My Tempting Highlander
I picked up Maeve Greyson’s latest release My Tempting Highlander because the cover description promised a story full of shifters, magic and time-travel; three elements that I enjoy in Paranormal books. But Paranormals live and die by their world-building and those same elements that drew me to the story were perhaps its Achille’s Heel. Too much in the book depends on certain rules of the genre without building anything new for the audience.
The women of the Sinclair family are born with the gift of magic and have played a role in shaping the history of Scotland for generations. Birth order determines how powerful each daughter will become and each one has their own unique ability as well as the power to travel through time. Mairi Sinclair is the third of four sisters born in thirteenth century Scotland but raised in the 21st century by their grandmother in order to protect them from powerful forces and allow their powers to manifest. Mairi has only known life in the present and has no plans to leave the comforts of modern times.
Fate knows exactly where Mairi’s destiny lies, and through her grandmother it has been pushing Mairi to return to the thirteenth century as have her two older sisters. Mairi has been pushing back, refusing to give up a medical career to become wife and chattel to some barbaric man from a world still in the dark ages. Understanding how stubborn her granddaughter is with her back against a wall, Granny Sinclair forces the issue by sending Mairi’s fated husband Chieftain Ronan Sutherland into the future to seduce and win his lady on her own turf before bringing her back to his time.
Ronan is reluctant to chase after a woman but Fate and a centuries-old curse push him to make the leap of faith into the future. Conceived in love between his father and his father’s mistress, Ronan was cursed by his father’s wife to live as an immortal shifter, with the added horror that any woman he marries will die along with their child unless she is his fated mate. For two hundred years, Ronan has searched for the woman who will accept both his human and wolf sides, never realizing that she had not been born yet. When Granny Sinclair reveals that his fated woman is in the 21st century he risks everything to jump forward and woo Mairi before she learns of his curse.
My Tempting Highlander relies heavily on the standard shifter trope of a fated mate equaling instant love for the main characters. Mairi first sees Ronan while he’s in wolf form and she somehow knows that the animal is special to her. When she meets the human Ronan the relationship moves rapidly from attraction to passionate lovemaking and deep feelings that motivate both characters to act rashly. There is never any real sense that these two truly know one another until the final beats of the story – it’s all about their sexual chemistry and how much they need one another physically.
Mairi “loves” Ronan so quickly that I wondered if it was a part of the Sinclair women’s magic. This, along with Mairi’s other abilities to travel through time and heal could have been explained better as all three were important components in the breaking of the curse on Ronan. And his character development isn’t much better. He is written with little dimension other than he’s a handsome shifter with some trust issues. He doesn’t convey the world-weariness that I would associate with a man who has experienced great personal tragedy. Mairi’s broad swings between loving and being angry with Ronan for hiding the truth make her seem weak and overly emotional while Ronan is simply there to be attractive and satisfy her lust.
My Tempting Highlander is the third book in Ms. Greyson’s Highland Hearts series and it’s very clear that her intended audience is readers already familiar with the premise, characters and magic that lives in that world. If I had enjoyed this book more I may have gone back to the beginning to fill in some of the backstory but there just wasn’t enough in this one to entice me.