I received this book for free from Forever in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands #1
Published by Forever on March 28th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scottish Highlands, Georgian Era
She'll put her life on the line for him . . .
When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.
Yet she can never learn his true identity.
Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .
Akira Ayres, a poor healer while out searching for any wounded after a battle near her home, stumbles across a wounded Scot, that pleads for her help to not only save his life but keep his identity unknown to the “red coats” searching for any traitors. Akira, is a kind hearted woman and couldn’t resist helping this man even if it means traveling across the lands of Scotland away from her mother and sisters who need her, to keep this man safe. A man that makes her feel like the most beautiful woman inside and out. A man that awakens feelings of desire that she has never even imagined. Geordie knew that it was a mistake fighting in a war he believed in to bring back the rightful heir to the throne of Scotland once again, but by doing so he put not only himself but his children and their future in jeopardy and he must make it back home with no suspicion tied to his name. He can’t ever marry again, but for the first time in his life he wishes he could give Akira his name and protection….but there is more at risk because he might lose more if he doesn’t win over her heart for his to keep….
Gordon, “Geordie” has always been loyal to his country but has had to tread carefully all of his life. Geordie may have power and wealth and a title that is highly respected, but he has lost favor with Queen Anne. But Geordie will do anything for his children, despite the fact that their mother demanded a divorce so she could enter the nunnery in France. There was so much to love about this hero. First off, he makes the best highlander especially when you take in account the era this story takes place. He is titled, but he does have to tread very very carefully, because it could be taken from him in a heartbeat. I loved how loyal to his cause he is, especially to those he is over. But we also see his faults too, and see some changes in him especially when he is faced with the aspect of falling in love for the first time.
Akira is devoted to taking care of her mother and her younger sisters. Akira comes from gypsy heritage, and even though her mother insists they let go of the old ways if they want to survive, we see some hints of it in her character. Akira learns the healing arts from her family, and her healing is what keeps the family afloat but just barely. Akira was a truly wonderful heroine. She is so kind and caring, and is concerned for others above herself and I just loved her nature comes out. And the way she does inspire and motivate others. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body but she also stands up for her values too. We see some personal growth in her character as well especially when it comes to discovering passion and true love.
The time had passed for teaching the woman about kissing a man, the time had come to show her the power she had over him–the power she could have over any man of her choosing. And, by God, Geordie wanted the object of her desire to him and only him.
Plot and Story Line
Oh man, what a story!!! I have only had the opportunity to read this author a couple of times, but each time I have picked her up I amazed by how wonderful of an author she truly is and she makes highlander romances burst alive in so many ways. The Highland Duke brings about so many emotions and feels I honestly didn’t know what I was feeling most of the time. And boy can she write some sizzling chemistry that doesn’t overshadow the actual emotional intimacy of growth this couple shares with each other.
“A man could lose himself in those eyes of yours.” Her mysterious Highland lord brushed his finger along Akira’s chin, sending gooseflesh down the length of her neck. “Let us enjoy the gathering this evening and forget our worries about things to come. For tonight you are a queen and I am a king. The world is ours”
But what really makes Amy Jarecki stand out is the historical elements. Now, this may not be an aspect for everyone. But I just love it when an author knows her history and knows the culture and take the time to do the proper research needed for a book and it shows in this one. The story sets off with our hero being shot in the thigh and our heroine a ‘healer’ coming to save his life and not just in one way. Yes, she proves the physical healing but she also helps protect him from those that hunt him. So from the very beginning, we have some levels of intensity and intrigue. The brogue used in the story is well balanced, and easy to follow along and doesn’t overwhelm the reader. I just became swept away with this story pretty quickly. Like within two paragraphs I was fully ingrained in the story and didn’t want to let go of it. The romance was simply beautiful. The chemistry builds so perfectly. From the beginning, they have a strong connection to each other. And man some of the kisses and more sensual scenes were written so well, “curl your toes” type of scenes that kept you reaching for more.
“I want to kiss you, lass.”
Her chin inched up ever so slightly.
His hand moved back and cradled her head while his mouth inclined toward her rose petal lips, then lightly brushed his mouth over the most delectable lips in all the world. Her wee moan made a fire hotter than the flames of Hades burn deep and low inside him. Every fiber of his body stirred to life. But the woman in his arms was the young maid who’d saved him. The lass who’d cast aside her doubts to help a wounded man she hardly knew flee from a mob of redcoats. Moreover, the lass cared not an iota about Government of Jacobite agendas. She cared about her family and finding the next meal. Akira wasn’t to be taken like a harlot, but to be cherished and savored.
These two have a long road ahead of them before reaching their happy ever after though. There is the issue of our hero not able to marry unless he gets permission from the Queen who would do anything to see him unhappy. Our heroine really struggles with this. Because she loves him but doesn’t want to be seen as his “mistress” even if it would mean her family not living in a hovel or barely making it by to survive. She has an inner battle she fights within herself. Because she is a poor healer who can barely find food to feed her family and the man she has fallen for is a rich and titled Duke, right below royalty. So we see the problems that come with the “opposites attract” scenario here.
“I prefer you, lass. Your parentage matter not to me. All that matters is you…and me.
But our hero….Geordie is so wonderful especially when he realizes that he will fight for her heart. I love how he is willing to prove to her he is worthy of her love, and loved the way he wins the hearts of her family too. It does get pretty dramatic and intense toward the end though, and man the ending was heart stopping and pulls at your emotions in a very meaningful way.
What a gorgeous and breathtaking cover….I love the colors and the pretty castle in the backdrop but I love the pose of the male model here. And I love his celtic like tats, and his HAIR…. I love his hair hehe
The Highland Duke is a heart stopping and sensually intriguing romance that takes you on an adventure of a lifetime….back to the wilds and dangers of georgian era Scotland. A tale that weaves its way through to your heart and mind and soul….A love story that tugs at your heartstrings! BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!