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The Highlander Who Protected Me

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Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .   Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force h Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .   Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .   Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .  


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Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .   Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force h Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .   Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .   Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .  

30 review for The Highlander Who Protected Me

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The Highlander Who Protected by Vanessa Kelly is a 2018 Zebra publication. Serious subjects, but genuinely enchanting, delightfully humorous, and deeply romantic! When Royal and Ainsley first meet, an obvious chemistry develops quickly. But, Ainsley is engaged to the Marquess of Cringlewood. However, when Royal realizes Ainsley despises her fiancé and is being forced into the marriage, he makes an impulsive decision that backfires horribly. The scandal causes Ainsley to run away to a remote Scot The Highlander Who Protected by Vanessa Kelly is a 2018 Zebra publication. Serious subjects, but genuinely enchanting, delightfully humorous, and deeply romantic! When Royal and Ainsley first meet, an obvious chemistry develops quickly. But, Ainsley is engaged to the Marquess of Cringlewood. However, when Royal realizes Ainsley despises her fiancé and is being forced into the marriage, he makes an impulsive decision that backfires horribly. The scandal causes Ainsley to run away to a remote Scottish estate to hide out for a while- or at least that’s the story she and her aunt are selling. The truth is, Ainsley isn’t hiding from the scandal- she’s hiding her pregnancy. Needing to place her child with someone she can trust, she summons Royal, begging him to take the child and raise her as his own. Recovering from physical and psychological war wounds, Royal finds a new purpose by raising this wonderful child. But, out of the blue, Ainsley tracks him down, explaining she has changed her mind. She wants to be a mother to her daughter and now wishes to marry Royal. Unable to resist the woman he is so hopelessly in love with, Royal agrees, even if the marriage is in name only. The marriage has a real chance, given Royal’s incredible patience, but, Ainsley’s parents and her former fiancé refuse to back down and let her live her life in peace. I hate that I failed to get in on the “Improper Princess’ series, since apparently these characters were a part of that saga. But, this story works great as a stand- alone. I fell for Royal right off the bat. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for the wounded and scarred hero. So, of course, he had that going for him automatically. However, his undying devotion to Ainsley, who would try anyone’s patience at times, was simply divine! I enjoyed the banter between Ainsley and Royal, which is sharp, a little snarky, and sarcastic, slightly unconventional, but an awesome change of pace. They traded barbs in such a fun way, with the chemistry always sizzling just beneath the surface. Ainsley’s story is a familiar one, and in today’s climate readers will immediately relate to her dilemma, the fallout of which, hasn’t improved a great deal, I’m sorry to say. But, she is a determined lady, holds her own against Royal’s curmudgeonly Grandfather, and her struggles with being a mother are all poignant and easy to relate to. Ainsley blooms and gains even more strength, as she faced adversity, maybe even surprising her own self, while Royal remains an oak, passing every test presented to him with flying colors- which is just the type of hero Ainsley needs. Ainsley has some character flaws, keeping things too close to the vest, for one, which wasn’t fair to Royal, but I thought she redeemed herself nicely. This story captured my attention right away. I got caught up in the drama and suspense and had a hard time putting the book down. Thankfully, the story has a Scottish backdrop, which is a personal favorite of mine, and made this story even more appealing for me. But, I must take the time to mention the difficult subject matter addressed in the book. Certain topics can be a slippery slope, needing just the right balance to avoid triggers, and maintain the gravity it requires, while keeping the tone light so the romance is enjoyable. Not an easy task. Kelly handled it beautifully, I thought. I’m glad I got in on the ground floor of this new series. I think, if this book is any indication, it’s going to be a good one!! 4.5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    3.5 stars If you want a hero in a kilt who has an endless amount of love and patience for a woman without any annoying machismo, then this is the book for you. First, I feel I should point out that this book seems to not be the first book in a new series, but rather a spin-off of another series that apparently first introduced these characters. If like me you miss that earlier book(s?), you will miss all the introductory backstory between these characters. This book does try to summarize it for y 3.5 stars If you want a hero in a kilt who has an endless amount of love and patience for a woman without any annoying machismo, then this is the book for you. First, I feel I should point out that this book seems to not be the first book in a new series, but rather a spin-off of another series that apparently first introduced these characters. If like me you miss that earlier book(s?), you will miss all the introductory backstory between these characters. This book does try to summarize it for you but the problem with a summary is that is I didn't quite get why Royal (the hero) was so hung up on Ainsley (the heroine) because you don't get to 'see' any of it. In this book she's we just see her asking more and more from him and since he's already in love with her he goes right along with it. Ignoring the lack of introductory romantic backstory in this book, I did enjoy their banter. Minus her use of the term 'booby'. I cringed a little each time that was used, but that might just be me who hates that word. The serious topics also covered in this book made the plot have more depth than expected and it was handled realistically and with care while still keeping it relatively light enough for it still to be a romance novel, which I greatly appreciated and thus rounded up to four stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Clan Kendrick #1 Publication Date: 10/30/18 This is a superbly written, gripping, fast-paced, suck-you-in kind of story. The characters make you love them or dislike them, but you aren’t neutral about any of them. It is the first book in the new Clan Kendrick series, but it is really a follow-on from The Highlander’s Princess Bride from the ‘The Improper Princesses’ series. The Kendricks are a boisterous, close-knit, loving Highland Clan. The family consists of seven brothers – Nicholas (N Series: Clan Kendrick #1 Publication Date: 10/30/18 This is a superbly written, gripping, fast-paced, suck-you-in kind of story. The characters make you love them or dislike them, but you aren’t neutral about any of them. It is the first book in the new Clan Kendrick series, but it is really a follow-on from The Highlander’s Princess Bride from the ‘The Improper Princesses’ series. The Kendricks are a boisterous, close-knit, loving Highland Clan. The family consists of seven brothers – Nicholas (Nick), Logan, Royal, Graeme & Grant (twins), Braeden and Kade plus their irascible grandfather Angus. We learned their history in The Highlanders Princess Bride and I certainly recommend that you read it – you don’t have to read it to enjoy this one, but you really get to know them all in that book. Since that book, I have been sitting on pins and needles just waiting for this one because Royal was such an intriguing character – you know – dark, moody, brooding, wounded war-hero. I didn’t care for Ainsley in that book and I still didn’t really care for her in this book. Frankly, I felt sorry for her predicament, but I found myself thinking that Royal would be much better off in the long run if she just went to London and stayed there. Royal met Ainsley not long after he returned from the war where he had almost died. Nick, his older brother and clan chief, had dragged him all the way from the Highlands to London to see a series of doctors. He had attended a ball because Nick thought he needed to ‘get a life’ and quit brooding. Then, he saw Ainsley and thought she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. They flirted, but the evening ended badly. Fast-forward to the following year and Ainsley is staying just a half-days ride from the Kendricks. Royal decides to visit her, but he isn’t prepared for what he finds. He knew something wasn’t right with Ainsley when she had passed through on her way to her great-aunt’s home several months before, but he hadn’t pursued it. Now, here she was, sitting in her aunt’s house and she was very, very pregnant. Ainsley went into labor shortly after Royal arrived and delivered a beautiful little girl. She asks Royal to take her daughter, keep her safe and raise her as his own. She tells Royal a part of the story, but not all, and Royal finally agrees. Royal puts up with the gossip and scandal of bringing ‘his’ by-blow into his family home and raising her. He’s squared his shoulders and weathered it all and they are finally content – not happy, but content. Then Ainsley shows up again and, of course, trouble follows. Some of what I didn’t like – well, mostly it was Ainsley. She used Royal because he loved her and would let her walk all over him. She was selfish, spoiled, overbearing, opinionated, and she wanted it all. She wanted Royal to protect her and the baby, but she didn’t tell him the whole story. She was defensive and argumentative all the time –especially with grandda. She supposedly loved Royal, but, well, she didn’t do anything until the very end of the book that made me think she cared for him at all. Then, there was grandda, but I do have to say I liked him better in this book than the last one. He was an old curmudgeon who loved his grandson but constantly interfered to keep Royal and Ainsley apart – even after they were married. Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. It cost Royal yet again – at that point, I thought he had surely paid enough – but no. It also didn’t feel complete – we were just left hanging with some things still unsolved. I assume (maybe) we’ll get the wrap-up in the next book – which will probably be Logan’s because he was a main feature in this book. Add in some very modern conversation styles and the use of words such as Spoilsport, Corker, and Fussbudget which all seem to stem from the late 1800’s and not the early 1800’s. I didn’t look up all of the words that struck me as anachronistic. There were some ‘old sayings’ that I didn’t think came from the Regency period – but they might have – “shake a stick at” or “she’s a corker”. All-in-all, I enjoyed the book, but I had a really hard time caring for Ainsley or understanding how Royal could be so besotted with her. I hope you will enjoy it too! Please check out my reviews at: Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages... Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview "I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Emro

