Publisher: Self Pub
Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: NetGalley
Reviewer: Nikki L
Captured by a Celtic Warrior is an anthology of four novellas loosely connected by two themes. The first being a historic dagger (the King Richard dagger) and the kidnapped heroine trope. The anthology spans nearly five hundred years, which is an interesting take on connecting novellas.
In the first novella, The King’s Outlaw by Kris Kennedy:
1193 – Outlawed and on the run, Tadhg O’Malley has one mission: escape with the valuable dagger of Jerusalem before a brutal nobleman hunts him down. Trapped and almost cornered, his plan is simple: kidnap the innocent merchant with the long hair and complicated eyes. Igniting a raging passion is not part of the plan. Neither is falling in love. Both endanger their lives, his mission, and with it, the kingdom.
This one is heavy on the history lesson and prose. Both of which normally send me packing when it comes to historical romances. But Kennedy has a deft touch and I read this novella without interruption. There was one scene where the hero “mines” the heroine’s mouth with his tongue and it almost made me put the book down, but I powered through the gross factor and kept on. And I loved these characters. The conflict was genuine, the romance was sweet and heartfelt, and the conclusion satisfying.
I give THE KING’S OUTLAW by Kris Kennedy 4 stars!
In our second novella, Taken by the Highlander by Eliza Knight:
1306 – A week before Lady Rose Munro is to wed a neighboring laird, she is abducted on the road by a wicked and dangerously handsome stranger. Highland warrior, Malcolm Montgomery has been ordered by King Robert the Bruce to steal Rose and her son from the suspected traitor she is about to marry—gifting him with an ancient and much sought after dagger as payment. Rose shouldn’t trust her captor. Shouldn’t feel her body heat at his simple touch, or allow him to press his fervent lips to hers… Malcolm shouldn’t be seducing the woman he is sworn to protect. Shouldn’t desire her, for she’s not meant to be his… Succumbing to passion threatens them both, and falling in love is absolutely not an option.
I thoroughly enjoyed Knight’s take on the abducted bride trope. Our heroine Rose is a widow with a young son and is a week out from her wedding date to a man she barely knows. Rose has a young son, and the catalyst for all of her decisions, and Malcolm is our brawny hero. I adored this novella and felt it was my favorite in the anthology. There is some pretty heavy history in the back story here and there is a great deal of suffering during the time period in general, but I really felt Knight pulled these characters together in the most believable way. I would add anything Knight released to my auto buy list immediately.
I give TAKEN BY THE HIGHLANDER by Eliza Knight 5 stars!
Our third novella, Stolen by a Highland Rogue by Vonda Sinclair:
1619 – When the infamous dagger is stolen from Highland chief, Dugald MacKerrick, he will do whatever it takes to reclaim it, even abduct the wife of the aristocratic thief, but what if his beautiful French hostage isn’t who he thinks she is? Deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands, Dugald discovers not only is his captive, Camille Bouchard, more than he expected, so is the passion raging between them, threatening everything he thought mattered to him.
Up front, I almost didn’t finish this one. By the end of chapter two I wanted to throw my e-reader across the room. Our hero, Dugald, is a clan leader and a complete and blundering fool that makes stupid decisions for stupid reasons. Sinclair works hard to present Dugald in a hot-headed warrior light, but I wasn’t buying it. I powered through and suspended some of my disbelief. This novella obviously fits into a larger world of Sinclair’s and I struggled with some of the back story and motivation for the characters. Overall, it ended well, and I was happy with the HEA. But if I hadn’t been planning on reviewing, I would’ve tossed the towel in early and never read past chapter three.
I give STOLEN BY A HIGHLANDER ROGUE by Vonda Sinclair 2.5 stars
Our final novella in the anthology, Her Wicked Highlander by Jennifer Haymore:
1816 – Maxwell White is the newest member of the Highland Knights, an elite mercenary group sworn to protect the Crown. His first assignment is to keep independent and spirited Aila MacKerrick safe from a madman determined to get his hands on a treasure she unwittingly possesses. But Aila isn’t going to simply allow some Highlander—as handsome as he might be—to capture her and whisk her away to an abandoned castle. She’ll fight to the death for her freedom…as soon as she rids herself of this pesky, insistent desire that makes her far more inclined to run into his arms than away from them….
We open with Aila and her back story. I immediately liked her and wanted her to have her heart’s desire. Maxwell took a bit longer to figure out, but it was very fitting for his character, and I liked him immediately as well. There was no decision making that didn’t make sense, just a general inability on his part to understand Aila. This was my first Haymore novella, but it will not be the last I seek out from her. There is an obvious connection to the Highland Knights as a broader story and I’m very interested in these elite warriors and their wives. Aila is the strongest of all the heroines and Maxwell is the least douchey of all the heroes. So, that’s a serious win for this novella for me.
I give HER WICKED HIGHLANDER by Jennifer Haymore 5 stars!