The Hunter (Highland Guard Series #7)

( 50 )

Overview

The war for Scotland’s freedom continues as King Robert the Bruce battles on. At his command is an elite army of trained warriors, soldiers dedicated to their king, their country—and to the remarkable women they love.
 
Prized for his unbeatable tracking skills, Ewen “Hunter” Lamont accepts a dangerous assignment: locate a missing undercover courier. But this is no ordinary target. Ewen has met his prey before as “Sister Genna,” a fiery, ...

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The Hunter (Highland Guard Series #7)

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Overview

The war for Scotland’s freedom continues as King Robert the Bruce battles on. At his command is an elite army of trained warriors, soldiers dedicated to their king, their country—and to the remarkable women they love.
 
Prized for his unbeatable tracking skills, Ewen “Hunter” Lamont accepts a dangerous assignment: locate a missing undercover courier. But this is no ordinary target. Ewen has met his prey before as “Sister Genna,” a fiery, forbidden woman forever etched in his memory after one stolen, sinful kiss. Now that he knows her real identity, he’s more determined than ever to keep her safe. But without the protection of the veil between them, fighting the allure of the beautiful lass may be the toughest battle this extraordinary warrior has ever faced.
 
After her ill-fated attempt three years ago to rescue her twin sister, Janet of Mar has found salvation acting as a royal messenger—until she surrenders to a darkly handsome warrior whose rough, sensual kisses stir feelings the woman in her can’t deny. But when betrayal leads to danger, and a crucial communiqué is put in jeopardy, Janet has no choice but to put her faith in the hunter who can find anything—perhaps even her heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Robert the Bruce’s war against England continues, McCarty’s seventh Highland Guard romance (after 2012’s The Recruit) stays fresh by exploring the role of the Catholic Church in supporting the Scottish rebels. Ewen “Hunter” Lamont is the greatest tracker in Scotland, so he’s the obvious choice to locate and retrieve a missing courier bearing information critical to the war. The gorgeous woman he believes to be Sister Genna, a feisty Italian nun, is actually the courier he seeks: Lady Janet of Mar, sister-in-law to Robert himself. The basic premise is a familiar one of two hard-headed people kept apart by class and duty but inevitably drawn to each other while facing hardships and danger, with one of them promised by arranged marriage to someone else. Despite the predictable aspects, McCarty creates an enjoyable romance with torrid chemistry, appealing characters, and believable historical situations. Agent: Annelise Robey and Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Literary. (July)
From the Publisher
"McCarty breathes life into her memorable characters as they face dangerous adventures. The fresh plots, infused with romance and passion, are also brimming with history and drama. She's outdone herself with this fiery story of a forbidden love. What a fantastic addition to the series!" —-RT Book Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345543912
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Series: Highland Guard Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 97,711
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Recruit, The Saint, The Viper, The Ranger, The Hawk, and The Chief, the first six books in the Highland Guard series, the Highlander trilogy (Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained), and the Campbell trilogy (Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel). Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer set against her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven. So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes. Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.

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Read an Excerpt

One

Coldingham Priory, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, English Marches

Ides of April, 1310

Ewen didn’t hold his tongue, which more often than not, caused him problems. “You sent a woman? Why the hell would you do that?”

William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, bristled, his face red with anger. It wasn’t the blasphemy, Ewen knew, but the not-so-subtly implied criticism.

Erik MacSorley, the West Highland chieftain and greatest seafarer south of the land of his Viking ancestors, shot Ewen an impatient glare. “What Lamont meant to say,” MacSorley said, attempting to mollify the important prelate, “is that with the English tightening their watch on the local churches, it could be dangerous for the lass.”

Not only could MacSorley sail his way through a maelstrom of shite, he could also talk his way out of one and come out smelling like a rose. They couldn’t have been more different in that regard. Ewen seemed to step in it wherever he walked. Not that he cared. He was a warrior. He was used to wallowing in muck.

Lamberton gave him a look to suggest that muck was exactly where he thought Ewen belonged—preferably under his heel. The churchman addressed MacSorley, ignoring Ewen altogether. “Sister Genna is more than capable of taking care of herself.”

She was a woman—and a nun at that. How in Hades did Lamberton think a sweet, docile innocent could defend herself against English knights bent on uncovering the pro-Scot “couriers of the cloth,” as they’d been dubbed?

The church had provided a key communication network for the Scots through the first phase of the war, as Bruce had fought to retake his kingdom. With war on the horizon again, the English were doing their best to shut down those communication routes. Any person of the cloth—priest, friar, or nun—crossing the borders into Scotland had been subject to increased scrutiny by the English patrols. Even pilgrims were being harassed.