    Maybe 3.5 Royal Kendrick met Lady Ainsley Matthews in London and was immediately smitten, only to learn that she was all but betrothed. He is hurt and angry and proceeds make a bad decision and then spends his time healing from the injury he got in Waterloo and brooding. When Victoria suggests that he go visit Ainsley, his life will never be the same. Ainsley has been living in "exile" in Scotland with her Aunt since refusing to marry the Marquess of Cringlewood and being abducted by Royal months Maybe 3.5 Royal Kendrick met Lady Ainsley Matthews in London and was immediately smitten, only to learn that she was all but betrothed. He is hurt and angry and proceeds make a bad decision and then spends his time healing from the injury he got in Waterloo and brooding. When Victoria suggests that he go visit Ainsley, his life will never be the same. Ainsley has been living in "exile" in Scotland with her Aunt since refusing to marry the Marquess of Cringlewood and being abducted by Royal months ago - she didn't want to elope, but the endeavor did ruin her, which in her mind was a blessing. She has a secret, one that could see her married to Cringlewood. Ainsley is pregnant with his child, the marquess forced himself on her and still she refused to marry him. She has been hiding her condition from everyone - until now. When Royal learns of her pregnancy, nothing will stop him from helping her - but Ainsley is not going to make it easy for him and her secrets and failure to trust him will cause them both a mountain of trouble. I so wanted to love this book, I fell in love with the Kendrick brothers in the previous book and couldn't wait for Royal & Ainsley's story, but unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations and the ending nearly broke my heart. The book is well written and is emotional, but moments of lightness keep it from being a dark, depressing read. I loved Royal and enjoyed catching up with Victoria, the brothers and Angus. Ainsley had moments that gave me hope, but in the end, I blamed her for the way things ended. *I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    Royal is one of those wounded heroes. And with that I mean his leg aches from a war injury, a bad one. Who wants a second son with a limp? Ainsley was, oh my, she was the sassy one. But she was also a spoiled darling of the ton. Still, she was a good clever woman with some tongue on her. These two met in a previous series, where he tries to elope with her and she is all in your dreams! Which I never understood, but now I do. Instead we get to see their first meeting and how he could never forget he Royal is one of those wounded heroes. And with that I mean his leg aches from a war injury, a bad one. Who wants a second son with a limp? Ainsley was, oh my, she was the sassy one. But she was also a spoiled darling of the ton. Still, she was a good clever woman with some tongue on her. These two met in a previous series, where he tries to elope with her and she is all in your dreams! Which I never understood, but now I do. Instead we get to see their first meeting and how he could never forget her. Then they meet again in Glasgow in that other series I mentioned. But this one really begins after that. He pining for her and she hiding a pregnancy! Whaat I thought? What happened? Because her family does not even know, so something must have happened and obviously nothing good. I did feel for her, poor woman. And she would have been blamed every time. It is always the woman's fault. The book does take some time to get going. She gives him her baby because no one can know. The secret she is hiding is easy to know, but there is some other big secret too, but honestly that secret was not big and could have been dealt with. I also did not get why the father would have had any say. It was his words against hers, and Royal who said it was his kid. Oh well, drama and a baddie is always needed. It could have been shorter. Maybe take away some of the dialogue. Shorter is always nice. A good book. A good baddie that you want to kick in the nuts. Two people that love each other, but take ages getting together. And one cute baby. I also liked that she was pregnant, you do not see that around a lot in regency books. It dealt with harsher things in life. Narrator I really like Ruth Urqhart. Her accent is wonderful. I have listened to a few of her books and they are a joy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dana Alma

