“Highland Deception” is the debut of author, Lori Ann Bailey, and is the first in her Highland Pride series. As a fan of all things Scotland, I was predisposed to like this book although, while Bailey does a great job with her debut, it was a tale of two cities for me.
The Story- Maggie is set to marry a rapist/murderer/real jerk, so she decides to run away and join a nunnery. On the road, she unwittingly falls in with a group of men from another clan while showcasing her healing skills. Fearing that they will return her to her fate, she refuses to tell them who she is, which is a problem for their leader, Lachlan. Lachlan falls for her; conflicts arise.
My Thoughts- This story began with a bang and hooked me immediately. Unfortunately, as soon as they arrive at Lachlan’s castle about halfway through, it felt like the story began to flail and random conflicts arose here and there which seemed like an attempt to add drama. I also took issue with the idea that a priest’s niece could be bedded and discarded with no issue. I didn’t swoon over the hero like I normally do when they are wearing kilts, and I think it’s because he did not treat her much better than the other men in her life. I did identify with Maggie, which could be why I took her mistreatment to heart.
The Good- Maggie is a great character: brave, kind, a woman who thinks for herself. The sex scenes and preceding build-up scenes were very hot and well-written. The Scottish brogue is just enough to hear the music of the language, but not over-done in a way that makes it difficult to read. The setting is perfectly described and makes you want to be in Scotland yesterday. The initial conflict and set-up is intriguing and captivating.
The Bottom Line- If you like stories set in Scotland, this is definitely one to pick up as it does a great job of bringing the history, culture and setting into the story instead of just plopping some random story down and saying that it’s Scotland and the hero wears a kilt and calls her “Lassie”. I had some issues with story toward the end and the hero, but it isn’t enough to keep me from recommending this book and looking forward to more from this author. 3 stars