Perhaps sensing the direction of his thoughts, Lachlan MacRuairi interjected before Ewen could open his mouth and make it worse with Lamberton. “I thought you knew we were coming?”

The thin, nondescript bishop might look weak, especially compared to the four imposing warriors who were taking up much of the small vestry of the priory, but Lamberton had not defied the greatest king in Christendom to put Robert the Bruce on the throne without considerable strength and courage. He straightened to his full height—a good half-foot under the shortest of the four Guardsmen (Eoin MacLean, at only a few inches over six feet)—and looked down his long, thin nose at one of the most feared men in Scotland, as MacRuairi’s war name of Viper attested. “I was told to look for you at the new moon. That was over a week ago.”

“We were delayed,” MacRuairi said without further explanation.

The bishop didn’t ask, probably assuming—correctly—that it had to do with a secret mission for the Highland Guard, the elite group of warriors handpicked by Bruce to form the greatest fighting force ever seen, each warrior the best of the best in his discipline of warfare. “I could not wait any longer. It is imperative that the king receive this message as soon as possible.”

Though they were in England, it was not Edward Plantagenet, the English king, of whom Lamberton spoke, but the Scottish one, Robert Bruce. For Lamberton’s efforts in helping Bruce to that throne, the bishop had been imprisoned in England for two years, and then released and confined to the diocese of Durham for two more. Although recently the bishop had been permitted to travel to Scotland, he was back in England under English authority. It was where Bruce needed him. The bishop was the central source for most of the information winding its way to Scotland through the complex roadway of churches, monasteries, and convents.

“Where did she go?” MacLean asked, speaking for the first time.

“Melrose Abbey by way of Kelso. She left a week ago, joining a small group of pilgrims seeking the healing powers of Whithorn Abbey. Even if the English do stop them, they will let her on her way once they hear her accent. What cause would they have to suspect an Italian nun? She is probably already on her way back by now.”

The four members of the Highland Guard exchanged glances. If the message was as important as the bishop said, they’d best make sure.

MacSorley, who had command of the small team for this mission, held Ewen’s gaze. “Find her.”

Ewen nodded, not surprised the task had fallen to him. It was what he did best. He might not be able to sail or talk his way out of a maelstrom like MacSorley, but he could track his way through one. He could hunt almost anything or anyone. MacSorley liked to say Ewen could find a ghost in a snowstorm. One wee nun shouldn’t give him too much trouble.

Sister Genna was used to finding trouble, so initially she wasn’t alarmed when the four English soldiers stopped them on the outskirts of town. It wasn’t the first time she’d been questioned by one of the English patrols that roamed the Borders from one of the castles they occupied nearby, and she was confident of her ability to talk her way out of any difficulties.

But she hadn’t factored in her companion. Why, oh why, had she let Sister Marguerite come along with her? She knew better than to involve someone else. Hadn’t she learned her lesson four years ago?

But the young nun with the sickly disposition and big, dark eyes so full of loneliness at being so far from her home had penetrated Genna’s resolve to avoid attachments. Over the past nine days on the journey from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Melrose, Genna had found herself watching over the girl who’d just recently taken her vows, making sure she had enough to eat and that the walking wasn’t tiring her overmuch. The girl—at barely ten and eight, Genna couldn’t think of her as anything else—had already suffered one breathing spell since leaving Berwick. Sister Marguerite suffered from what the Greeks called “asthma.” The lung ailment had taken her from her home in Calais in a pilgrimage to seek the healing powers of St. Ninian’s shrine at Whithorn Abbey.

But Genna’s journey had come to an end at Melrose, and when the time had come for them to part ways this morning, she’d found her throat growing suspiciously tight. Marguerite had looked at her with those soulful brown eyes and begged Genna to let her walk with her part of the way. And God forgive her, Genna had relented. “Just as far as Gallows Brae,” she’d told her, referring to the small foothill not far beyond the market cross where the church used to hang its criminals. What harm could come to the girl in the middle of the day, a stone’s throw from the abbey?

Plenty, it seemed.

Marguerite gave a startled cry as the soldiers surrounded them, and Genna cast her a reassuring glance. It will be all right, she told her silently. Let me handle it.

Genna turned to the thickset soldier with a tinge of red in his beard, whom she took for the leader. Seated on his horse with the sun behind him, she found herself squinting at the gleam from his mail. What little she could see of his face under the steel helm and mail coif looked blunt, coarse, and none-too-friendly.

She spoke at first in Italian, with its roots in Vulgar Latin, which it was clear he didn’t understand, and then in the heavily accented French that she used with Sister Marguerite and was more commonly understood in the area, which he did. Looking him straight in the eye and giving him her most reverent smile, she told him the truth. “We carry no messages. We are only visitors to your country. How do you say . . . p-p,” she feigned, looking for the right word.

