caelen.”

Alaric cleared his throat and nudged Mairin forward.

“You have the lass to thank for Crispen’s return. I merely provided the escort.”

Ewan’s eyes narrowed as he studied her further. To her astonishment, his eyes weren’t the dark, fierce orbs she’d thought, but rather they were an odd pale green. When he scowled, though, his face darkened to a thundercloud, and who could possibly think his eyes were anything but a matching black?

Startled by this revelation—and if she were avoiding the inevitable confrontation with the laird, who could blame her?—she turned abruptly and stared up into Alaric’s eyes. He blinked then glared at her like he thought she was daft—and she was pretty sure he did think so.

“Your eyes are green, too,” she muttered.

Alaric’s scowl turned into a look of concern. “Are you sure you didn’t suffer a blow to the head you didn’t tell me about?”

“You will look at me,” Ewan roared.

She jumped and whirled around, taking an instinctive step back and landing once again against Alaric.

He muttered an expletive and hunched over, but she was too worried about Ewan to see what Alaric was cursing over.

Her courage had run out, and her determination not to feel pain, not to allow her spine to wither, promptly died a brutal death.

Her legs shook, her hands shook, and pain speared through her sides, making her gasp softly with each breath. Sweat beaded her forehead, but she wouldn’t al- low herself to back down any further.

The laird was angry—at her—and for the life of her she couldn’t discern why. Shouldn’t he be grateful to her for saving his son? Not that she’d really done anything heroic, but
he didn’t know that. For all he knew, she could have battled ten men on Crispen’s behalf.

It wasn’t until he stared back at her in astonishment that she realized she’d babbled her entire thought process aloud. The entire courtyard had gone silent and looked at her as if she’d pronounced a curse on all of them.

“Alaric?” she murmured, not turning away from the laird’s gaze.

“Aye, lass?”

“Will you catch me if I faint? I don’t think a fall to the ground would be good for my injuries.”

To her surprise, he grasped both of her shoulders and held her tightly. His hands trembled the slightest amount, and he made the weirdest sound. Was he laughing at her?

Ewan advanced, his astonishment replaced by that dark scowl again. Did no one in the McCabe clan ever smile?

“Nay, we don’t,” Alaric said in amusement.

She snapped her lips shut, determined she wouldn’t say another word, and prepared herself for the laird’s censure.

Ewan stopped a single foot in front of her, forcing her to crane her neck upward to meet his stare. It was hard to be brave when she was sandwiched between two hulking warriors, but her pride wouldn’t allow her to throw herself at his feet and beg for mercy. Even if she currently thought it was the best idea. Nay, she’d faced down Duncan Cameron and survived. This warrior was bigger and meaner, and he could probably squash her like a bug, but she wouldn’t die like a coward. She wouldn’t die at all if she had anything to say about it.

“You will tell me who you are, why you’re wearing Duncan Cameron’s colors, and how the hell my son came into your possession.”

She shook her head, backed up against Alaric, only to hear him curse again as she stepped all over his feet, and then quickly stepped forward again, remembering, belatedly, her vow to be courageous.

Ewan frowned even harder, if that was possible. “You defy me?”

There was a note of incredulity in his voice that she might find amusing if she weren’t bathed in pain and about to shake right out of the gown that offended the laird so.

Her stomach boiled, and she prayed she wouldn’t throw up on his boots. They weren’t new and shiny like Duncan’s, but somehow she thought he’d take great offense anyway.

“I don’t defy you, laird,” she said in an even voice that made her proud.

“Then give me the information I seek. And do it now,” he added in a deadly soft voice.

“I . . .”

Her voice cracked like ice, and she swallowed back the nausea that rose in her throat.

She was saved by Crispen, who could obviously stand still no longer. He burst forward, inserting himself between her and his father, and wrapped his arms around her legs, burying his face in her bruised abdomen.

A low moan escaped her, and she reflexively put her arms around Crispen to pull him away from her ribs. She would have slithered straight to the ground if not for Alaric grasping her arms to steady her again.

Crispen turned in her grasp and stared up at his father who looked to be battling extreme shock and burning impatience.

“Leave her alone!” Crispen exclaimed. “She’s hurt, and I promised you’d protect her, Papa. I promised. A McCabe never breaks his word. You told me.”

Ewan looked down at his son in astonishment, his mouth working up and down as the veins in his neck bulged.

“The lad is right, Ewan. The lass is sore in need of a bed. A hot bath wouldn’t be remiss.”

Surprised by Alaric’s support, but more grateful than she could possibly express, she chanced another look at the laird only to see him gape incredulously at Alaric.

“Bed? Bath? My son has been returned to me by a woman wearing the colors of a man I loathe more than life, and all anyone can suggest is that I give her a bath and a bed?”

The laird looked precariously close to exploding. She stepped back, and this time, Alaric accommodated her by moving aside so she could put distance between her and Ewan.

“She did save his life,” Alaric said evenly. “She took a beating for me,” Crispen shouted.

Ewan’s expression wavered, and he stared again at her as if trying to see for himself the extent of her injuries. He looked torn, as if he really wanted to demand that she cooperate, but with both Crispen and Alaric staring expectantly at him, he snapped his lips shut and took a step back himself.

His muscles bulged in his arms and neck, and he took several breaths as if he worked to keep his patience. She felt sympathy for him, she truly did. If it were her child, she’d demand, just as he had, every detail. And if it were true—and Ewan had no reason to lie—that Duncan Cameron was his mortal enemy, she could well understand why he looked at her with such mistrust and hatred. Aye, she understood well his dilemma. It didn’t mean she was going to suddenly cooperate, however.

Gathering her nerve, and hoping she didn’t sound boastful, she looked the laird in the eye. “I did save your son, Laird. I would be most appreciative of what aid you could provide. I won’t ask for much. A horse and maybe some food. I’ll be on my way and no longer a bother.”

Ewan no longer stared at her. Nay, he turned his face heavenward as if praying for either patience or deliverance. Maybe both.

“A horse. Food.”

He said the words, still looking up at the sky. Then he slowly lowered his head until those green eyes scorched the breath right out of her.

“You aren’t going anywhere, lass.”





1 comment :

  1. hmmm yummy men in kilts is what I'm picturing in my head right now.


We would love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.