by Monica McCarty

October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-345-52839-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback

Fall 1306

Lachlan ďViperĒ MacRuairi is just biding his time with Robert the Bruceís elite fighting force, The Highland Guard. Once he has enough coin to pay back his clan members for the losses Lachlan feels responsible for, he is done with the guard. Lachlan is legendary for his snake-like stealth; his ability to strike unnoticed is what has gained him his guard moniker. Lachlanís latest mission (and hopefully his last) is to retrieve Lady Isabella MacDuff so that she can crown Robert as the one true king of Scotland. Ever since a horrific betrayal that led to his ouster from his clan by his devious wife, that later resulted in her death at his hands, Lachlan has no trust. What Lachlan didnít count on was the grace and beauty combined with an inner strength that he encounters with Bella.

Passionate in her beliefs, Isabella MacDuff will defy her domineering abusive husband and betray King Edward of England to see her childhood friend Robert Bruce named king of Scotland. However this will come at a very high cost, Bella must leave her beloved daughter Joan behind. Vowing to never give up on gaining back her child, Bella is thrown into a whirlwind along with Lachlan as they race against the English army to crown Robert in time. Bella challenges Lachlanís reserve in so many ways that this hardened Highland warrior canít help but lose his greatest battle yet, letting Bella win over his heart. Despite years of separation, imprisonment, and numerous betrayals, Bella and Lachlan will fight together to see Scotland free, and win back Bella's precious daughter.

Monica McCartyís fourth go round in her Highland Guard series tells Lachlan aka Viperís story. The Viper is a little more drawn out then the three previous books, and takes almost three quarters of the plot before the romantic connection between Lachlan and Bella culminates. I found the story not as quick moving or as romance driven as the others, but the happy ending that all true diehard romance fans love is definitely worth the read.

Reviewed in October 2011 by Bonnie.

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