Book Title: Haunted Laird
Author: Tara Nina
Series: Cursed MacKinnons #4
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Category: M/F, Erotica, Paranormal
Main Characters: Padon/Lynn
BUY IT LINKS: Amazon Kindle
Source: Author for an honest review about the piece.
Book four in the Cursed MacKinnons series.
Lynn’s ghost-hunting trip in Scotland takes an unpleasant turn when she’s kidnapped from her camp by a group of men rambling about curses and a brotherhood. In a daring escape, Lynn falls over a cliff and awakens in a cave being guarded by a ghost, who insists she’s the key to freeing a man who has been cast in stone by an evil curse. And what a man he is…
Padon has been imprisoned for over two centuries, frozen in stone. He is awoken when a sexy siren recites the anti-curse, but he is only partially free. Stone by day, man by night. Passion ignites between him and his savior immediately, which makes falling to the curse each morning that much harder. He and Lynn seek a resolution by making the trek to Padon’s family castle. But the kidnappers have other plans and will do whatever they must to make sure this couple never makes it to their destination.
Hot Romance~Sexy Attitude best describes Tara Nina’s writing style. She creates for Ellora’s Cave in sensuality ranges from steamy hot to simmering sweet, which includes paranormals, contemporaries and romantic suspense. She is a Southerner living in the northern wilds of New Jersey complete with grown children, three dogs, and a mountain man for a husband.
- Website: http://taranina.com
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If you asked me “After PNR and Urban Fantasy, what is your favorite literary genre?” I would say time travel romances set in Scotland. Whether a modern woman or man travels to historical Scotland (preferably the former) or vice versa, I adore the dual pleasures of the fish out of water character and the beauty, mystery, and romance of Scotland. My all time favorite book series is Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER Series, in part for these reasons (plus, you know, Jamie). There’s something very comforting about reading books set in Scotland, and reading about places that are almost universal in other books set there: the moors and mountains, the layout of Edinburgh (though I’ve never been there, I swear I could find my way around just from years of reading about it.) When Lynn wakes on her first day in Edinburgh and looks out at the Castle, I almost sighed out loud with a feeling like, “I’m home.” I love that.
I admit I haven’t read the first three books in Ms. Nina’s Cursed MacKinnon’s series. HAUNTED LAIRD stands alone to some degree — you can quickly catch up with the events of the previous three books thanks to Ms. Nina’s clever weaving of those events into the current story. And lacking the knowledge of the previous stories certainly doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the YUMMY sex and tension crackling almost constantly, magickally between Padon and Lynn. Even in the face of challenge and danger, they are incredibly drawn to one another — which looks like a plot point if you pay close attention. Again, I don’t know if that’s a spoiler — I’d have to read the others to be sure.
There were a couple of negatives that bumped me out of the story. One is pretty common in Scottish romances, even the best written ones: portraying the unique speech patterns of Scotsmen of whatever time the characters come from is a VERY delicate art form that almost no writer has ever done well. Diana Gabaldon and a few others get away with it. Others have taken the advice of readers who learned how grating constant “nae” and “tae” and other such quirks can be and used them a few times to get the point across, then used speech rhythm, cadence, and carefully place pet names or other words to characterize the speaker. I know we all love how the Scots speak, but… it really yanked me out of the story to read “mi” and other idiosyncratic bits that just didn’t seem right. In fact, a lot of them read more like Irish than Scottish (the use of “o'”, for example) — another chance you take when you try to portray accent in words.
The other thing I was a little down on was the portrayal of the gay characters in the story Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive about it because I read and write so much m/m. The portrayal of the tragic gay guardian ghost Jasper and his unrequited love was sweet on its face, but ultimately gets blown off in deference to the insta-lust between Lynn and Padon. It was nice of Jasper and Lynn to be so understanding of one another’s place in Padon’s life (Padon mentions how he “didn’t feel the same way” about Jasper at least three times — OKAY, YOU’RE STRAIGHT, WE GET IT!), but it felt kind of patronizing. As did the sort of two-dimensional background relationship of Travis and Fin. I’m glad to see a nice gay couple as just *there* in a story, like any other tertiary couple, but that Lynn keeps going “awww” in various ways about them got to be a little annoying, like she was surprised to see well-trained dogs doing human things.
I also wasn’t crazy about the way things wrapped with Lynn’s initial reason for coming to Scotland, which I won’t spoil. It seemed too easy and pat. But that’s one of the tricky things about writing and reading novellas — I know this from experience! So I shouldn’t be so hard on this point. There is only so much you can cover in such a brief amount of time, especially when you’re writing erotica.
That being said, it’s a good sign when I get attached to characters in such a short story, and want to not only go back and read the books that I missed, but also keep up with the upcoming volumes. There’s sweetness and steam here that is irresistible. The paranormal theme throughout also tickled my interest, of course. The negatives ultimately didn’t get in the way of the many more positives. Did I forget to mention the HAWT? Both Lynn and Padon sound very sexy, and when paired with the spectacular looking people on the cover, I’m WAY into that! LOL
But the thing that struck me the most about HAUNTED LAIRD was that sense of comfort I mentioned. The familiar scenery of Scotland, the big, hunky Scotsmen (with swords! W00t!), and the magick that can make anything happen at any time. All in all, I have to say I’m glad I took the time to read HAUNTED LAIRD, and I’m definitely interested in reading the rest of the “Cursed MacKinnon” series!
For USA Buyers of Double Dilemma, Portal to Passion and Night Prey will be mailed both a signed cover flat and a signed book plate for their book. All other USA buyers Tara Nina books purchased will get a signed book plate. Please email a copy of your purchase receipt to Vickie@innovativeonlinebooktours.com along with your mailing address.
* 2 $20.00 Amazon Gift Cards
* signed books 1- Eyes of Stone, 1- Silken Delights, 1-Portal to Passion.