3.5-4 starsThis is Alex MacLeod's book. Alex has been roaming the Scottish highlands, supposedly a mercenary for hire, after a falling out with his brother, Rory, laird and chieftan of the MacLeods of Dunvegan on the inner Hebrides islands of Scotland (Skye and Lewis). In reality, he's working with his brother and the other island chieftans to thwart King James' plan to route the Highlanders, take their lands, and settle the islands with Lowlanders.But when Alex and his men come upon Meg Mackinnon and her mother, surrounded by bandits and losing the fight, he can't help but step in with his men. The only problem is that Alex fears Meg's mother might recognize him, which could blow his cover. But Meg and Alex make that eye-to-eye connection, which neither of them can quite forget. And when Alex shows up at King James' court in Holyrood, Meg knows that it was Alex that saved them.Alex's mission is to learn all he can about the king's plan - the dates, the numbers of people and soldiers involved... everything possible, so that the island chieftans can use it to their advantage. They've turned back the Lewis Adventurers before; they plan to do so again, and reassert their rights as chieftans and Highlanders. But in doing so, they'll likely become traitors, because they went against the king.Except, of course, Alex can't keep his mind on his mission because of Meg. Meg's father is very ill, and her brother is simple-minded. Without a strong husband to support her brother's right to be the next Mackinnon chief, Meg's clan will likely become broken; many of the surrounding clans (not even feuding clans) have already been eyeing the prospects. So Meg is at court to find a husband. Alex can't stand to see her being courted, and Meg can't stand to not know what Alex is really up to. Meg has just about convinced herself that she should marry Jamie Campbell, brother of her best friend, Elizabeth, and cousin to the Earl of Argyll, the man who is "king" in the Highlands in King James' place. Alex fostered with Argyll and knows both Jamie and Elizabeth. But now, Jamie and Alex are on opposite sides of politics. Jamie wants Meg, but so does Alex. The tense scenes between the two are hilarious and sometimes horrid, as the usual male testosterone gets in the way and makes Meg furious.Meg only wants Alex to declare for her, but he won't. Elizabeth has warned Meg that while she loves Meg, her brother deserves someone who loves him back, and Elizabeth knows that Meg is in love with Alex. Meg even tries to seduce Alex and manages to get an engagement from him, in a harrowing scene in front of a steaming Jamie; but Alex finds a way to get Meg to break the engagement, by pretending to be only after her land and her clan. Of course, upon returning home now engaged to Jamie Campbell, Meg's father finally tells her the truth about what Alex has been doing...Can Meg and Alex find happiness together? Or will politics, treason, jealousy, and warring clans determined to marry Meg get in the way?-----------------I liked Meg and Alex together, but I did get a bit weary of the back-and-forth along the way. I was amazed at Jamie - I see now why the author created a book and a love story just for Jamie. He's an amazing man!