He stared at her dumbly. God, the man was thick—even for a soldier! Over the past few years she’d run into her share. Giving up, she pointed to her pilgrim’s staff and the copper scallop-shell badge of St. James that she wore on her cloak.

“Pilgrims?” he filled in helpfully.

“Yes, pilgrims!” She beamed at him as if he were the most brilliant man in the world.

The man might be thick but he wasn’t easily put off. His gaze sharpened first on her and then on Marguerite. Genna felt her pulse jump, not liking the way his gaze turned assessing. “Why do you not speak, sister? What are you doing out here on the road alone?” he asked Marguerite.

Genna tried to answer for her, but he cut her off. “I will hear from this one myself. How can I be sure you are foreigners as you say?” He said something in English to one of his companions, and Genna was careful not to react. She didn’t want him to realize that she understood English. Not even Marguertite knew. “Look at those tits,” he said, pointing to Marguerite. “Bet they’re half her weight.”

Marguerite shot her a terrified look, but Genna nodded her head in encouragement, glad for Marguerite’s ignorance of their words. Still, Genna’s heartbeat quickened.

“We were saying goodbye, monsieur,” Marguerite explained in her native French.

His eyes sparked. “Goodbye? I thought you were on a pilgrimage?”

Fearing what Marguerite might unintentionally reveal, Genna interrupted again. “My destination was Melrose. Sister Marguerite seeks the healing powers of Whithorn Abbey.”

His eyes narrowed on the young nun, taking in her thin face and pale complexion. For once, Genna was grateful that the fragile state of Marguerite’s health was reflected in her delicate appearance.

“Is that so?” he asked slowly. “I did not realize Melrose Abbey was a popular pilgrimage destination.”

“Perhaps not as popular as Whithorn or Iona, but popular enough for those who revere the lady,” she said, crossing herself reverently, and he frowned. Melrose, like all Cistercian abbeys, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

“And you travel by yourself? That is quite unusual.”

Genna had had a dog like him once. Once he got hold of a bone, he wouldn’t let it go. She just needed to find a way to get him to drop it. But first she had to make sure Marguerite was safely away. “In my country, no. Only someone possessed by the devil would harm a bride of Christ.” She paused innocently, letting him contemplate that. His face darkened, and she continued, “There is a group of pilgrims we passed on their way to Dryburgh Abbey,” which was only a few miles away. “I hope to join them for the rest of the journey. Perhaps you will be so kind as to show me the way?” Without waiting for him to answer, she pulled Marguerite into a hug. With any luck, Marguerite would be gone before he realized what she’d done. “Goodbye, Sister. Godspeed on your journey,” she said loudly, then whispered in her ear so that only she could hear, “Go . . . quickly . . . please.”

The girl opened her mouth to argue, but Genna’s hands tightened on her shoulders to stave off her protests.

Marguerite gave her a long anxious look, but she did as she was bid and started to walk away. She tried to slip through a gap between two of the horses, but the leader stopped her. “Wait there, Sister. We have not finished our questions yet. Have we, lads?”

The way the men looked at each other made Genna’s pulse take an anxious leap. They were enjoying this, and it was clear that it was not the first time they’d been in this position. Could these soldiers have something to do with the group of nuns who’d gone missing late last year?

She looked around for help. It was the middle of the day—mid-morning, actually. Surely someone would pass along this way soon. However, although the village was just behind them, the thick trees that shrouded the road like a leafy tunnel prevented anyone from seeing them. And even if they were seen, would anyone interfere? It would take a brave soul to stand up to four mail-clad English soldiers.

Nay, it was up to her to get them out of this. She’d tried appealing to the leader’s vanity and that hadn’t worked. Nor had appealing to his honor, which appeared distinctly lacking. The man was a bully, who liked to prey on the weak and vulnerable—which, fortunately, she was not. But he’d shown discomfort when she reminded him of her holy status, so she would concentrate on that.

A quick glance at Marguerite made her heart sink with dread. God help them, fear was bringing on one of Marguerite’s attacks! Though it had happened only once before, Genna recognized the telltale quick gasping of breath.

Genna didn’t have much time. Having lost patience with the soldier’s game, she rushed over to the girl and pulled her under her arm protectively. She murmured soothing words, trying to calm her down, all the while glaring up at the captain. “Look what you have done. You have upset her. She is having an attack.”

But the words seem to have no effect on the man. “This won’t take long,” he said. “Bring them,” he said to his men in English, presumably so she wouldn’t understand.

Before Genna could react, she and Marguerite were being dragged deeper into the forest, her staff lying useless in the leaves behind them. Marguerite was clutching at her frantically and let out a desperate cry when the soldiers finally managed to separate them.

