HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Janet Chapman
Book 8 in the Highlander Series
Contemporary Romance w/ Magic
Today in Pine Creek, Maine
More than three decades have passed since an old wizard transported a group of eleventh-century Highland warriors—and their horses—into the twentieth century. Among them, the MacKeages, the MacBains, and the Gregors are thriving. This story centers on the second generation, specifically Ian MacKeage, a returned veteran of service in Afghanistan , and a newcomer to the area, Jessie Pringle, a young woman scarred in both mind and body.
After four years of intense therapy and rehabilitation following a knife attack, Jessie is ready for a new life, but she feels she might do better in a brand new place. She's strangely drawn to northern Maine through a brochure about the TorStone Mountain Ski Resort. Jessie travels by car from Atlanta accompanied by her good friend Merissa as well as Toby, her one-hundred pound service dog. They check into the lodge where Ian MacKeage works in the family business, but it's not there Jessie meets the man who is to awaken long dormant feelings. That waits until she, Merissa, and Toby go to town and stop in at Pete's bar and Grill. As Mer, who never hesitates to speak her mind, remarks, the place is filled with large, testosterone-laden males. In no time, Mer hooks up with one (Duncan MacKeage) leaving Jessie with Ian.
Jess is thrilled to be dancing for the first time in years. The doctor's told her she would probably never walk again, but after a time wallowing in despair and with the help of Merissa who was her nurse in the hospital, Jess turned into a fighter. It doesn't hurt that she feels so safe in Ian's arms.
Ian can't recall the last time he was so attracted to a woman, certainly none since he returned from the war. Jess is a bit of a mystery. Why would a successful city girl up and move to this remote location? He's even more curious when he accidentally witnesses her going through some kind of seizure…a flashback perhaps to a terrible episode in her past? Ian knows about such things. He, too, wrestles with demons and has a difficult choice to make.
In spite of Jess's wounds and Ian's withdrawal since his return, HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS is an engaging, often lighthearted story. Jess is sassy with an inner core of strength. Ian is definitely an Alpha male but with compassion and tenderness. Merissa can be brash, but she's the best friend a girl could have. She soon leaves to go home to Georgia , but one can only hope we'll see her again sometime.
Other characters take important parts in this tale. Many are from previous books in the Highlander series, the several MacKeages, MacBains, Gregors, and Stones. One important personage is the magical creature going by the name of Roger who seems to be a manipulator nudging our hero and heroine toward their fates. And we can't forget Tobias Pringle, familiarly known as Toby. If one-hundred pounds of Rottweiler can be termed lovable, it is he.
Janet Chapman somehow combines humor, warmth, suspense and romance with an underlying magic as she matches the basically old-fashioned Highlander ethos with today's emancipated woman.
HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS stands alone for the most part, but it's one of a terrific series which fostered spin-offs of other series. Check out the author's website for more information. www.janetchapman.com You'll be highly intrigued.