    3.5 Stars Oh, this historical had all the makings of an epic romance. Royal is a delicious Scottish male who has seen his share of tragedy. He bears the scars of war, but Ainsley changes his life forever. I had such high hopes for these two lovebirds. I instantly liked Ainsley in the beginning. I felt Royal and her were well matched, that is until, Ainsley makes few bad decisions. Poor Royal wants to marry Ainsley but she has other ideas. Her sweet baby's life will be changed forever. Royal finds 3.5 Stars Oh, this historical had all the makings of an epic romance. Royal is a delicious Scottish male who has seen his share of tragedy. He bears the scars of war, but Ainsley changes his life forever. I had such high hopes for these two lovebirds. I instantly liked Ainsley in the beginning. I felt Royal and her were well matched, that is until, Ainsley makes few bad decisions. Poor Royal wants to marry Ainsley but she has other ideas. Her sweet baby's life will be changed forever. Royal finds himself thrust into the role of father and protector of a baby girl, without Ainsley at his side. Although Ainsley and Royal finally find a way to be together, I thought she was a bit selfish and immature. Royal had to keep changing his life around in order to help her out. I'm thrilled they find their HEA, but I wish Ainsley had made better choices after the baby was born. I look forward to reading more in the Clan Kendrick series. There were many interesting secondary characters in the Kendrick clan that need their own stories told.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy ~ Love At 1st Read

    I fell in love with the Kendrick family in the 3rd book of Vanessa Kelly’s Improper Princesses series. They’re the kind of family you can’t help but love yet you know you’d go crazy if around them too long. At the time, I wasn’t sure whose story I wanted next. I just knew that I wanted more of this crazy, loyal family. I’m thrilled it was Royal and Ainsley’s story. Royal really intrigued me in that last book. Injured and brooding, he was very hard to figure out, but it was clear Ainsley had an I fell in love with the Kendrick family in the 3rd book of Vanessa Kelly’s Improper Princesses series. They’re the kind of family you can’t help but love yet you know you’d go crazy if around them too long. At the time, I wasn’t sure whose story I wanted next. I just knew that I wanted more of this crazy, loyal family. I’m thrilled it was Royal and Ainsley’s story. Royal really intrigued me in that last book. Injured and brooding, he was very hard to figure out, but it was clear Ainsley had an effect on him, and I couldn’t wait to see where that led. After reading The Highlander Who Protected Me, this Clan Kendrick series promises to be every bit as spectacular as the series that gave birth to this amazing family. Royal Kendrick had fallen in love with Lady Ainsley Matthews the moment he met her. Her vibrant beauty and lethal wit drew him in and he desired her more than anything he’d ever wanted. But he knew his desire was all he’d ever have of her. He was just a common second son. A man with a mangled leg and a moody temperament. Ainsley was an heiress. The darling of the ton. And she was promised, if not officially yet, to the Marquess of Cringlewood. Ainsley admired Royal for his bravery and sacrifice. He was as blunt and bad tempered as she and she enjoyed the acerbic humor and witty banter they shared. She trusted him and saw him as a good friend, though that was all they could be as her father would never consider Royal as a suitor. He was intent on a match with Leonard, the Marquess of Cringlewood. Unfortunately, the Marquess was a vile, cruel man who forced himself on Ainsley leaving her pregnant and with no choice but to flee to Scotland before Leonard discovered her plight and forced her into marriage. When her friend Royal arrives to visit, Ainsley knows he is the only person she trusts to keep her baby safe. Though it will devastate her to place her child in someone else’s hands, it’s the safest place for her to be. Losing her child and losing Royal, the only man she’d ever thought she could love would be difficult, but it was the only way to keep the baby from a father who had no decency or compassion. Royal would do anything for Ainsley and agrees to raise the child as his own even though doing so would bring scandal on him. Royal and the Kendricks quickly fell in love with the baby, and Royal, who’d felt he had no purpose after the war, found a new motivation for his future in raising the child. It doesn’t take long for Ainsley to realize she can’t bear being separated from her child, and she finds herself once again asking Royal for help. To marry her and raise the child together. Royal would like nothing more than to call Ainsley wife. But could Ainsley give up her wealth and status to marry a poor, crippled Scotsman? He’d been nursing a passion for her for two years. Could he be content to marry someone who may not return that passion? And most importantly, would marriage be enough to keep Ainsley and her baby safe from the Marquess of Cringlewood? I adored Royal from the moment I met him in the previous series. Like all the Kendricks, he was loyal. But Royal has to be the most selfless man to ever exist! His injuries from the war left him in great physical and emotional pain yet he never complained. He was the peacemaker of the family, often having to referee between them. Whatever the task, Royal bore it. Again and again. Nothing mattered more than family. And Ainsley and her baby were family now. Ainsley was harder to love at first. She was spoiled, though in her defense, it was all she’d ever known until the assault by Cringlewood and the subsequent betrayal of her family. But she was brave to run away and put her child first. And she was smart to trust Royal. I felt sorry and afraid for the predicament she was in. Cringlewood had wronged her but she was the one who would suffer. Regardless of his actions, she’d be the one at fault. Seeing Royal and Ainsley together made me realize how very much they needed each other. I admired Royal for how patient and encouraging he was with Ainsley as she struggled with motherhood. The tension and humor in caring for a baby helped me see how much they cared for each other. Royal never gave into his passion, waiting instead till Ainsley was ready. He didn’t push or demand but allowed her to move at her own pace. I admired Ainsley for giving up so much for her child. Coming to a land she rather hated and living with a family that drove her mad. Because of the assault by Leonard, she was unsure of the way Royal made her feel at times. It was fun and sweet to watch her battle between her fears and her desires. The intimate moments between she and Royal, when they weren’t interrupted by Angus, were steamy and playful. The slow build to Ainsley and Royal finding love made it that much more rewarding. The “wonderful supporting characters that keep you laughing” award goes to Angus Kendrick. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to hug him or strangle him at times. But he brought so much laughter and warmth to the story. I gained a whole new respect and love for him in this book. The magic ingredient in this story has to be the witty banter. The clever, romantic sparring created sparks that brought Royal and Ainsley alive on the page. Sometimes seductive and sometimes playful, it painted such a brilliant picture of these characters. Even the sometimes aggressive banter was perfect because it showed how intense the attraction was. . I love that her characters can show wit and perfectly placed sarcasm even in the middle of romantic moments. There’s nothing like swooning and giggling at the same time. Their clever repartee kept the plot moving forward and ensured a fun filled ride to their happily ever after. Vanessa Kelly never fails to make me swoon with her amazing characterizations and her intriguing stories. I am eager to see which Kendrick I get to fall in love with next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bec_BookMagicReviews

