The Ghost (Highland Guard #12) by Monica McCarty
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Synopsis: An undercover warrior and her sworn enemy play a seductive game of cat-and-mouse in New York Times bestselling author Monica McCarty’s sexy new Highland Guard novel.
Joan Comyn swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce the day she witnessed England’s barbarous king torturing her famous mother, Scot patriot Bella MacDuff. Now the mysterious beauty slips into men’s hearts like a specter and entices England’s most illustrious barons to unwittingly divulge their secrets, then shares them with her king. Known only as the Ghost even among her Highland Guard brethren, Joan has become the most wanted traitor in England.
The man determined to uncover her identity poses her biggest threat yet. Alex Seton once stood with Bruce but now fights for the enemy. Though Joan knows she must avoid the handsome warrior or risk discovery, his knightly chivalry touches a place in her long since buried. When his suspicions grow apparent, Joan realizes she must do everything in her power to stop Alex from revealing her mission and convince the powerful fighter to join forces with the Highland Guard once more. But as the ultimate battle in the great war approaches, will Alex choose love or honor?
Review: The last book in the series (crying hysterically) is greatly anticipated; it focuses on Alex “Dragon” Seton and Joan “Ghost” Comyn. The ghost was the silent member of the Highland Guard that we didn’t know the true identity of (for sure), though there were hints. Alex left the guard two years ago, fed up with how the war was going and how it was being waged. He wanted to make a difference, to try and end the war. Where this book picks up is two years after his defection and instead of being the “Englishman” in the group he is now the “Scot” in the group- he can’t win in that sense. He is also coming to realize that his goal of ending the war isn’t going as he hoped it would and is regretting his decision to leave.
Joan is getting more and more bold in her attempts to extract the necessary information Bruce needs to win the war. When she sees Alex she knows who he is and he also recognizes her, but they play it off as “oh, I remember seeing you…”. They are attracted to each other, but she doesn’t trust him and knows what he did two years ago, so she sees him as a traitor and as the last person she should get close to. He is drawn to her but when he finds out about her reputation he is disappointed in her and tries to forget her, but can’t. He tries to play the knight in shining armor and protector of her. She doesn’t want or need his protection. Plots become complicated; he is charged with finding the spy, and she has to use him to get valuable information (though she doesn’t want to by that point, because she is acknowledging to herself that she is attracted to him).
Without giving any spoilers away, this book was delicious and enjoyable and their love affair had most of the characteristics we expect and want in a Monica McCarty romance. The intense emotional turmoil wasn’t as intense in this one as in others. He doesn’t betray her or condemn her (not really), though he does disappoint her and he still leaves (for a time). In the end there is an epic final battle against Bruce’s forces and Edward II’s forces, and the love story has its happy ending (you will just have to wait to find out how when you read). Questions are answered about whether Alex will be brought back into the fold or stick to his knightly moral code and remain with the English forces. What happens after the war with each couple was beautifully done and everything ends wonderfully.
I don’t want the series to end and would love to have a spin off series with all of the kids and the next chapter of English/Scottish history. This was a very enjoyable read and I am so excited that I got to read it.