Niall MacCurran, a Black Warrior, still feels guilty about leaving the woman he rescued from the Lochurkie dungeon to fend for herself in the woods near the castle. It was necessary in order to save his brother from the very same dungeon. They lost their land, Dunstoras, over the framed attempt and consequent imprisonment of his brother and they are determined to get their home back at whatever cost. Although Niall saved Ana against his better judgment, that's all he could do when speed was of an essence to save his brother. When Niall recognizes Ana at a market in another town, he knows she will help him get access to the manor he seeks, even though he didn't actually save her completely.
Making it publicly known that he is her long lost husband, Niall leaves Ana with no choice but to bring him to her home while going along with his ruse. He knows that she was accused of poisoning the earl she tended at Lochurkie and that no one in this town suspects that, yet, so he uses that knowledge to convince her to help him. Will she return the favor of her life saved in exchange for helping Niall get the evidence he needs to retrieve their land before the king gives it to someone else? Or will Ana once again face death for helping someone other than herself?
Ana won my enthusiasm for her moral fiber right from the beginning. Left in an incomprehensible position to fight for her life, I'm still unsure how she survived what she faced after being held prisoner. And that's not all she will endure, either, so she becomes a heroine even more worthy of respect as her story progresses. Niall, on the other hand, didn't score many points with me when he left Ana for the guards' dogs to chase down after he helped her escape from prison. He did rescue her, but he didn't take it far enough for me to have complete trust in his intentions. Many times throughout the book I doubted that he could love Ana in the way she deserved. Niall won my heart in the end, but I think I expected him to work a lot harder at winning Ana while proving that he deserved her love. She was that great of a heroine, while Niall needed some improvement in regards to his unrealistic expectations. I wanted to smack him a few times but eventually Niall proved his worthiness to my satisfaction.
There are several intriguing secondary characters who hinted at what may happen in future books, as well as one particular unexpected villain who was beyond creepy in his zealousness. Prejudice and fear of the unknown run high in this story, which made me root for the characters' success even more. There are parts of the story that left me quite anxious to see the resolution, so although I enjoyed this story for its simplicity in many ways, those complications heightened my interest even more. I'm hoping to see Ana develop some friendships that she can trust in future books because she's a character who has experienced enough tragedy for one lifetime.
TAMING A WILD SCOT features an engaging adventure for a healer and her brave Scottish warrior aided by the Scot's merry men and challenged by villains you'll love to despise. This first book in the CLAIMED BY THE HIGHLANDER series is predominately historical in flavor, taking place in Scotland in the year of 1285, but it does have a few paranormal elements, primarily magic, that give it a fantasy flare. With its plot's tendency toward adventure, especially the way the book ended, making the reader hope for more interaction with the secondary characters, I feel that this series could easily appeal to historical as well as fantasy readers. I know I'm looking forward to what happens next with this band of warriors and the ladies they love. Reminiscent of the Knights of the Round Table of Arthurian legend or Robin Hood's daring, the CLAIMED BY THE HIGHLANDER series is off to a promising start.