    4.5 Star Review posted at HarlequinJunkie.com From the moment Royal Kendrick met Lady Ainsley Matthews, he’s been intrigued and would do anything for her. So, when she comes to him and proposes marriage, he agrees, especially after the favor he did her that no one can know about. However, when Ainsley’s former fiancé begins to cause trouble for her and threatens everything she holds near and dear, will she and Royal come out on top or will they lose their chance at happy ever after? Read More

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    I really enjoyed this fast-paced, romantic, action-packed book! Royal Kendrick is as dashing a Scotsman as there’s ever been...swaggering but sweet, boastful but tender. Royal has loved Ainsley forever, but she’s engaged to a nobleman, and seems out of his reach. I especially liked the banter between the two, both hiding their feelings and some secrets. Thd other characters, Angus in particular, are quirky and endearing. I felt like I was missing some back story, even though this was the first b I really enjoyed this fast-paced, romantic, action-packed book! Royal Kendrick is as dashing a Scotsman as there’s ever been...swaggering but sweet, boastful but tender. Royal has loved Ainsley forever, but she’s engaged to a nobleman, and seems out of his reach. I especially liked the banter between the two, both hiding their feelings and some secrets. Thd other characters, Angus in particular, are quirky and endearing. I felt like I was missing some back story, even though this was the first book in this series. Events were spoken about in a kind of jumbled way, and I wish there had been more continuity with important events that were hinted at but never fully explained.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Les Romantiques

    Review posted on Les Romantiques – le forum du site Reviewed by Rinou Review copy by the publisher This novel features Royal when, pushed by his family, he decides to pay a visit to the young woman he fell in love with in London and is surprised to find her cloistered away at her aunt’s, heavily pregnant. Let’s begin with the annoying things. The Highlander Who Protected Me is presented as the first volume in the Kendrick series, HOWEVER the characters obviously met in another book by the author, bu Review posted on Les Romantiques – le forum du site Reviewed by Rinou Review copy by the publisher This novel features Royal when, pushed by his family, he decides to pay a visit to the young woman he fell in love with in London and is surprised to find her cloistered away at her aunt’s, heavily pregnant. Let’s begin with the annoying things. The Highlander Who Protected Me is presented as the first volume in the Kendrick series, HOWEVER the characters obviously met in another book by the author, but which one? No idea, it’s not indicated anywhere. What’s more, there are several references to an special event that took place several months before and is probably described with many more details in this unknown book. So we can't see the hero’s feelings evolve as he’s already in love with the heroine, and she’s very attracted to him. I find it frustrating not to have the beginning of their story. Next I found they were very informal in the way they talk to each other for people of their time who have never been intimate. They exchange from the start barbs, digs, jokes, and Ainsley doesn’t hesitate to ask for Royal’s presence during her labor before her baby’s birth. For the time, even the husbands were not allowed to stay near, or just about, it doesn’t seem logical to invite a stranger to support her. What’s more I didn’t understand the heroine at all. When Royal discovers her pregnant he understands immediately there was a problem with her fiancé and he proposes to her ( not for the first time apparently) but she refuses. She prefers to leave with him her baby who she abandons to go back to her life of sparkles and balls in London. Of course we see she’s sad to see her daughter of a few days leave but she needs 5 months and threats from her fiancé for her to come back to Scotland to ask Royal to marry her. As on top of that she’s haughty and sarcastic, she hides every emotion behind a good measure of verbal aggressiveness she regrets afterwards without apologizing for all that, and she persists in hiding important details about her fiancé to Royal when he bends over backward to help her, let’s say I didn’t appreciate her, even if I felt sorry for her when she was upset not to know how to take care of her daughter, or when she listened to her mother say she must accept to marry the man who raped her because they are engaged and it was just a misunderstanding between them. On the positive side, the hero is a doll! He’s nice, understanding, and even if he hesitates at time because he wants to put first protecting the little girl he considers as his, he’s still waiting on the heroine hand and foot and is super patient. He also has a great force of character to go on in life when he was seriously wounded in Waterloo and still has great pain in his leg and an important lameness. But once he throws himself in something he doesn’t look back. Frankly poor man he deserves better than this heroine who seems not to really trust him most of the time. Around them there’s Royal’s colorful family, especially his grandfather who immediately falls under the baby’s charm and becomes her non official nurse, which makes several clashes, some of them funny, between him and Ainsley once she’s came back. It should be noted that he needs a lot of time to warm toward the heroine and I shared his feeling. The rest is without surprise with the fiancé’s arriving suddenly and the final resolution I had thought about a long time before them. All in all a novel that didn’t convince me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    In "The Highlander Who Protected Me," Ainsley realizes that she needs to revisit her painful past in order to save her future. Ainsley and Royal have always had an interesting relationship but when Ainsley ends up pregnant, she quickly realizes that she needs to put the past behind her in order to save her baby. This book is part of a new series by Vanessa Kelly and was a spinoff of "The Highlander's Princess Bride," which I have not read yet. I am wondering if I would have gotten into this book In "The Highlander Who Protected Me," Ainsley realizes that she needs to revisit her painful past in order to save her future. Ainsley and Royal have always had an interesting relationship but when Ainsley ends up pregnant, she quickly realizes that she needs to put the past behind her in order to save her baby. This book is part of a new series by Vanessa Kelly and was a spinoff of "The Highlander's Princess Bride," which I have not read yet. I am wondering if I would have gotten into this book quicker if I had read the previous series. The chemistry between Ainsley and Royal starts quickly with no build up. We know that they have met in the past but I didn't feel like I got a clear picture of how much that meeting meant or what it was like or how it would affect the characters. That being said, I did like the chemistry between Ainsley and Royal. It definitely kept me wanting to read more. Royal is such a good character. He's strong, sensitive, and a great romantic lead. Ainsley is sassy and although she doesn't have much power as a woman, she uses everything she has in order to do what she needs to do in order to protect her daughter and find true love. I loved how Ainsley really shapes the relationship between Royal and herself. Overall, this book started slow to me but became exciting as secrets were revealed and our main characters began to understand their past a little more.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Q

