By: Aly Hackett
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.
I am not a Historical Romance reader. I have admitted to being a snot about Historicals because I would much rather read Austen, Dickens, Bronte, etc. Recently some people—ahem Book Club Wenches this is you!—kept telling me that I was missing out. So a month or so ago I read my first Historical and it was a fun, enjoyable! And now I have found myself in a very dangerous place with the second Historical I have read—falling in love with Historical Romance. Or at least those written by Monica McCarty!
Monica McCarty does a fantastic job with the history aspect of her story and I think that is what I loved most about The Chief. The weaving of fact and fiction is done so well that part of me wanted The Chief to be a true piece of history. But it isn’t just the story that Ms. McCarty does so well.
The characters in The Chief are fabulous! Tor definitely comes across as a hard, obstinate, dedicated Highlander. But we get these glimpses of his soft side. His merry cast of men also have some intriguing qualities to their character. We only learn a little about each one in The Chief so it definitely makes you want more and more…and luckily enough for us, there are more and more!
Christina was a female character that I really enjoyed. She was naïve without coming across as an idiot and that is so important to me. She was intuitive enough to know not to let on that she was educated but still inexperienced enough to go out without an escort.
In the end The Chief was a fantastic read that kept me riveted and wondering who and what was around the next corner. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series.
Monica will be here with us today to chat about the book and the series. She's giving away a copy of The Hawk to one lucky reader today, so let us hear from you! Find out more about Monica and her books on her website.
And as for recipes…well Aly is not nearly as talented as the rest of the Book Club Hostesses so here are two very easy recipes from some fabulous blogging ladies!
Chicken and Dumpling Bake
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
3-4 cups of cooked chicken (or 3 to 5 pieces of raw chicken)
2 cups chicken stock/broth
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
Use precooked chicken or poach raw chicken in the chicken broth or stock in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is mostly done. It will finish cooking in the oven. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool but reserve the stock.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a Pyrex measuring cup, melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave and pour that into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Shred the chicken and spread it on top of the butter.
In that same Pyrex cup, whisk together the milk and the flour and slowly pour that over the chicken taking care not to disturb the chicken too much. Don't stir it up!
Strain the chicken stock through a colander into the same Pyrex cup (now you know why I wanted ya to melt that butter in it!) and whisk in the cream of chicken soup. Very carefully pour that over the flour and milk mixture and again, don't stir it up!
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, or until top is light golden brown.
Does not freeze well.
*Use chicken breasts, mixed chicken parts, leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or canned chicken
And for dessert….
2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cinnamon, To Taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda
Peel and core apples.
Cut each apple into 8 slices each.
Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll.
Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.
Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples.
Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.