Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Highland Fling

Highland Fling (The McLaughlins #4)

by Shelli Stevens


Delonna comes by her Scottish-style frugality honestly-her parents' spendthrift ways
once left her temporarily homeless. She's been tending bar at McLaughlin's Pub, looking forward to the day she can call her own shots. Until her now ex-boyfriend makes off with her hard-earned savings. Now she's got a bookie breathing threats down her neck in an apparent attempt to squeeze blood from a turnip.

Aleck McLaughlin has three good reasons to keep his hands off the delectable Delonna. One, he's her boss. Two, she's a good ten years younger. Three, he's sworn to never again leave his heart vulnerable.
Her predicament sends all those reasons out the window, and Aleck moves her in with him for protection, then whisks her away on a whirlwind trip from Whidbey Island to Scotland.
The romance of being in Edinburgh only increases their need for one another. But it quickly becomes clear they're facing a past that's just as painful as the present is dangerous...
Warning: A sexy, broody, pub owner determined to seduce his flirty, bombshell bartender. Not-so-hidden dangers, travels to Scotland, and maybe a little spanky panky.
Themes: erotica, Sexy Scot
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating:

Poor deluded Aleck and his need to keep love out to prevent hurt… silly, silly man! The final story in the family saga of the spunky and sensual McLaughlin clan has landed and the end has arrived with a vengeance.  I have read many series by Shelli Stevens, but this is by far my favorite so far and I was sad to see it end, but thrilled to have gotten to go on this wild ride with sexy scots.  Stevens has a way of writing that keeps everything down to earth, reminding me of just a good friend telling a story about a couple she once knew, and including the slightest bit of intrigue to keep everything fictional.  Aleck and Delonna have been circling each other a long time now, each of them dealing with their own issues, but when close quarters force intimacy they are forced to deal with the emotions and vulnerabilities that arise.  And let me not neglect to mention the rich and beautiful settings Shelli provides for her characters to call home, from the small island off the coast of Washington state to the historic Scottish city of Edinburgh.  If you missed the first three stories, shame on you, go back and read them right now, then you can appreciate the greatness that is this family and experience all the craziness of these four siblings falling in love.
Delonna’s life has just gone from bad to worse—her ex has robbed her blind and in the process placed her right into the sights of a dangerous thug, determined to use Delonna to get what he wants from her ex.  Faced with the danger to Delonna, Aleck’s white knight genes kick in and he jumps in to work to keep her safe until her ex is caught. Despite her reluctance and resistance.  He never imagined how hard it would be to resist Delonna when she decides that it is past time they explore the passion that simmers between them.  As they work and live together, waiting for the other shoe to drop, they each learn more about one another and begin to wonder if there might be a chance for more than a brief affair.  But Aleck’s past still haunts him and only a truly eye-opening event will make him see the importance of embracing the little moments and seizing the chances given to them for happiness.
Throughout this story I found myself wishing for the whole story, the true reasons why Aleck’s so resistant to an HEA and when the full story finally comes out I had to reach for the tissues for sure.  But while I can see why he is wary of opening his heart to another woman, there comes a time when a person has to see what’s right in front of them instead of living in the past.  Thankfully, circumstances force him to accept this fact and find a way to accept that the love he could have with Delonna is more important that any fears he might have.  It was hard to see him break down, but in the end, it was needed to show his character’s growth.  Delonna too has some issues to overcome, but she accepts the inevitability of their relationship long before Aleck, proving her the smart of the two.
Highland Fling was a great story revolving around two individuals who have been burned by love in the past and the one universal truth—love conquers all.  Delonna was an interesting mix of strength and vulnerability, sexiness and sweetness and I loved seeing her interact with not only Aleck, but their friends and family as well.  She is the kind of heroine that any woman can relate to, she’s made bad choices in the past, overcome struggles, but has more still to learn as she grows up.  Aleck was a bit of a stubborn ass here and there, but that might have been more of a byproduct to his alpha, head of the family personality and the hurts in his past, than true pig-headedness.  When these two come together, there is enough heat to burn even innocent bystanders and I can only say I wanted to book to go on and on, but I did love the ending.  There was also a surprising short epilogue at the end of the story that I loved a lot and was thrilled to read as we get a glimpse of everyone several years later.  Another successful and sensual series by an author that has kept me intrigued series after series and that will for many years to come I’m sure.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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