    DNF. I'm sorry to say I could not finish this one. I absolutely hated the "heroine," Ainsley. Also, I had been unaware that their rather large and dramatic backstory had taken place in another book, which I have not read, and thus I felt like I had missed a big chunk of their history. Getting it in summation, especially given the outrageousness of it, didn't work for me. I don't think that was the best way to write this book. All of their story should have been in this one. Other readers are lov DNF. I'm sorry to say I could not finish this one. I absolutely hated the "heroine," Ainsley. Also, I had been unaware that their rather large and dramatic backstory had taken place in another book, which I have not read, and thus I felt like I had missed a big chunk of their history. Getting it in summation, especially given the outrageousness of it, didn't work for me. I don't think that was the best way to write this book. All of their story should have been in this one. Other readers are loving this book, but it was not my cup of tea.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rinou

    Déjà c’est un premier tome de série, mais les personnages se sont rencontrés dans un autre livre de l’auteur, si bien qu’ils se connaissent et que le héros est déjà amoureux. Ensuite je n’ai pas du tout compris l’héroïne, qui préfère dans un premier temps abandonner son bébé pour reprendre sa vie à Londres. Comme en plus elle est hautaine et sarcastique, autant dire que je n’ai pas accroché. Le héros est un amour de compréhension et il mérite mieux qu’elle. Avis complet https://www.goodreads.com/ Déjà c’est un premier tome de série, mais les personnages se sont rencontrés dans un autre livre de l’auteur, si bien qu’ils se connaissent et que le héros est déjà amoureux. Ensuite je n’ai pas du tout compris l’héroïne, qui préfère dans un premier temps abandonner son bébé pour reprendre sa vie à Londres. Comme en plus elle est hautaine et sarcastique, autant dire que je n’ai pas accroché. Le héros est un amour de compréhension et il mérite mieux qu’elle. Avis complet https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    Vanessa Kelly never disappoints. This is an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . . You will be thoroughly entertained with like-able characters in Ainsley and Royal. I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a well written historical romance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isha Coleman

    There are no victims only survivors. Kelly dreams up a stunningly, captivating tale of heartache, bravery and romance. Royal and Ainsley are a little bit broken but no less heroes. Both are looking to find their place in a world judgment, cruelty and war. They find that place in each other's hearts. The Highlander Who Protected Me is a slow burn. Love kind of sneaks it's way into your heart. The battle is hard won, but the fire is never-ending.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    I really enjoyed this fast-paced, romantic, action-packed book! Royal Kendrick is as dashing a Scotsman as there’s ever been...swaggering but sweet, boastful but tender. Royal has loved Ainsley forever, but she’s engaged to a nobleman, and seems out of his reach. I especially liked the banter between the two, both hiding their feelings and some secrets. Thd other characters, Angus in particular, are quirky and endearing. I felt like I was missing some back story, even though this was the first b I really enjoyed this fast-paced, romantic, action-packed book! Royal Kendrick is as dashing a Scotsman as there’s ever been...swaggering but sweet, boastful but tender. Royal has loved Ainsley forever, but she’s engaged to a nobleman, and seems out of his reach. I especially liked the banter between the two, both hiding their feelings and some secrets. Thd other characters, Angus in particular, are quirky and endearing. I felt like I was missing some back story, even though this was the first book in this series. Events were spoken about in a kind of jumbled way, and I wish there had been more continuity with important events that were hinted at but never fully explained.

  17. 4 out of 5

    D A

    this was a little of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the little bits of the Kendrick family interactions that we got to see as well as the interactions btwn Ainsley & Royal, you could just tell they were meant to be together early on. However 2 plot devices - secrets & misunderstandings - that I'm not a fan of were big parts of this book. there were a number of secrets (primarily on Ainsley's part) through out the story with only part of the whole coming out at time. Also the two were ofte this was a little of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the little bits of the Kendrick family interactions that we got to see as well as the interactions btwn Ainsley & Royal, you could just tell they were meant to be together early on. However 2 plot devices - secrets & misunderstandings - that I'm not a fan of were big parts of this book. there were a number of secrets (primarily on Ainsley's part) through out the story with only part of the whole coming out at time. Also the two were often 2nd guessing both themselves and what the other was thinking resulting in repeated self doubt and apologizing which got a little tedious at points. luckily that delightful banter back and forth between the two would come to the rescue. I look forward to the next Kendrick romance. arc via netgalley in exchange for a fair/honest review

