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Highland Treasure: Highland Brides

by Lynsay Sands

Series: Highland Brides (9)

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Another Buchanan brother bites the dust. Rory Buchanan is a healer who is well-known throughout Scotland and even into England. He and his brother Alick are the last of the unmarried Buchanan brothers, though not for lack of opportunity. His family does their best to put a variety of women in front of him, but Rory isn't interested. He will eventually get around to marrying, but his healer duties occupy him more. That all comes to an end when he receives a request to escort a "treasure" to a family friend's home.

Elysande barely escaped her home with her life. A family friend turned traitor murdered her parents and all of their soldiers and beat Elysande nearly to death, searching for incriminating evidence against him. With the help of the servants and two knights who were away during the attack, she escapes the castle to meet with the man who will get her to her extended family.

I liked both Elysande and Rory. She is intelligent, kind, determined, and more than a little stubborn. It's that stubbornness that compels her to bury her pain for as long as she can to facilitate their escape from her pursuers. Her kindness is evident in many ways during their journey, but especially during their stay in Carlisle. I loved how easily she connected with all types of people. Rory has been present in the previous books, helping his brothers along their ways to wedded bliss, but not ready to take that step himself. He immediately steps up to take responsibility for Elysande's safety and find a way to get that evidence where it will do the most good.

I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Rory and Elysande. She intrigues Rory from the start with her determination and resilience, while Elysande finds it easy to trust him. I found it very amusing that Elysande was most interested in Rory for his protection rather than his healing abilities, as she is a good healer herself. Rory's nose was out of joint because he wanted to be the one to heal her. I loved seeing them get to know each other over the journey and learn to trust each other. I had to laugh at how Elysande's trust manifested during the first nights on the road, and she moved in on him while she was asleep. Poor Rory surely had some uncomfortable moments!

As Rory and Elysande grew closer, Rory had some unexpected bouts of insecurity. Because she doesn't need him as a healer, and he doesn't see himself as special, he isn't sure what he can offer her. It takes some effort to convince him that he is more than just a healer; he is a fierce protector and a good and honorable man. That honor and protectiveness kick in when he realizes her reputation is a stake, and he takes steps to preserve it. I loved watching the attraction between them simmer until it could no longer be contained and how it enhanced the feelings growing between them.

The tension remains high throughout the book as their little troop barely seems to stay a step ahead of their pursuers. I loved their time in the town of Carlisle. Elysande's ability to connect with anyone makes friends out of enemies. Rory worries that she's too open with those that she encounters, and I could feel his frustration with her. But Elysande is proved right in a hilarious scene when nearly the entire town turns out to help them get away. Their worries aren't over yet, as even once they make it into Scotland, their enemies are close behind. An attack on Elysande puts her life in danger and raises Rory's suspicions. I loved watching him put his mind to discovering the truth, solving the issue of getting the evidence to the English king, and keeping Elysande safe. A last-minute betrayal nearly brought disaster, and I ached for Elysande because of it. Once again, Rory saved the day.

I loved the ending. First, the king summoned Rory and Elysande. I laughed out loud as Elysande talked circles around the king, making it impossible for him to annul the marriage between her and Rory. Rory's amusement was fun to watch, as the king knew he'd been played and couldn't logically do anything about it. Then, a month later, Rory's "reward" for his help showed up in Scotland. I laughed out loud as Rory faced that headache, only to turn around and find another one coming from the other direction. Elysande's happiness was vital to him, but what he faced could have been a disaster. I loved how it turned out and chuckled at her description of it being like having a kitchen full of cooks. Now I can't wait for Alick's story. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Mar 19, 2021 |
The inimitable Lynsay Sands has just delivered another exciting Highland tale filled with wit, cross country chases, love, honor, and betrayal. It is unusual for me to love both of the main characters equally, but, this time, I loved both of them. I normally love one of the leads and will, at best, like the other. Of course, I’ve loved Rory throughout the series and have really looked forward to him finding his special lady – and I am so happy that she really was special. While this is the ninth book in the series, you can totally read this as a standalone without being the least bit lost. That said, it is a wonderful series and I highly recommend all of the books.

Brutally beaten, shaken, kicked, and locked in a dungeon, Lady Elysande de Valance has just barely managed to escape the castle in which her parents and all of their soldiers were murdered by de Buci, someone thought to be a friend. Just before her mother died, she gave Elysande a letter to take to Rory Buchanan who just happens to be in England. The letter asks Rory to deliver a treasure to her Sinclair relatives in the Highlands of Scotland.

As a gifted healer, Rory is being paid a small fortune to travel to England to heal Baron Monmouth. Normally, Rory wouldn’t charge for healing, but the Baron asked him to travel all the way to England – and he offered the payment – and he is English … Just as Rory is taking his leave of the Baron, Rory’s brother, Alick, delivers a note to him. The note asks Rory to deliver a treasure to the Sinclair’s in the Highlands.

When Rory and his men reach the clearing to which the note directed them, all they saw was an abandoned cart. No horse attached to the cart, nobody around at all – just some bags piled on the cart. What? Then, three riders appeared at the edge of the woods. When the riders tell their tale, Rory immediately agrees to help.

As they all head out for the Highlands, de Buci and his soldiers are in hot pursuit. Rory and his men have to keep the badly injured Elysande safe, figure out how to save the English King along with his son, and manage to make it back to the Highlands in one piece. Of course, along the way, love happens as well.

I loved Elysande because she was smart, savvy, brave, honorable, witty, and stubborn as the devil himself. Sometimes she was a bit too stubborn, but she was also faithful and loyal to her people and her king. What she endured, without complaint, lets you know how resilient she was.

This was a lovely, exciting, couldn’t-put-it-down read and I can hardly wait for Alick’s story. I hope you’ll give the story a try and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. BTW – the epilogue is absolutely priceless – you should read the book just for that if nothing else.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ( )
  BarbaraRogers | Jan 14, 2021 |
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