ARC-Review: IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER by Maya Banks

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.


Title: IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Highlander/McCabe Trilogy, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Year of release: 2011, August 30
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Grabbed an ARC at the Ballantine Signing at RWA11

First line:
Mairin Stuart knelt on the stone floor beside her pallet and bowed her head in her evening prayer.

Memorable Scenes:
– Mairin explaining to Ewan the proper way to kiss > priceless!
– Mairin criticizing Ewan’s lovemaking skill > the way Ewan proves his skill was super hot.
– sex instructions from Maddie and Bertha > I thought I was going to pull a muscle laughing. Hilarious!

Mairin Stuart is the illegitimate daughter of the previous king of Scotland. With her inheritance only to be claimed with a first-born she’s been hiding in a convent until she can choose a husband who’s not only after her inheritance. The villain of this story, however, has a different idea, he kidnaps her and tries to force her into a marriage. Before he can execute his evil plan though, Mairin escapes, with a young child in tow…a child who has promised his father will protect her if they make it to his keep.

I really liked Mairin. She’s courageous, vibrant, audacious, and impulsive. But she’s also caring and thoughtful. Her character was a perfect mix between innocence and determination and this was shown both in the plot and the romance.

Ewan McCabe is the laird of the McCabe clan. He’s bent on revenge, filled with pride, charismatic and harsh but fair. Even though he was the big, strong laird he did show his vulnerable side with Mairin and Crispen.

The romance between Mairin and Ewan grew gradually with every chapter and I found them a perfect match. The love scenes were historical romance appropriate and yet very hot and steamy. Maya Banks balanced that excellently.

While I unequivocally adore Maya Banks’ contemporary voice when I started in IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER is wasn’t entirely sure about her historical voice. I had a bit of trouble getting into the book and can’t pinpoint exactly why because the setting, characters and plot were all to my liking and I have no comments on the writing but still there was something preventing me from getting completely lost in the story for the first few chapters.

However, the turning point came fairly quick because after those first few chapters I somehow got drawn into the story by the romance, the ‘waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop’ plot and the humor in Maya Banks’ writing. And I also took a great liking to Mairin’s character. She was the star of the book for me with her fierceness and spontaneity that landed her in, sometimes, emotional situations but also created some funny laugh-out-loud moments.

The plot was excellently executed and weaved into the story. At the end you know there’s an overall plot arc that’s not quite wrapped up, leaving possibilities for the next two books in the trilogy. Yet the part of the plot needing resolution in this first installment was well taken care of while being kept pretty unpredictable (at least to me).

I loved the bond between the McCabe brothers and their teasing of each other. Maya Banks is absolutely talented in writing tight knit groups, whether siblings/family or friends and both in contemporary and historical settings, as she shows in this medieval historical romance. Another plus in this book was Crispen. Long story short: I adore kids/babies in romance and Crispen was perfectly adorable.

Though I had a rocky start I ended up really liking IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER. This is medieval historical romance done right and as it’s supposed to be, with an authentic yet smooth feel to it. I’m absolutely looking forward to Alaric’s story.

Favorite Quotes:
“What legend?” Alaric asked as he sat forward. “I’ve heard of no such legend.”
“That’s because you never listen to bards,” Caelen said dryly. “You’re much too busy during festive times tossing up the skirts of some wench.”

“This time I’ll undress you as I should,”he whispered, as he walked her back towards the bed.
Her mind was dim and she was slow sorting through her muddled thoughts. She frowned, knowing he didn’t have the right of it again. Was she forever going to have to instruct him?
“I should undress you. ’Tis my duty,” she said.
He grinned. ’Tis only your duty when I say it is. Tonight I fully intend to undress you and enjoy every moment. You deserve a slow wooing, lass. This will be your wedding night all over again. If I could go back and do it all differently, I would. But I’ll give you the next best thing. I’ll give you tonight.”

“There’s little decency to good loving,” Maddie said sagely. “If ‘tis decent, it isn’t much fun.
Bertha nodded, her lips compressed as her head bobbed up and down. “Nothing wrong with a nice, dirty romp.”

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3 thoughts on “ARC-Review: IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER by Maya Banks

  1. Reading your review makes me wonder when it was the last time a highlander seduced me was ages ago. I feel out of touch with them…must remedie this at some point! ;)

  2. Nalini Singh was just talking about this book. I haven't read any of Maya's stuff, so I wonder if the contemporary vs historical voice would be a problem for me.Thanks for the review!

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