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julia David

    I love the crazy Kendrick clan. Royal is so great the way he protects his family and how he wants to protect Ainsley, even if it means he won't be with her. They argue all the time, but he loves her so much and wishes that she would love him too. Ainsley has problems and lots of secrets. Royal will help her and keep her secrets no matter the cost to himself. Ainsley has given up so much and so has Royal. Will they be able to figure out a way for them to be together, keep Ainsley's secrets and ke I love the crazy Kendrick clan. Royal is so great the way he protects his family and how he wants to protect Ainsley, even if it means he won't be with her. They argue all the time, but he loves her so much and wishes that she would love him too. Ainsley has problems and lots of secrets. Royal will help her and keep her secrets no matter the cost to himself. Ainsley has given up so much and so has Royal. Will they be able to figure out a way for them to be together, keep Ainsley's secrets and keep her safe? The whole family comes together to help them. Will it be enough?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Simple: I absolutely loved this book. Romance, drama and a good background story. The storyline isn't trashy or anything like that. It's unique. Ainsley is hiding at her aunt's in Scottland. She's afraid that her former finance will force her into marriage because she is pregnant with his child after he forced himself on her. Royal, one of the younger Kendrick brothers was in love with her before her engagement was made known to him. One day Royals brother makes him visit Ainsley but he didn't k Simple: I absolutely loved this book. Romance, drama and a good background story. The storyline isn't trashy or anything like that. It's unique. Ainsley is hiding at her aunt's in Scottland. She's afraid that her former finance will force her into marriage because she is pregnant with his child after he forced himself on her. Royal, one of the younger Kendrick brothers was in love with her before her engagement was made known to him. One day Royals brother makes him visit Ainsley but he didn't know about her pregnancy before, so it is an absolute surprise to him. She gives birth while she is at the remote estate of her aunt and asks Royal to raise her baby. She even agrees to never see her bundle of joy again. In the end, Royal leaves with the baby. But will Ainsley really be able to never see her baby girl again? It was such a wonderful story - there was everything and you had to love those two. It's connected to "The Highlander's Princess Bride" - and I already fell in love with one of the Kendricks back when I read this novel. *I got this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Reviewed for NetGalley: So, I have to admit, I requested this to read from NetGalley because I confused Vanessa Kelly and Kelly Bowen. So, it wasn't quite what I expected. It was still an interesting novel. I was really frustrated with the heroine for not trusting the hero, even though I understand WHY she didn't trust him yet. This was a hard book to read, particularly at this time, since the heroine is a survivor of sexual assault. Like, I mainly read romance to escape from the news, and I was Reviewed for NetGalley: So, I have to admit, I requested this to read from NetGalley because I confused Vanessa Kelly and Kelly Bowen. So, it wasn't quite what I expected. It was still an interesting novel. I was really frustrated with the heroine for not trusting the hero, even though I understand WHY she didn't trust him yet. This was a hard book to read, particularly at this time, since the heroine is a survivor of sexual assault. Like, I mainly read romance to escape from the news, and I was reading it mainly during the Kavanaugh hearings... so ... yeah. It was a hard book to read. I did enjoy it, although it doesn't feel over, and I'm sure the drama will continue to unfold in the next book, which I am ALSO excited to read. So yeah. Pretty interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debra Martin

    I usually fly though Vanessa Kelly's books because I can't wait to see what happens next, but that was not the case with this book. As much as I wanted to like Ainsley Matthews especially with what she went through at the hands of Cringlewood, I found her to be so annoying and unlikeable. Her treatment of Royal was horrendous and yet he still loved her. He was just too good to be true especially with all the lies and secrets that Ainsley kept from him. The one highlight in this book was Royal's G I usually fly though Vanessa Kelly's books because I can't wait to see what happens next, but that was not the case with this book. As much as I wanted to like Ainsley Matthews especially with what she went through at the hands of Cringlewood, I found her to be so annoying and unlikeable. Her treatment of Royal was horrendous and yet he still loved her. He was just too good to be true especially with all the lies and secrets that Ainsley kept from him. The one highlight in this book was Royal's Granddad Angus. He was such a memorable character and the only one who called out Ainsley for her bad behavior. That was the fun part of the book. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review and was not obligated to leave a review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Whitworth

    ❤❤❤❤ 💋💋 Royal Kendrick is the sort of man you want in your corner to fight beside you, he never lets you down in any circumstance. Ainsley is the woman he loves though she hardly acknowledges that he exists, But when she needs help he’s her go to man . This story had me screaming at him to dump her and anything to do with her and move on , to crying and hoping they could make a go of it , and all the time cheering for Granda Angus , I adore his character . It’s a wonderful book , with characters th ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 💋💋 Royal Kendrick is the sort of man you want in your corner to fight beside you, he never lets you down in any circumstance. Ainsley is the woman he loves though she hardly acknowledges that he exists, But when she needs help he’s her go to man . This story had me screaming at him to dump her and anything to do with her and move on , to crying and hoping they could make a go of it , and all the time cheering for Granda Angus , I adore his character . It’s a wonderful book , with characters that endear themselves to you very quickly, well written and kept me totally immersed in their world . I’d recommend this book to all fans of this author. You’ll kick yourself if you miss it x I received an advance copy of this book and chose to submit a review

