ARC: 400 pages
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.
As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.
Ms. Mallory does not disappoint with her latest release, The Guardian, which is the first book in a new romantic quartet featuring four warriors returning to the Highlands after five years. This is Ian MacDonald and his childhood playmate Sìleas's story. Forced to marry each other in order to keep Sìleas's land from her nasty step-father, Ian was not happy. He wanted to marry another and pretty much saw thirteen-year-old Sìleas as a little sister. He left her with his family and goes off with the others to France. He returned five years later and found Sìleas all grown up, beautiful and the rock that kept Ian's family together after his father lost both of his legs in war. Now, Ian wanted to make Sìleas his wife in truth but after her husband, who clearly didn't want her as wife, shamed her by making her wait for many years she wasn't not so sure anymore. However, Sìleas, who was always saw Ian as her knight in shining armor when she was young, couldn't deny the chemistry between them and struggles to fight her growing attraction to her husband.
I have read books by the author before and enjoyed them so I was really looking forward to this one. I’m a sucker for Scottish romances and second-chance-at-love stories so I had high expectations for The Guardian. When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Ian—he’s alpha and expected Sìleas to fall at his feet in gratitude because he finally decided he wants her as wife. But I shouldn't have doubted him because he turned out to be a great hero and one worth waiting for in Sìleas's case. I loved how Sìleas made Ian work for her love, with a little help from the other three warriors, especially his ladies' man cousin Alex. I really enjoyed both characters—they are strong, smart and courageous. Sìleas might have needed saving a couple of times but I didn't find her silly like I usually do those "damsels in distress" heroines. Watching the two to find their happily-ever-after ending was very entertaining.
Amidst all the Sìleas and Ian drama was Ian's cousin (and one of the four warriors) Connor's fight to regain the chieftainship from his evil uncle. The friendship and loyalty between Ian, Connor and the two other warriors was great. There was a lot of action and bloodshed and among the secondary characters were real historical figures like the Margaret Tudor and her Scottish lover, Archibald Douglas. I really like the author's writing and how she mixes real history in her stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging Scottish romance and it's a wonderful start to a new series. 4 out of 5 stars