The Striker is the tenth book in the Highland Guard series by Monica McCarty. This could be read as a stand alone, but when read as part of the larger series there is a greater knowledge of the history and character relations.
Six years ago, Eoin "Striker” MacLean endured the greatest betrayal of his life, a disaster that led Robert the Bruce to a crushing defeat and left Eoin without the spirited woman who ruled his heart. Eoin knew that falling in love with his sworn enemy’s daughter was risky, dividing him between a possessive desire for beautiful Margaret MacDowell and an undying loyalty to his king. He promised Bruce that he would keep his fiery bride in the dark about the elite Highland Guard, but he could not predict the dire consequences his secret would have on his young marriage. Nor could he foresee how surrendering to temptation could cripple Bruce’s cause, forcing Eoin to blame his wife and himself for trusting her. Now, as Bruce prepares to challenge the resistance’s remaining strongholds, Eoin finally has his chance for revenge against the woman he once loved so fiercely and her entire clan. But when ferociously independent Margaret reveals a surprise that unites her with Eoin, neither of them will let their love go down without a fight.
The Striker is a solid addition to the Highland Guard series. It is close to the end, and feels a bit out of the action to me, despite how interwoven it really is with the flash backs and roles both Eoin and Maggie play in the larger story. I liked the characters for the most part, but felt that Eoin fell into the trap of trusting gossip and others over his own gut far too often. I sympathized with Maggie regularly, the desire for freedom and love of being herself but having to deal with others that judge on appearances alone. I also got frustrated with both of them, because as usual trust and actual conversations would have solved many problems before they became so overwhelming. I enjoyed that it was a story about second (and third and forth) chances and how love sometimes can withstand more than it really ought. It was a wild, emotional ride, and will definitely speak to some fans of McCarty more than others. It was not my favorite from the series, but I did not dislike it either.
The Striker is exactly what I expect from McCarty. The characters are wonderfully flawed but strong, the history is well researched and the research is explained at the end of the book. There are trust issues, betrayal, love, and danger with a happy ever after to wrap things up nicely. If you have enjoyed this series, then you will enjoy this book. If you like well researched historical romance wrapped in a plaid, you will enjoy this book.