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Publisher's Description: Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . . Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mist Publisher's Description: Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . . Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . . Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . . My Thoughts: Vanessa Kelly never disappoints this reader. Her characters are well thought out and her stories amaze me. Raped and left pregnant by her intended, Ainsley is hiding in the Highlands fearing retribution by her vicious former fiancé. The thing she fears most is that he will discover her daughter and use her to force a marriage between them. Royal who has returned home after Waterloo suddenly has a purpose for his life. Caring for Ainsley's innocent baby daughter and ultimately her mother makes his life worth living again. Will these two opposites find more than a mutual attraction. I gave this heart wrenching story 4.5 of 5.0 stars for storyline and characterization. This is a story that will at times bring tears and at others make you very angry and perplexed. I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book to read. This in no way affected my opinion of this title which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    DNF @ 47% This book is most definitely NOT A STANDALONE. After a brief prologue, the story jumps a year and a half and apparently quite a lot went on during that time. This is my first book by Vanessa Kelly and I've always assumed that starting with #1 was a safe bet... not this time. Aside from being pretty clueless about a huge part of their history (something about a kidnapping and Glasgow and Inveraray and a botched elopement), there is no chemistry in these pages. There are pages and pages an DNF @ 47% This book is most definitely NOT A STANDALONE. After a brief prologue, the story jumps a year and a half and apparently quite a lot went on during that time. This is my first book by Vanessa Kelly and I've always assumed that starting with #1 was a safe bet... not this time. Aside from being pretty clueless about a huge part of their history (something about a kidnapping and Glasgow and Inveraray and a botched elopement), there is no chemistry in these pages. There are pages and pages and pages and pages of what I think is supposed to be witty banter but all I got was a spoiled heiress and a rough but semi-aristocratic highlander who is in love enough to put up with her. Royal: clearly in love with Ainsley (lord knows why), supposedly very handsome and a generally "nice guy." Though he's pretty set that no woman would ever marry him because of his injury and his place as younger brother of an Earl/Laird. Ainsley: probably has some subconscious feelings for Royal but by the time we've skipped from the prologue through whatever happened in the year and a half gap and now they're just friends (aka him pining for her while she keeps him at arms length). She's obviously a spoiled brat and is now in an unfortunate situation (please note that I'm not saying it was her fault). What I don't get is why she didn't just marry Royal during this mysterious adventure I'm not privy to. Seems like all of this drama could have easily been avoided, Ainsley would have come to love Royal and they'd live happily ever after. I think I could overlook the gap in the story if the remainder wasn't reduced to Royal being Ainsley's very nice and handsome doormat. Because let's face it, she uses his love for her when convenient: please raise my baby in secret, ruin your reputation so I can keep mine, wait, no, I need you to marry me now because dumping my baby on you didn't actually allow me to return to my former life of luxury. I might pick up another book by this author but I have to drop this one here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda Walters

    This book had more depth than I expected. It also had great main characters and the supporting cast of the Kendrick family. There was plenty of emotion and quite a few secrets; especially from Ainsley. I liked how about the time you thought that you knew all her secrets, another surprise would be revealed. Ainsley's life was SO messed up and she was doing all she could just to survive. And things don't get a lost easier until nearly the end of the book. Because Ainsley's former finance is totall This book had more depth than I expected. It also had great main characters and the supporting cast of the Kendrick family. There was plenty of emotion and quite a few secrets; especially from Ainsley. I liked how about the time you thought that you knew all her secrets, another surprise would be revealed. Ainsley's life was SO messed up and she was doing all she could just to survive. And things don't get a lost easier until nearly the end of the book. Because Ainsley's former finance is totally obsessed not just with her but with the humiliation that he feels she dealt him. There were times when it was kind of hard to like Ainsley and at other times I begin to understand why she acted as she did. The author did a good job of showing that. The only other person who really understood her was Royal. He might not know all of her secrets yet but he proves himself trustworthy time after time. And speaking of Royal, what a great character for the main man lead. The family nicknamed him Loyal Royal and it sure fit him to a "T". He was always looking after others and always putting his own needs and pain last. And he did have pain and not just from his war wound which was pretty serious. He is hopelessly in love with and adores Ainsley. He isn't sure that there will ever be any H.E.A. for him with her. Keep an eye on Angus, Royal's grandfather. He really does know how to keep things stirred up. But he also is fiercely protective of his family, who he loves intensely. That doesn't mean that he won't cause trouble in his own wacky way, though. There was one thing thing that I will say that was a negative for me. There was a time or two when the story felt like it slowed down way too much for me. But thankfully things do rev up again because trouble just seems to follow Ainsley. Well, at least for a while anyway, until things come to a head. There is a dramatic twist towards the end. Also a pretty emotional Epilogue. I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book via Netgalley and this is my honest opinion of it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori Meehan

    This is the first book in awhile that I’ve sighed at the end and hugged the book. As silly as that may sound I. Loved. Everything. About. This. Book!!! Royal Kendrick came home from war injured and a brooding angry man. His family and clan are the only things he cares about. When he meets Ainsley Matthews she brings light to his very dark soul, if only she would have him. When she abruptly leaves to stay at her aunts Royal knows there’s somethings amiss. Ainsley Matthews is hiding some terrible s This is the first book in awhile that I’ve sighed at the end and hugged the book. As silly as that may sound I. Loved. Everything. About. This. Book!!! Royal Kendrick came home from war injured and a brooding angry man. His family and clan are the only things he cares about. When he meets Ainsley Matthews she brings light to his very dark soul, if only she would have him. When she abruptly leaves to stay at her aunts Royal knows there’s somethings amiss. Ainsley Matthews is hiding some terrible secrets that will ruin her and her family. She’s hiding away in hopes of figuring out the best way to fix her problems. When Royal appears he just might be the answer to her prayers. Royal sees Ainsley for the person she is and not the one she pretended to be for the ton. He was the only person Ainsley trusted but she tried very hard not to drag him down with her until she had no one else to turn to. Royal is a strong honorable highlander, he loved his family and he has a great sense of humor and whit. He loves Ainsley enough to let her go, he only wanted her to be happy and he will do all he can to protect her. Ainsley’s whit and sarcasm, the banter between her and Royal was so great that I cheered for their romance. Her immense humor never failed to make me laugh. She was strong enough to admit her failings and to admit when she was wrong. This is a awesome start to this spinoff series and I can’t wait for the next book. I’m really hoping that Logan is next I think his story will be just as heartbreaking as Royal and Ainsley’s.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Richardson

