Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is “Valentine’s Day is next week…let’s do a Valentine’s Day themed freebie! Top Ten Books That Would Make Great Valentine’s Day Reads (or anti-Valentine’s day reads), Top Ten OTPs, Top 10 fictional crushes, top ten great love declarations in fiction, swoony quotes from books etc. Get creative!”
The Chief (Highland Guard #1) by Monica McCarty
Synopsis: An elite fighting force unlike the world has ever seen…
Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.
The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one—especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.
Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart—before it’s too late.
Why this one?
If you have read this series, than you know exactly why this series will show up 4 times in this list. The way Monica McCarty writes a declaration of love scene is intense, poignant, emotional, and perfect.
The Hawk (Highland Guard #2) by Monica McCarty
Synopsis: Handpicked by Robert the Bruce to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule, the elite warriors of the Highland Guard face their darkest days. When Bruce is forced to flee, his bid for freedom rests on the shoulders of one extraordinary warrior.
Erik MacSorley is a brilliant seafarer who has never encountered a wind he could not harness or a woman he could not win—until he drags a wet, half-naked “nursemaid” out of the waters off the Irish coast. Ellie’s ordinary appearance belies the truth: She is in fact Lady Elyne de Burgh, the spirited daughter of the most powerful noble in Ireland. Worse, this irresistible woman is determined to prove herself immune to Erik’s charms—a challenge he cannot resist.
Her captor may look every inch a rugged warrior, but Ellie vows that it will take more than a wickedly suggestive caress to impress her. Yet Erik will sweep away Ellie’s resistance with a desire that resonates deep within her heart. Still, he is a man driven by loyalty, and she is a woman with secrets that could jeopardize Bruce’s chance to reclaim his throne. As the battle for king and country sounds across the shores, will Ellie’s love be enough to finally tame the legend known as the Hawk?
The Knight (Highland Guard #7.5) by Monica McCarty
Synopsis: Stripped of his lands by the English king who killed his father, James Douglas will do whatever it takes to see his clan’s honor and fortune restored. The ambitious young knight, whose dark visage, powerful stature, and ferocity in battle has earned him the epitaph “the Black,” knows he must use fear, force, and intimidation to defeat the English, put Robert the Bruce on Scotland’s throne, and restore the honor of the Douglas name. Nothing and no one will get in his way. Not even the lass who captured his heart in childhood and still holds it in her delicate hands.
Joanna Dicson has loved James Douglas for as long as she can remember. That she is “only” the daughter of the marshal of Douglas Castle has never concerned her. Yet even as James’s ruthless reputation grows, and despite the warnings of others to guard her heart—and her virtue—against him, Joanna never dreams he will turn on her. He loves her and would never hurt her. But when James returns to Douglas to force the English garrison from his castle, Joanna learns that their love is nothing against his ambition. His marriage—like everything else—will be a means of bettering his clan. Heartbroken and humiliated, Joanna is left alone with a secret that may destroy them both.
Highlander Unmasked (MacCleods of Skye #2) by Monica McCarty
Synopsis: Alex MacLeod’s virile physique, fearsome reputation, and renowned fighting skills have helped him master to perfection the role of a hardened mercenary. On a secret mission to protect his clan, he must keep his true purpose well hidden. But his dangerous endeavor is threatened by a beautiful woman he saves from outlaws, never dreaming she will appear at court and put his plans in jeopardy.
Meg Mackinnon needs a strong husband by her side to defend her clan’s holdings, but her search has been hampered by burning fantasies of the midnight rescuer whose smoldering blue eyes and raw sensuality left her breathless. Alex pretends to be a mercenary with no loyalties, yet he is clearly much more. As Meg challenges Alex to reveal all his secrets, the stakes grow perilously high, especially for the bold woman who dares to unmask a highlander.
Shadowfever (Fever #) by Karen Marie Moning
Synopsis: Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.” — MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. — Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.
What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh — a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.
In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?
From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.
Why this one?
When Mac and Barrons finally come together it is explosive and when he confesses his love (in only a way that Barrons could confess his love) was just intense.
Styxx (Dark Hunter #22) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Synopsis: Just when you thought doomsday was over…
Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.
As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.
The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.
But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.
Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?
Why this one?
Styxx and Belany are a tragic and passionate couple. When they come back together in the present time it just poetic. They finally get their happy ending after a horrible past.
Acheron (Dark Hunter #14) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Synopsis:The most anticipated story in the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series. The never-before-revealed story of the Dark-Hunter leader, Acheron. He was made human in order to escape death, but in death he was reborn a god. . .
Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron became the sole defender of mankind.
Only it was never that simple. For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.
Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.
War has never been more deadly… or more fun.
Why this one?
Acheron’s struggle to a happy ending makes the declaration of love in his book poignant and wonderful. His story to a true love is just heart breaking and heart warming.
Untamed Highlander (Dark Sword #4) by Donna Grant
Synopsis: The Dark Sword series reins in the magic, passion, and fury of Scotland’s legendary warriors—for whom love is always worth fighting for…
DEVIL IN THE FLESH
Druid-born and magic-blessed, Isla is one of the deadliest she-devils ever to serve the forces of darkness. As an immortal Highland warrior, it’s up to Hayden Campbell to destroy her and her kind. But for Hayden, Isla is more than a sworn enemy. She is temptation…
ANGEL IN HIS ARMS
Taking Isla captive, Hayden hopes to avenge his kinsmen who died by Druid magic. But when he looks into Isla’s eyes, he sees the secrets of her past. When he touches her skin, he feels the passion in her soul. And soon Hayden comes to realize that this beautiful, beguiling woman is not his enemy at all—she is his destiny. And, even as the forces of darkness conspire against them, their love will conquer all…
Why this one?
The scene on the beach when Hayden confesses what Isla means to him was just emotionally perfect. I loved that scene and they are one of my absolute favorites in the Dark series.
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels #3) by Sarah MacLean
Synopsis: A rogue ruined . . .
He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.
A lady returned . . .
Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.
A scandal revealed . . .
It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
Why this one?
This installment had the emotional turmoil, but it also had a really great plot and conflict that was irresistible and captivating. Temple and Mara were a great match and their story was wonderful to watch unfold. I loved how strong Mara was and that Temple saw that strength and admired her for it. I loved the ball scene, I thought it passionate, heartbreaking, and beautifully written.
Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk #5) by Bec McMaster
Synopsis: Enemies. Allies. Lovers.
When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.
A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort… or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.
Why this one?
There is too much to say about this book, so my review will have to explain why this one is one of my favorite “declarations of love”.