Genna tried to appear calm though her heart was racing. “Don’t worry, Sister,” she said confidently, “this will all be sorted out quickly. I’m sure these good Christian men mean us no harm.”

It was a sin to lie, but in some cases, she was certain it would be excused. Genna didn’t need to understand the soldiers’ words to guess what they planned. But unfortunately, she understood every one of them, so she heard the chilling details.

“The old one is prettier,” the captain said, switching again to English to speak to his men. “But we’d better start with the sickly one in case she doesn’t last. I want to see those tits.”

Genna forced herself not to show any reaction to his words, but anger, and perhaps a twinge of fear at hearing them talk so matter-of-factly about rape and the death of her friend, surged through her. She had no intention of allowing that to happen. And seven and twenty was mature, not old!

The situation was deteriorating, but Genna had been in lots of sticky situations before. This might be stickier than most, but it wasn’t over yet.

The soldiers didn’t bother taking them very far, almost as if they knew no one would dare interfere. Bruce might control the north of Scotland, but the English reign of terror was still in full force in the Scottish Marches. The English operated with impunity—except for the occasional raid or ambush from Bruce’s men. The English were no more than brigands with authority, Genna thought. But soon Bruce would send them running back to England. She had put herself in this position to help ensure that happened.

They entered a small clearing in the trees, and the men released them with a hard push. Both women stumbled forward, Genna barely catching herself before falling to her knees. Marguerite wasn’t so fortunate, and Genna watched in horror as her gasping intensified. She couldn’t seem to get off her hands and knees, as if the effort was too much for her.

“I see she’s ready for us,” one of the soldiers snickered.

Genna bowed her head, muttering a prayer in Latin so the men wouldn’t see the heat rise to her cheeks in anger. She might be innocent, but she’d been in enough barns with rutting beasts to understand their meaning. Apparently, men were no different.

The captain was eyeing Marguerite’s raised bottom. When his hand reached under his habergeon mail shirt to loosen the ties at his waist, Genna knew she had to act fast.

She stepped between them, trying to turn him from his foul intent—or at least turn it to her. “My sister is ill, sir. Perhaps if you tell me what you are looking for I can clear up this misunderstanding, and we can all get on with our duties. Ours to God,” she reminded him, “and yours to your king.”

It was clear he’d forgotten the original purpose for which he’d stopped them. “Messages,” he said, his gaze drifting impatiently to Marguerite behind her. “Being carried north to the rebels by churchmen—and women,” he added. “But treason will not hide under holy vestments any longer. We’ve had reports that many of these messages have passed through Melrose Abbey. King Edward intends to put a stop to it.”

“Ah,” she said, as if in sudden understanding. “Now, I see the reason for your suspicion, sir. You were certainly justified in stopping us, but as I told you, neither Sister Marguerite nor I carry any of these messages.” She held out the leather bag she carried with her belongings for him to inspect. Bending down, she reached for Marguerite’s small purse, trying to ignore the frantic gasping of her friend’s breathing. Comfort would have to wait. Untying it, she held it up to him. He barely glanced inside before tossing it away.

“See?” she said. “Nothing to hide. Now that we have proved to you our innocence, you have no cause to detain us.”

He was angry; she could see that. But the longer she delayed him, the more time he had to think about his actions—his unjustified actions. He seemed to be hesitating when one of the men suggested, “What if it’s hidden someplace else, Captain?”

She pretended not to understand him, but a cold chill ran down her spine as a slow smile spread up the captain’s mouth. He reached down and tore off her veil. She cried out as the pins were ripped free, and her hair tumbled down her back in a heavy silken mass. Her hands immediately went to her head, but there was no way to hide it.

She swore under her breath at the reaction it provoked, hearing the exclamations and oaths. The long golden tresses were her one vanity—her one connection to her past identity. Janet of Mar was dead; it was silly to hold on to what she’d been. But she couldn’t bear to cut her hair as most of the nuns did. And now that vanity might cost her.

The captain let out a slow whistle. “Would you look at that, lads,” he said in English. “We found ourselves a real beauty. Wonder what else the lass is hiding under those robes?”

No amount of training could have prevented her from flinching at the words she was not supposed to understand, knowing what he meant to do. Fortunately, he was too caught up to notice her reaction. He pulled her to her feet, put his gauntleted hands at her neck, and ripped the coarse wool fabric of her scapula and habit to the waist.

Marguerite screamed.

Genna might have too. She struggled, but he was too strong. He tore the cloak from her neck and tugged the damaged gown past her shoulders. All that prevented her from nakedness was a thin chemise that was far too fine for a nun—another indulgence—but he didn’t notice. And after a few more tears, that was gone too. Wool and linen had been reduced to strips of fabric hanging off her shoulders. She tried to cover herself, but he pulled her arms away.

