Charming the Highlander

Loving the Highlander

The Seduction of His Wife

The Stranger in Her Bed
Tempting the Highlander

A Highlander Christmas
by Janet Chapman
(Pocket, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-1416595458
Former NASA physicist Camry McKeage has managed to go a whole year without telling her family that she quit her job and moved to a seaside Maine town, where she works as a part-time bartender and dog-sitter.  Camry lost confidence in her abilities after exchanging a series of e-mails with a French scientist, Lucien Renoir, in which he pointed out the flaws in her work on ion propulsion. Camry is now ensconced in a coastal cottage, looking after her canine pals Max and Tigger, and she has no intention of returning to her former profession.

  Lucien, who calls himself Luke Pascal, has a big problem on his hands.  He may have inadvertently caused a satellite to crash, and now he’s in America looking for the pieces. After being stranded on a mountain in a snowstorm, Luke ends up being rescued by one of the McKeage family and taken to the home of Camry’s parents. Camry’s mother, Grace, is the scientist who designed the satellite, and Luke can’t find the courage to tell her he probably destroyed it. Grace asks Luke to find Camry and bring her home for Christmas, and he agrees to help.

Luke locates Camry without much difficulty. He doesn’t tell her who he is, of course, and they’re soon giving in to their instant attraction. Odd things happen in Camry’s world, and she’s not sure she can trust some of her family’s magical secrets to Luke. Luke has no idea how to tell her he’s the same Lucien Renoir that she’d corresponded with. In the meantime, they begin to fall in love.

A Highlander Christmas is a pleasant enough read, but doesn’t go much past that.  Camry (couldn’t the author have chosen a different name?  It’s like naming your heroine “Chevrolet”) is beautiful, brilliant, yadda, yadda, but didn’t really gain much sympathy with her “hiding out” act. She’s supposed to be a grown woman, but acts more like an insecure teenager at times. Luke is handsome, brilliant, etc., and is presented as the logical foil to Camry’s magical bent. For all that, the romance felt rather by-the-numbers. The plot had some magical elements, but the main issue – they’re keeping secrets from one another – isn’t anything new. 

Magic plays a stronger role in the second half of the book  It works, for the most part, but one aspect I didn’t like was its use to explain all the eye-rolling coincidences that set up the plot. Luke crashes Grace’s satellite right in her backyard, thereby ensuring that they meet and he is asked to go after Camry, whom he caused to leave her job in the first place? It’s because of the magic! Convenient.

The sex is fairly spicy, though Camry’s keeping a secret there, too. Overall, A Highlander Christmas is an entertaining, if unmemorable, read that will probably please fans of Chapman’s other “Highlander” books.  

--Cathy Sova

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