At the end of Never Seduce a Scot, a mysterious hooded woman helps the Montgomerys and Armstrongs find Eveline -- who was she? And why did she help them?
Genevieve McInnis was kidnapped as she was traveling to meet her intended by Ian McHugh, the cruel and abusive son of the Laird McHugh. After enduring a year of Ian McHugh's abuse and the malicious taunts from the McHugh clan, Genevieve almost believed she was less than nothing. Her sense of self and her sense of worth reduced to something smaller than the room she occupied at McHugh Keep.
When Bowen meets Genevieve, he sees the most beautiful woman in the world, who endured the ugly brutality of a monster -- and who stood up to protect a clan who did not deserve protecting. And he is instantly drawn to Genevieve's strength and beauty. Bowen Montgomery could not imagine the injustice done to Genevieve and it fills him with anger that a fellow human being had to suffer so much. He knows that Genevieve needs a champion and he is ready to step up and be her stalwart defender.
But when Genevieve reveals her role in Eveline's kidnapping, Bowen must decide between his love and loyalty for his family and his growing love and admiration for the complex and complicated Genevieve.
What happens when all that we are and all that we believe in is taken away from us? What are we willing to endure to live? To love?
Genevieve McInnis was gently born and bred -- daughter of one of the most powerful and well-connected lairds from the Lowlands. But her life changed when she drew the eye and obsession of the cruel Ian McHugh. For the first time in her life, Genevieve was tested and she discovered the limits of what she is able to endure and do in order to survive.
Bowen Montgomery has always prided himself to be a fair-minded, loyal and with a good sense of right and wrong. He is also used to enjoying and being surrounded by pleasure and pleasurable experiences (read: good food and willing women) --
He believed that he was ready to stand in his brother's stead as temporary laird of McHugh Keep -- but he was unprepared for what he saw when he arrived there: meager food supplies, ill-trained warriors and general lack of morality and trust. It takes all of Bowen's skill to take over the leadership -- and even that was not enough as he had to depend on Brodie Armstrong's assistance as they sort out the mess that Patrick McHugh left of his clan.
Both our hero and heroine are in unfamiliar territory -- and Maya Banks emphasizes this in many instances by reminding us that "never before" have they experienced such and such*. We expect that everything is new for Bowen and Genevieve -- and this need for "new-ness" is important, especially for Genevieve.
She's suffered so much in her year of captivity -- and she never believed that she would ever see the day when she would go free. But even that dream fills her with terror: who would want her? Soiled, scarred and broken as she is -- but, with Bowen, from the first instance, she feels a sense of new-ness and novelty. It delights her but also frightens her.
Leaning forward in her chair, she grew bolder, sliding her fingers toward the thick long hair that hung past his shoulders. He was so beautiful it was hard not to touch him, and what harm would it do? No one was there to look on. Bowen would never remember that she'd offered him comfort while he rested.
It brought her solace she couldn't explain. Simply being able to touch someone without being forced. To offer something of herself that wasn't demanded of her Having a deeper contact with another human being after being treated little better than an animal for so many months.
- loc 1963 - 1975
Love heals -- Genevieve gradually opens up and trusts the world again and Bowen realizes how poorly he's treated women in the past:
"...You make a game of bedding lasses. You use wit and charm to woo them in your bed, and then you move on to another challenge. I'm merely telling you that you should have more respect for Genevieve than to simply make her another conquest."
- Teague to Bowen, loc 3202
But Genevieve was never a game for Bowen -- and he discovers what love between a man and a woman is through his interaction with her. Bowen has always possessed a great love for his family and he has lent his heart exclusively to that -- but, now, with Genevieve, his heart (and his horizons) have expanded:
"I love her," he said fiercely. "She is not some passing amusement. The las thing I'm going to do is hurt her. I'll kill anyone who tries."
- loc 3208
Love is a burden -- the love between Bowen and Genevieve isn't easy and Bowen and Genevieve both have to make difficult decisions for the sake of their love.
The storytelling is a bit circuitous, often repeating the same concept chapter after chapter. I feel it was Maya Banks' way of highlighting the themes of the story but it got a bit tedious at one point. Lastly, it amazes me how the author was able maintain the intense emotion from page 1 up to the end.
Highlander Most Wanted celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit and the renewing power of love. When tested to our limits, we discover that we are capable of so much more -- and in doing so, we emerge victorious.
Highlander Most Wanted is the second book in Maya Banks's The Montgomerys and Armstrongs series and will be released on March 19, 2013. To find out more about Maya Banks and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Disclosure: I received the ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Random House for accepting my request.) Yes, this is an honest review.
*Phrase is repeated 5 times throughout the novel.