ARC Review: Highland Obsession

ARC Review: Highland Obsession

Releases August 4, 2009

They were the unlikeliest of friends debauching their way around London: the Earl of Camdonn, a nobleman of vast wealth and power, and Scottish laird Alan MacDonald, a respected Jacobite with ambitions of his own.

But their friendship is destroyed when Alan marries beautiful Sorcha Stewart - only to
witness Cam kidnap her from their bedroom. Then Alan learns the truth: His bride was not an innocent. She took a lover before him - his friend, who taught her the ways of pleasure.

Now Alan will do anything to get his wife back.
Cam fights to redeem his honor, even as he refuses to give up his obsession. Torn between love and duty, Sorcha must watch as the two men she desires go to war over her. But when the battle lines are drawn, all three lovers are lured into a triangle of forbidden passion.


Alan MacDonald has returned to his highland home and birthright, Glenfinnan, after a twenty year absence. Born the son of the laird and an English woman, when his father died, his mother couldn't survive the harsh elements and took her son home to England. The people of Glenfinnan were a bit nervous for their laird's return. Would he return to them a snobbish Englishman complete with wig and accent? No. Their laird was a man of kindness and charm who spoke flawless Gaelic and within a few short months he earned their undisputed loyalty and the hand of the beautiful maiden, Sorcha.

Alan, already besotted with his bride of a few hours, believes that he's obtained the heart of a beautiful and innocent maiden. A woman untouched by another save himself. Knowing that his bride has dealt with the painful passing of her mother through child birth, he promises Sorcha that they'll wait to have children until she is ready. After a beautiful joining, Alan let's down his guard and in that moment Sorcha is snatched from his grasp and taken forcefully by the Earl of Camdonn - his friend of twenty years. The man that saved his arse countless times and visa verse. Alan can't believe that the man he thought of as a brother is now dragging his naked wife and tearing away from his cottage while leaving his giant of a body guard behind.

Cam has no idea what he's doing, all he knows that he can't stand by and allow Alan to touch the woman he loves. Twenty years of friendship means nothing in the rage of his jealousy. He knew this marriage was coming, Alan had told him himself and Cam had done his best to not think upon it. Sorcha could never be his wife. He's an Earl and a highlander for his bride is not an option. But that doesn't mean that he can't still possess her. He'll chain her in his dungeons if he must but he will not relinquish the one woman that had shown him so much passion prior to her return to Glenfinnan. He's sure that she loves him for she must.

Sorcha can't believe what's happening to her. With her highland nature comes fierce pride and unwavering loyalty to her marriage. Despite the fact that she barely knows Alan, she will remain loyal to him no matter what the cost. She had planned on never telling Alan of her affair with Cam. Her marriage was a time for a fresh start and she had successfully duped him on her virginal state. But with Cam hauling her naked into the night, Sorcha fears that the worst will be discovered. Once at Cam's home, Sorcha rejects him at every turn. Although she hates to see Cam hurt, it becomes very apparent to her that she never truly loved Cam. Now more than ever, Sorcha must escape to her husband.

Alan fights Cam's guards nearly to the death to retrieve his new bride. All he can think about is how innocent she is and how frightened she must be. Awaking to find himself at home with battle wounds and a blow to the head, Alan is soon visited by Sorcha's father. He informs Alan of his suspicions regarding Sorcha and Cam, leaving Alan horrified of the implications.

Sorcha, managing to escape Cam's castle, walks home to her husband. But the instant she sees him, she knows that he is now well aware of her past. Sorcha is instantly condemned by Alan for her past actions and her conniving ability to make him believe that she was a virgin. He believes her to be a liar and in no way can he trust her. But Sorcha is given some measure of hope realizing that Alan has no intentions of throwing her out. Perhaps she can win back his trust.