The captain’s eyes grew dark with lust as his gaze locked on her naked breasts.

Her heart froze in terror. For one moment her confidence faltered.

“What does she have on her back, Captain?” one of the men said from behind her. Genna wanted to thank him. His words—his reminder—struck the fear from heart, replacing it with fiery determination. She would get them out of this.

She spun on him, not bothering to cover herself. “They are the marks of my devotion. Have you never seen the mark of whips and a hair shirt?”

The men startled. Genna knew what they saw: the horrible lines of pink puckered flesh that marked her pale back. But she didn’t see them that way. The scars were a reminder, a badge she wore to remind her of a day she could never be allowed to forget. Of a man who’d been like a father to her whose death was on her soul. These scars had made her stronger. They’d given her a purpose.

“I’ve never seen scars like that on a woman before.”

“I’m not a woman,” she snapped at the man who’d spoken. He was younger and not as certain as the others of the course his captain had set upon. “I’m a nun. A bride of Christ.” She hoped this was another one of those times that a lie wouldn’t be considered a sin. She pulled down the shreds of cloth that remained, turning slowly so each man could see. “Touch either of us and you will suffer eternal hellfire. God will punish you for your transgressions.”

The younger man went white.

She looked back to the captain, her eyes blazing with the fury of her conviction, daring him to come near her. “Our innocence is meant for God. Take it and you will suffer.” The captain started to back away and Genna knew she had won. She stepped toward him, unrelenting and uncowering. “Your body will burn with the fire of your sin. Your manhood will shrivel to black, your bollocks to the size of raisins, and you will never know another woman. You will be damned for eternity.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Another AMAZING one from McCarty Loved it! McCarty does it again

    Another AMAZING one from McCarty
    Loved it! McCarty does it again. Am I surprised? Heck NO! This is another well written story. I loved Janet and Ewen both. Janet is a sliver tongued, too smart for her own good, strong, independent woman who will not be pushed around by any man. Ewen is the best tracker "Hunter" in the land and a headstrong male with typical male views on a woman's place in the world. 

    What can I say, this book was pretty much perfect. I love that no matter how capable of taking care of herself and independent Janet is, she still needs her hero every once in a while. I really enjoyed watching the headstrong and unemotional Ewen, struggle with feelings vs. loyalty. However, I wish there would have been more sex but the tension and anticipation of it was also really good. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I must give applauds to Monica. This was an amazingly well writt

    I must give applauds to Monica. This was an amazingly well written story. In the way she described their surroundings, the person's emotions, physical apperence and when she described some of the scents, it was like you could smell them off the pages. I have a vivid, active imagination what could I say? Its lovely to watch as a stone non-emotional "hunter" turn into a big softy, once he finally realizes he found the one thing he didn't even realize he had lost. I will be honest, I am thankful not to have lived in those days. I don't think I could have been as brave, strong and controlled as Janet. It was so hard to put he book down once I had picked it up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2013

    The BEST of story telling!!!

    The BEST of story telling!!! Book 7 equal to Book 1-6. Ms. McCarty's historical research is daunting, brilliant and i laud with highest respect her efforts to weave real history into these beautiful romantic tales of early Scotland. All of Ms. McCarty's books are well worth every minute of your time and well well worth reading again!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    Captivating and Breathtaking 7 stars! I just finished reading Th

    Captivating and Breathtaking 7 stars!
    I just finished reading The Hunter, very well written by Monica McCarty, her 7th novel in her
    Highland Guards series. Ms. McCarty has done it again and proved that is one of the best medieval writers I have known. I am fascinated with her writing that gets me addicted to read her book non-stopping!
    Once I started, I really got hooked in this amazing adventure. It is one of the best Scottish stories that I have read in a long-time, captivating, as I love them! This one has become my favorite of her novels in this series.
    It's the story of Ewen "The Hunter" Lamont and Genna, Lady Janet of Mar. Ewen is a charming and handsome warrior and Genna, a nun, who delivers secrets messages to King Robert the Bruce. The King asks Ewen to rescue Sister Genna and protect her, but his mission will become quite a challenge. As soon as he sees her, he cannot understand the attraction he has for her but some stolen kisses between the two will get them to live a wonderful adventure. You will be carried away by her strong characters and be fascinated with a story filled with tenderness and passion. I love Highlanders stories and I highly recommend The Hunter if you love Scottish romance. You really have to read this novel! Some scenes are very well written; one of my favorite scenes is this one: Genna, fearing for her life, cursed the soldiers by saying, "Your body will burn with the fire of your sin, your manhood will shrivel to black, your bollocks to the size of raisins and you will never know another woman". I had to laugh! I could almost feel the passion between Ewen and Genna. Ms. McCarty is truly a high quality writer and I admire her stories so much, that I am already excited to read her 8th novel The Raider.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    Ewen Lamont is one of the "Highland Guard", a speciali

