How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?
In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.
Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus… until she meets Tristan.
Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina’s, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.
On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they’ll stop at nothing to survive.
Alaina Claiborne is my first MK McClintock read and I have to say, I am quite taken with this author. This read has all of the things I love in an historical: a brave, determined and well-ahead-of-her time heroine, a wonderful setting, an excellent plot and, a hero who is just as good as he is bad. Here’s the skinny:
Alaina: Though she seemingly has the perfect life, Alaina is haunted by a past she just can’t quite remember. All she really remembers is being thrown from the carriage, a voice and, her best friend and parents dying. For ten years Alaina has tried to move beyond that most awful night and has found solace in her home and horses. All is right in Alaina’s world until her long-lost best friend’s family home is bought and a handsome stranger moves in.
Tristan Sheffield: Though he is a peer of the realm, Tristan often eschews (that was a big word for me :)) his title in order to work for the government as a sort of spy. Tristan and his crew (read: friends) are very good at gathering information, taking down criminals and, remaining in the shadows. It doesn’t do a spy any good to be known to any and all.
The Plot: From the moment this book opens you know there is something smelly in the state of Denmark. Alaina’s calm and mostly peaceful life is on the verge of being upended as she begins to remember the horrible night that claimed her parent’s lives. Tristan and Alaina figure out quickly they are not only after the same result – figuring out what happened to her family – but are extremely attracted to one another. With their common goal as a unifying force, the two embark on a harrowing journey that involves a fake marriage, a trip across the ocean, multiple injuries and, Alaina kidnapped on more than one occasion. With every step closer to the truth, Alaina and Tristan understand that they cannot be without one another and no matter the cost, they will fight for the truth and each other. As the plot reaches its climax, things get awfully dicey, the big bads are revealed and Alaina has a few surprises of her own for Tristan.
The Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this read and was taken in by it instantly. Alaina is definitely a lady but she is also strong, cunning, clever and, determined to solve the mystery of her family. She faces a great many hard truths and bears up under each new revelation and does what has to be done in order to achieve justice. Alaina is quite the surprise on several occasions and I found myself rooting for her more and more as the plot unfolded. Tristan is dashing and daring, strong and sexy and, totally willing to give up the life he has known for years in order to be with Alaina. I like how Tristan and Alaina work so well together and truly become a partnership; they are so good together and their relationship really does enhance the overall read. The mystery and the suspense are just right for this read and with the supporting cast of characters, this is a well-rounded read.
If you had to make a choice, would it be loyalty or love?
Torn between loyalty to her family and refusal to marry a laird she despises, Rhona Davidson accepts a dangerous proposal from a man she knows only as Blackwood.
Leaving behind a life of leisure, Charles Blackwood bravely serves his country with honor and the skill of a trained British agent. When his newest case returns him to the wild Highlands of Scotland, he is faced with a choice between killing a man and saving the only woman he has ever loved.
Charles and Rhona join their lives, only to discover that their choices will result in bloodshed, unless they can uncover a truth long buried, deep in the Highland soil.
Round two of MK McClintock’s British Agent series is better than the first and I thoroughly enjoyed the book one, Alaina Claiborne! Blackwood Crossing is the story of Rhona and Charles, two former lovers who are together again but under the most terrible of circumstances.
Rhona Davidson has always known her father hates her but she never thought he would stoop so low as to marry her off to the man that murdered her mother. In an effort to protect his investment, Rhona’s bastard of a father has asked for an escort from his home to her future husband’s. When both Rhona and Charles realize what is being asked of them they each try to play their roles and deny what they feel for one another. The first time Rhona met Charles, he was on a mission and was forced to lie about his identity and his endeavors but he never lied about feelings for her. For the first time in his life, Charles was in love and when he returned to England, he fully intended to have Rhona with him but her bastard father (I really can’t stress enough how awful he is!) intercepted Charles’ letters and effectively separated the two. For far, far too long Rhona has assumed that Charles only wanted her for the purpose of completing his mission and once he was able too, abandoned her.
From the moment the trek to the wedding begins, things just don’t add up for Charles. When the group (including Tristan!!!) is attacked, their boss is less than forthcoming with information, Rhona’s brothers are threatened and, the story of her mother’s death is called into question, everyone involved knows there is more to the story than simply marrying Rhona off. Charles is used to danger and intrigue but when Rhona becomes involved he wants nothing more than to protect her and for the first time in his life, doesn’t give a damn about completing a mission. The problem is, Rhona is awfully determined to figure out what really happened to her mother and what her brothers are involved in. If there is a way to salvage what is left of her family (excluding her bastard father, of course!) Rhona intends to find it even if it means (often) defying Charles and risking her own safety.
Once again, McClintock doesn’t give her characters much of a chance to breathe and once the plot starts unfolding things really get good. Charles and Rhona (and the rest of the crew from book one!) set out to discover just how deeply disturbed one of her brother’s really is, just how greedy her father truly is and, how well and truly loved her mother was prior to her death. The uncovering of the truth is exactly what Rhona needs to have some measure of peace and once everything and everyone are put into their proper place, Charles desperately hopes Rhona will find an added measure of peace with him.
The Bottom Line: For as much as I liked Alaina and Tristan from the first installment of this series, I liked Charles and Rhona more. Rhona is a whole new level of determined and confident and I love that in my heroines. Given the time and place, Rhona should be all kinds of demure and only interested in finding a husband but instead, she is determined, intelligent and fiercely independent. Rhona doesn’t need a man but she wants Charles and he is an excellent match for her strong will and personality. From start to finish I enjoyed this read with its cast of solidly constructed characters, a plot that involves murder, intrigue and secret societies and an HEA that is well-deserved for both characters. Needless to say, I am absolutely on board for the third installment of this series, Clayton’s Honor which is due May 15, 2015 and is already available for pre-order. Yes, I totally one-clicked 🙂
Praise for BLACKWOOD CROSSING
“Ms. McClintock weaves a thick tapestry of mystery and romance in her historical setting . . . Multiple twists and unexpected alliances hook the reader into her complex tale . . . Bravo Ms. McClintock!”- InD’Tale Magazine
“This is a wonderful book with suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat and surprises to keep me guessing. The main characters—a feisty heroine and a strong, gentle hero—are just the kind I l love and the villains are worthy of being hated.”
-Verna Mitchell, author of Somewhere Beyond the Blue
“For avid readers of historical romance, you will not be disappointed. The book has all the elements you love – suspense, mystery, murder, intrigue, adventure, high-speed chase, and romance all wrapped up in the everyday lives of 19th century aristocracy in England and Scotland.”
-Donna McBroom Theriot, reviewer at mylifeonestoryatatime.com
MK McClintock spins tales of romance, mystery, and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes in Montana.
-2014 RONE Award-Nominee for Alaina Claiborne -2014 Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD’Tale Magazine for Blackwood Crossing and The Montana Gallagher Collection
–2015 Crowned Heart for Excellence from InD’Tale Magazine for A Home for Christmas
Genres: historical romantic westerns, historical romantic mysteries, western short stories
MK is published with Trappers Peak Publishing LLC. www.trapperspeakpublishing.com
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