But no matter how Sorcha tries to please Alan, he still will not bend. He cuts her at every opportunity and while in the beginning she knows that she was deserving of his wrath, now it's her anger that's igniting. The two clash heavily in a verbal battle but achieve some measure of peace. Both feel that they may be able to save their marriage. But something must be done about Cam for he's still scheming to get Sorcha back and Alan will not have his pride be toyed with again. He challenges the Earl to swords.

When Cam is brutally wounded in the dual, like any good friend, Alan agrees to stay with his hurt and scared fallen brother. For the moment, the past is forgiven while in the wake his best friend's possible death. Sorcha too decides to help and the three hunker down at Cam's castle to see him through recovery. Yet something foreign is kindling between the three. It's not anger but desire and with each day that Cam grows stronger so does the burning need for one another. In a combustible collision that leaves them all both healed and destroyed, it's Alan that's the most wounded by their drunken encounter. Awaking to find his beloved wife, whom he still hasn't yet forgiven, entwined with Cam leaving him on the edge of the bed and in the cold, brings his life into perspective. He loves Sorcha and it's clear that she loves Cam. Alan could have lived with Sorcha's past but he can't and will never be able to withstand her love for another man. With that admission to himself, Alan steals into the morning light and heads out to the battle his men have yearning to fight. And if it's death he's meeting, so be it.

'Highland Obsession' was fabulously unexpected. It's a character driven story rife with anguish and betrayal. My heart went on a journey with these characters. In the beginning I was deeply committed to Cam's plight for Sorcha's love for his heart was dark with jealousy and bitter sadness. In turn, I felt that Sorcha was betraying Cam with her marriage and her burgeoning feelings for her new husband. But after I cheered Cam and his abduction of the woman he loves, I was instantly felled by the shear ferocity in which Alan fought to save his wife. My heart clenched with his anguished thoughts of his innocent new bride's fear when in truth she knows Cam infinitely more than Alan could ever have imagined. And when Sorcha risks her life to escape Cam and his guards to return to her husband, even knowing that her reputation is irreparably damaged, I was struck with admiration. Such courage from this heroine.

When Alan's pride poisons his emotions, I hoped desperately that Sorcha could win his trust once again. There are many tense moments between Alan and Sorcha that left me on the edge of my seat yearning for Alan's capitulation to his love for Sorcha. And when she finally grew angry over Alan's avoidance and harsh accusations, she rises boldly before him and challenges his beliefs. I cheered for the women of those times that were condemned as whores for being passionate while the males of their time were applauded for their sexual conquests. Alan's thoughts were biased in the extreme and it took Sorcha's fierce anger to finally get him to see things from her perspective. But truly these two characters come alive for each other.

And poor Cam. He stole my heart repeatedly throughout the novel. He embodies an almost childlike desperation for Sorcha that leaves him making several mistakes but he matures with the realization that Alan and Sorcha are meant to belong together. He comes to see that his love, while intense, can never be and he must give his blessing and hope to keep the two people that he loves the most as his dearest friends.


A-

Interested in 'Highland Obsession'? Click HERE for More Info!

66 comments:

Barbara said...

I skimmed only because I will be reading this shortly and I want to be fair in my review.

Just knowing you liked it I know I'm in for a kick ass read!!!

Lea said...

Fabulous review VFG:

I've read a couple or three of Dawn Halliday's contemporary and paranormal works and LOVE her voice.

This sounds like heart rendering bittersweet tale of love and certainly as you indicated betrayal.

I was very enticed reading TBQ's review too.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Once again great review, I could really sense the passion in the novel.

Happy Reading
L

Heather D said...

Ok, I too only skimmed over your review on this one. I just won a copy from TBQ, and will be reading it as soon as I get it.

VampFanGirl said...

I really hope you like it Barbara. Keeping my fingers crossed. :)

(((hugs))) VFG

Thanks Lea!

This was my first Dawn Halliday book and I'll admit that prior to this novel, I'd never heard of her but I'm glad that she's starting to pop up on peoples radar around the blogsphere. And her voice is amazing.

'Highland Obsession' is definitely a bittersweet tale but it's also one of redemption too on all three charater's parts.