    Ewen Lamont is one of the "Highland Guard", a specialized group of warriors fighting for Robert the Bruce and Scotland. Janet of Mar is one of the sisters of Robert's late wife and a courier who delivers vital messages about English movements to the Bruce. When Ewen is sent after her in her current guise as a nun because Robert fears her cover may have been compromised, he is stunned to find a lovely young woman fending off English soldiers who have a nefarious purpose toward her and a fellow sister. Ms. McCarty breathes life into her characters and pulls the reader completely under her spell and deep into the story. Ewen was flawed but very appealing and Janet was a heroine I found easy to root for and though I was well aware that there would be a HEA, I still found myself holding my breath through some of the more harrowing scenes. This series has been enjoyable and "The Hunter" is definitely one of my new favorites.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After a failed attempt at rescuing her twin sister, Janet of Mar

    After a failed attempt at rescuing her twin sister, Janet of Mar has been working for Bruce King of Scotland as a spy. She is posing as a nun, currying messages about the English war intent. A vital piece of King Bruce's effort, her plans are interrupted when a handsome highland warrior comes to her rescue...whether she wants it or not.

    Ewen “Hunter” Lamont has been serving on King Bruce's elite guard, hoping to restore his family's name and properties. As one of the best trackers in the king's army, Hunter was chosen to search out a missing carrier. The same woman that fired all his sensual desires even when he thought her to be a nun. Bringing her home might be difficult but returning her for an arranged marriage to might be the hardest thing he ever has to do.

    Two extremely strong, intelligent characters with similar goals clash like the titans...watching the developing relationship between Janet and Hunter was magnificent. I loved seeing Hunter's perceptions slowly change, discovering the value, strength and ability of the woman in his care...while it was amazing to have a woman portrayed with such capable and masterful abilities in a historical romance.

    I truly enjoyed The Hunter. You'd need a chain saw to cut the romantic tension in this story. Their was plenty of action and sword play but what I found most riveting was the emotional connection to the characters. I absolutely loved Janet, her ability to adapt and thrive through any circumstance made her a heroine to make all woman proud. Ewen was the dark and brooding highlander with a touch of emotional baggage. Monica McCarty created the perfect recipe for a fabulously entertaining historical romance.

    This ARC copy of The Hunter was given to me by Random House - Ballantine Books in exchange for a honest review. Publication Date June 25, 2013.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I enjoy a good Highland story. This is a good Highland story. Wh

    I enjoy a good Highland story. This is a good Highland story. While this has a great many romance moments it has much more historical moments. I read a lot of Scottish books yet I can never remember most of the history. Dates float around in my head and names spin so I get confused. Monica makes her books and characters make sense. She knows her history and isn't afraid to use it. She makes her characters truly flesh and blood people. She comes up with really odd ways to out smart the English while making it seem that was the way it was done. This is one book in a series but you can read this as a stand alone. Give it a try. You won't be sorry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    OMG! Just OMG! I am behind in this series becuase of life and wr

    OMG! Just OMG! I am behind in this series becuase of life and writing, but I can't find myself upset about that. LOL. Cuz now I get to read THE KNIGHT, THE RAIDER, and THE ARROW in a row.I absolutely adored this story, and it honestly made me want to read the whole series over again.
    Lachlan's book (THE VIPER) is my fave, with Magnus (THE SAINT) and Kenneth(THE RECRUIT) tied for 2nd (don't tell them, ;) ) but WOW I love EWEN! I never considered myself a history buff, but these books play on what I already knew, as well as work in new info for me to file away. I really love the stories. McCarty is BRILLIANT. In her characters, heroes and fab heroines in a time when a strong woman wasn't desirable. I love Janet, just adore her strength and stubbornness as well as her love for Ewen. As ALWAYS I LOVE the "true to history" notes McCarty puts in the back. :) YAY! I love this awesome series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    ?????

    There is a review all ready for the ARROW. That review was posted in early July. According to the date release date is set for late August. Something funny going on. What? and Why?

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  • Posted August 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Bri Book provided by NetGalley for review Review ori

    Reviewed by Bri
    Book provided by NetGalley for review
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

    I have a new favorite highland author! I’m blown away at McCarty’s ability to create three dimensional characters, weaving continuing action right up to the very end, and this is BOOK seven! I’m going back to read all six others as well as her other two Highland trilogies.

