The Highlander’s Promise by Lynsay Sands
June 26, 2018
Reviewed by Sheena
There are some things that you just know. The sky is blue. 1 +1 = 2. If you use baking soda instead of baking powder in a recipe, you’ve fudged up BIG time, and if you write a bearded, scarred, reclusive Highlander with a heart of gold surrounded by glacier ice ad growlyness, if you dare build such a hero, Sheena will come. Sheena will come fast and hard- double-entendre purely coincidental. *wags eyebrows*
Aulay Buchanan is tired of the whole lot of them. He knows what is best for him and he knows when he needs to retreat and have time to himself, despite the meddling of his beloved family and his clan. Away at a hunting lodge, his R&R is interrupted by what appears to be a woman drowned in the ocean. He rescues her and right away finds out the lass is not only a raven-haired beauty of a lass and quite lucky to be alive, but suffering from amnesia- and convinced he is her husband. After all, why else would he be the first face she sees by her bedside when she rouses from her sleep unclothed and beneath the bedsheets!
Named for her dark mane and unable to recall her true name, Jetta can’t believe her eyes. A husband! When did she marry? Had she always been married? Obviously she did wed or else being with this alluring man wouldn’t feel so right…right? She is surprised she married such a grumpy man, however, he must be hiding a whole lot of sweet under his gruff ad rough exterior. She must have fallen in love with him and his scars matter little. So, if all this is true, why won’t her beloved make love to her as husband an wife should, and why does it seem danger is always lurking around the corner, whenever she is out of his sight? Who is she really, and why is her life being threatened!? A mystery indeed!
Jetta was a great heroine. I liked her immediately and though she was a little TITL (too innocent to live) I can appreciate that some of her less knowledgeable moments were consequences of her amnesia. Though much was a mystery to her, she was a quick study and possessed such a pure and empathetic heart, it was impossible for me to dislike her.
“…My sweet Aulay has told me a lot about each of you…”
“Oh,” Edith murmured, a soft smile curving her lips as she turned to the others and said, “She called him her sweet Aulay.”
“Aye.” One of the blonds sighed. “Is that not wonderful?”
Jetta flushed, a bit embarrassed, and then glanced to Saidh as Aulay’s sister moved toward her. When the woman took her arms in hand and peered at her solemnly, though, her expression became uncertain. “Does his scar no’ bother ye?” Saidh asked bluntly.
Jetta’s eyes widened, but she answered promptly and firmly. “Nay.”
“Nay?” Saidh prodded insistently and now Jetta frowned as she recalled her earlier worries on the matter.
“Did it bother me ere the accident?” she asked anxiously. “Was I unkind or cruel to him about the scar before I lost my memory? Because if I was . . .”
“If ye were?” Saidh prompted when she fell silent.
“Then I was a fool,” she said sadly. “My husband is the kindest, most considerate man alive, and the scar does not take away from that. He is handsome. The scar merely adds a rakish air to his good looks. If I was too blind or foolish to see that ere hitting my head, then I was a stupid, shallow child.”
Much to Jetta’s confusion, Saidh suddenly beamed and tugged her into a firm hug, saying, “Welcome, sister,” as she did.
**Squeeeeeeeee!!** Boy did I enjoy this novel. Aulay was all things heroic, honorable and his scenes were severely swoon inducing. Concerned for Jetta’s safety and virtue, he enlists his siblings (the famed Buchanan brothers, sister, and their spouses) to “help” him with gently trying to steer her toward jogging her memories. Everyone knows and mostly agree to keep up the farce of Aulay being Jetta’s husband for fear of tender mental stability and the possible shock of being with a clan of strangers. Though Jetta believes she is Aulay’s wife and feels the sparks of connection to him, Aulay’s brothers, especially Rory, will under no circumstances stand for Aulay taking advantage of the situation and threaten her virtue, much to his chagrin because, duh, honor! Scenes where Jetta is interested in seducing her “husband” are hysterical, as three warring factions (Jetta’s libido, Aulay’s Brothers (mainly Rory and Niles, lol!), and Aulay’s Pride) come to loggerheads. The dynamic between Aulay and Jetta navigating their relationship was so freaking engaging. Even when I grew annoyed with everyone hiding things from Jetta, I could never really get too mad because it was so apparent, so obvious that their hearts and intentions were in the right place.
“Her mind has betrayed her. She has no memory of anything to do with herself or her past,” Rory pointed out. “She will naturally be feeling frightened and want you, as the man she thinks to be her husband, to stick close.”
“Aye,” Aulay said slowly, starting to understand. “Mayhap I should send Alick and Geordie out again to ask around about a ship that may have sunk three weeks ago so that we can at least find out her real name.”
“That might be a good idea,” Rory agreed solemnly. “Knowing her true name may help with her memory.”
“Aye,” Aulay murmured and then frowned as he considered the problem. His brothers would have to be careful again as they had the first time and not reveal her presence here, he thought, and then realized Rory was still talking.
“—but right now, all she knows, and wrongly so, is that ye’re her husband. Whether she admits it or not—even to herself—she will be anxious and needy. We must be patient with her, and make her feel safe and secure. That is why I suggested ye not correct her about ye no’ being her husband. She needs things that will comfort her right now, and believing she is at home and has a loving and caring husband will be more comforting than thinking she is weak, alone and without her memory among strangers.”
“Ah,” Aulay murmured, relaxing a bit.
“Once she has regained some strength, and some confidence in herself and her ability to cope, we can explain that ye’re no’ her husband,” Rory assured him. “By then she will ken we ha’e no plans to harm her and she is safe with us.”
“I trust ye’ll remember that ye’re not her husband, though?” Rory added quietly.
“O’ course,” Aulay growled, scowling at him. “She is under me protection. I’ll no’ take advantage o’ that.”
“I am glad to hear it.” Rory said with a nod, but then added, “Because when I came in it looked like ye might be.” When Aulay merely stared at him, not deigning to respond to his comment, he said, “It looked like ye were kissing her…If ye ruin her, ye will have to marry her, Aulay…”
Aulay just stared at Rory, the words reverberating through his head. “If ye ruin her, ye will have to marry her.” For some reason, they didn’t hold the horror Rory seemed to expect they would . . . and that scared the hell out of him.
Good gracious, I could quote from this book all day! *sigh* I just want to jam it all in here! All of it! Especially the saucy parts!
Beyond the romance arc, I quite enjoyed the secondary mystery plot. It was well woven into the story, and I liked that while a little predictable on the whole, the details of Jetta’s true identity and former life provided just the right amount of twisty turn-y surprise that added great texture to the story. Even if Aulay wasn’t the surly, scarred and principled masterpiece that he was, The Highlander’s Promise is so well written, the extra bells and whistles of having one of my fav hero types, are icing on the cake. Two thumbs way, wayyy up!