Honest Synopsis: Back in ye’ olden times, a Scottish noblewoman who is brutally abused by her father and his henchman loses her kind boyfriend, then kisses a stranger in a dark garden at party hosted by a friendly neighbor clan. One of the brothers in the clan, a savage Highland noblewarrior with an even more savage reputation with the ladies, brokers a deal for Scottish lady’s hand. Frightened at the thought of marrying a brute who will continue to beat her just like dear old dad, Scottish lady dreams of happier times with her kind boyfriend and of the garden stranger (who surprisingly turns out to be her new husband!). After the wedding, Scottish lady learns her husband is not that much of brute, her treats her with kindness and refuses to consummate the marriage until she trusts him. He asks for a month to win her trust and she agrees. He also demands she never to divulge what goes on in the bedroom to anyone. What goes on in the bedroom you ask? Well Scottish lady’s hubby is into the tie me up/tie me down, slap and tickle combo. Turns out Scottish lady is super into it and becomes more confident and self assured as a result. As she waits impatiently for the month to end, her father’s main henchman, who has the hots for her gets wind that something is not on the up and up with the marriage and a coup is staged with a rival clan. A marriage isn’t considered real until it is consummated back in those days and Scottish lady and her dom Highlander husband are in for a world of trouble. There’s flogging, transcendence, murdering, and loving in this old world boy-meets-girl, romantic tale. Will they get it on before they lose everything? Probably.

Hmmm, where to begin on this one. First, I will preface with Mallory picked this book. In fact, she’s wanted to read a book about Highlanders since we started this process. Yes. She was really looking forward to making Highlander jokes and lacing her post with funny videos like this:

She made a lot of Highlander jokes during her choosing process, so you can imagine her shock and horror when she started reading Highlander Taken and realized it wasn’t all maidens and kilts like the cover indicates. Let’s just say, I am still laughing that she picked the first BDSM romance novel for us to review.

Our fair lady in Juliette Miller’s Highlander Taken is Stella Morrison who along with her sisters are physically and emotionally abused by their father who is the laird (like a President) of the Morrison Clan. Stella had the added misfortune of looking like her mother who died when she was a toddler and of being defiant and rebellious. We meet Stella at a party of a neighboring clan, the Mackenzie’s. Her sister, Maisie hopes to be wed to one of the Mackenzie brothers, Wilkie, but her hopes are dashed when he chooses a princess disguised as a servant named, Roses. Yes Roses. Anyway, Stella is also there, sad and pining for her boyfriend Caleb (a blacksmith), who was banished from the clan because her father felt he was of a lower status. She has recently tried to run away only to be beaten by her father’s henchman. P.S. Laird Morrison is of failing health and crazy. He has let his lands run into ruin and has sheltered his daughters from the real world. They are kind of like the Amish. Oh and there is a rival clan, the Campbell’s who periodically wage war and kill all the men folk.

Stella runs into the garden and all the torches get blown out, leaving her in the dark. Suddenly this burly dude comes up and starts making out with her. She’s super into it, had no idea who it is, but is willing to run off with him if he asked her.

She gets back to the party and meets Kade Mackenzie, the youngest of the three brothers, who is described as too intense, too fiery, too confident, too masculine, too everything (page 35). He’s a big, burly warrior, handsome, but because he’s a fighter, his looks are overshadowed by his gruffness. Because I keep seeing The Beast from Beauty and The Beast in my head which is an awfully confusing thing for me who loves this movie. I can’t think of the Beast doing sexy things to Belle. That’s just wrong.  I decided to pick my own Kade Mackenzie. I chose The Rock, because when he was wrestling his persona was gruff and he was considered a “fierce warrior” so, enjoy random photos of Dwayne and you’re welcome!

Belle and The Beast...

Belle and The Beast…don’t want this image in my mind

Much better... you sexy Beast

Much better…sexy Beast

Kade also held a bizarre power over Stella, as though his own reckless tendencies were impacting and guiding her. So when she learned she would be betrothed to him, you can imagine her dismay. Her sisters and cousins warned her that his fierceness on the battlefield would translate to the bedroom. Poor Stella, out of the frying pan and into the fryer. She was doomed to live a life of obedience and brutality. Then, she learns of a chick Kade had an encounter with. She learned that Kade did unspeakable things to this woman and it took her days to recover. Stella also learns that the woman was overcome, having the most intense experience of her life and that she begged Kade to do it again the next night.

What kind of magic does this Svengali  possess?

She then learns the woman was tied to the bed and at Kade’s mercy. So it’s THAT kind of magic.

This is where I laughed out loud because again, Mallory picked this book!

Stella is marrying a dominant Higlander making Highlander Taken all about the B & the D of BDSM!

So they get married. Kade tells Stella to keep what goes on in their bedroom on the DL (down low). Which makes me think  of this kicky Michael Jackson song. Enjoy the video!

Kade stages the bed sheets to make it look like they did the deed. Apparently, a marriage is not legal in Higlander times until it is consummated. Kade, being full of honor refuses to “take” his bride by force. He wants her to want to want him to want her to want him…I confused myself, there are lots of wants. Enjoy this video as well!