    Ewen Lamont was just the right amount of alpha male to Genna (Janet)’s alpha female. It was really fun to see them try to outwit each other. And believe me these two have wit, strength, loyalty, and looks. The attraction was always there but it wasn’t as earth shattering at first as the blurb makes you believe. It built as they two are forced to learn how much they needed each other and to trust.

    The ending was perfect and a pleasant surprise. I say that because it would seem McCarty’s has a talent for giving you one impression of resolution then pleasantly surprising you with more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Awesome Series

    Monica McCarty skillfully mixes History and Fiction, excellent series brings true stories to vibrant life.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Love this series

    I love the Highland Guard series by Monica McCarty an was so excited to get book 7 Hunter. Monica has a way of creating characters that come alive and are long remembered after reading. I have reread the previous books twice all ready and never get tired of them. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves Highlanders and Scotland as much as I do. I cannot get enough of these historical characters. I am looking forward to book 8 and all others that follow. I recommend you start with book 1 The Cheif and follow through to 7 Hunter. You won't be sorry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    great

    This book was so entertaining, an absolute must read. This author makes other authors look like amatures. The H&H were fabulous Perfect strong and modern heroin and gorgeous stong warrior hero make for a sizzling and adventurous read that you wont regret. Im spoiled for my next book!

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  • Posted September 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    THE HUNTER by Monica McCarty is an exciting Scottish Historical

    THE HUNTER by Monica McCarty is an exciting Scottish Historical Romance set in 1310 Scotland. #7 in the "Highland Guard" series, but I found it can be read as a stand alone, with some re-appearing characters. For a complete list and special offers,of the "Highland Guard" series, visit the author's website. First there is, Ewen “Hunter” Lamont,Chieftain of a minor clan,loyal,and is one of an elite team of warriors trained to help Robert The Bruce. Than you have, Sister Genna/Janet,one of Bruce's missing couriers,an Italian nun, feisty, and determined. Getting her back to The Bruce could not only be dangerous to their health, but when their passion ignites their hearts could be involved also. With a dangerous but crucial mission, betrayal,secrets, passion and so much more will capture your heart as you turn pages. Fast paced, action filled adventure for these two strong-willed, determined people that could lead to treason, and death. If you have never read one of Ms. McCarty's stories, you are in for a treat, if you have, than you know how strong, and engaging her characters are and how intriguing her plots become. If you enjoy Scottish warriors, their feisty, strong, ladies than don't miss "The Hunter". A great read! Received for an honest review from the publisher and Edelweiss.

    RATING: 4

    HEAT RATING: MILD

    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Great book...great series.

    Can't get enough of ms. Mccarty's books. I'd suggest starting at the beginning. They're worth it. Always sad when they end because the characters are very rich and interesting. So...when does the next one come out?

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  • Posted September 4, 2013

    as posted at The READING CAFE 10 Aug ARC of THE HUNTER provided

    as posted at The READING CAFE 10 Aug
    ARC of THE HUNTER provided by NetGalley for an honest review

    COMBINED REVIEW with The Recruit and The Saint (removed due to space on review, please see other books for combined review)

    5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

    So before I get into this combined review I need to give you a brief synopsis of the previous books.  This review consists of books 5, 6 and 7 but to appreciate these books, I do think that the reader should indulge in 1 through 4 first.  That being said, Monica McCarty does give brief explanation in each book when other characters from previous books are included.  

    Our setting is early 1300's, medieval Scotland/England just after William Wallace was executed.  Robert the Bruce is trying to win control of the Scottish crown and has decided to form an elite warrior army.  These warriors are the best of the best and each warrior possesses their own particular skill that is crucial to the team.  These warriors are not all friends, and truth be told, they come from warring clans.  However, to ensure that "The Bruce" wins this war, they put their differences aside.  This elite army is top secret, and they are known as phantoms who attack in the curling mist and disappear just as quick.  When they strike, it is quick, precise and DEADLY!

    Here they are (the warriors that have their own book so far, with more to follow)!

    THE CHIEF - Tor MacLoed, team leader and expert swordsman
    THE HAWK - Eric MacSorley, seafarer and swimmer
    THE RANGER - Arthur Campbell, scouting and reconnaissance
    THE VIPER - Lachlan MacRuairi, stealth, infiltration and extraction
    THE SAINT - Magnus MacKay, survivalist and weapon forging
    THE RECRUIT - Kenneth "Ice" Sutherland, explosives and versatility
    THE HUNTER - Ewen Lamont, tracker and hunter of men

    Of course it goes without saying ... behind every great warrior is a great woman!  WINK!  LOL

    THE HUNTER - Book 7 of the Highland Guard Series

    REVIEW

    Ewen Lamont comes from a scandalous marriage that forever has foreshadowed his own life.  He is the son of "WILD" Lamont.  A man who lived to beat of his own drum, was a drunk and never backed away from a challenge.  After his sudden death, Ewen assumed responsibility of a small strip of land and a clan that has been neglected.  In order to provide for his people, Ewen becomes a member of the guard.  He is obedient, tight lipped and lives to correct his father's errors.

