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Lily Blackwood keeps on writing 5-star books, and if she keeps this up, I'm going to have to do a post on my blog just to sing her praises. It will be mandatory. I have to say that this book is my favorite of the three books in the Highland Warrior series, and with all three being phenomenal books, I thought it would be hard to pick a favorite. The reason this one wins is the fact that it gives me a new book boyfriend, Cullen Braewick, who is written as a brawny alpha male with a soft heart who has no known family but takes care to ensure those around him are treated as such. I loved him to pieces.
Enslaved as a young boy and set free by a lord to fight for the king, Cull has grown up surrounded by violence. Loyal to the one who set him free, he fights with honor and discipline, rarely giving in to his emotions. That all changes, however, when a young woman is almost raped by his soldiers, and he saves her without thought to the ramifications. Thinking she is a child, he soon learns she is grown and has all the attributes of a beautiful highland lass. But he has a mission to complete against the rebel Kinclaid clan, and she and her companions could prevent him from succeeding, so he takes them all prisoner. Funny thing is, Derryth MacClaren doesn't feel like a prisoner, and as she grows closer to Cull and realizes what a good man he is, loyalties shift and their love is put to the test.
Derryth and Cull have absolutely mind-blowing chemistry. From the very beginning, I could tell their relationship would be tempestuous and passionate, and it certainly was! Derryth is adamant that her family be warned of the oncoming attack Cull and his men plan, but Cull's kindness towards her and her companions make it difficult for her to decide what to do. She wants to stay with him, as no one has ever made her feel safer, but she knows she has a duty to her clan to protect them. Cull starts out with this very intimidating wall around his heart, but over time it crumbles as he falls in love with Derryth. I enjoyed how they overcame their conflicts, as neither hurt the other so bad that their differences could not be overcome. Although a major confusion towards the end was concerning to me, as I thought this would turn Cull in to a man I didn't like, instead his innate goodness really shone through. He was still the alpha male, but he also admitted when he was wrong and was determined to save those he loved. Couldn't ask for a better hero!
I sincerely hope Lily plans for another book in this series, perhaps for Robert Stewart, a man very deserving of a happy ending in love. Can't wait to read what's next!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**