Dangerous Highlander (Dark Sword Series #1)

Dangerous Highlander - Donna Grant 3+ starsThis series isn't what I expected. I should have known by the title that it was more than your "usual" Highland romance with warriors. This series is heavy on the paranormal, mythological, druid, magic stuff.The author does a good job of setting up the premise and then reminding the reader all the way through. According to this series, there are two Druid sects: the mie, who are the nature loving, healing, use-magic-for-good, and the drough, who are the dark, human sacrificing, power-loving, use-black-magic-for-gain-and-evil. When the Romans tried to conquer Britain, the druids banded together to fight them off. The Druids joined forces and their magic to call up old gods from Hell, the gods who once ruled the earth with brutal tactics and violence, to defeat Rome. The gods bound themselves into each Celtic clans' fiercest warriors, and the warriors with the aid of the gods defeated the Romans until they gave up and left Britain. Except the gods were still thirsty for blood and battle, and they weren't willing to give up their freedom. They turned the warriors against each other and anyone who got in their way. Even the Druids' combined forces couldn't force the gods back to Hell. So the Druids combined magic and black magic to bind the gods - freezing them inside the warriors. The warrior hosts returned to normal, but the gods inside them were passed down from generation to generation, warrior to warrior, through the blood lines, always staying with the finest and fiercest warriors of each clan. Those whom the gods inhabit are known as the Warriors.Knowing that humankind was at risk from the Warriors if the gods discovered a way out or if a drough Druid was evil enough to free the gods, the Druids kept a close eye on the Warriors through the years. And they passed the legend down from one generation to the next. But one of the drough, Deirdre, found the hidden scrolls that contained the spell to unbind the gods inside the Warriors. She was more evil and more power-hungry than any drough yet, and she decided to use her knowledge to control the gods and give her an army that she could use to control the world. But while legend had it that there existed a scroll that contained all the names of the clans with bound gods, Deirdre's scroll only contained one name: the MacLeods. So Deirdre destroyed the MacLeod clan, searching for the MacLeods. Their god, Apadatoo is the god of revenge, and this god chose all three of the MacLeod brothers - being bound ("frozen") inside all three: Fallon, Lucan, and Quinn. After seeing the horror and destruction that Deirdre wrought, the brothers were captured and Deirdre unbound their god. The brothers escaped, though, and spent the next 300 years fighting to control the god inside each of them. Fallon turned to wine to dull the god. Lucan learned to control the god, and he looked after his brothers. Quinn used his rage and anger to exercise the god as much as possible. And so they found a way to live with each other in their old, crumbling castle, scaring away anyone who came near.Cara, an 18 year old, beautiful orphan living at the nearby convent stumbles onto the three brothers - literally. Lucan saves her from a fall that would claim her life. But to do so, he has to reveal the god inside.Here's where it gets sketchy for me. We've got the love-at-first-sight going on between Lucan and Cara. We know that Cara is special immediately - she's the Heroine, right? And she's got some special, magic necklace from her mother. Turns out, Cara is Druid, and the necklace is her mother's blood - the blood of a drough, called The Demon's Kiss. Just what it does and why it's important, we're not sure... for most of the story! The problem is that if Cara's mother was drough, it means that she could be, too. And to become drough requires a blood sacrifice in the eighteenth year - and remember how old Cara is again?So Lucan fights to withhold the whole god thing from the frightened Cara, but of course we know that won't last long. And the lust between them leaps off almost every page from the moment they lay eyes on each other. This book isn't explicit like some are, but there's no doubt that you're in for some descriptive sex scenes - starting with lust and what the two think about doing to one another... and then eventually do. Problem is, Lucan's immortal with his god; Cara isn't and she's possibly drough. Each brother has his issues... and Deirdre is coming for Cara. Deirdre takes Druids and uses them to increase her own powers and magic.When Lucan and Cara encounter another Warrior, the question is, can he be trusted? Is he part of Deirdre's Warriors, who are after the MacLeods and Cara? Or is he a friend?There's a lot going on in this book. I'm not typically a fantasy, paranormal reader, although I've read Karen Marie Moning's "Highlander" series and a few others where "other worldly" things happen and people have powers. This book is set in the early 1600s, so from that perspective, it's all "old school" magic and myth, which sometimes makes it easier for me to accept. There's just a plethora of characters and motives and possibilities... and then there's all this lust and sex going on... it's tough to get a handle on this book and this series.But I will say that I like the MacLeod brothers. Cara seems the "usual" Heroine to me, although I do like her. And while the reader has an idea of where we're headed on this journey, it seems the author is going to stretch it out over a few books. Even then I'm not sure if we'll find a true resolution.Compelling enough to keep me reading... wondering... and yes, blushing. But predictable enough that I feel safe inside this "magic" world that I'm not used to. We'll see...