Six years ago, Eoin “Striker” MacLean endured the greatest betrayal of his life, a disaster that led Robert the Bruce to a crushing defeat and left Eoin without the spirited woman who ruled his heart. Eoin knew that falling in love with his sworn enemy’s daughter was risky, dividing him between a possessive desire for beautiful Margaret MacDowell and an undying loyalty to his king. He promised Bruce that he would keep his fiery bride in the dark about the elite Highland Guard, but he could not predict the dire consequences his secret would have on his young marriage. Nor could he foresee how surrendering to temptation could cripple Bruce’s cause, forcing Eoin to blame his wife—and himself for trusting her.
Now, as Bruce prepares to challenge the resistance’s remaining strongholds, Eoin finally has his chance for revenge against the woman he once loved so fiercely and her entire clan. But when ferociously independent Margaret reveals a surprise that unites her with Eoin, neither of them will let their love go down without a fight.
The Striker starts off with Striker getting ready to crash a wedding in order to take down the bride’s father. He’s also looking forward to ruining the bride’s night as well. Considering it’s his treacherous wife who’s marrying another man. The moment he priest asks if there are any objections to the wedding, he makes his move and reveals himself to his wife. That’s when the story goes back in time to how they first met, fell in love, and how it all ended in betrayal.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I’ve enjoyed all the books from the Highland Guard series that I’ve read. I haven’t read all of them though, so this can be read out of order if you wanted to. However, with reading some of the previous books, I had an understanding of who some of the other players were in the book. But unlike the other books where the characters are already part of the Highland Guard, The Striker takes you back to before it even existed as Eoin tries to prove himself worthy of getting a slot on the elusive team.
The majority of the book is set in the past as we learn about Eoin and Margaret and how they met. Both were betrothed to another and each where from opposing sides of the upcoming war. However, they fell in love, married in secret, and started a new life together. Except the moment they got married Eoin joined the Highland Guard and was always away, and Margaret was obviously an outcast at his estate considering she was the enemies daughter and she was completely in the dark as to what Eoin was doing. Needless to say their love story was not an easy one. It gets worse when Margaret lets slip a piece of information that not only claimed the lives of Eoin’s fellow brothers in arms, but almost killed him as well. So, there’s some animosity there afterwards. Margaret thinks he’s dead–which is why six years later she’s marrying another man–and Eoin still harbors some harsh feelings towards his wife for betraying him.
Once their background story is out of the way, we go back to the present time and see how everything wraps up. I had no idea that the majority of the story would be set in the past but I thought it was perfect. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it even if we don’t go back in time to how everything happened because Monica McCarty is an amazing author, but it just helped you understand these two characters much more and helped you realized how much in love they truly are. You didn’t feel like any of the rekindling was too fast or fake.
Before I wrap this up, I’d also like to point out not only the very steamy scenes but the humor this book has as well. I’m not joking, Monica McCarty knows how to tell a story. She had me all over the place. One moment I was laughing my butt off and the other I needed a cold shower. Let’s just say that Eoin and Margaret are two passionate people. Not to mention that Margaret was a complete riot. When she first met Eoin she was viewed as a heathen. She was wild and free-spirited. She didn’t play by the rules of society. She didn’t always say the right thing and most times had no idea how her words could be taken out of context. For instance there’s talk about how her craziness would get her in trouble with the priest and have her saying “Hail Mary’s” and her response is, “I must admit that I’ve spent more time on my knees than most.” She had a lot of moments like that and they were hilarious.
The Striker hit all the marks for me. It was an all around enjoyable read from start to finish. It’s not only a great addition to the series but it can hold it’s own as a stand-alone as well. This series is a must for anyone looking for a historical fiction that has suspense, romance, steamy scenes, and humor.
“Although, we might want to come up with a different story to tell our children. I don’t think ‘Father ravished Mummy against a wall so he had to marry her’ is exactly the kind of lesson in courtship we want to impart.”