He tells Stella he will wait one month for her to be ready. He plans to win her trust and then it will be on like Donkey Kong! Stella, used to being treated like crap, is taken aback by this gesture. Maybe Kade ain’t so bad after all. She learns he’s really not so bad when he lets his finger do the walking to so to speak.

Oh yeah

Oh yeah

They get into a heated sexy entanglement that makes Stella want to get frisky post haste, but Kade keeps his honor intact, especially when he learns that Stella is so fearful of him and men in general because she has been abused by her father and his cronies. Kade works to help Stella become confident and soon she starts to not only trust her husband, but desire him. They do everything but for the next few weeks…not everything BUTT! You guys are pervs.

Such a brute but take me anyway!

Want me! I have honor!

Oh! Stella realizes that the garden stranger and her husband are one in the same. Why didn’t she realize this before? Blind ignorance, fear, naiveté? No idea, but Kade was like, “yeah who did you think it was?”

I am your mystery lover boo

I am your mystery lover boo

All is going well in the realm of Morrison. Kade is going on hunting expeditions and bringing more meat to the people, he is introducing new agriculture techniques, he is declining sexual advances from Maisie (yes, her sister is jealous and throws herself at Stella’s man…violation of girl code). Stella was more at ease and unafraid, no longer feeling worthless and undervalued. Stella also learns how to use a knife for protection. “Up and in. Twist and slice.” Could this be foreshadowing? Probably.

Of course, things can’t be roses (not Roses) and sunshine. Caleb, Stella’s first love, comes back to town. This is where it gets funny because Kade is not having it. He is genuinely surprised to see this 90lbs weakling touching his wife’s arm. He says, “That boy is the one who you pined for all this time? That mess of inadequacy is the object of your burning desire? The one who you cried for and dreamed about, even so recently as three nights ago? That–?” Stella poo-poo’s Kade’s raging rant blaming it on dreams because dreams mean nothing right? Calling out an ex’s name whilst dreaming is normal right? Next time you are in bed with your significant other, call out an ex’s name and see what happens. Hopefully, it won’t be what happens to Stella, or if it is, kudos to you, I guess.

Kade is bent on making her pay for having thoughts of infidelity. He vows on making her “forget” Caleb once and for all. He rips off her dress and this is when she determines she trusts him and wants him. For some, it is roses (not Roses), for others it is watching their partner become vulnerable in front of them, and for others it is having their clothes ripped off and being told to strip. Everyone’s got their something!

This is where things get Nine in Nails dirty. So here you go. Enjoy! (P.S., it is creepy so consider yourself forewarned!)

There’s some tying up, some blindfolding, some lashing with a belt, some tickling with a feather, and some whipping. And that’s how you make a BDSM salad!

Feather

Meh…okay

Ummm

Ummm

Now what now?

Now what now?

All of this agony and ecstasy brought Stella to a new plane of existence. It brought her closer to God as Trent screams. Once again, this is too good not to include in its entirety and deserves italics:

“After the third–perhaps fourth–climax, I entered a state of physical transcendent enlightenment which my body existed in its own realm, thoroughly base and primal. My mind went dark and quiet, able only to comprehend the acute, drawn-out       rapture. Throughout the night, I was taken beyond any and every limit I had even known existed” (page 283).

Heaven

Finally seeing the light

Afterwards Kade was in love. Stella felt like a different person. She explains, “My body was fizzing with satisfaction the likes of which I have never experienced. And my mind was sharper than I could ever recall. I felt, in the broader sense of the term, powerful, as though I had swallowed as seed of invincibility. I felt peaceful. Whole, Womanly. Alive. My husband had beaten  my weaknesses out of me, apparently, He had soothed me, riled me and awakened me all at once”, page 285. That’s one way to come out of the Matrix!

Rock 4

You’re welcome

Talk about moving quickly through old patterns and releasing baggage. If that was all it took, I think more people might be into the B and the D of BDSM. Then what would all of the psychologists do?

P.S. There are like seven days left in this month!

There is an uprising happening. Aleck, who is Laird Morrison’s main crony, has had the hots for Stella since they were kids. She turned down a thistle flower from him when they were teens and he has never moved on from it.

Love me and my thistle!

Love me and my thistle!

So, he’s taken to beating her, holding her captive and belittling her all of these years. All great ways to show affection! Pretty sure her heart is melted from all of the “love”. You are thinking, I know, “why is it ok when her husband cracks the whip, but not Aleck?”. Cause sillies, Kade is coming from a place of trust and love, not violence like Aleck. Plus that is how the author wrote it, I don’t make the rules.

Still a brute...take my anyway!

Still a brute…take my anyway!

Aleck can’t believe that Stella has to be married to such a brute who wants to make their town better. Stella, riding high from transcendence accidentally alludes to Aleck that she and Kade have not done the full Monty. Apparently transcending doesn’t grant you wisdom. Aleck of course jumps on this and brings a nurse like lady to confirm that she had not been penetrated. The woman confirms and then Aleck goes down for the count. The nurse Jackie is a Mackenzie like Kade! She tells Stella, she drugged Aleck and suggests she get over to Kade and get to consummating. Why didn’t nurse Jackie, just poison Aleck and be done with it? Why do all the people you love die in Game of Thrones? Writers prerogative.