(((hugs))) VFG

Hey Heather D!

Congrats on winning 'Highland Obsession'!! I hope you enjoy it.

:D VFG

Blanche said...

Hi VFG!!

Awesome review!! I'm really looking forward to this book! :)

Mandi said...

Oooh...this one sounds like my kind of book!!! I like a good love triangle, although sometimes the intensity of them drive me crazy:)

Is this author also Jennifer Haymore with A Hint of Wicked??

Cecile said...

Very good review VampFanGirl!!! You know how to hook me on a new author huh... lol!!!
You have such a way with your words...
Thanks for giving me another author to add to my list!
Hope you are having a great day!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I really want to read this book!

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Blanche! (((hugs)))

Hey Mandi! I so hear you on how a love triangle can really ramp up the intensity. Seriously, this one had me on the edge of my seat.

Yup, Dawn Halliday is Jennifer Haymore.

:) VFG

Thanks Cecile! You know I live to have you add books to your five subject notebook. ;) You need to post some pics of that thing!

(((hugs))) VFG

OMG Julie! This book is so right up your alley. You'll love it!

:D VFG

Charlotte Featherstone said...

You little beast!!!! You got to read this before me...I'm pouting! :) I'm going to give Dawn heck when I see her at RWA!

I've been very anxiously waiting for this to release. Really looking forward to it.

Ahem...hussy factor. Should I get a fan?????

And have you to Reyes bathroom scene yet?????? Enquring minds, you know!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Charlotte!!

LOL! I bribed a wonderful source of mine into hooking me up with the lovely Dawn Halliday. ;)

Oh don't you worry, your hussy heart will blissfully Sa-Tis-Fied with 'Highland Obsession'. The first scene with Cam pleasuring himself is insanely HOT! OMG and Alan *sigh* he had my heart beating a fierce tattoo. You'll love it.

Yes, I think I have... It's him by himself right? Is that the one??? I've got a hundred pages left and then we can have a Reyes party on the blog. *wink*

(((hugs))) VFG

Barbara said...

OMG Reyes is by himself!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Barbara said...

I'm reading that book first, I don't care!!!!

VampFanGirl said...

LMAO!!! You hussy Barbara!! Want me to give the page number???

:P

Barbara said...

Hell yeah girl! I'm a hussy with that. Sorry, but that's just SOOOOOOOOOOOO HOT!! Not enough authors use that in books.

VampFanGirl said...

Ha! Well, then you'll love the scene I mentioned to Charlotte about Cam. He's watching Sorcha when he takes himself in hand. Subtle right?? LOL!

And you're right, authors don't use that in books nearly enough.

Barbara said...

What's the page number, dammit!! You tease!

VampFanGirl said...

Page 14

:P

Barbara said...

LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!

VampFanGirl said...

NO, I'm not lying!!! You have the pink version right?? It's on page 14. It's of Cam.

Oh, wait, did you want the page number for Reyes?? Hold on, I'll find it.

VampFanGirl said...

That one starts on page 193.

VampFanGirl said...

On the very bottom of the page, it begins.

Barbara said...

Yes, Reyes!!! LMAO!!! Charlotte's been bragging about that scene for months! I'm dying to know what it entails.

I'll read HO's scene when I read the book. Hey, if Reyes' scene is good I'm reading that book next! I'm such a hussy, lol! :P

Barbara said...

I'm off to read it. Right now. BRB.....don't go nowhere. I'll share my thoughts, lol!

;)

Barbara said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! The Gena Showalter book I had in my tbr was The Darkest Night!!!!!!!! WAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! *crying*

Barbara said...

Wait wait, let me check one more spot....

VampFanGirl said...

OOOOOOHHHH NOOOOO!!!!!

Whoops...

Read the one of Cam then. It's pretty damn hot.

VampFanGirl said...

Yeah, I thought you said you had one of the Lords books.... Check out your piles.

Barbara said...

I have it!!! I have it!!!!

Barbara said...

Gimme a minute to read....

Barbara said...

