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Wednesday, March 24, 2010:
Highland Surrender by Dawn Halliday (2010)
Determined to put his roguish past behind him, the Earl of Camdonn arranges to marry the proper Lady Elizabeth. But when an accident lands the Earl in the expert hands of a beautiful Highland medicine woman, all well-laid plans are thrown to the wind- and, just as in the old days, his passions run high...

Ceana MacNab has terrible luck with men. Resigning herself to the healing arts, she has steeled her heart against love. Then fate sends Cam her way. Even though he's a well-bred Earl-and Ceana a low-born Highlander-their all-consuming passion may lead the way to lasting bliss.

After nearly losing his best friend Alan due to his all-consuming passion for Alan's wife, Cam has determinedly changed his ways. He sets about doing that by chosing a proper wife, a lovely woman, yet one who does not inspire the intense lust such as Sorcha once did. He has brought Lady Elizabeth to Scotland and to Camdonn Castle in preparation for their wedding.

But upon returning home, they are accosted by bandits, and in an effort to protect his future bride, Cam lures the men away from Lady Elizabeth and after him instead, realizing he's most likely the one they are after. Knowing the area like the back of his hand, Cam is sure he's lost them when he's suddenly shot...

Healer Ceana McNabb is an independent woman who never intends to marry. In fact she's just rejected the marriage proposal of her young lover a short while ago when she comes across an unconscious Cam in the forest. She manages to get him back to her cabin and tends to him there, all the while drawn to the handsome, virile invalid. When she discovers who he is, and that he is soon to be married, Ceana is determined to keep her distance. She has no intention of becoming a married man's mistress, and knows the most sensible course of action is to stay away from him, no matter how much she longs to experience pleasure in his arms. Only Cam has other ideas....

Upon awakening, Cam is bemused to find himself in the competent care of the lovely Ceana McNabb. He knows that he shouldn't be entertaining lusty thoughts of the earthy, sensual healer, but he cannot seem to help himself. She inspires an immediate and fiery lust, the kind that has gotten him into trouble in the past and one he's tried to steer away from since then. Besides, he's made a promise to his betrothed, and though the Lady Elizabeth does not inspire the intense passion Ceana does, Cam will not be unfaithful to her.

Lady Elizabeth must pretend to be someone she's not in order to escape her uncle. Acting prim and meek is not her character, but she must keep up the charade if she is to be married and hence out of the clutches of an evil man. When her carriage is unexpectedly attacked upon her arrival in Scotland and Cam disappears, she is suddently left on her own, until a taciturn, brawny Highlander finds her and returns her to the castle. Despite their brief exchange, Elizabeth immediately feels drawn to the Highlander, but knows that she must not deviate from her plan. Too much is at stake.

Despite the conflicting feelings felt, both Cam and Elizabeth are determined to go through with their arranged marriage, believing it is what's best. But what happens when love has other ideas?

My thoughts:

I had mixed feelings about reading this book because I really didn't like Cam so much in Highland Obsesssion, after what he did by kidnapping Sorcha. However Cam is a changed man here, thinking of others besides himself, and I had to respect him for that.

So here we have four incredibly likable people: Cam, Elizabeth, Ceana and Rob. Elizabeth is betrothed to Cam but develops feelings for Rob, who feels the same but won't betray Cam, who is in love with Ceana but she believes in her family's curse and won't ever marry but insists Cam marry Elizabeth even though it will break her heart. Whew! Quite a tangle it turns out to be.

This book is unexpectedly romantic, very much about the characters, and I enjoyed it very much because of it. We see that Cam has a lot to make up for, having been absent from Scotland so long that even his own people are wary of him, some even distrustful. He genuinely wants to put the needs of his people before his own, but when it comes to his heart, he has a difficult time fulfilling his duty.

Ceana is a wonderfully independent character, well-regarded by the people of the Highlands, educated yet respectful of the old ways she was taught by her mother and grandmother. From the moment she sees Cam, she knows he's different,that he might be the man who gets past her strongly guarded heart, but even so, she cannot risk the chance of loving him only to see him die.

Elizabeth is not the typical "woman in the way of hero's happiness" here. She's quite charming and I found myself really liking her for her true nature. Elizabeth knows pain and loss, and is not the shy, dependent woman she's lead everyone to believe. Falling for Rob is so against what her plans are, but she can't help herself once she recognizes in him the man who will finally let her be who she truly is.

Rob may be quiet and stoic, but he has his own secrets. He feels strongly for Elizabeth from their first encounter, but can never betray Cam like that. He has his honor. Yet the lovely Englishwoman warms him as no one ever has, and he cannot fathom that such an elegant, pristine woman could ever want anything to do with him, but the more he sees inside her heart, the more he realizes how well they suit. Only she's promised to another man....

So yeah, this is a dilemma, one that will have you rooting for the characters to find their HEA and yet not get hurt in the process. I was quite pleased with the story and though it's the sequel to Highland Obsession, don't feel like you absolutely have to read the previous book prior to reading this one.

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. This one's on my To Be Bought list - nice review!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sorry, was signed in as my mom cuz I was working on her blog. Duh! lol

    Anyway, what I wanted to say was:
    I just got this one for review. I didn't particularly like Cam in the first book either so I have have mixed feelings about reading about him as well. Hopefully I'll end up liking him. Good review!

  4. Godd review! You got me very interested in this book, I think I'll have to buyy it :)

  5. I haven't read this author, but...I like the cover :)

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