So Stella again, in full transcendence wisdom decides to tie her sleeping husband up and take him rather than tell him what’s going on because he would want to kill everyone. UMMM, perhaps that would have been the right choice considering there is a coup occurring and he is a warrior. She tries to get him to forego his honor and just do it, but of course he wants control. Doesn’t he know there is a coup happening?!!! Oh right. He doesn’t because his wife NEVER TOLD HIM. Of course they get caught before they can bang the gong. How long was the sleeping drug, 15 mins? I guess back then drugs were not a potent at as today.

So naked Kade is taken to the dungeons only after  hearing his wife call him a savage and say she hates him and she would never let him bang her gong. He is crushed to hear her say such things. Why would she betray him with Aleck? Perhaps to save you, idiot? It seems like transcendence lunacy has spread to him as well. Oh and Aleck kills Stella’s daddy.

Aleck takes Stella to the bed room to bang her gong. Stella pulls a switch and becomes the dominant telling him what to do. Of course he obeys. Then it’s up and in, twist and slice. She guts him Game of Thrones style and bye-bye Aleck.

Then it’s off to rescue Kade with the help of Maisie who had no idea there was an uprising and is shocked that Stella killed someone, a  15-minute sleeping potion, and Caleb. Yes, wimpy Caleb helps Stella find the dungeon and she goes to rescue a tortured Kade. Kade defeats the laird of Campbell and squashes the uprising. Reinforcements of Mackenzie’s are coming to beat back whatever resistance is still in the keep (that is town in Scottish).

Warrior! Take me anyway!

Warrior! Take me anyway!

Kade takes Stella to a river where he threatens to kill her for betraying him. He still thinks she meant all those words she said whilst trying to protect him. Again, transcendence makes you stupid or maybe he wanted all she had; her trust, her will, her sex, but didn’t fully submit himself. She tells him he can kill her if he wants but she loves him and did what she did to save him, and she killed Aleck before he banged her gong. Once he understood the words that were coming out of her mouth, he relents and bangs her gong by the lake, uprising be damned! There’s an uprising in his pants! NOW the marriage was finally legit albeit seven days before the end of the month. Gotta do what you gotta to keep the keep (town in Scottish not a typo).

Cut to ten months later, Kade is now Laird Morrison; he’s progressive and took his wife’s name. The clan is thriving and everyone is happy. Stella is pregnant and she and Kade are so in love. Kade loves Stella so much that when her breasts leak with milk, he just suckles like a babe. People, I can’t make this up, someone else already did. Stella and Kade have twins, a boy and a girl. Did I mention, they are so in love? Well they are.

 He’s not really going to… The red-flag warnings Stella conveniently ignores about her BDSM Highlander husband

  • On the contrary, I find insolence in women very intriguing–it happens to be a affliction that I’m able to cure almost entirely under the right circumstances (page 32).
  • She spent the whole night in a state of ecstasy, according to Lottie (page 73).
  • He bound her to the bed. Even thought she was terrified of him, she said his lovemaking was akin to a spiritual  experience (page 74)
  • I forbid you to discuss what goes on behind our private doors with anyone (page 98).
  • We will consummate this marriage properly, and with your willing participation. You will give me whatever I ask of you (page 114).
  • …my want, I can assure you, at this very moment, is threatening, to overtake  my well developed practices of both discipline and control (page 117).
  • I’ve a mind to restrain you and tempt you with my denial…or by other means. I can be quite creative when I put my mind to it, you’ll see (page 223).
  • You should know that about me. I’m exceedingly indecent. Depraved, even (page 226).
  • You deserve…a lesson, let’s call it. You can ask me for mercy at any time, of course, and I will do my best to honor your request (page 263).
  • I am going to give you a reason to forget him entirely, wife, once and for all. But I am afraid I’m going to have to make it clear to you that I expect everything of you (page 265).
  • Surrender to me. ‘Tis, in fact your only option (page 267).
  • You’re too pure for your own good. That of course, is an issue I plan to remedy once I’ve made good on my oath (page 270).

 Highlander Taken, by Juliette Miller is an interesting survey into how people got their kink on back in ye’ olden times. It is the longest book we have read thus far and it was still a fairly quick read with intrigue that while, semi-unrealistic to me in these modern times, propels the story forward. It is an unconventional love story which is okay by me,  not all romances involve wine and roses (not Roses) and instant love across a crowded room (although this one did to some extent). There is a significant amount of “everything but”  to also keep you interested. What this book did was force Mallory and myself to try and understand alternative lifestyles and states of consciousness (aka transcendence). A lyric from the theme song from the hit TV series, Diffr’ent Strokes appropriately fits here, “What might be right for you may not be right for some.” Different Strokes folks, if a little slap and tickle is your bag, go for it,  just keep it safe 🙂

Rating: 3.5 Trashy Roses

3.5 Trashy Roses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s