Hmmmmm....I take it he likes pain? It was totally hot, but it sucks because I don't know what the deal was with the knife. Dammit, I should have waited! See?! See what happens to those who aren't patient. Sigh...

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Ok, first off, what did you think of Reyes solo scene. For some reason it totally pumped my nads!!! LOVE it!!!

Second, quite yer damn bragging, both of you about getting Dawn's book, because I have to wait till the release date...so not fair considering I'm in her next release with her! :)

Third, I know an author who just did some solo action scene with a dude named Bran....

Fourth, I'm going up to my study to pull Reyes book from it's shrine and read that dog ear, dried drool page!

Fifth...can't wait to chat with both of you guys about both books!!!

VampFanGirl said...

Yup, Reyes needs to inflict pain on himself in order to feel pleasure. Poor guy...

Barbara said...

AHHHHHH!!! Really!!! OMG NOW I REALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR BRAN!!! Ugh, SO HOT!

Barbara said...

Ugh, Reyes comes off like a Zsadist type hero. I think I'm gonna LOVE HIM!

VampFanGirl said...

LMAO Charlotte!!!

Will stop braggin ASAP. :)

Reyes solo scene was totally hot and I have to commend Gena on an amazing job well done. I was cringing as he's sawing his leg in two but my hussy heart was going crazy over the other erotic aspects. *waggles brows* I'm so with Danika's thoughts on the whole scene. It should disturb but it doesn't in the slightest.

HELL YEAH!! Solo action for Bran?!? Damnit, don't tease!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

What is it about that particular scene (solo) that drives women nuts? I love it and think it's sooooooo sexy!

And Barbara, you're so sweet!!!!

VampFanGirl said...

Hmmm...I don't really associate Reyes with Zsadist. Funnily enough, he kinda reminds me of Phury... For instance, Reyes despises his need for self mutilation. Very similar to Phury's self hatred for needing drugs. But Reyes thankfully, doesn't do the pity party thing. He really doesn't have any sexual hang-ups... Well, he does but not like Z.

Barbara said...

I don't know what it is but I LOVE IT. I think it shows a lack of restraint. The man is just so turned on by the woman he can barely contain himself. It's just so primal!! LOL!!!

Barbara said...

Phury? Really? Hmmm...I gotta read this one. It's definitely next. I don't care that it's out of order.

VampFanGirl said...

You know, I think we crave what we don't always get to see. Masturbation is generally a solo and private affair. To glimpse someone at their most raw and intimate moment with themselves brings out our inner voyuer. And if said person is calling out your name while pleasuring themselves, well, that's the icing on the cake.

:)

VampFanGirl said...

Oooo Barbara, you nailed it!

"I think it shows a lack of restraint. The man is just so turned on by the woman he can barely contain himself. It's just so primal!!"

VampFanGirl said...

Yeah, he reminds me of Phury. But all the good things about him not the annoying ones. lol!

I totally think you could read the third and not be lost. Well, maybe a little but Gena does a good job of catching you up with the ongoings of the first two books. If you're confused just hollar!

;)

Barbara said...

Oh do I ever agree about the name calling bit. And yes, I think we like it because yes, we are seeing someone in their most "vulnerable" and private state. In a situation like that it shows their "true" feelings--what they are really thinking. You know?

Barbara said...

Okay, this one is next. For certain.

VampFanGirl said...

Yeah, I mean there is just something so tantilizing about glimpsing someone in that, as you said, incredibly "vulnerable" moment.

I think Charlotte likes writing those scenes too, don't you? You hussy. There was on in 'Hot In Here' too.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

I love a man who is primal and virile, especially those tough alphas. When they're caught self pleasuring it is witnessing them a weak, vulnerable moment. and like VFG said, if it's your name being uttered....wow!!!!

VampFanGirl said...

Barbara! It's thundering here!! Finally. I've been waiting all day. Bummer is that it's pretty far away but you can still hear it.

Barbara said...

Charlotte you said it PERFECTLY!!!