    Vanessa Kelly's The Highlander Who Protected Me is a heart achingly lovely romance. I have become a huge fan of Ms. Kelly's books and her latest doesn't disappoint. Royal Kendrick can't seem to settle in, he is restless, maybe a bit depressed and off kilter. He was injured in the army, happy to come home with his leg, but he walks with a limp. The only bright spot in his life lately was his thwarted elopement with Lady Ainsley. He may just be in love with Ainsley. Too bad they can't stand to be Vanessa Kelly's The Highlander Who Protected Me is a heart achingly lovely romance. I have become a huge fan of Ms. Kelly's books and her latest doesn't disappoint. Royal Kendrick can't seem to settle in, he is restless, maybe a bit depressed and off kilter. He was injured in the army, happy to come home with his leg, but he walks with a limp. The only bright spot in his life lately was his thwarted elopement with Lady Ainsley. He may just be in love with Ainsley. Too bad they can't stand to be in the same room together for five minutes without a fight. Ainsley is a diamond of the ton, she is beautiful and has a large dowry. She also has a shocking secret. One that could ruin her forever and has far-reaching consequences - no spoilers here. But she turns to Royal in her hour of desperation knowing he won't fail her. And he doesn't. Royal will do anything for Ainsley. He will marry her to protect her and his family. She may not realize that she is all he has ever wanted. This is one emotional roller-coaster book ride. Ainsley and Royal have some tough circumstances to work through and overcome. Danger from outside and the danger that they may just lose their hearts to each other. Very lovely story, great passionate scenes and real emotions and heart ache. Highly recommended - I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Ms. Kelly's books - pick this one up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Diana in SC

    A Highland hero to adore I first want to say that Royal Kendrick is a fantastic hero! He is my new favorite Highlander in any book. Royal is gruff, loyal, intelligent, respectful of women, compassionate, great with babies, and patient with his lady. I also like that he is a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. I absolutely love how he loves Ainsley. Ainsley brings chaos into Royal's life. I like her, but she got on my nerves a little bit early on. However, she really grew as a person, actively try A Highland hero to adore I first want to say that Royal Kendrick is a fantastic hero! He is my new favorite Highlander in any book. Royal is gruff, loyal, intelligent, respectful of women, compassionate, great with babies, and patient with his lady. I also like that he is a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. I absolutely love how he loves Ainsley. Ainsley brings chaos into Royal's life. I like her, but she got on my nerves a little bit early on. However, she really grew as a person, actively trying to stop being snobbish and rude, so I liked her more and more as the book went on. There is a lively bunch of lovable, funny minor characters. I especially appreciate Royal’s funny grandfather and Ainsley’s quirky old aunt. It seems like this family has appeared in previous Vanessa Kelly books, but I’m not sure. This is the first book by Vanessa Kelly that I have read, but it surely won’t be the last. I was surprised and pleased by the unpredictable plot developments and timeline of this romance. FYI, it is told in third person perspective, not first person as the title would seem to indicate. This novel is a really high quality Regency/Scottish romance that I recommend to all historical romance fans, except for those who care about the trigger warning below. Trigger warning: Ainsley previously was the victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the villain, and she does describe the event with some level of detail.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    ARC REVIEW Clan Kendrick #1, Spin-off of The Highlander's Princess Bride this picks up a couple of months after the conclusion of that book. This is a standalone from that book but for background on the characters the whole Kendrick family, and because it's an awesome book, I would recommend reading The Highlander's Princess Bride first. Kelly has a wonderful way with words she builds such fantastic, beautiful settings that set the mood and transport you to the Highlands; and situations that can ARC REVIEW Clan Kendrick #1, Spin-off of The Highlander's Princess Bride this picks up a couple of months after the conclusion of that book. This is a standalone from that book but for background on the characters the whole Kendrick family, and because it's an awesome book, I would recommend reading The Highlander's Princess Bride first. Kelly has a wonderful way with words she builds such fantastic, beautiful settings that set the mood and transport you to the Highlands; and situations that can be humorous and heartbreaking. Royal Kendrick has always been the protector, ever since his mother died in childbirth he has taken it upon himself to protect his brothers even following his older brother into war. Only it was Nick who saved Royal when he was left for dead on the battlefield. Royal ended up with one leg badly damaged and is almost in constant pain. One woman makes him forget the pain, makes him think about the future and starting a family, unfortunately she wants nothing to do with him. Lady Ainsley Matthews is a diamond of the ton, she has her pick of suitors but they are all sycophants and she wants nothing to do with them, except one man and infuriating highlander who can be so rude but it sets him apart from everyone else. Unfortunately Ainsley's father has other plans and arranges her marriage to a horrible man who does a horrible thing that send Ainsley running to Scotland. To protect her baby Ainsley, not able to trust anyone in her family, must leave the child in Scotland. She asks Royal to take her baby and claim her as his own. It takes a bit to get to the external conflict everything up until that point is Ainsley and Royal finding their place together and Ainsley doing some serious soul searching to figure out exactly where she belongs and learning how to deal with Angus. It's all Ainsley with the internal conflict because Royal already knows he loves her and will do anything for her he's just waiting for her to figure it out. Overall, it was a great romance I loved the banter between the characters and the conclusion was heartbreakingly bittersweet. I can't wait for the next books in the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana in SC

    5 stars A Highland hero to adore I first want to say that Royal Kendrick is a fantastic hero! He is my new favorite Highlander in any book. Royal is gruff, loyal, intelligent, respectful of women, compassionate, great with babies, and patient with his lady. I also like that he is a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. I absolutely love how he loves Ainsley. Ainsley brings chaos into Royal's life. I like her, but she got on my nerves a little bit early on. However, she really grew as a person, activ 5 stars A Highland hero to adore I first want to say that Royal Kendrick is a fantastic hero! He is my new favorite Highlander in any book. Royal is gruff, loyal, intelligent, respectful of women, compassionate, great with babies, and patient with his lady. I also like that he is a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. I absolutely love how he loves Ainsley. Ainsley brings chaos into Royal's life. I like her, but she got on my nerves a little bit early on. However, she really grew as a person, actively trying to stop being snobbish and rude, so I liked her more and more as the book went on. There is a lively bunch of lovable, funny minor characters. I especially appreciate Royal’s funny grandfather and Ainsley’s quirky old aunt. It seems like this family has appeared in previous Vanessa Kelly books, but I’m not sure. This is the first book by Vanessa Kelly that I have read, but it surely won’t be the last. I was surprised and pleased by the unpredictable plot developments and timeline of this romance. FYI, it is told in third person perspective, not first person as the title would seem to indicate. This novel is a really high quality Regency/Scottish romance that I recommend to all historical romance fans, except for those who care about the trigger warning below. Trigger warning: Ainsley previously was the victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the villain, and she does describe the event with some level of detail.

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