Review: The Viper by Monica McCarty

The Viper
(Highland Guard #4)
by Monica McCarty
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication date: Oct. 18, 2011
Genre: Historical Romance

The war for Scotland’s sovereignty rages on—as Robert the Bruce is crowned king and the Highland Guard, his elite fighting force of legendary warriors, battle for land . . . and love.

Prized for his snake-like stealth and deadly strikes, Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a warrior to enlist but not to trust. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by bitter betrayal. All that changes when Lachlan is tasked to protect and deliver Bella MacDuff to the king’s coronation—and the proud, lushly sensual countess unwittingly challenges him to his greatest battle yet: to love again.

Passionate and devoted, Bella has defied Britain’s king and her own husband to place the crown on Bruce’s head—and pays a terrible price. She loses her daughter and her freedom to her husband’s vengeance. Imprisoned with barbaric cruelty, she vows to reclaim her child, even if it means selling her soul—and her body—to a dark, lethal warrior whose eyes glint like steel, but who makes her skin tingle and her breath race. Together they embark on a rogue mission with sinister twists and turns that threatens not only Bella’s gamble to save her daughter—but also her heart.



I have jumped around quite a bit with this series based on the books I get my hands on. Viper has always been a character that you don’t know too much about. He was never a character that stuck out for me, so I was looking forward to reading his story.

Viper is a guy who is viewed upon with weariness. It’s no secret that he is very good and getting into places and getting the job done, even when the odds are against him. When he’s tasked to get Bella out of the heavily guarded keep, he ends up with more than he bargained for. Not only did her husband find out his wife’s plan to betray him and his king and decided to return home early, causing a major kink in Viper’s rescue plan, but Viper is also unable to get Bella’s daughter, Joan, out of the keep before he and his men are overtaken. While Bella was his main goal, he still feels regret and responsible for not getting Joan out as well. Add onto that, the fact that once Bella crowns Robert Bruce as king, she’s now got a massive target on her back. Viper finds himself juggling more than he’d care for. His end game was to finish out his term with Bruce and live a solitary life. However, Bella is making it very hard for that to happen.

I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever wanted to shake a heroine so much before this book. I get that she has great fear for her daughter, but some of the things she does throughout this book is just so stupid and reckless. Sad thing is, she’s never the one that pays the price. She’s been reassured that her daughter is fine, Viper has sent Joan word of her mother’s departure and the circumstances so she doesn’t think she was left behind, Robert Bruce has told her that he has men keeping an eye on her at all times, but does that placate her? NO! Instead she keeps charging headfirst into danger with little to no thought of the consequence. Maybe one time I could understand… but the woman never learned. Even when she sees with her own eyes that her daughter is fine and can take care of herself, she still ends up throwing Viper to the wolves in her misguided attempt to “save her daughter.” Gah! It’s as if this woman forgot about her time in prison. Although, I suppose it was always Viper being tortured and interrogated and not her, so she never fully grasped her idiocy. :shrugs shoulders: All I know is that this story would have been a whole heck of a lot more enjoyable if Bella wasn’t in it.

Viper was a saint. I know he’s not the Saint because that’s a different guy in the Highland Guard, but goodness did he put up with a lot. All the man wants is to be left alone and to brood in silence. He’s had a crappy life, and just wants to do his own thing. However, Bella keeps harping on him about her daughter and how he owes her. Like any red-blooded Scot in highland romances, his lust filled loins leads him to do the she-devil’s bidding. Time and time again. Even when she keeps thinking the worst of him and calling him nothing but a sword for hire, he still wants to do right by her. Viper was just such a great guy and I just wish that Bella saw that a lot sooner.

One thing that I LOVED about this book was getting to see Joan. Her book is the last in the series and is one I have already read. It was interested to see her in this book and know the woman she will become down the road. Not to mention, you also get her first impression of the hero in her own story in this installment. I think for me, getting this background information on Joan is what kept me reading. While The Viper was not my favorite in the series, it wasn’t horrible. I still recommend this series to anyone looking for a good highland romance.



Previous reviews from Highland Guard
The Chief
The Hawk




2 Thoughts on “Review: The Viper by Monica McCarty

  1. I haven’t read this author before but this sounds pretty good.

  2. Oh not that stupid female trope. Ugh. Still it sounds like as a series this is a winner. Might have to try as I haven’t read a good kilt romance in a long time. 🙂

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