Desert Isle Keeper
A DIKlassic Review
originally published on March 6, 2000
The books in the Mackenzie saga are among Linda Howard’s best, where the men are capable, sexy as hell, and the heroines a perfect match in their own way. Mackenzie’s Heroes deals with two of the children of Wolf and Mary Mackenzie from Mackenzie’s Mountain.
Mackenzie’s Pleasure is the story of Navy SEAL Zane Mackenzie, the quiet one with the deadly eyes. His mission is to rescue Barrie Lovejoy, the daughter of an American ambassador, who is being held hostage in Benghazi. Zane finds Barrie and frees her from her makeshift cell, but they must hide nearby until a chance to escape comes along. Despite some precarious contact with his team the whole time, Zane and Barrie remain isolated while he takes care of her and slowly becomes more and more intrigued by the “society babe” who has turned out to be quite the little trooper. Coping with the fear of being recaptured and her desire for Zane, Barrie takes the opportunity to be with the man she already loves.
After they finally escape and are subsequently separated, Barrie finds no way to contact Zane, thanks to the diplomatic strings her father is pulling. Zane is equally as frustrated because Barrie’s phone calls are carefully screened. When Zane lets his instincts take over, he rescues Barrie from the new “cell” her father has built around her, and they are married in Las Vegas. The action, however, is nowhere near over, as we eventually find out just what Ambassador Lovejoy’s involvement with the men in Benghazi really is.
Zane proves to be the most nurturing of mates, despite (or maybe because of) that aura of danger that surrounds him. His skills are deadly and he will go to any lengths to protect Barrie, even if at first he believes she is only marrying him for protection. Barrie, meanwhile, is fearless. Not only is she set to flee her father’s grasp before Zane shows up, she tells Zane she loves him even though his response is less than what she wishes for. Then too, she walks into the middle of a most dangerous game for the sake of those she loves.
While Zane and Barrie have begun life together, in Mackenzie’s Magic, Maris Mackenzie wakes up with a killer headache, in a stranger’s bed. She’s barely dressed and can’t remember a thing, except that Alex MacNeil, the new stable hand at her ranch, is looking a lot more dangerous by the second.
From a lifetime with her brothers, Maris recognizes the cop in Mac. She has stolen a horse, Sole Pleasure, and Mac is investigating the events that led Maris to make such a shocking move. Although Maris holds the key to what actually happened, FBI agent Mac makes it clear that, for the first time in Maris’s life, she is not the one in charge.
These are new feelings for Maris, one of the best horse trainers in the country. She is used to having authority, and she is certainly not used to being wildly attracted to a man she barely knows. As her memory slowly returns, Maris and Mac face down the people responsible for the danger to Sole Pleasure, and following family tradition, they marry in Las Vegas.
The best part of the story, however, comes when new bride Maris and a very nervous Mac make the trip to meet the rest of the gang. The very imposing, very frightening Mackenzie males form a human wall to stare down the man who has taken their precious girl. The Mackenzie wives, however, form an equally powerful wall of support around Mac and Maris. Of course, when Nick, The Toddler From Hell, approves of Mac, the men bow down to the little one’s wishes and grudgingly accept him.
Zane Mackenzie’s story is the better of the two, perhaps because it was issued in its own right and not a shorter book (as part of an anthology) like Mackenzie’s Magic was. Mackenzie’s Heroes ends with a tantalizing taste of the Howard Holy Grail, I mean, adopted son Chance Mackenzie’s book, to be released in August 2000. The self-proclaimed bachelor who will take the most dangerous jobs that not even the government will acknowledge, rushes to save Nick from being trampled and ends up catching Maris’s bouquet at her second, formal wedding.
The books stand alone, there is no need to read the other books to understand the “thread” of the Mackenzies. Then again, there is no need for chocolate cake or a nice glass of red wine, but they sure do wonders. If you like tough, dangerous men and daring, fearless women, not to mention a little intrigue and suspense thrown in, give the Mackenzies a try.