The Arrow

Monica McCarty
The Arrow
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Ballantine Books
Release Date
August 2014
Book 9 of Highland Guard
Historical Romance

As King Robert the Bruce of Scotland plots to retake his English occupied castles, he needs the stealth and skill of his elite soldiers, the Highland Guard. Fearless and indomitable, no men are more loyal to their king, or cherished by the women they love.

The talents of legendary marksman Gregor "Arrow" MacGregor are crucial now, as Bruce moves to reclaim his Scottish holdings. Gregor is considered the most handsome man in Scotland, and his fame as an archer is rivaled only by his reputation with the lasses as a heartbreaker. But when his infamous face is exposed during a covert mission, Gregor is forced to lay low. He returns home only to find a new battle waiting: a daring game of seduction involving his now very grown up and very desirable ward, Cate of Lochmaben.

A born fighter, Cate was clinging to life when Gregor rescued her after a vicious English raid on her village left her mother dead. But five years later, the once scrappy orphan Gregor took under his protection has become a woman. Brave, strong, and skilled in warfare, Cate is determined to lay claim to the warrior who refuses to be trapped. The heat in his eyes tells her she has his attention . . . and his desire. But will Gregor allow his heart to surrender before danger finds them, and the truth of Cate's identity is revealed?

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Aug 20, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
201 people found the following review helpful
THE ARROW is a thoroughly enjoyable, highlander, Scottish historical romance. Featuring my favorite type of heroine (a strong-willed spitfire) and hero (an alpha male), this novel delivers both on the frontlines of love and the battlefield. There were even some cleverly interwoven plot twists that were slowly revealed throughout the book, which kept me on my toes! This was my first experience with Ms. McCarty's writing, but it most certainly will not be my last. I have now found a new go to highlander romance author!

Cait knows what it's like to feel defenseless. She watched as her mother was viciously raped and murdered, unable to help her, the day her village was destroyed by evil, English soldiers. The only saving grace was that, as a result, she met Gregor "Arrow" MacGregor, a laird in his own right and one of the most skilled archers in Robert the Bruce's army. Gregor not only saved her that day, but also assumed the responsibility of her guardianship.
Cait's love for Gregor continues to blossom as she grows up in his household. There she grows up and is offered the opportunity to train in combat, a privilege usually reserved for men. Cait becomes so adept at it, that many years later, as Gregor is returning from a mission, he is shocked to find that the "lad" who is skillfully beating up on another is none other than his willful ward, Cait.

Even more demonstrative of her big heart, and further evidence of her mischievousness as far as he's concerned, Cait has taken in three children, who she believed had been abandoned, on the thinly veiled pretense of them being Gregor's "natural" children.

Soon Gregor who, at Robert the Bruce's orders, is supposed to be resting and recuperating before his next mission, after having his identity possibly compromised, is getting anything but R&R. Instead, he finds himself constantly being tormented with "inappropriate", lascivious thoughts of Cait. But Cait is determined to prove that she is now a woman and that her intense love for Gregor is not a mere infatuation.

Notwithstanding the undeniable fact that Cait is now a beautiful, full grown woman, there are a number of forces conspiring against their HEA. From the throngs of women who are constantly throwing themselves at Gregor, who has been professed to be the most handsomest man in all of Scotland, and trying to "trap" him into marriage, to the danger posed by secrets that both Gregor and Cait are hiding from one another, this love match will have to overcome a number of hurdles and threats, some of which will definitely take you by surprise!

I can't say enough good things about this romance! The sexual tension, romance and passion were well done, as was the character development of the hero and heroine, who both had to overcome substantial emotional impediments. Moreover, the action and attention to historical detail were also well implemented, further rounding out this five-star story!

Additionally, one feature that went above and beyond my typical read was Ms. McCarty's Author's Note. So often, as a historical romance reader you are left to wonder as to exactly how much of a story is based on historical facts. Ms. McCarty takes the guesswork, and related research, out of the equation by providing a very enlightening, detailed account of her own research into the events described in THE ARROW. This was an unexpected, and a highly appreciated, bonus.

All in all, I highly recommend THE ARROW to lovers of highlander romances.
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Book Review by debra taylor (reviewer)
Sep 24, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
183 people found the following review helpful
THE ARROW is the ninth book in the Highland Guard series from Monica McCarty. It was Ms. McCarty's smooth, passionate writing style that hooked me with The Chief, the first book in the series. I eagerly awaited each book because they were always more exciting than the last. Yet this book was the one that I had anticipated the most. Gregor MacGregor, the most handsome man in Scotland, was the one I wanted to read about the most. This book definitely met all my expectations and more. I knew it was gonna be good, but still I was surprised by how fast and easy the story pulled me in. I couldn't put the book down until the last page.

Gregor's skill with a bow was unmatched. It made him a very valuable warrior in Robert Bruce's elite Highland Guard. When a mistake compromises his cover, Gregor heads home to take care of an issue with his rebellious ward, Cate. Upon his arrival he realizes that Cate is all grown up now. He wants her, but feels guilty because of his desire. So naturally he fights it and along the way he makes some unforgiveable mistakes.

Five years ago, Gregor and his Highland Guard brethren rescued Cate after her mother was killed when their village was attacked by the English. Gregor took Cate under his protection, made her his ward, and gave her a home with his family. Like most women, a young Cate is entranced by his good looks, but with time she comes to realize that he has some insecurities and needs to be valued for more than his pretty face. Her fascination grows into real love, but it's a one-sided love at first. I will say that Gregor wasn't always "nice" while coming to terms with his feelings for Cate. There were plenty of moments when I just wanted to smack him a little bit.

Throughout all the drama of the romantic relationship, a mystery of another sort played out. Cate hadn't forgotten about what happened to her mother. She vowed revenge even while keeping a huge secret of her own. The plot took so many turns that it easily kept me on edge. Ms. McCarty took me totally by surprise with this one.

I really loved Cate's character. Independent and fiery, she was a perfect match for Gregor. He, on the other hand, made me so mad. Still, he redeemed himself in the end and it was very sweet how he did it. The author did an amazing job with the character development for them both. We got a real close look at what made them tick, what made them the people they were. Suffice it to say that they both had serious emotional baggage.

I highly recommend this book, along with the rest of the Highland Guard series. Anything by Monica McCarty really. She is one of the few authors who never disappoints. THE ARROW is definitely a five star book for me!!!
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