    Ewen is asked to track down  "Sister Genna" who is actually Janet of Mar (Mary's sister) whom is presumed dead after trying to rescue her sister (this is all in the book The Recruit).  She has been a courier for the King, passing along top secret intelligence and using the cross as her cover.  After a passionate embrace, Ewen kicks himself for compromising a nun.  Once he finds out that she is not a nun however, but the twin sister of Mary, he is FURIOUS.  Again he is called upon by the King to bring her to him so he can tell her that she is betrothed to another.  While Ewen knows this information, he neglects to tell Janet as he knows she'll fight going with him.

    Through their journey, Janet tries to seduce her way into Ewen's heart.  Ewen does all he can to fight her off knowing that is he indulges in his lust he has more to lose than Janet.  He is fearful the King will strip him of his land and force his clan into perish.

    Throughout the highlands, these two get to know each other and the attraction only grows.  Ewen also makes his position on Janet's part in the war known and she will not give up the only thing in her life that makes up for past mistakes.  A war of wills follows!

    So Monica McCarty is by far one of the best highland romance writers I have ever read!  She can write a beautiful love story but that isn't what stuck me in this series.  She is basing her love stories off real people and real events.  At the end of each story, she includes an authors note.  This note consists of her historical research, who is fiction, who isn't, what battles occurred during that books time, how the English and Scottish worked apart and together.  IT WAS FASCINATING to read how she brings it all together.  Her books are full of battle and history and so much ACTION.  While the fluff is amazing, and the sexual tension between hero and heroine is intense, I was captivated by the war and who stood where and why!

    If you love the highlanders, do yourself a favour and snag this series.  I have rated every book thus far a 5 out of 5.  I have never been disappointed!


    HAPPY READING! :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    I have enjoyed all the books of the series and this is no except

    I have enjoyed all the books of the series and this is no exception. Great beach read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Good series

    This was a great series! Each book flowed into the next and the characters that were introduced in one book were carried over into the next. I read the entire series in 4 days because I could not put my IPad down. I am just grateful that I did not find the series until after it was completed. I am one of those readers that loves to reads, however I really dislike when I get to the end of a great book only to find out that I have to wait six to twelve months for the next part. It makes it seem like the book was left unfinished. I highly recommend the Highland Guard Series!!

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  • Posted July 24, 2013

    From the moment I saw that this book involved Scotland and a hig

    From the moment I saw that this book involved Scotland and a highlander, I wanted to read it.  I have an affinity for all things Scottish, even though I’ve never visited the country myself (though I desperately want to). It’s one of the main reasons that Gerard Butler is my perfect man, though he has many other fine qualities as well… but don’t get me started… -starts to stare off into the distance- … ahem! Sorry! Back to the review!

    Janet is a woman known by many names, and working undercover for the King (Robert the Bruce) to deliver important information about English Troops and where they’ll attack next. She is a nun, an apprentice, a daughter and a twin. Ewan is part of The Bruce’s Highland Guard, or “Phantoms” as the people call them. Amazing warriors, able to take on entire squadrons all on their own.  Ewan’s war name is “Hunter” — the best tracker in the land. And when Janet goes missing, Hunter is sent to find her. And find her he does…

    This book had moments that were thrilling and moments where I found myself skimming paragraphs that I didn’t think were necessary or just dragged on.  This is the first book by Monica McCarty that I’ve read, so I don’t know if it’s a common trait to have run-on sentences or if it’s singular to this one book.  The quote above is a perfect example. While some of them work for the book, others just get a little silly and your brain is fighting to catch up to what the sentence even began with. There is a four-page kiss in this book — no lie. Four. Pages.

    Over-all, it’s a good book, but the parts that I skimmed due to the story running stagnant were detractors. And it happened in all parts of the story — sex scenes, history, battles and general story line. So a 3.5 out of 5 from me.

    However, I did anticipate one special moment and when it happened, I did, in fact, giggle.

    “Damn it, Janet!” (-insert singing- “I LOVE YOU!”)

    If you’re awesome, you’ll get the reference. (Reviewed by Ginny)

    Good Quote:
    “And moments later when she looked into his eyes, as he stroked her to the very peak of passion, when her breath caught, her body clenched, and warmth spread over every inch of her, shattering into a blinding light, Janet knew something else: she was glad she wasn’t a nun.”

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Loved It!

    Monica stays true to her Highland Guard characters. I had several good laughs during the story. If you have enjoyed the previous books in the Highland Guard series, you will not be dissappointed.

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