Title: Highland Beast The King’s Outlaws Book 3
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Setting: 1308, Scotland
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
When Sir Arthur Campbell leads an attack claiming Dunstaffnage Castle for Robert the Bruce, he is rewarded with both the keep and surrounding lands. As he assumes the lairdship, he finds a saboteur within his ranks. He sets a trap to ensnare the culprit, only to discover the rebel is none other than Rhona MacDougall—the only woman he has ever loved.
After her clan is devastated by war, Rhona refuses to bend to Arthur’s whims. Aye, he once stole her heart, but that was before he fought against her kin. When in his presence, she plays the demure lady, though behind the scenes, she is doing everything in her power to subvert his authority. And she thinks she has him fooled…until he beats the lass at her own game.
Prepared to meet his condemnation, Rhona bravely stands before this man whom she has deemed a beast. But Arthur confronts her with a proposition she never dreamed possible—if she proves that she can change. If not, the desire long ago burned onto their souls just might hold them both captive for eternity.
Amy Jarecki always writes a good story. It usually starts with an action scene involving physical action or emotional upheaval. These are two triggers I, invariably as a reader, relish.
Rhona, a young woman, who had the love of her life, Arthur Campbell, drop out of her existence without a by-your-leave held herself together just trying to forget, but never could. Her heart became bitter against him. Her granduncle, the chieftain of Clan MacDougall, found her a husband soon after, but he too left her. He died in a hunt. The child in her belly followed.
Now her granduncle, Lord of Lorn, Alexander MacDougall, left her, surrendering his property to Robert the Bruce, their enemy after they lost in the Battle of the Pass of Brander. The Lord of Lorn had sworn allegiance to the King of England. Those who had fought for Dunstaffnage never returned from the battle. Few were killed, and the majority of them fled to England.
Rhona accepted the burden laid upon her young shoulders to ensure the safety of her clan and kin. This she would do. When the forces of Robert the Bruce came to Dunstaffnage, she gave them her granduncle’s letter of surrender. Even though the Bruce spoke words of peace, she did not trust him. The very man she came to hate through time, her love, Arthur Campbell was appointed constable of Dunstaffnage.
The story revolves around Rhona’s loyalty to her granduncle, her bitterness to see the clan run by the turncoat, Arthur Campbell, and her buried feelings for Arthur Campbell. For what she saw of Arthur Campbell, did not measure up to someone who was against the clan. Her feelings made her do petty things against Robert the Bruce’s men. Her convictions and understanding of one of her own clan trying to kill Arthur Campbell, made her be more than petty.
Arthur Campbell had always loved Rhona. He loved her even more when he saw how she cared for her people as a healer. She was a strong and spirited woman, but he knew he would have to rewin her.
As the pettiness and events against Robert the Bruce increased, Sir Arthur had to find the culprit. He began by setting spies among the clan.
Arthur Campbell was any reader’s knight. He was honorable, kind, courageous, even-tempered, and thoughtful. As I reader, I was on his side from start to finish.
Even though I understood why Rhona did the things she did, she disturbed me with her continual pettishness. Her sense of loyalty to her granduncle weighed more in her mind than what she lived in the keep, what she heard of the goodness of Robert the Bruce.
The story was quick-paced. I did not feel any slow sections; each scene added something to the reader’s understanding and the whole of the story was most entertaining. Author Jarecki uses real places and events, even one of her main characters, Sir Arthur Campbell, did indeed get appointed as constable to the Dunstaffnage Castle. I am so appreciative of stories like this writer who uses so much real historical detail, weaving fictitious characters into the mix. She also provided a plethora of loch names for me to Google and see where Dunstaffnage Castle is. Thank you!