cover image Highland Conquest: The Sons of Gregor MacLeod, Book 2

Highland Conquest: The Sons of Gregor MacLeod, Book 2

Alyson McLayne. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5453-7

McLayne’s second Sons of Gregor MacLeod historical (after Highland Promise), set in the 15th-century Scottish Highlands, is more skillfully plotted than the first. Amber MacPherson is desperate to escape the household of the MacPherson laird, Machar Murray, so she disguises herself as a boy and climbs over the castle wall. She has no idea that Laird Lachlan MacKay and his fellow warriors are preparing to breach the MacPherson castle, seeking vengeance for the killing of Lachlan’s brother. Seeing a “lad” coming over the wall, Lachlan captures him to keep him from alerting the MacPhersons of the impending attack—but Amber is quite happy to join forces with Lachlan and use her healing capabilities to assist those injured in battle. When Machar evades capture and disappears, Amber convinces Lachlan to take over the leadership of the MacPherson clan. After Lachlan discovers her real gender, expertly crafted sexual tension increases between the two, but the very outspoken Amber informs the marriage-wary Lachlan that she wants to be more than his latest romantic conquest. The mystery of how Machar got away propels this page-turner swiftly forward. (Feb.)