VFG, YAY! You got your thunder. OMG, I thought we were gonna get struck here last night it was so bad! It finally stopped raining early this evening.

VampFanGirl said...

You're so right Charlotte. And that's exactly why Reyes is so embarassed! Well that, and the fact that Danika witnesses his need for pain and he's assuming that she'll be disgusted.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Well, full disclosure...I like that!!!! :) I love writing them!
I am a hussy. But to me, there's just certain heroes of mine for that.

Bryce. Bran, and I'm staying utterly mute in regards to Wallingford...

VampFanGirl said...

Seriously, witnessing an alpha male pleasuring himself and moaning your name gives you that rush of female power *shudders*. To know that you're the one he's fantasizing about. *sigh* There's no denying that he's yours.

VampFanGirl said...

Ack!! Charlotte!!! OMG... Don't tease like that!

Holy crap, I'm all giddy now. If my computer wasn't in my lap, I'd be bouncing up and down.

Barbara said...

Aint it the truth...

Seriously, witnessing an alpha male pleasuring himself and moaning your name gives you that rush of female power *shudders*.

And as for a solo Wallingford scene....Charlotte...Charlotte, you know we love you....*wink*

Blodeuedd said...

Seems a lot have been going on here :)
First if all, for a cover lover like me...nice cover.
The books does sound pretty interesting too. Something worth checking out for sure

Leontine said...

I think Highland Obsession has been on my radar since....perhaps even as early as February of this year and I can't wait to get me a copy and dive in to it.

The fact that you enjoyed it so much makes me even more eager to read it VFG! It will be my summer vacation treat LOL

Caffey said...

Wow! You wrote such a great review that I was even teary eyed reading this! I've been moved by other books that Dawn has written (I recommend any of her ebooks too. She has historicals there too) I remember when I first saw this cover and saw Dawn's name that I was thrilled beyond belief and still am. The agony to wait two months tho :( This is another story that I hope to see that Cam too will have his story in another book. Do you know if that will happen? Gosh, I'd love for him to have his HEA too! Thanks dearly on this info on the book VampFanGirl!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Blodeuedd!

*Sigh* I love this cover. Plaid never looked so good on a man.

:D VFG

Hi Leontine!

I really enjoyed HO. The emotions it brought out in me were intense. There aren't enough books that can do that...

;) VFG

Hey Caffey! What's up girl?! Thanks for your kind words regarding my review.

This was my first novel by Dawn Halliday and it certainly won't be my last. She also has a new release under her other name, Jennifer Haymore, that looks really good to. I'm thinking about pickin' it up this week.

Yes, Cam is getting his own story. I have no idea when that releases though... I'll check my copy when I get home and let you know if it mentions a release date.

(((hugs))) VFG

Tracy said...

oh I have this one in my tbr....an A-? Wow - can't wait to read it.

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Tracy!

Yup, I gave her an A-. It was just rich with all the emotional angst that I love in novels.

I hope you like it!

:D VFG

Barbara said...

THE BLOG LOOKS GREAT!!! *thinking* Hmmmm....Lisa Kleypas' upcoming release should cover the damages, LMAO!! J/K ;)

(((Hugs)))

VampFanGirl said...

I'm so serious - I'm buying that book for you!! Don't buy it!!!

(((SUPER HUGS))) VFG

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

Another great review! I haven't read this author, so maybe I'll look into it. I have so many in my TBR list, that I hate to add anymore, lol!

Thanks for the recommendation!

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Dottie!

The dreaded TBR, I totally understand.

((hugs)) VFG

The_Book_Queen said...

Great review, VFG! ;)

I agree with you completely-- I loved this book. I'm very anxious to get my hands on Cam's book, it's so unfair that it won't be out until 2010 though! *SIGH*

Best,
TBQ

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks TBQ!

I really enjoyed the interview you had with Dawn Halliday too. I love author interviews. ;)

OMGosh! 2010! That's a long time to wait for Cam...

:) VFG

 
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